Brooke and John’s intimate Utah wedding was perfectly cozy and fun. We are in love with the venue, Union Station, and bride Brooke’s spectacular Kiyonna Bridal dress. Their timeless and classy affair also created amazing pictures like this set we received from photographer Katie V. Photography. Scroll down and you’ll be sure to feel the love. Happy reading!
Brooke & John
How did the two of you meet? On a Tinder date.
Describe your engagement: John arranged a poetry flash mob with one of my classes through several colleagues. My students interrupted class, each had a line or section part of the poem “Most Like An Arch, This Marriage” by John Ciardi. I was entirely confused by what was happening. I mean, John had the ring guy call and say the ring wouldn’t be ready for another few weeks just a couple weeks before (the day he’d actually picked it up)–and public attention is NOT his cup of tea. When John came into the classroom carrying a bouquet of tulips I was beyond shocked. He finished the final stanza of the poem, said some sweet things, and did the asking bit. It was a big surprise and I’m sure grateful he went to all that trouble!
Personal or handmade details: John is a brilliant musician and guitarist, so he composed and arranged an instrumental version of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” for the bridal party and myself to walk down the aisle to. I crafted the aisle runners out of contact paper and hand punched craft paper in circles–I wasn’t sure how it would turn out, but I think it looked pretty great!. We also thrifted all the centerpiece vases and spent many summer mornings in the garage spray painting every single one of them rose gold.
Describe your wedding flowers: Because I know Megan already and I’m very familiar with her work as a talented designer and florist, I trusted her implicitly to create something beautiful without much interference from me. I told her what looks and what kinds of flowers I like during a consultation, and she told me what was possible for the season. She was responsible not only for wedding flowers, but for a bouquet for our formal photo session. Both bouquets were gorgeous. For the reception we used roughly 100 single burgundy carnations in each of the rose gold centerpiece vases, we had gorgeous flower crowns for our two daughters, my bouquet was a full round style featuring several flowers: burgundy Dahlias and carnations, quicksand roses, silver dollar eucalyptus, Dusty Miller, grey poms (that were also in the groom’s and groomsmen’s boutonnieres) , but my personal favorites were the David Austin Roses in a soft pinky-peach color. My bridesmaids had smaller posey style bouquets of my flowers. I cannot advise enough that it’s worth springing for a good florist! It was one of the things I didn’t have to worry about at all that day and that was really, really nice.
Memories and Stories about the Day: We wrote our own vows and our officiant is a dear friend from graduate school so everything about the ceremony itself was personal. While fitting in the final touches of the vows was a little stressful just beforehand, it meant more to have such a personalized start to our marriage. And now we have these documents that we can look back on. It also meant that I could include John’s girls in the ceremony. I was able to make vows to them because in a way I was marrying them too. That was one of the most treasured memories I have of the night. We also formed a congo line during The B-52’s “Love Shack” with many of our guests. It was fantastic to see my people having fun together, and then to have my typically shy husband come from across the room and back into the front of the train right in front of me and take the lead. Nothing makes me happier than seeing how happy he was on that day.
Your first dance song: INXS’s “Never Tear Us Apart” covered by The Record Club.
The thing that we would have done differently is? I would have calmed down a bit the day of, taken time to soak it all in a bit more, and taken a seat/put my feet up while we set up–it was a hard floor and we all felt it by the end of the night! Because I did most of the planning on my own, everybody asked questions and did a lot of the work; I could have sat down, soaked it in, and enjoyed it all a bit more, trusting that it would all come together. Because it did. With the help of my beautiful, kind, and generous family and friends everything looked just lovely. Fretting about all those details was unnecessary.
I would have more carefully considered lighting. Once the sun went down, the lights the old train station had were fluorescent and not very flattering to anybody. We had bistro lights, and I think with that and maybe a few lamps or backlights thrown in, we could have had more ambient light with the ceiling lights off. A tiny detail in the grand scheme of things. Also, don’t let anybody convince you to leave early (we left a little early and I regret it). Stay until the bitter end! You only get one wedding!
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: We had guests video record messages for us. These were beautiful, silly, and sentimental and we’ll treasure all the support and love we felt that day through that little addition!
Your advice for other plus size brides: Look at lots of photos of yourself in your wedding dress from all angles and at other real plus size brides beforehand; and by the same note, avoid looking at too many wedding dresses on models. Pretty Pear Bride was invaluable in this regard. It really helped me to see so many beautiful women who aren’t models look beyond gorgeous and joyful on their big day. Get comfortable with your body, don’t hide from the camera, and know that you’re the most beautiful, important woman at the party. There’s one photo of me with visible belly outline, a ridiculous look on my face, sweaty and dancing and it’s one of my favorites from the day because I looked happy above all else. Keep that in perspective when the insecurity starts to sink in. This is you and how you look in this moment, on one of the happiest days of your life. You’re gorgeous! The end. Also, some of our photos were from a formal first look session up Logan Canyon at a mountain lake (Tony’s Grove). We scheduled this about a month before the wedding so we had photos to display the day of. I know some people are superstitious about seeing the bride in her dress before the wedding, but for us this is one of our favorite memories from the whole wedding process. The look on John’s face when he first saw me with just the photographer and my maid of honor to witness it was worth everything. We had an hour or so at sunset to just revel in the excitement of what we were about to embark on together that evening in one of the most beautiful places in the state. At the wedding you’re so busy visiting with friends and family, dancing, hopefully eating, etc. and you don’t get that same time together. And from the pragmatic perspective, it really did cut down on picture time the day of the wedding (though the venue was so beautiful we had to get a few shots).
Three adjectives that describe the day: Celebratory, laid back, authentic (to us)
What has surprised you most during the first few months of marriage? We lived with each other before the wedding, so there wasn’t a lot of surprises as far as that day-in, day-out reality is concerned. What did surprise us was the solidarity we felt with each other in making that commitment. There was an unspoken shift that felt like we were more in it together no matter what and had each other’s back for the long haul than even while we were engaged or dating. That’s been a really beautiful feeling during these first months. To know we’re legally, committed family has felt like exhaling when you’re finally calm and secure.
Photography: Katie V. Photography | Venue: Union Station |
Bridal Salon: Lisa Malmstrom at NuTrends Beauty | Bridal Gown Designer: Kiyonna Bridal | Groom and Groomsmen Attire: JC Penny | Makeup Artist: Melissa Dunning at ULTA Riverdale Utah | Caterer: BBQ Pit Stop | Ring: Rocky Mountain Diamond (custom design) | Videographer: Mason Henry & Harrison Greene (two former students studying film at college) | Florist: Sweet William Floral and Design — Megan Melville (friend) | Cake: Katie Rupp (friend) | Invitations & Calligraphy: Shutterfly | Flowers: Sweet William Floral and Design | CONTAINS AFFILIATE LINKS