Vanessa & Ryan
How did the two of you meet?
We knew of each other in middle school, but didn’t actually meet until we had our 9th grade Biology class together at Rome Free Academy.
What happened the day he proposed? How did he do it?
We took a week of work off to visit my family’s house in Florida and to go home to Rome for a visit. My parents, sister, brother-in-law, two nephews, Ryan, and myself were in Florida. We went to the beach on June 21st and it was really hot, so we stayed a couple of hours then decided to go back later in the evening to take pictures of the sunset (I love taking photos of the sunset for my weather blog!). No one in my family would come with us to the beach and I didn’t understand why, so just Ryan and I went. We were walking on the beach and Ryan kept looking around and I kept asking what he was doing and he said he was “looking for dolphins” (he was really looking to make sure no people were around). He then told me to take a good photo of the sunset and when I turned around after taking the picture, he was down on one knee! It was a beautiful moment on Bonita Beach! Even though my family almost gave it away several times – he somehow managed to make it work!
What were the main influences behind the style of your wedding, it’s location and your venue choice for your big day?
We chose Rome, NY for our wedding, as it is where both of us are from. I’ve always wanted to get married at St. Peter’s Church because that is the church my friends and I went for church school and we basically grew up going there. It was also my great-aunt Joanie’s church, so it has a lot of meaning to our family. Father Hearn is the nicest person (and a St. Bonaventure alum! Vanessa went there) and we knew we wanted him to marry us. Plus, the church is beautiful! Ryan has belonged to other churches, but agreed St. Peter’s would be the best for the wedding.
We chose Teugega Country Club because we have never been disappointed in the events we have hosted there in the past. My family has hosted several Christmas parties and graduation parties there, as well as my shower, and we always enjoyed the food and had a great time. Another reason we chose Teugega is because of its location on the lake and the scenery is beautiful. The service is also great, too.
For the style of our wedding, we really liked the idea of coral and gold color scheme. It is very summer like and just beautiful. When I got my wedding dress, which was as champagne color, that was when I knew the coral and gold colors would be perfect. We tried to make everything those colors and keep away from the traditional white wedding. My friends helped me pick the perfect coral when we got their bridesmaid dresses. We also loved the gray tuxes the men wore. A lot of the decorations at the reception were made by myself, sister, and friends – so lots of time and work was put into it. We just wanted to be different!
How did you approach wedding planning? did you use any computer systems, apps or social media?
We pretty much studied every wedding we went to after we got engaged. We made notes of what we liked and what we didn’t like. I would use Google search a lot when I wasn’t sure about things. We also got some helpful tips and ideas from Pinterest and our vendors. Our parents, siblings, and friends had a lot of input, which was beneficial. We definitely put in a lot of work and research into how to make it “the best wedding ever” – which was our goal. We didn’t want it to be “just another wedding” – we wanted people to remember it years from now.
What made you decide to hire a videographer?
We knew we definitely wanted to capture our day, but didn’t know all the means of doing so. We saw a lot of your work on social media and were very impressed! We knew we wanted the same thing for us. We also have seen other videographers’ work from other weddings and it doesn’t even compare to yours – so that is why we knew we needed you there!
Did you have any surprises for each other, or for your guests on your wedding day?
We did have cards written for each other the morning of our big day that we kept private from everyone. We wanted to keep that moment to ourselves. I bought Ryan a tie bar with our initials and wedding date on it, and he got us bonus tour from the cruise on our honeymoon. The biggest surprise we had for our guests was our flash mob! I was so shocked we were able to keep that a secret from mostly everyone! We created a private Facebook group where my friend Dez uploaded the dance videos for us to practice from (we first got the music from our band who created the track for us). We then would post our videos and provide feedback. We practiced together as much as we could, but it was hard since everyone is in different states! The first time we all did it together was at the wedding
What would your top tips be for somebody planning their wedding?
Don’t waste money on things like fancy invites, envelopes, stamps, etc. We had a wide range of guests not even RSVP and we had to reach out to all of them to see if they were coming. Clearly people don’t always read your invites and such after you put in lots of work putting them together!
Second, be sure to do a lot of research. Ask for samples or reviews from photographers, bands, venues, etc. You need to make sure you get what you are paying for.
I would also try to arrange after hours. It is helpful for people to know where to go afterwards ahead of time, especially out-of-towners who don’t know the area. A shuttle service is very beneficial too.
Lastly, don’t let anyone tell you that one of your ideas are bad. If you like something and someone doesn’t, it is your wedding and you should do it! This happened a lot to us.
What were your favourite parts of your wedding day (or perhaps most memorable)?
For us, we know the most memorable will be our surprise flash mob and we also loved walking through the Saber Arch at the end of the ceremony – especially because the people holding the sabers were our dear friends. Our personal favorite was seeing each other for the first time at the altar, lots of stress was gone once we were finally together!
Wedding ceremony venue – St. Peter’s Church in Rome, NY
Wedding reception venue – Teugega Country Club in Rome, NY
Catering – Teugega Country Club
Wedding dress – Loretta Bridal Boutique in Bonita Springs, Florida
Bride Shoes –Nina Vinnie
Bridesmaid dresses – David’s Bridal in Syracuse, NY
Bridesmaid accessories & shoes – All the girls chose their own shoes and accessories! I did get all of them a gold “love knot” bracelet from Etsy – they all wore them that day.
Groom’s attire & accessories & shoes – Military Uniform/Men’s Wearhouse
Groom’s party attire – Men’s Wearhouse
Make up & beauty – Makeup by Caitlyn Michelle (Caitlyn Tuzzolino)
Stationery – Wedding Paper Divas
Venue décor – Either purchased off Etsy or self-made by Vanessa; her sister, Gretchen; and friend, Brianna (Brianna owns a wedding Etsy shop and makes wedding décor for a living)
Wedding cake – Price Chopper (we forgot to cut it! Haha)
Wedding favors – In lieu of wedding favors, we gave donations to Operation Dog Tag and Smith Post #24 Baseball – both organizations are very close to our hearts.
Wedding rings – Jared
Entertainment – Something Else Rock Band from Rochester, NY
Florist – Olney’s Flowers in Rome, NY