Lessons Learned: Advice from Katie and Sean Rowley

Emma Frankart Henterly

The Rowleys’ wedding took place on May 18, 2019, at St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church.

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

Sean: We had a beautiful day, everything was planned out ahead of time and all the people we cared for were in one place—all this leads to an easy day to take on. The day after the wedding and looking back on it now, there is nothing I could have asked for that would have made it more enjoyable!

What are you happy you spent money on?        

Katie: We were extremely happy with the DJ that we chose. Every person we talked to that night and afterward commented that it was the best music they’ve heard played at a wedding! The dance floor was full the entire 2.5 hours, and he played a great mix so that guests of all ages enjoyed the dancing!

S: The venue! We chose a venue that was within walking distance to the hotel and multiple restaurants and bars. It was a relief to not have to deal with shuttling people to and from the destination. Also, the photographer! We got very lucky with Hillary Ferguson. She had the perfect blend of “you do you” and “field general.” She let the events play out, but also wasn’t afraid to get involved when it came to keeping the families huddled for group photos after in a tight time window. We wouldn’t have made every time table we had without help from her and her assistant, Tim! Not to mention, the pictures were absolutely awesome!

What do you think you could have done without?          

K: I know this sounds cliché, but I truly believe that every piece and personal touch we added to the wedding was enjoyed by guests; I wouldn’t have left anything out.

S: I was happy with our wedding. We didn’t do anything outlandish. We kept our wedding plans to what we enjoyed and used at other weddings.

What was your biggest surprise when planning your wedding?

S: The biggest surprise was how many touch-base meetings we had with every vendor. We had to meet with most vendors three to four times, starting from six months out to the last two weeks.

K: How quickly the wedding venues booked up, at least for May! We started looking about a year and a half in advance, and at least half of the dates we were considering were already taken at the few venues we viewed.

S: Dates book up fast!

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

K: I wish I had done more research on the flowers and flower arrangements I liked. During our first trip to the florist, it was very overwhelming and hard to decide between all of the fantastic options we were shown.

Did you and your fiancé get into any silly arguments?   

K: Our only argument was over who would seal the invitation envelopes. The compromise was to use a wet towel!

S: If one of us had a strong opinion on an item, we went with that decision.

Any dress-shopping advice?

K: Only bring the people you want dress shopping, not who you feel like you need to invite. I went with my mom and sister and was able to get truthful input, but there weren’t so many opinions to make the choice confusing.

What about menswear?

S: If your groomsmen are coming from different areas, make sure to use a national company so that everyone can get fitted when it works best for their schedule. (I had four groomsmen from four different states.)

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

K: Have fun through the process; the minute details that you fret about beforehand turn out to not be a big deal!

S: Get as much done as you can early on! The pre-date meetings start to pile on quickly the last month or so. If the work is done ahead of time, you have an easy few weeks leading up to the big day!

K: And keep a spreadsheet of vendors, costs, payments made and contacts!

Do you have any general marriage advice, as a newlywed?

K: Don’t let the honeymoon phase end after the honeymoon. Keep things fun by going on dates together or even doing small things just the two of you enjoy, like going on a walk together or small day trips!

S: When you marry the right person, the only thing that changes once you’re married is you have to get used to a ring.

K: The wedding is just the start of incredible times together!