InStyle accessories editor Stephanie Araujo looks back on her IRL wedding and shares some must-read advice for brides-to-be!
Logan and I met over 10 years ago. Fate had it that we attended the same high school, and we met within the first month of freshman year (braces and all!). I felt an instant connection and a sense of curiosity to actually get to know someone, a feeling I had never felt before. I stayed in Miami for college to study political science while he attended the Ross school of Business in Michigan. Although it wasn’t easy, being long distance actually really intensified our bond. We moved in together after college and I never looked back. I still grow more in love with him every single day.
Fast forward to summer 2014, he took me on a surprise birthday trip to a private island and proposed! I definitely wanted to enjoy this new chapter of my life of being a fiancée, so I didn’t want to rush into planning right away. I waited six months to find a planner and get the ball rolling. Looking back, I would really recommend this for anyone who can wait. The wedding planning is so intensely stressful and time-consuming, so having a few months to enjoy being a newly-engaged couple was really special.
Once the planning had officially kicked off (shout out to my wedding planner, Elite Planning Firm!), I quickly realized I had no idea what I wanted my aesthetic to be, so like any other confused and inspo-less person, I turned to Pinterest. I quickly realized that Pinterest could be the best friend you’ve long for your whole life or your worst enemy. There is just SO much out there in terms of themes, color schemes, and types of décor. Not going to lie — there were a lot of nights of restless sleep over choosing the right scheme. Luck was on my side when Chloé sent a gorgeous bouquet to the office, and I decided right then and there that my whole scheme would be based on the beautiful arrangement of flowers. Being an editor for InStyle has its perks! Thanks to my florist, Ever After Event & Floral Design, it all came together perfectly.
Another stressful decision was choosing a venue. I mean, there are so many gorgeous venues out there, how could one choose? Plus, each location has pros and cons, so it's just a matter of what we were OK with. Logan and I have always tried to keep up with our cultural knowledge and the art world (at least we tell ourselves that), so we ultimately chose the Perez Art Museum in Miami (PAMM) as our venue. The venue itself is just breathtaking, as it is right on the water, and they have a gorgeous display of greenery all throughout the space. Once we booked a venue that really suited our personalities, everything else really fell into place (for the most part).
After having a vision (more or less) of what the big day would look like, I was ready to go dress shopping. I knew from the start this wasn’t going to be easy. Not unlike Pinterest, there is just SO much out there in terms of dresses, how does one choose? Thankfully, I had my mother, grandmother, and mother-in-law who freely expressed their candid advice on each dress I tried on, and after my fourth appointment, I found the dress of my dreams: an Oscar de la Renta Spring 2016 gown. For soon-to-be brides, I would suggest tackling the dress-shopping excursion as early as possible. You really never know how long it will take to find “the one.” Plus, after the finding “the one” it’s good to give it a couple of weeks to think it over before taking the plunge.
Before I knew it, it was the day before the wedding. I wanted to make sure the vibe was right and that I didn’t stress about anything unnecessary the next day. So my mom, sister (aka maid of honor, God bless her) and I checked into my suite and we spent the day planning out the little things, which was really a lifesaver! We had the hotel implement two fridges, a microwave, and a couple of steamers to my suite. We also had them send up an abundance of flutes, drinking glasses, and tableware so everything was ready to be served once catering arrived the next morning. We brought a mini Bose speaker and worked on a playlist on Spotify of all of our favorite music to play during our getting ready process. The hotel filled the room with flowers and orchids, and when I went to bed that night, I felt ready to take on my wedding day.
The one-cliché thing I have to admit is that your wedding day really does fly by. It’s almost a shame! It truly is the best day of your life, getting hair and makeup ready with all the loves of your life, while anticipating walking down the aisle to marry your fiancé later that day. No doubt, I could’ve taken more deep breaths to relish in the moment, and if I could give anyone ONE piece of advice, it would undeniably be that. Give your family a huge hug and a kiss and take it all in as much as you can… it’s the one day that you will remember forever!