Lessons Learned: Advice from Liz Wagner

Emma Frankart Henterly

Each issue of our magazine features an advice column of sorts; it’s a Q&A with the newlyweds whose photos appear in the issue. They share tips and advice based on what they learn while planning their own events. Because we can’t possibly share all the great counsel they share in the pages of the magazine, we started this weekly series to pass their wisdom on to you.

Liz and Bryce Wagner’s wedding took place on Oct. 1, 2016, at Lord of Life Lutheran Church.

What are you happy you spent money on?

I am very happy that we spent money on an all-inclusive venue. We were able to set up the Thursday before as much as we wanted, and the venue took care of the rest. We did not have to deal with any additional rentals or vendors … and the venue took care of all of the clean-up. They packed everything up, and we returned on Sunday to pick all of our decorations back up. I highly recommend a venue with these options, as it allowed us to fully enjoy the day knowing everything was taken care of.

We were also happy that we spent time choosing and investing in a great photographer. When the wedding is all over, the pictures are what last to look back on and cannot be re-created if something is missing. We were very happy with our pictures and received so many compliments from family and friends.

What was your biggest surprise when planning?

I was more surprised by how much I enjoyed the process of wedding planning. It was a lot more fun than I thought it would be. I wish I would have trusted how fast it would all go ... I felt like it could not come fast enough during the process, and then the actual weekend went so fast.

Did you experience any wedding-day snafus, and how did you handle them?

Our only snafu involved transportation. We scheduled a party bus to pick up the wedding party prior to the ceremony to take us Downtown for some urban pictures. The bus arrived at the hotel so late that we did not have enough time to do this. We ended up doing our first look and pictures with the bridal party at the hotel instead, and the pictures luckily turned out beautifully, though we unfortunately still prepaid for the extra time for the bus.

We also rented school buses to transport our guests to and from the hotel to the venue and back. These buses were also late in picking up the guests to bring to the venue for cocktail hour. We had arranged to take a group picture with all of our guests at the end of the cocktail hour to introduce the bridal party and join in the picture. We readjusted the timing of this to get it over with at the beginning of the cocktail hour instead of the end.

Do you have any general advice for couples currently planning their weddings?

The wedding details and decisions often seemed to distract from the significance of the commitment we were making on the wedding day. We continued to refocus to remember that we wanted the wedding to be fun, but had to keep the importance of why we were getting married in the forefront to not put more emphasis on the wedding than the marriage.