…&& the #TandemTribe has a lot to celebrate! In this post, we talk with three members of our amazing community – two brides, Melissa & Steph, and one Mother of the Bride, Annmarie – on the big day, the planning process and more. First, we talk to Melissa about her beautiful wedding in Ocean, NJ.
Tandem: Tell us a little about your love story with husband, Adam!
Melissa: Adam and I met in high school in Brick and dated all four years. We went our separate ways during college, in large part because we were seven hours apart by car, but we got back together when I returned to the NYC area for work. We dated another 10 years and then finally figured it was time to make it official!
Tandem: It’s crazy how life brings the right people back to you, what a journey for you two! On to the wedding day, can you pick a favorite part?
Melissa: The whole day was magical, but I think it was when the groom and groomsmen arrived at the wedding venue. All the bridesmaids were peeking out the windows watching them get out of the limo, and I realized I couldn’t wait to see my groom and get married! Dancing was also amazing – having all those friends and family members in one place, cutting loose, is so awesome.
Tandem: Sounds like an absolute blast! How did you decide on a dress for such a MAJOR day?
Melissa: I had a vision in mind (lace, A-line), and the first two dress shops I visited didn’t have any that fit my vision. I tried on several lace mermaid/trumpet styles that I really liked, and almost bought, but thankfully I held out for dress shop #3 which had my perfect dress and in my budget (David Tutera for Mon Cheri’s “Wyomia” from Castle Couture in Manalapan).
Tandem: Well, you were STUNNING! You took shedding for the wedding to another level – tell the tribe how Tandem helped you prepare for the big day.
Melissa: Tandem helped me to get in shape — I dropped about 2 dress sizes by toning up my midsection, arms, and legs — but it also provided a much needed stress release. Breathing deeply, clearing your mind of wedding worries, and just sweating for 45-60 minutes does wonders for the psyche!
Tandem: We have a few newly engaged members of our tribe – what is your advice for brides to be?
Melissa: Weddings are so stressful because they require a lot of planning (time) and money (particularly in the Tri-State area) and other people (especially moms) may have their own visions of what your day should look like. Prioritize what is most important to you and splurge a little in those areas (for us, it was food!). Try to stay true to your vision but accept that it probably won’t look like the StyleMePretty blog (but will still be awesome!). Embrace and enjoy being “the bride” while you have the chance. And don’t be too hard on your fiancé because he is not nearly as interested in flowers and colors as you are.
Tandem: Awesome advice – one last question – how was the honeymoon?!
Melissa: We went to Antigua for a few days – it was glorious!
Now, Annmarie breaks down the MOB perspective for us, as mom to beautiful bride, Michele, in their upstate NY celebration.
Tandem: Let’s start with some reflection for the Tandem community, looking back, what is some advice you would offer to new brides & their moms?
Annmarie: My advice – get yourselves organized- set a budget and then prepare to go over that budget! – get your venue and vendors in order – keep accurate records regarding dates and times – ask lots of questions! Ask for referrals, and don’t be afraid to ask if they are willing to discount their services to suit your budget. You may be surprised. Don’t forget to communicate with the groom to be – he may have some ideas of his own! Most importantly, enjoy every minute of creating your dream wedding – it is such a fun time, and passes by so quickly!
Tandem: It sounds like you have it figured out! How did Tandem helped manage some of the planning stress?
Annmarie: Planning a wedding is a stressful endeavor regardless of how well organized you are – little things come up – but taking the time each day to ride at Tandem and being reminded in the beginning of each class that “the next 45 minuets are yours” allows you to clear your mind – let go of your thoughts -release your stress during your workout and make a fresh start – to put things into perspective with a clear, more relaxed mind.
Tandem: We love that we could help! What’s a favorite memory from the planning process?
Annmarie: My favorite part of the planning was wedding dress shopping with Michele. Michele decided she wanted to shop with her sister Toniann, my husband and myself. The four of us took a few days and went from dress shop to dress shop both in New York and New Jersey trying to find the perfect dress – and in our opinion, she succeeded. When she came out with the dress she eventually chose, we all knew that it was the one. We went out to dinner and celebrated – it was a special time.
Tandem: What a beautiful memory for your family – what about your dress, how did you decide on yours?
Annmarie: Deciding on my dress was not an easy task – my mom actually chose my dress. I knew what I didn’t want to wear – I just had to find what I wanted to wear – I drove everyone crazy, including the girls at Tandem 🙂 We found my dress in a shop in Connecticut, and had it altered to what I thought would be right for the day – I was still looking for a dress up until the week of the wedding!
Tandem: You looked amazing- the dress was perfect! What about the day of, favorite memory?
Annmarie: My favorite part of the day is hard to choose, it was such a magical day – but I think when her processional song began, and I saw her and her dad walking through the field – it was such a special moment – so beautiful. But, a close tie would be Michele and David’s ceremony – a friend of David’s family married them which made it so personal – their vows were so heartfelt – you could feel the love in the air!
Finally, Steph talks with us about her love story & experience with wedding planning!
Tandem: We constantly hear how stressful planning can be, yet you really prioritized your fitness, how did Tandem help you get through the more stressful parts of wedding planning?
Steph: Tandem became my place of zen. I joined Tandem on New Years Eve and had my first ride with AK. I knew there was something special in that studio. The energy in the room was so contagious and really made me feel alive. I started going as a way to shake up my workout routine and it became something that I wanted to do all the time. Not only did it help transform my body, it helped refocus my energy and mind anytime the stresses of wedding planning started to creep on my psyche. Now that the wedding is over, going to the studio just reminds me of the journey I went on for myself. It’s a place to reconnect with me and ride it out, the good and bad.
Tandem: Tell us a little bit about you & your NOW HUBBY’s love story!
Steph: The short version, we met in a bar during the NCAA tournaments, but the longer story is that I had “declared” one day that the next guy I dated had to be Southern. All my friends joked that I would have a hard time finding a Southern man in Jersey but I brushed them off. Two weeks later, I bump into this guy at a bar in Belmar and knew he talked a little different so I asked, “you don’t sound like you’re from here” to which he laughed and replied, “well that’s because I’m from Kentucky.” My friends thought it was a total “Steph” thing to happen. We dated for about a year before we got engaged, going on adventures throughout the entire year because he actually moved to North Carolina for 3 months right after we started dating for work. It was tough but I think we both knew right away that there was something special between us and had to make it work. We got engaged in April of 2015 in Spring Lake following a walk through the Divine Park where he had his two friends play our “song” on guitar. It was perfect.
Tandem: That seems like it is out of a movie – what a gem! What was a highlight of planning the big day?
Steph: I had a lot of fun putting the menu together to reflect both our cultures. I’m Latina and he’s southern, so it was really important to us that our culture was featured. We also had a lot of fun weaving a few “How I Met Your Mother” tokens throughout the wedding.
Tandem: What about once the day finally arrived, reflecting on your wedding, what was your favorite part?
Steph: I think my favorite part of the day was our vows. We had both decided to write our own and I had been so excited to share them with each other throughout the entire planning process. It was the biggest “secret” we had kept from each other. While we were reading them it felt as though we were the only two people there even though I felt the incredible energy from all our friends and family.
Tandem: The dress options seem almost endless from Pinterest, Instagram, etc – how did you decide on yours?
Steph: This part is so interesting. The dress I picked absolutely did not match what I had in my head. I went to a dress shop and the rep put me in a bunch of dresses I “thought” I wanted, then, she picked out a ringer, just for fun and it turned out to be “THE DRESS”. It was amazing and I felt so “me” in it.
Tandem: The dress, the hair…you looked absolutely GORGEOUS! Lastly, what is your advice for newly engaged brides to be?
Steph: Don’t be afraid to put your foot down. There are going to be a lot of voices offering advice throughout your wedding planning process and it’s so important that you and your fiance are on the same page for how you envision the big day. Want kids at the wedding? Casual and laid back reception? Destination wedding? Whatever it is that you want- stick to your guns! Sometimes, in order to avoid friction, we’ll go back on our plan and then kick ourselves afterwards. On that same note though, when you’re feeling stressed out with the planning remember that what matters most is that you will be soon marrying your best friend and the stresses will fade away soon. PS! One more thing- don’t let Pinterest drive you crazy. There are so many ideas and you will go broke if you try to do them all. ha!
Thank you Melissa, Annmarie & Steph for taking the time to share your experience, and advice with the #TandemTribe!
The Tandem Team