How I planned my Wedding in 5 weeks | Winter wedding in McKinney, TX
Some people think I'm crazy....other people think it's amazing. My fiancé (now husband) and I decided to have 2 ceremonies and 3 receptions for our wedding.
Some backstory: Jordan and I are from different states. He grew up in North Texas and I am from the suburbs of Philadelphia. We met in Texas, fell in love and bought a house together in McKinney, TX.
We got engaged in September 2018 and I was lucky enough to have my family, his family and my best friend be there when he asked me to become his wife. All of the thought and planning that he put into engagement made it uber-romantic and really set us up for having a special wedding ahead.
The surprise engagement in September 2018
We talked about what our dream wedding would be. We both have a decent number of family and friends that we would want to attend, and were worried about asking one entire side of the family to travel for the wedding. So the original plan that we had was 1 destination wedding for immediate family and best friends, and then 2 receptions to celebrate when we got back from the destination. We knew from the start this would be unconventional, and likely a lot more work than a "normal" wedding.
Round 1 of planning
Attempting to plan a destination was overwhelming from the start. By the time we had our list of people we wanted to invite it was hovering 30 people. We started to narrow down destinations and were thinking between Mexico or Jamaica. Where we started to get stuck were costs for our guests and the actual location. Opinions of locations and schedules were ultimately the reason that I started to dread the idea of a destination wedding, and it never seemed as though it was going to work out.
Timing of the wedding
Jordan is a firefighter in McKinney, TX. His vacation time is scheduled for the entire year at a time, and his PTO dates were due shortly after we got engaged.
We originally thought that we needed to wait until the end of 2019 or early 2020 to get married. My sister had a wedding she was in, I had work travel plans and Jordan's brother is expecting twins in the Spring. We were basing our timeline on family members and honestly it was exhausting trying to plan around other schedules.
We had requested time off during January and October in 2018, with the intention of taking a tropical vacation in January to preview the location we could possibly get married at in October at the earliest.
Should we elope?!
Multiple times over the few months that I was researching destination wedding I would joke and say "can we just elope?!"
I found myself spending hours upon hours on the internet researching locations, reviews, blog posts and I felt like there were one million options. It was exhausting. There were multiple nights that I just burst into tears and cried when trying to plan and figure out what would make sense for us as a couple.
On top of trying to research, I kept reminding myself in the back of my mind that we aren't spring chickens when planning all of this. I'm 33, Jordan is 32 and we want to enjoy life as a couple before we start planning to start a family. Having a long engagement could mean a delay in future family planning and that was in the back of my mind the entire time.
Finally in early November Jordan and I had a serious talk about eloping, or changing our initial plans. We were in love, living together and couldn't wait to get married. We didn't want a long engagement - and couldn't think of any reason not to get married in January 2019 when Jordan's vacation was already approved. The one glaring issue was our parents, and not wanting to hurt their feelings by not inviting them to when we say "I do."
We came to the agreement that we wanted to invite our parents and siblings to a small ceremony for the legal marriage in Texas. Then, we'd travel to an elopement ceremony & honeymoon in January. And in the spring we'd have a reception in Texas and one in Pennsylvania.
The only thing left was to tell our parents, and hope for their blessing. I distinctly remember that I called my parents to tell them this plan on election day. Both sets were very supportive, excited and happy about our decision. The only thing left to plan was find a date for us to all be in Texas at once for the ceremony. When push came to shove with schedules, December 14 was the date.
We invited our parents (both of our parents are divorced and remarried/with significant others) and our immediate siblings. All together we had 15 people including us.
Five weeks to plan our ceremony
When we picked the date and flights were booked, we had about 5 weeks to plan everything. Our original plan was to go to the court house and then have a meal afterwards. But with my family flying in to attend, we decided to make it more of an intimate ceremony in the city that we live in (and Jordan works for).
Over the next few weeks I worked with my mom to plan out our intimate ceremony.
- Venue: McKinney Fire Museum
- Dinner: Rick's Chop House (table for 15)
- Hotel: The Grand Hotel (my parents stayed there, we had a suit for the night of the wedding to get ready and stay over in)
- Dress: David's Bridal - White by Vera Wang (+alterations)
- Shoes: Macy's
- Earrings: OliveAndPiper.com
- Fur shaw: Sissly Designs on Etsy
- Makeup: MAC at the mall
- Hair: DryBar
- Flowers: Market Street (a local grocery store)
- Jordan's suit: Suit Supply
- Photographer: Lit Photography (I hired her for 3 hours)
After finding the venue to eat, the rest of the planning was pretty low key as compared to a "normal" wedding.
I knew that I wanted to order my dress from David's Bridal. You may not know, I worked for David’s Bridal corporate HQ from 2013-2015. I ran their email marketing program and became very familiar with their assortment online, designers and the wedding sales process as a whole.
I browsed the website, added my favorites, made an appointment online, went in the store and my Stylist helped me find the look I wanted. After I ordered, they helped me get alterations finished in a timely manner and they went flawlessly. The email communication to me from the company went off without a hitch as well (nice job, marketing team). It’s full circle to have been able to be a customer for a company that I really enjoyed working for.
My wedding dress is style VW351346 White by Vera Wang from David's Bridal
I wanted to keep the hair and makeup simple as well. My mom, sister and I opted to get our hair done at DryBar and makeup done at MAC. They are two brands that I trust, and know always do a great job. Hair was $45 per person + tip. Makeup application was free when you purchase $60 worth of product. We all loved how our looks came out.
Since we were not having a traditional aisle to walk down, I wanted to plan a "first look" between myself and Jordan. Outside the hotel we arranged a first look between us and it was even better than I would have hoped. It was emotional, and eased my fears once I was able to see my future husband and how handsome he looked. He loved my dress as well, which made me feel even more beautiful.
Our first look in McKinney, TX, on Dec. 14, 2018
Officially a Fire Wife
We said “I do” in the Fire Museum in front of family. It was the perfect setting given Jordan’s career, and I loved how short and sweet it was. We then had a chance to take photos on the old fire truck and in the station. Jordan even came down the fire poll!
Being a part of this community is going to shape the rest of our marriage (and future family) so it was very special to be able to get married in this space and get so many fun photos as well.
Our reception was held at Rick’s Chop House in McKinney and it was delicious! We had a long table in the main dining room, which was a little loud but worked out well for a celebration dinner.
My mom coordinated that the table have champagne and set white and red wines. We picked out the main appetizers, and then everyone had their choice for dinner and dessert from the main menu.
One of the aspects that we were most concerned about what the coordination of where to eat – and I think it went off flawlessly. Our food was delicious and the service was totally on top of our larger party.
What’s next: Ceremony #2, Reception #2 & #3
We’re officially married, but the celebration has only just begun for the Davenports. We plan to have an elaborate few months of celebrating with all of our family, in both of our hometowns.
First up: that time that Jordan had off in January over MLK Weekend will now be used for us to travel to Costa Rica. We are going to “elope” and have a private ceremony, just the two of us. Then we will continue our trip as our honeymoon.
I’m letting Jordan plan the entire trip on his own (eeeeek). I trust he will plan something amazing for us.
Next: A reception in Texas and in Pennsylvania
The newlyweds tour will continue in the Spring of 2019 as we host a reception in Texas and Pennsylvania. We didn’t want to put on the burden of asking one side of the family to travel for our wedding, so we decided to host TWO parties. We are still in the planning process to find a venue and dates. I’ll be sure to document and blog about what we end up planning.
The main thing I’m concerned about is the cost; not wanting to go too over the top knowing that we have two parties to plan, not just one.
“Why such a quick wedding?”
Last but not least – the comments of surprise or asking me why we got married so quick…
I understand what we did was out of the norm. And because I share the majority of my life on social media, it was an extra surprise when we announced that we got married after it happened (and after being engaged only 3 months).
We are in love, living together and knew we wanted to spend the rest of our lives together. We decided that we didn’t need to spend 6-12 months picking out flowers and napkins and stressing out about every little detail for one day. We saw an opportunity with our schedules and decided to take it. And it turned out even better than I could have expected.
I know that everyone has their own dream as a little girl what her wedding would be. I always thought I would have a grandiose wedding that looked like something you saw on Pinterest. But when it came down to planning – it was WAY more stress than I wanted to deal with given our situation as a couple with families that live 1500 miles away.
My best advice is to stay true to YOU and your partner. It is your day to celebrate your love. So do what you want to do, even if it’s not traditional.