Lessons Learned: Advice from Nathaniel and RaeShelle Stewart

Emma Frankart Henterly

The Stewarts’ wedding took place on Aug. 18, 2018, at Jorgensen Farms Oak Grove.

If you could do anything about your wedding differently, what would you change and why?    

Nathaniel: Focus less on the details.

RaeShelle: I would have hired a wedding planner/coordinator. My family and I personally made a lot of the wedding décor, while also setting it up and decorating the venue. I wish I could have spent my time on my wedding day relaxing instead of decorating and making sure everything looked the way I imagined it. I really wish I had hired someone to do that for me.

What are you happy you spent money on?        

R: I’m glad we invested in a photographer/videographer.

N: Venue and photography/videography.

What do you think you could have done without?          

R: I would have served a buffet-style meal instead of a fancy plated meal. I think that with the amount of guest we had attend our wedding/reception, with a buffet styled meal, we all would of been served quicker and had warmer meals to eat.

What was your biggest surprise when planning your wedding?

N: How challenging creating the guest list would be.

R: How many people actually planned to fly and travel into town to watch my husband and I say “I do.”

What do you wish you’d known before you started planning?  

N: How unimportant all the small details are on the actual wedding day.

R: Sticking to a budget is very beneficial in the long run. And for life after the wedding!

Did you experience any wedding-day snafus?

R: Of course!

N: It rained! For the past 10 years, it never rained on Aug. 18, and we were completely shocked to find out that our wedding day would break the streak.

R: So I handmade my aisle signs. We purchased gold frames and I wrote a line from 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 on each sign using a white chalk marker. … Some of our signs got wet [as we unloaded them from the car], causing the wording to smear and run down the frame. Unfortunately I had to spend a huge chunk of time on my wedding day redoing at least five of my signs. I was so devastated.

N: We handled it amazingly [after that]. We enjoyed the relaxed ambiance the rain added while we were [married] in the greenhouse as the water gently smacked the clear greenhouse glass and beaded its way down the sides, making the moment evening more special. It also stopped raining in perfect time as we wrapped up the ceremony. Also, it made for great pictures!

Did you and your fiancé get into any silly arguments?   

N: I attempted the good ol’ faithful cake smash. Unfortunately, I had to retreat mid-attempt. Her facial expression let me know it wasn’t that type of party.

Any dress-shopping advice?

R: Get the dress you love, not the dress that’s within your budget. And begin dress shopping early! Don’t wait until the last minute.

What about menswear?

N: I decided to be budget-conscious and considerate to my groomsmen and found them very inexpensive Groupon suits for about $50. It took two to three weeks for the suits to arrive, they had them tailored and they turned out great in-person and in the pictures. I provided them with modern accessories to accent their attire, and it brought everything to life.

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

N: The best advice I received from a friend/mentor was to appoint a “man in waiting”—someone you can trust outside of the wedding coordinator to help handle all wedding day tasks (water, hold cell phones, empty pleasantries box routinely, coordinate, assist the planner and photographer, etc.). It helped tremendously. I was not once bothered by small/tedious questions, which allowed me to live in the moment.

R: Figure out your wedding budget and stick to it!