Our featured Real Bride for April is Julie who was married last March. She had such a fun wedding with some elements of Irish tradition and adorable ring bears!
What is your name and when was your wedding date?
My name is Julie Kotzbach and we were married on March 14, 2015
How did you and your groom meet?
Mike and I used to work together at a restaurant. He was a bartender and I waited tables. One days, after about 5 years of sort of knowing each other, he invited me to go hang out with him after work with some of his friends. I did. We hung out again a couple days later, and then started spending every day together. We got married just after 8 ½ years of dating.
We are dying to know, how did he propose?!
Mike proposed on Christmas Eve at my dad’s house. It was my dad’s birthday and we do Christmas with that side of my family the same day. Everyone was there. My dad and step-mom totally knew, and I had no idea. My dad called me into the living room (everyone was sitting around the room since we just opened presents), Mike snuck up behind me, my dad spun me around, and BAM! Mike was on one knee.
After he proposed lots of things that he’d said and had happened earlier in the day made total sense. He’s a sneaky little devil. I called my mom to tell her right away, but she already knew. Mike had gone to see my dad the week before to ask permission, and had gone to see my mom to tell her since she wouldn’t be there when it happened. He’s thoughtful like that.
What were your wedding colors? Did you have an overall theme for your wedding day celebration?
Our colors were grey and green. There wasn’t a theme per say. We found colors we liked, loved the space, and just kind of went with how I felt about everything. I guess maybe our paper gardenias became the theme since they took over our lives for a few months. Haha.
How large was our wedding party?
We had 4 bridesmaids, 2 groomsmen, 1 groomsmaid, 2 flower girls, and 2 ring bearers.
Where did you find yourdress? Would you say that finding your dress was a relatively easy or a difficult process?
I got my dress at David’s Bridal in Ahwatukee, it was the first and only store we went to. The consultant I had was great. I showed her all the David’s dresses I liked, but I should have shown her all my pictures. I tried on 4 dresses. The 3rd was a tea dress and I went in with the mindset that a tea dress was what I wanted. However, I wanted to like a long dress to compare. I put the dress and didn’t want to take it off. Surprising I went to my would-be dress pictures later, and the one I ended up getting was really similar to another once I had been looking at. Go figure.
Where did your ceremony and reception take place? Was there any special meaning behind the choice of venue(s)?
We had our ceremony and reception at Chapel at the Farm in Gilbert. I had been looking for a venue and was starting to feel like I had to have a certain type of wedding. It sucked. I found Chapel and went over to the site. Then I realized I’d been there many times before. My mom and I have breakfast often at the little restaurant in front of the area. The moment I walked under the pavilion I immediately relaxed. This was the place. It was pretty, open, there was a big grass area for the kids, and we could make the space whatever we wanted.
What kind of flowers did you have in your bouquet and the ceremony/ reception?
Oh the flowers. My amazing friends came over to our house for 2 months before the wedding and helped me assemble 300 paper gardenias for the entire wedding. They were amazing when they were finished!
What was the flavor of your wedding cake? Did you have a groom’s cake?
We ended up not having a groom’s cake, even though I tried to talk Mike into getting a 1995 Chevy cake. Our cake had 3 tiers and we did a different flavor for each tier. The bottom was almond cake with almond buttercream. (I’m normally not into almond all the much, but the cake was amazing. We tried it at our tasting and I was surprised at how yummy it was!) The middle tier was chocolate cake with cream cheese frosting, and the top tier was vanilla cake with salted caramel filling. We had buttercream for the outer layer with a simple white on white design. The whole thing was totally delicious! We may have had cake for breakfast the next day.
Did you provide favors to your guests? If so, what were they?
Since we got married on Pi Day, I decided to have a little fun with it. I made mini recipe cards of some family pie recipes and other recipes pie recipes I loved, and turned then them into a mini cookbook with a binder ring.
What details from your wedding that made it unique to you?
The flowers were A LOT of work but they meant a lot to me, and spending that extra time with my friends was fun. I made 2 flavors of popcorn, packed in Chinese take-out boxes, the night before the wedding for cocktail hour. I love making popcorn. A blogger friend made custom peg dolls for our cake toppers, complete with flat top for make. One of my favorite things was leaving the wedding in Mike’s 1955 Chevy. He’d worked for a month to get her back in action so we could drive her home from the wedding. The other big thing was, the lead piper from our bagpipe band played me down the aisle. Mike chose the song. His sister walked down the aisle to it, when his dad passed they played it, and now he was welcoming me to the family with the same song. It was a big deal to me.
Other than marrying your husband, what was your favorite moment from your wedding day?
There are two moments. The first was the Best Man’s speech. Kyle was so funny and sweet, and he had the whole thing memorized. Apparently there’s a 12 minute version of the speech I’m dying to hear. The second was at the after party. One of our bagpiper friends dedicated a song to me before the boys started playing their set. He never plays this song in public, it’s only for very close friends and family special occasions. It was a great song, and I was so flattered he thought to gift me that way.
Did you take a honeymoon? If so, where did you go?
We are hoping to honeymoon in Vegas for our anniversary.
What is one piece of wisdom you learned from your planning experience that you would like to share with future brides?Drama will happen, you can’t control it, don’t let it suck you in. We had a lot of back and forth with the guest list. Due to venue and budget limitations we were inviting family only. We managed to sneak in a few longtime friends after getting some no RSVPs back. There were people that got upset that their invitation came before another family member’s and vice versa. If anyone (moms, dads, etc.) start pushing you about RSVPs, put them on the job. If they want to know so badly, they can find out and report back to you. It added a lot of stress I didn’t need, so I made it someone else’s problem. Put them on the wedding team and make ‘em work!
Who were some of the other vendors that were a part of your dream team?
Hair and Makeup – Babydoll Weddings
I cannot say enough great stuff about Sabrina (and her staff)!! She’s amazing! My bridal trial was great. I had no idea how to explain what I wanted. I showed Sabrina some pics and she took it from there. She talked me into my first salon hair coloring ever and killed it! My hair and makeup day of was perfect. My curls lasted all day, which is unheard of, and I felt beautiful.
Dress – David’s Bridal Bride’s rings
Gemvara (online) – Groom’s ring
The Irish Jeweler (online) – Finding the right claddaghs (rings) was hard, but a little searching left Mike and I both happy. I had to custom order his ring from Dublin and the jeweler was awesome!
Cake – Piece of Cake Desserts
Rentals & Catering – Heidi’s Events & Catering (Jillian was so great to work with)
DJ – Cerrick Entertainment (Crissy kicks ass!!)
Photo Booth – AZ Photo Box (had a thumb drive of all the pics, photo strips and individual pics, to take home with us that night!)
Thank you so much Julie and Mike for sharing your special day with us! It was a honor to be included!