…For those planning a wedding, or just interested in ours! Bare with me, this is a long one!
First and foremost, if you are wedding planning, THE MOST IMPORTANT ADVICE I can offer to you actually is something Justin said to me when we first started planning (in the beginning, we thought we wanted a destination wedding, but quickly realized how stressful planning that would be). He said, “If we’re stressing about it, then we’re doing it wrong.” We took our time and truly enjoyed every step. Just another reason why long engagements truly are the best!
If you are planning a wedding in Cincinnati or the surrounding area, these are the vendors we used, and highly recommend:
Our Venue: Rhinegeist Brewery
We knew we didn’t want a traditional church wedding, I cannot speak highly enough of our venue. For those unfamiliar, Rhinegeist is a Brewery located in Downtown, Cincinnati in an up-and-coming area called Over-The-Rhine. Both the ceremony and reception were held in the same space, with a cocktail hour in between. Their event staff is absolutely amazing – Shout out to Megan, our event coordinator, for making sure our day was flawless from start to finish! Justin & I chose not to see each other until I was walking down the aisle, and she made sure there were no accidental sightings, which I appreciated! Not to mention, the venue itself is gorgeous, with brick walls and rustic accents, and string lights hanging from the wood beams. They also have a bar on the rooftop, and during the cocktail hour we snuck up there for some photos. We offered a full bar for our guests, which also included ten of Rhinegeist’s signature brews on tap.
Catering: Hammann’s Catering, Deli & Butcher Shop
For us, good quality food was one of the most important pieces of the reception. So many of our guests complimented us on our catering (most wedding food typically sucks, in my opinion!) but Hammann’s was delicious, and their staff was very accommodating and professional. We had a tasting before we booked, and chose their Four Corners Buffet. The big hit was the mashed potatoes served in martini glasses – such a cute touch! We also had snacks during the cocktail hour, including Servatii pretzels & beer cheese dip, which tied perfectly into our brewery theme.
Photographer: Ashley Rose Photography
I went to high school with Ashley, and after seeing her work for years thoughout my Facebook feed, it was no question who I would choose. Her standard pricing is very reasonable, but she let me customize my own package, since we didn’t need much. I did 1 photographer for 4 hours, which was plenty, since we didn’t have a wedding party! We had rights to all images, and no obligation to buy any prints. My uncle highly complimented her work – which says a lot coming from another professional photographer! View our full album here.
Florist: A Little Bit of Green by Lisa LLC
I gave her the color scheme I wanted, and let her be creative with it (Though she can absolutely accommodate brides who know exactly what they want, too!). We had boutonnieres for Justin, the dads & grandpas, corsages for the moms & grandmas, my bouquet and a toss bouquet, as well as as arrangement for the arbor, and arrangements for every table + extras for the bar and cake tables. We had a TON of flowers, because it was the majority of our decor, and Lisa knocked it out of the park. She truly brought my vision to life. In my opinion, real, beautiful flowers are a MUST for any wedding.
DJ: bwg entertainment
Byron is actually a good friend of our florist, Lisa. She said he was “the only DJ she would ever recommend” and that said a lot since she does weddings for a living! 🙂 He was super easy going, and let us customize our playlist as much as we wanted. He did the music for both our ceremony and reception, and since they were in the same location and he only had to set up once, he gave us a great deal. He even threw in lighting for free, since he had worked at Rhinegeist before and knew what worked well in the space.
Cake/Cupcakes: Lil Miss Cupcake
Recommended by a couple of friends who used Heather for their wedding, we too, opted for mini cupcakes! Since the serving size is 3 mini cupcakes per person, we ordered 34 dozen mini cupcakes, flavors including: funfetti, birthday cake, salted caramel, maple chocolate chip, chocolate, vanilla, Oreo, Butterfinger, and Reeses! We also had a small, 6″ inch vanilla cake for the two of us to cut. I preferred the taste of chocolate, but I was too afraid Justin would smash chocolate cake on me and ruin my dress! Justin’s dad made the cake stands, and we picked up wooden crates from Michael’s to use as well. Our cake topper was from Etsy, “Love is Sweet” banner from Amazon.
Donuts: Kroger Bakery
These were a super cute touch to add to the evening, gifted by my Aunt who works for Kroger. People either grabbed one as a late night snack on their way back to the hotel, or saved them for breakfast in the morning. They were displayed on wooden rods from Etsy, with custom pastry bags (also from Etsy) for serving.
Dress: Stella, Wtoo by Watters from Bridal and Formal
I LOVED working with B&F. It’s easy to get overwhelmed in the store (they have the biggest selection in Cincinnati) but my rep, Lacrecia made it feel so easy. I gave her virtually nothing to go off of, “lace, not strapless, and no cleavage” and she actually picked out my dress for me! 🙂 I tried on less than 10. When I was teetering between two of them, she took me into a room with a pedestal, fixed my hair, and added a veil and a belt. Just like that, my decision was made!
We were even featured on Bridal & Formal’s blog!
Veil: I borrowed the pearl headpiece that Casey wore at her wedding, and Bellissima Veils & Headpieces added new tulle to it. She also made Dylan’s hair bow, custom to match her dress. This is the same designer that all of my aunts used for their wedding veils, and she also made the first communion and flower girl veils I once wore, too!
Shoes: Heels were Kate Spade knock-offs by the brand Nina (sadly no longer available) & then I wore these sparkly Keds/Kate Spades for the reception.
Garter: Lace, monogrammed with my initials, from Etsy. Definitely make sure you have a second one to toss!
Flower Girl Dress: Isabel Garreton Inc. – My aunt picked out the dress, and I loved it! Months after we ordered it, we found out that Carrie Underwood’s flower girl had the same dress!
Groom’s Suit: JoS. A. Bank – They were SUPER awesome to work with. We ended up buying Justin’s suit instead of renting (and also instead of a formal tux), because the prices were so similar and we knew he would wear it again. (I definitely recommend buying over renting!)
Rings: Genesis Diamonds (located in Kenwood) – We loved working with Kelley! She helped Justin pick out my engagement diamond, and later she helped us with our wedding bands, too! At Genesis they don’t work on commission, so they are never trying to pressure you into buying. When I was torn between two different bands, she said “get this one, the only difference is the price tag” and we appreciated her honesty!
Hair: Bushwackers Salon, Abbey Hillesheim – She let me do TWO trials, because I wasn’t sure if I wanted my hair up or down. I recommend trying to book a trial for the same day as a shower or bachelorette party, so you can get opinions of friends & family, and see how it wears throughout the day.
Makeup: Makeup by Lindsay, Lindsay Devlin – She’s very, very highly reviewed on WeddingWire, and for good reason! Again, I always recommend doing a trial run first. Both my mom and I were very pleased with Lindsay’s talent and professionalism.
PAPER GOODS & MISC. DECOR
Save the Dates: WeddingPaperDivas.com We designed a coaster with an engagement photo on it, again, to tie into the beer theme.
Invitations: Minted.com Minted was great to work with! I wished to tweak one of their existing designs, and I spoke 1-on-1 with the designer to make it exactly what I wanted.
Seating Chart: I had a design in mind, and my aunt helped me bring it to life with her design expertise. We had it printed at FedEx/Kinkos, and I picked up a rustic wooden frame at Hobby Lobby to put it in. Rhinegeist provided the easel for us to set it on. My aunt is a graphic designer, and created this custom logo for us! We used it on many items, and will for years to come!
For our sand ceremony, we used this Sand Set with our choice of sand colors.
The table decor consisted of 3 beer bottles wrapped with burlap and filled with flowers, atop a wood slab that Justin’s dad cut from neighborhood trees that had been removed. We had to add a touch of Mt. Healthy in there somewhere! 😉
Justin brought my vision of a “faux photo booth”, a tri-fold chalkboard to life! He & I decorated it with chalk, and traced our custom logo on the top. I ordered photo booth props from Amazon, and made some original ones, as well.
I can see us using this chalkboard photo booth for many years to come. Think: Holidays and baby bump photos! (gasp!)
Justin also built the arbor we stood under for the ceremony. It was three pieces that fit together perfectly. We styled it with ivory chiffon fabric, and Lisa affixed the beautiful flower display to the middle.
For social media purposes, I recommend creating a hashtag and displaying it somewhere among your decor. When you welcome your guests to use the hashtag, the photos are easily traceable on Instagram (#MeetThePetes & #MeetThePetes9817), should you want to save them later. We also created a Snapchat filter, again with our custom logo, and made sure to screen shot all the photos our friends & family captured!
For favors, we offered custom pint glasses for each guest to take home. On one side was the Rhinegeist Ohio logo, and on the other side was our custom logo.
Our Guest book was a wooden sign that Justin made to replicate the look of a Rhinegeist beer can. We brought black and silver sharpies for signatures.
Beer glasses for Father of the Bride & Father of the Groom from Etsy.
Tervis Tumblers for Mother of the Bride & Mother of the Groom from Etsy.
Cold Feet socks for Justin from Etsy. I also had this notebook, which I wrote in for months, and finally gave it to him the night before our wedding. It was really sweet to have a collection of “Reasons I want to marry you” to present to him on the day before we said I Do!