The morning of the BIG DAY started with our bride Afton getting ready surrounded by family and friends at her Aunt Deanna's beautiful home in Sand Creek in Chesterton. In their matching pajamas, they sipped mimosas and cucumber water and shared laughs and stories while getting ready. The room was buzzing with hairspray and excitement.
Afton received a sweet and emotional gift from her maid of honor. She presented her with a box pictures and mementos. Inside were personal letters from her bridesmaids, mom, mother in law, brother, sister in law, aunt's and husband. Good thing she gave it to her before the makeup went on!
The Hair & The Make-up
"I hired Katelyn Pruitt to do our hair. She is a cousins girlfriend and the most talented hair stylist I have ever seen. You show her a picture and she does it even BETTER! All of the girls loved their hair! We also hired Katelyn's best friend and partner in crime Emily Duprè for our makeup. When it comes to talent she surpasses them all. Her skills of making you feel flawless and fabulous in your own skin is unbelievable. I wanted to look like myself but more glam and she nailed it. My makeup and hair lasted all night and had so many compliments. They are a dynamic duo, that's for sure! Not only are they amazing at what they do, they are such fun and genuinely sweet ladies who love what they do and it shows in their work."
"We were also joined by the extremely talented Tales of a Dream photographers Carmen and Jamie. Carmen and Jamie are nothing less than a dream team. The one thing you want to make sure will be perfect are your photos and I am obsessed over my pictures. I had a friend that had used them and I loved her photos. They were so natural, flawless and unique. I wanted a certain look for my photos and I received that and more from Carmen and Jamie. They communicated so well with me even though I am 1700 miles away from them. I look at my photo album all the time and thanks to them I get to re-live each moment again."
"I gave my bridesmaids navy blue Coach makeup bags that included lip gloss, a pearl bracelet, pearl necklace, and a few other personal goodies for each of them. I also included a tote bag with their names on them to carry throughout the day."
"Jamie and Carmen captured smiles, laughter and all the love the day held. The morning was so fun for everyone. Hair, make-up, pictures and mimosas what else do you need!!!"
THE Dress & Bridesmaids Dresses
"I purchased my wedding dress in Las Vegas where we live at a small bridal store called Celebrations Bridal. It was the first dress I tried on and the last. I tried on many many styles of dresses and nothing compared to the first one I tried on. I even teared up when I tried it on again, that's when I knew it was the one. What made it even more special was my mom, grandmother, Dave's mom and Dave's grandmother were all in Las Vegas to have an early Thanksgiving with us when we made an appointment to dress shop and they were there to experience with me. That was one thing I was going to have to do without my mom since she lives so far away but I didn't have to. The bridesmaids dresses were Navy Blue Mori Lee Lace dresses. I decided on the color and designer and allowed the girls to pick the style they felt most comfortable in. And to my surprise they all picked the same design except my Maid of Honor which worked perfect. And the girls just had to wear any nude heel they liked. My flower girl's dress was from Etsy shop Olivia Kate Couture"
"Our florist was Dixon's Florist in Munster. I had been using Dixon's since I was in high school for prom flowers and such. I know the family and they are the greatest people. The owner Gail is amazing. I met with Gail personally a few times, I took pictures of ideas and she did exactly what I wanted. I really really wanted peonies in my bouquet since they reminded me of my grandfather. Gail assured me she would try her hardest but they were out of season. To my surprise when my bouquet arrived it was full of the most beautiful peonies. I was overwhelmed with joy. I can not thank her enough for working hard to get them for me."
"The guys got ready at the Best Western Indian Oak in Chesterton where they stayed the night prior. Not sure they had as much fun as the girls but hey they are guys, much less needy than the ladies!"
They may have gotten ready a lot quicker than the girls, but they were having just as much fun. They loved showing off their custom bow ties and colorful socks.
"Dave wanted the guys to not feel super stuffy in a normal tux going for more of a casual dress look. He picked a light tan tux for the guys with wooden bow ties that we had custom made. That's right wooden bow ties! They were awesome, and also found on Etsy at Lucca Laser Workshop. They didn't wear the dress shoes that came with the tux they purchased a Steve Madden brown loafer which made for the guys having much more comfortable shoes."
The guys were picked up by the party bus and driven to pick up the girls and we all headed to picturesque Coffee Creek in Chesterton to do formal pictures.
Afton arrived a few minutes later with her father, mother and maid of honor. The bridal party hid several feet away to give Afton and Dave some privacy during their first look. (They were peeking of course!) Dave waited patiently with his back turned and eyes shielded as Afton made her way up the winding path. There was a certain electricity in the air and the closer she got to Dave the more it grew.
The First Look
After pictures were finished at Coffee Creek everyone loaded up into the party bus and headed off to Sand Creek Country Club, where the ceremony and reception were held.
How did this love story begin?
"Dave and I met in November 2006 in Dallas, Texas at the training facility of Southwest Airlines. We were both hired in Las Vegas for Southwest but had never met due to our opposite work schedules. After spending a week together with our other classmates we learned a lot about each other and became friends. I had lived in Las Vegas for about 3 years and Dave had just moved to Las Vegas a few weeks earlier from Illinois. After realizing we grew up so close to each other there was a "midwest" bond so to speak. Once we returned back to Las Vegas we hung out often after work and on our days off. Dave was very quiet and reserved and I am very loud and outgoing so it was a good balance right from the beginning. Our first official date was to our company Christmas party in December. About 6 months later we moved in together along with Dave's sister Laura. We all lived together for many years until Laura bought her own place and we bought ours."
What is your favorite way to spend time together?
"Dave and I love the outdoors. We hike, bike and love to snowboard. Since we are able to enjoy the perks of flying free with Southwest Airlines because of our jobs we spend many days in the winter on the mountains of Colorado and Utah snowboarding. In the spring and summer, we hike all over the desert and mountains of Southern Nevada. Anytime we can be outdoors we go for it. Nothing better than a deep breath of fresh air, breeze in your hair and a kiss from the sun on your face with the person you love the most!"
How did she know he was THE ONE?
"How did I know HE was THE ONE? That's kind of hard to answer. Dave makes my heart happy. As corny as that sounds he does. From the moment I met him he has kept me laughing. Every day I laugh with him and he brings a smile to my face. Dave has the biggest heart and is so kind. Our personalities compliment each other well. He keeps me calm on the days where I feel the world is spinning out of control and I am falling apart. My heart just feels complete and no words can describe the feeling I have when I'm with Dave. It is the best thing being blessed with such an amazing partner and being able to marry your best friend. I couldn't imagine not having him by my side I truly have met my match, in the most perfect way of course!"
How did he know she was THE ONE?
"Knowing if someone is "The One" is a hard question. I definitely knew early on that I wanted to get to know Afton as a friend. There was just something about her, her kind heart, her glowing smile, infectious laugh, twinkle in her eye or her wanting to make others better that peaked my interest. Shortly after becoming friends and really getting to know Afton I knew I wanted to see if she felt the same. Lucky for me she did! After dating for about a year Afton and I flew back to Indiana so that our parents could meet. We had dinner and they got to know each other and had a great time together, almost as if they were long lost friends. It was at that moment that I knew that Afton was "the one" and soon she would be my wife."
"Dave had wanted to propose many years earlier but due to my brother getting engaged and married we decided to wait and let them have their moment because lets be honest, nobody wants to share the spotlight! So after almost 9 years together Dave decided the time was right and he couldn't have been more correct. Our grandfathers weren't doing well health wise and it had been a rough few months for both of our families. Dave told me he was taking the day off on Friday and to his surprise I decided to take the day off too! Well little did I know, I ruined his plan to go pick up my ring. So he had to take Saturday off as well since the previous day was a wash for him and unfortunately for me I had to go to work. While I was at work Dave went and picked up my ring and waited nervously for me to get home from work. I was welcomed home with a big kiss as always and I went to shower. I had a horrible day at work and with news of my grandfathers health diminishing I was kind of in a drab mood. When I got finished I cuddled up to Dave on the couch with some ice cream which of course makes everything better. We were watching TV and the show we were watching was discussing true everlasting love and at that moment Dave scooted away from me and without missing a beat he pulled out a tiny box from behind a pillow and began speaking. I wasn't even registering what was happening and moments later the words "Will You Marry Me" spewed out of his mouth and I immediately began crying. This was the best news I could have ever imagined right now and my emotions took control. Of course I said "Yes" and he slipped a gorgeous ring onto my finger. I always imagined my proposal like most girls (thanks to pinterest) being a break out flash mob with lights and roses or some ultra romantic vacation with a secret photographer capturing the whole thing. But Dave knows me so well and knows how much I love being in OUR home, that WE purchased TOGETHER and worked so hard to renovate TOGETHER and how much I would appreciate his proposal being so intimate. And he was spot on! I loved that he did it at our house with just the two of us there with no pressure or audience to impress. Now, my only dilemma was when am I going to tell our families. It was currently midnight in the Midwest and it would terrify them to hear from us at this hour. Dave and I decided since we were flying home to see my grandfather in just 2 days that we wouldn't tell anyone. Thankfully Dave had talked to his mother earlier in the day and told her of his plan. So she was awake and waiting to hear from us and I was able to express my excitement to someone that night! The next day at work I wanted to tell everyone but we decided we wanted our families to know first. I sadly had to take my ring off and go about the day at work like the previous night hadn't even taken place. That was hands down the hardest thing to do, not to tell some of our best and closest friends the news. The following morning we hopped on a plane to Chicago with news to excite our entire families. Once in Indiana we went to visit my grandmother and told her the news first and she hurried us to go to the hospital to see my grandfather to tell him. My grandfather was having a bad day that day with the pain from cancer. We shared the news with him and to our happiness his face lit up and he beamed his huge smile and nodded to us in approval. He listened to our story and looked at us with the last bit of joy he had. We said our goodbyes with him and that was the last time I saw his smile. He was moved into hospice that night and 3 days later he passed away. I can never express the satisfaction and happiness of Dave's timing of his proposal. My grandparents are my world and being able to tell my grandfather that I was going to marry the man I loved which he also loved as well before his passing is more than I could ever ask for. Just one more reason Dave makes my heart happy. With the sad events taking place telling my family our good news helped turn something sorrowful into joy. It kept everyones minds off of the harsh reality we were facing. A few months later things got hard again when we lost Dave's grandfather and once again the thought of our engagement helped keep a broken heart happy. When I tell people our proposal story they respond with "awww how sad" and I reply with "no, its not sad. It is beautiful"."
The BRIDAL PARTY
"We decided to keep our wedding party small and intimate. We had 4 girls and 4 guys. My Maid of Honor was my younger cousin Brittni Rondinelli, who is more to me than just a cousin but like a younger sister. She and I are very close even with a 10 year age difference and we can always confide in one another. My bridesmaids included my first friend I ever had Connie Martinez. My best and first friend I met in high school Nikki Pagorek (now Nikki Watkins), and Dave's sister who is more than just my sister in law but has become my friend Laura Mattie."
"My flower girl and ring bearer were my adorable niece and nephew, Emilia and Brody. My ushers were my two cousins, Anthony and Rhett."
"Dave's Best Man was his long time best friend Clayton Conrad. Dave and Clayton are like brothers. They played soccer for years together and Dave was also Clayton's Best Man at his wedding. My brother Mike was also one of Dave's groomsman and they have become very close over the last 9 years. Dave also had his good friends Tim Blauser and CJ Ching which are both of our really good friends and co-workers from Vegas."
"All of our bridal party knew each other in some way even though they are from different parts of the country. This made it so much fun and everyone was comfortable hanging out and enjoying the events together."
The Ceremony & Reception
Afton and Dave's "elegant and shabby chic" reception was accented with navy blue and gold. "Navy blue is an elegant color and represents trust, loyalty and love. The hints of gold made it even more glamorous and we used some rustic accents such as wood to include our love for the outdoors."
"I couldn't have been happier with the decision to have the ceremony and reception at the same location. Sand Creek Country Club is beautiful, elegant and they have an exceptional staff."
"I had a large dessert table for the guests instead of serving them pieces of cake that usually get wasted. We tasted many places for cupcakes and pastries and the absolute BEST was Suzie's Cafe in Valparaiso. Suzie and her daughter Chelsea were great to work with and let us pick a huge variety of desserts. I had many varieties of pies, cookies, cupcakes, pastries and more. Every guest raved over the dessert table and made many trips all night long. They set it up with cake stands my dad had made out of trees he had cut and treated. They liked them so much they purchased them from me, so ladies they have awesome wood desert table stands!!"
"I made the wedding favors, well part of them. Lotto scratch offs are a fun memory of both of our grandparents so we decided to give every guest 2 lotto scratch offs. My crafting friend and I made the holders for the lotto tickets and they were adorable. We also included a shiny new 2015 penny to help them scratch the tickets and a nice note to our guests thanking them for joining us."
"We used Chairs Covers by Sylwia for my table clothes, chair covers and gold charger plates. They were great with many options of colors and fabrics. I would definitely use them again."
- PHOTOGRAPHY, Tales Of A Dream
- VENUE, Sand Creek Country Club
- RINGS, Jared's and 2ndstreetringcraft.
- WEDDING GOWN, Celebrations Bridal.
- GROOM & GROOMSMEN ATTIRE, Dunhill Tuxedo
- BOW TIES, Lucca Laser Workshop
- BRIDESMAID GOWNS, Mori Lee
- FLOWER GIRL GOWN, OliviaKateCouture
- MAKEUP, Katelyn Pruitt
- HAIR, Emily Dupre
- BOUQUET & FLORALS, Dixon's Florist
- CEREMONY & RECEPTION MUSIC, Trans Audio
- PHOTO BOOTH, Memories In Minutes
- CHAIR COVERS, Chairs Covers by Sylwia
- DESSERT TABLE, Suzie's Cafe
"I would recommend all of my vendors I used. I carefully picked my vendors and did a lot of research on them because lets face it, your wedding is a once in a lifetime event and you want everything to be perfect. And thanks to my vendors it was!"
Advice from the bride
Were there any challenges planning your wedding?
"We had a year to plan our wedding and I felt like that was a perfect amount of time. The biggest challenge to planning our wedding was the fact that we were having our wedding 1700 miles away from where we live. We decided to have our wedding in Indiana since thats where I'm from and Dave's family is only a short 2 hour drive away. Thankfully we fly free because we made many trips back a forth for wedding business. Looking at places, meeting vendors, tasting desserts it was hard to fit it all in each short trip but each vendor was so great and communicated well through email and over the phone it was comforting to us. Pinterest was my friend and also my enemy. It has so many great ideas and inspirations but it also creates a tough time deciding on an exact theme. I wanted to incorporate everything I saw but that wouldn't have been very pretty! I did use wedding wire and other wedding websites to read reviews on vendors."
What piece of advice would you pass on to future brides and grooms?
"The whole process was FUN! I was told over and over again how exhausting and stressful wedding planning is and I never felt like that. I had a blast picking vendors, meeting them, picking out table clothes and napkins. Maybe because I'm a control freak it made me feel like I had control of the decisions. I almost hired a wedding planner but I decided I wanted the full experience and it was great. I'm extremely crafty so I enjoyed making the place cards, table numbers, guest gifts and making the wedding as personal as I could. If I can give any advice to future brides and grooms it's just have fun doing it. Girls, you are going to be picking almost everything, lets face it the guys don't care as much about the details as we do so don't get upset when he doesn't care what color the napkins are for the dessert table. Make the wedding about you and your groom. Don't let others influence your style, ideas or wants. It is your day, make it yours. Have fun cause it flies by!!!"
What made you choose Carmen & Jamie as your wedding photographers?:
The most important thing to Dave and I was the photographer because they are going to give you the ability to look back and relive your magical day. I looked and talked to many photographers and I had seen the work of Carmen and Jamie and fell in love. I loved their style, the unique ideas and the love they had for photography. The photos they take of their children are breathtaking and so beautiful. I spoke on the phone to Carmen and from our hour long phone call I knew they were the ones. She wanted to know what our style was, what we wanted, what we had in mind and any ideas we had. Other photographers did the opposite. They told us their style, how they shoot weddings, how they will do things and what they wanted to do. It made me feel like it was their wedding not ours. I had never met Carmen or Jamie until they walked in looking adorable and having the most beautiful smiles at my aunt's house on my wedding day. Immediately, they fell into place among my family and friends. They fit right in and started doing their thing. They made us laugh and have fun and helped calm the nerves. It was a rainy day all morning and they reassured me it was going to be perfect not to worry. Their positivity worked, it stopped raining as soon as we were ready to go outside and the day was perfect for pictures. Carmen stayed with us while Jamie went and shot the guys before we all met back up. I love the bond Carmen and Jamie have and the passion they share for creating such gorgeous photos. They work in such harmony knowing what the other wants and needs before being asked. Having 2 different angles of the pictures was incredible, each one seeing something different. The soft style and ideas they had created some of the most gorgeous photos I have ever seen. I look at my photos all the time and they make me so grateful to Carmen and Jamie because I know they captured each moment in a picture that I can reminisce over for years to come. I get compliments all the time on the pictures from our wedding and can not wait to do another photo shoot with Carmen and Jamie in the very near future. The best decision of our whole wedding planning we made was to hire Tales of a Dream!
A Thank you from your photographers
Afton & Dave's love story is very touching and we could feel how important their family and friends are to them. We are always touched by such genuine emotion and it helps to tell the story of the day so much better. Afton & Dave have a true and tested kind of fairy tale love! Jamie and I feel super lucky that Afton found us and chose us from all the other photographers she talked to. We instantly fell in like with each other and we will count Afton and Dave among our friends. We appreciate them opening up to us and writing down their love story. It makes our wedding posts so much more personal! Thank you Afton & Dave for trusting us and for the amazing testimonials. It is nice to know that what we do for a living is appreciated.
If you like the blog post please LIKE and leave us a comment below! Also check out the slideshow we made for them!
A last Word from Afton & Dave
Dave and I appreciated everyone that helped make our wedding day the amazing day that it was. From family and friends to all of the vendors. We truly had the wedding of our dreams. Obviously we had a few family members that were unable to be with us physically but we believe they were there with us in spirit. My Grandpa Cooper and Dave's Grandpa Palmer were always our biggest fans and we would have given anything for them to be there with us. They were and are greatly missed!