Lessons Learned

Staff Writer
Columbus Monthly
Andrew and Kortney Belt

Anthony and Robyn Stype

Wed Jan. 6, 2017, at St. Thomas More Newman Center.

What are you happy you spent money on?

Robyn: We rented a party bus to take our wedding party from photos to the venue and then to the reception. It was wonderful to have everyone together in a roomy vehicle (and not to have to worry about everyone's dresses and tuxes getting mussed in cramped cars). We got some packable down jackets from Costco for the bridesmaids (and me). They matched their dresses and kept them warm on our freezing January wedding day.

What do you think you could have done without?

R: We paid to have the entirety of the Columbus Museum of Art (not just the Derby Court and Pavilion) available for our guests to wander. In reality, the evening went by so fast and everyone was so engaged in the reception, we really could have done without it.

Any dress shopping advice?

R: When shopping for a dress, really imagine what it is going to be like to be in it the whole day: getting in and out of vehicles, doing stairs, going through doors, dancing, etc. It takes strength and coordination to wear a heavy dress! If you're not used to it, it can come as a surprise.

What about the tux?

Anthony: Fit is probably the most important part of a tux, and we were lucky to work with a small, independent tux shop, where they were willing to spend time to make sure everyone looked their best.

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

R: Remember to celebrate your marriage in the small, everyday moments. Keep the same sense of wonder you had on your wedding day.

Photo credit:

Kimberly Potterf Photography

Karri and Kevin Payne

Wed June 10, 2017, at Northwest United Methodist Church.

What was your biggest surprise when planning? What do you wish you'd known before you started?

Karri: Wedding planning in the beginning is not stressful at all. You pick a date, you book vendors, you mail deposits, and then there is a lot of down time. (I had a year-long engagement.) It got a little more stressful as the wedding got nearer, which was my biggest surprise. There were lots of small-detail decisions to make. I was very organized throughout all of my planning, so that made it easier to handle. But I will warn you to be prepared for that last month to be hectic with making final decisions. Stay organized!

Did you experience any wedding-day snafus?

K: One of the groomsmen forgot his handkerchief for his tuxedo but quickly solved the problem by cutting another groomsmen's handkerchief in half and using that!

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

K: Have fun with all of the planning. I was a bride that enjoyed every part of the planning process. My mother was also very involved in the planning and helped me all along the way. It was a fun year for the both of us, and I was very sad when it was all over. Have fun and enjoy it, as it goes so fast!

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

K: In the first two months of our marriage, we have learned how important it is to communicate with one another, from small things to big things. We are also just trying to have as much fun as we can together as newlyweds. We hope that children are in our future, so for now, we're just trying to enjoy one another and have fun together!

Photo credit:

Lambert Photographs

Andrew and Meagan Sowders

Wed April 30, 2016, at the Ivory Room at Miranova.

What are you happy you spent money on?

Meagan: High-quality photographer and our wedding planner. The photos were amazing and really told our story. Our wedding planner made life so easy and allowed us to be relaxed instead of stressed on our big day.

What do you think you could have done without in your wedding?

Andrew: While I enjoyed having a string quartet play during the ceremony, I think that this was something I could of done without if our budget had been a question. I think a well-timed DJ would have been okay.

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

M: The cost of everything is a bit surprising, especially if you are looking for higher-end types of things. We saved up for our wedding, so we didn't have to go into debt for it. Be patient and save up for it!

A: I think the biggest surprise when planning our wedding was what a relief and delight it was having a planner. When I thought about it initially I was thinking, “We could do this.” However, the reality is that she was totally worth it and made everything a breeze.

Any advice for attire?

M: Brides, try on a variety of dress types! This way you can really find the shape that best fits you. Go in with an open mind to trying different things. … Also, think about the time of year you will be married. No one is comfortable in a giant ball gown for a July wedding.

A: My suit was custom, and I enjoyed getting something that was made just for me. My groomsmen had rentals; you could definitely notice the difference. My advice would be, if you can swing it, get a custom-tailored suit or tux.

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

M: Talk to each other, always. Never let things build up. Just be open with each other and always make an effort to show your love and appreciation for each other.

A: I think the best advice I could give would be to make time for each other and listen to each other. While the big gestures are nice and trips are fun, sometimes snuggling on the couch or holding your loved one's hand is what keeps a marriage strong.

Photo credit:

Style & Story Creative

Andrew and Kortney Belt

Wed Oct. 7, 2016, at High Line Car House.

What are you happy you spent money on?

Kortney: We really wanted to treat our guests to a high-class evening, so we splurged on a champagne ceremony, nontraditional wedding food and an open bar. … We also chose a high-fashion photographer to give us the photos we envisioned. “You get what you pay for” holds a lot of weight when it comes to photos, so we went with someone we knew we could trust to capture who we are as a couple and all the beauty of our wedding day.

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

K: The only hiccup in our day was an issue with a diamond coming dislodged from the design on my ring fingernail. We were getting our hair done when it happened, so my mom called my dad, who saved the day. He drove to the nail salon where I had my nails done to retrieve a loose diamond, then went to the store to purchase nail glue. It was really cute how everyone sprang into action.

Any dress shopping advice?

K: I insisted on visiting an actual boutique in Columbus to try on dresses and purchased that day. I am begging all brides: Do not buy a dress the same day you try it on! I made a mistake that day and ended up purchasing another dress online which fit our venue, theme and my body better. [Also,] do not take everyone and their brother dress shopping. Brides often take their entire wedding party, mom and future mother-in-law, but with each person also comes each opinion.

What about the tux?

Andrew: Stand out! I chose to wear a charcoal tux, while my groomsmen wore black.

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

K: Plan early. … When we got engaged, within four weeks the venue and photographer were booked; four weeks later the bridesmaids dresses were picked and ordered, and the flowers and cake lady were confirmed. If you do something every week or nail down a big-ticket item every month, you'll get to enjoy the last month or two before the wedding. When my bridal shower came around, we were done with everything, so we really got to just enjoy each other with no stress or worry about wedding details. We also booked our honeymoon a year in advance and made payments on it, which we recommend.

Photo credit:

Dan Buckley Photography

Michael and Debbie Privett

Wed June 9, 2017, at Hotel LeVeque.

What do you wish you'd known before you started planning your wedding?

Debbie: Because we did the planning ourselves, it was still expensive. We were surprised at the cost of wedding venues.

Any dress shopping advice?

D: I think going to the clearance department of the bridal shop can get you a real high-end gown for a lot less money. Also check on Facebook, as there are plenty of buy-sell-trade sites.

What about the tux?

Michael: I decided to take my fiancé with me, as she has such great taste in clothing. She also knows what looks good on her man. I tried on many suits but finally found the one that she was happy with and dying to put her hands on me.

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

D: Both parties should have an input on the planning.

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

D: Talk, talk and more talk is always the best way to understand each other.