{Real Bride} Meet Julie!

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!

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What is your name and when was your wedding date?
My name is Julie Kotzbach and we were married on March 14, 2015

Kate Eschbach Photography-47How 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 garden23_2632_fullias became the theme since they took over our lives for a few months. Haha.49_2658_full

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!

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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 t36_2645_fullop 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?
Kate Eschbach Photography-86There 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

DSC_6731I 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!)

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Thank you so much Julie and Mike for sharing your special day with us! It was a honor to be included! 

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{Real Bride} Meet Stormy!

This month’s Real Bride is Stormy. Her and her new husband got married
in November and I have to say how adorable of a couple they make!
Read more about their big day and
see how amazing she looked with that bird cage veil!

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What is your name and your groom’s name?
Stormy and Shawn

What was your wedding date?
Saturday, November 7, 2015

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{Real Bride Series} Meet Sarah!

Meet Sarah, our newest member of our Real Bride Series!

How did you and your groom meet?
We always ask people, do you want to know how I met him or how he met me. Yes… there is a difference. So here’s the full story.

It was my freshman year of college. It was the end of August and I was riding my bike to a chemistry study group in the library. I heard a girls voice above the crowd say “Do you want to come to Bible Study tonight?” I stopped my bike, I had been looking for a Christian club on campus so I went up to the table. I made eye contact with a boy, I felt sparks run down my spine. I definitely believe in love at first sight now. He introduced himself to me as Lucas and I met everyone else at the table. I went to Christian Challenge that night, Lucas and I started talking about why I cam to ASU and what I was studying. He was on the leadership team so he did what he was supposed to do, he introduced me to a girl that had stuff in common with me. He wasn’t at challenge the next two weeks. I looked though, I wanted to see him again.

The third week I looked back to where he helped out at the soundboard in the back and he was there! Turns out he was a sun devil rep at ASU where he helped get freshman connected at ASU. So as a part of that he had been taking them to the Thursday night football games. Well, that night he ended up in my small group. Most of the people in my group were new so he was introducing himself to them. Then he looked across the circle at me and went “Hi I’m Lucas, what’s your name?” my heart sank a little bit but I smiled and said “My name is Sarah, it’s nice to meet you.”. We spoke that night about how I had been home schooled for 10 years and how I had a Texas accent. We talked for about 45 minutes that night.

I signed up for the fall retreat with Christian Challenge. I had to go up a day late due to homework, but I walked into the NAU Christian Challenge a little after 9am at the end of October. The boys were up and waiting for the girls to come over from the building they were staying in. I sat down on the couch and a few minutes late Lucas sat down on the couch across from the one I was on. He leaned over and put out his hand “Hi i’m Lucas.” I smiled again and shook his hand “Hi, I am Sarah. It’s nice to meet you.”

Somehow we started talking about how I had lived in Japan. He got excited because he was half Japanese and his mom was from Japan. We spent the rest of the weekend together. He said he knew he liked me when that night we were playing capture the flag and my competitive side came out.

Nowadays he says that he was trying not to focus on girls that weekend. He was really trying to focus on his relationship with God, but I broke through that apparently… oops. Apparently third times the charm when it came to us meeting.
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{Real Bride Series} Meet Amanda!

Meet Amanda, our newest member of our Real Bride Series! 
How did you and your groom meet?
My groom, Kyle, and I met playing music at church. He worked at the recording studio on campus at the University of Arizona, and I was an aspiring singer-songwriter. We spent long nights playing music together and arranging songs I had written. We had an instant connection.
We are dying to  know, how did he propose?!
We were at his parents’ cabin in Payson. It was a quiet afternoon, and I awoke from an afternoon nap to see him kneeling down with the ring. He said, ‘You’re the most important person in my life, and I’ve never loved anyone as much as I love you. I want to spend the rest of my life with you. Will you marry me?’ It was the biggest surprise, and of course I was so happy to say yes! He said, ‘It took me 5 minutes just to open the door and another 3 minutes to kneel down without making any noise.
What were your wedding colors? Did you have an overall theme?
Our wedding colors were blue and gold. I’ve always loved that rich lapis blue with the light champagne gold. Our overall theme was simple elegance (and whatever my mom convinced me would be best). I’ve never spent more time on Pinterest in my life. 
How large was your wedding party?
I have 6 bridesmaids and my husband have 6 groomsmen.
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{Real Brides Series} Meet Nichole!

Meet the newest member of our Real Bride Series, Nichole. Nichole and Brandon got married after dating for 10 years in February, 2015! The love birds met while working Cactus League in 2005 and the rest is history! Read more after the jump to hear all about their special day at The Clayton On The Park!


How did you and groom meet?
Brandon and I met in 2005 on my first day of work at a Spring Training sports bar, where he was also working at the time.

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{Real Bride Series} Meet Ashley!

Ashley is a sweet bride from Texas who married Garrett
at the Seville Golf Course in December 2014.
Their romantic ceremony was filled with many ethereal touches and
captures the essence of their love story perfectly.
Read more about the their special day below!
 
How did you and your groom meet?
The weekend after I graduated high school, a mutual friend of ours threw a graduation party for all of us. Garrett happened to be on leave from the Coast Guard and in Arizona at the time and decided to drop by to see his old friend. Our friend introduced us and we hit it off immediately. From that day forward we became really good friends and that friendship eventually turned into a wonderful relationship.
We are dying to know, how did he propose?!
We had planned a San Antonio weekend with some good friends of ours. On the second night, Garrett managed to get one of the Cinderella horse drawn carriages to take us on a ride through some of the historical sections of the San Antonio Riverwalk (seeing as I am a big history buff and love that kind of stuff). He had the carriage stop in front of the church that President Johnson married his wife in, under the rouse that we were going to get out and take pictures. He pretended to trip out of the carriage when getting out and turned around on one knee with my ring in his hand. After 6 years of being together, he still managed to completely surprise me and our good friends (who ended up being our witnesses at our wedding) were there to capture the whole thing for us.
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{Real Bride Series} Meet Heidi!

Heidi and her husband Mike are a modern day love story.
The pair met online and decided to have a fun wedding willed with all sorts of sports themed elements this past March! Read more about their heartfelt day below!

How did you and your groom meet?
We met on eHarmony!


We are dying to know, how did he propose?! 
Mike took me to Prescott at the beginning of a week-long trip. He had my ring wrapped up in a bag inside of a handmade shirt that was modeled after the football Jared commercial with a jersey with Heidi and the #1. The commercial means a lot being we love sports so much.
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{Real Bride Series} Meet Mandy!

Mandy and Jeff met by fate at a New Year’s Eve party… and the sparks haven’t stopped flying for these two! They were married in a joyful affair at Encanto Park Clubhouse! They mixed vibrant colors with their love of vintage Mexican elements!

How did you and your groom meet?
I met my husband at a New Year’s party over three years ago. I went to the bash with my best friend and from the moment Jeff and I met, I knew we had something special. He even gave me a New Year’s kiss!

We are dying to know, how did he propose?!
Last May, Jeff took me on a trip to California. We spent a day at Disneyland, and then went to the most magical boutique hotel in Los Angeles. He planned a trip to the Griffith Observatory where we had amazing views of the city. We found a secluded area where he with tears in his eyes asked me if I would be his wife. It was magical!

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