• Chynna DeStefano-Pasquale

From a Bride (Now Wife!), To The Future Brides


I was lucky enough to capture Monica & Ernesto's big day this past May. Monica asked if she could write an article to feature on my blog and I couldn't have been happier! I hope all of my future brides can enjoy this thoughtful entry and learn a little from her bridal experiences! Enjoy!

Hi! I am very excited to finally be sharing my thoughts about everything wedding-related as I celebrate my one month wedding anniversary! I wasn’t sure in what direction I wanted to take this blog post but I knew I wanted to keep it short and sweet for any soon-to-be brides or futures brides to remember when the time comes.

Before I jump into it, I wanted to share a little bit about my husband and I. So here are the details:

The (married!) couple: Monica + Ernesto

Dating: 5 years this November

Engagement Date: 12.16.17

Wedding Date: 5.26.18

Ceremony Location: Davis Johnson Gardens in Tenafly

Reception Venue: The Fiesta in Wood-Ridge

Number of Wedding Guests: 100

So as you can tell we had a short engagement, which means even less time to plan wedding details. My husband and I agree that this made us focus on what really mattered to us the most. We didn’t spend months searching for venues or weeks deciding on the color of table linens. We went with what felt right, what our guests would enjoy, and what would make our night unforgettable.

I am going to share the tips I think a month later were the most crucial for not just our budget but also our sanity!

Forget “Our Marriage, Their Wedding”

This was the one we struggled with the most and for the longest, especially me as the bride who was always being talked to about the wedding. Your family means well (as hard as it is to believe at the moment!) but it is OK to say no and do things your way. You can make your best effort to make everyone comfortable and the day enjoyable for everyone but at the end of the day, you can’t please everyone and that is nothing to feel guilty about. I also want to point out that it is YOUR wedding meaning your future husband and yours so listen to him too (sorry babe!) because this will be one of the most incredible memories for the both of you and compromising is necessary.

GO FREELANCE!

You won’t believe the upcharges when you mention you are looking for a photographer, DJ, limo, florist, hair/nail stylist, really anything and EVERYTHING for a wedding. Thank goodness I found the wonderful Chynna who provides outstanding wedding photography for a price that is less than half of what other businesses would. Same for our incredible DJ who is a teacher by profession. Freelancers are just as passionate (I think even more!) than professionals and work with you to provide exceptional service each time. When someone says they “know somebody”, try them out and review their work or ask for recommendations, which you can now do through Facebook too. It can definitely be worth it!

Do It Yourself But Not By Yourself

My mother-in-law first suggested DIY decor and there was nothing more stressful than thinking about running around coordinating things the day of. Well when we saw the price of our 'dream' centerpieces, that's what we went for! My incredibly talented cousin (I love you Jas!) took care of finalizing decor the day of with bulk orchids we purchased which were also used to make my bouquet and the boutonnieres as well as decorate the cake! It looked professional and lovely. We received so many compliments on it and no one knew (surprise!) they were done by us.

They Will Be Happy For You Regardless

Finalizing a guest list was really tough for us. We come from HUGE families and have a lot of friends and family friends. Although we didn’t want to make anyone feel left out by not inviting them, we made the ultimate decision that we wanted something small (yes that ended up being 100 guests!) and intimate. We explained that to those who asked and found that if someone is happy about your engagement, they will be happy for your marriage whether they were invited to the wedding or not. Again, nothing to feel guilty about!

Let The Pros Outweigh The Cons

We had to make two big decisions and let the positives and negatives of the options determine how we would go about it. First was whether we would have a wedding party. We have amazing relatives and friends but with planning a wedding in less than six months, we considered our budget and theirs and how it impacts our engagement and big day. We went with not having one and were still celebrated by those who loved us and enjoyed a smooth wedding day. Second was whether we would invite children at the wedding. This one was very difficult because we have A LOT of adored children in our family. We considered how the children’s parents felt about it and how this affected our guest count and went with only having godchildren and nieces and nephews. Adults were able to let loose and enjoy (maybe a little too much HA) the open bar! We were glad we looked at it strategically and at the end felt comfortable with our choices.

I hope this will be helpful when your time comes. Remember it’s your day and will be one of the most special events in your life. The week of my wedding I got super sick, most likely stress-related, and realized I needed to be more excited than worried about little details. I wish I would’ve thought this way weeks before but hey now I can share my advice and hopefully someone listens :)

All my best and good luck!

Here are a few of our favorite pics captured by Chynna!




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