sarah + dave // Hotel @ the Lafayette Wedding

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So often we see brides and grooms with very, very large wedding parties. While there’s certainly nothing wrong with this, we’ve found in our many years of photographing weddings that it can sometimes be a little chaotic keeping track of so many people all day. But when you have a large family, and/or an epic group of friends, it can be so hard to narrow down who to include in your party and who should just be a guest. One of our favorite parts of Sarah and Dave’s big day was the way they found the perfect solution to this stress-inducing problem.

Sarah and Dave kept their official wedding party small, choosing to ask only their immediate family members to stand up at the wedding (Dave’s Best Man was his dad – insert sobbing emoji here). But, they still wanted to find a way to include all of their very best friends in this once in a lifetime day. So, to get the best of both worlds, (and keep everyone happy!), they each invited their own groups of friends to come and share in the wedding morning with them! They relaxed together, laughed together, got ready together, were able to get some great photos together, and even shared in the limo ride to the church! From their the friends were able to simply enjoy the wedding celebrations, without the added responsibilities of being an actual party member, and Sarah and Dave were able to have some irreplaceable special moments with everyone they hold closest to their hearts, without crowding the altar and having dozens of endlessly large group photos. How great is that?! I don’t know about you, but I think it’s genius.

Scroll through to check out all of the details of this super sweet wedding day right here :)

Sarah: “Dave always says I robbed the cradle. He’s is 4 years younger than me. He graduated high school with my younger sister, and they had been friends. We were at a concert at Canalside, and Dave was there with some guys I had graduated with. I told one of the guys I was ‘interested’ in Dave. Dave was 21 at the time, and I was 25. If you know East Aurora, then you know everybody knows everyone else’s business and it was like some taboo scenario that we began dating. We think this is hilarious. We have no idea what our first date was. We started chatting after the Canalside run-in and then were once again out with our own friends downtown one night and met up. Dave came back to my apartment with me around 5am that morning and he never left and now we own a house, LOL.

Sarah: “In December 2017 I turned 30. Dave and I had owned a house together since 2014, so you can imagine I was getting antsy and wondering why Dave was waiting around to propose. I told him that I suspected everything, and he would never surprise me. Well, he called me one Friday to make sure I was going to be home from work at my regular time to feed our fur baby, and to let me know he wasn’t going to be home until later. Naturally, I took this as a free evening to myself and went directly to TJ Maxx for an hour to gallivant around and buy things I didn’t need. Meanwhile, Dave was waiting at home to surprise me. I finally pulled in the driveway. Dave’s truck was not there so I assumed I was alone. I went in the house and there Dave was in the living room on one knee. At first he scared the s**t out of me, but after that I just cried a lot.

Sarah: “I got up really early by myself on our wedding day to do a few things. I was oddly calm the week before the wedding, so I wanted to make sure I didn’t ruin that by rushing around the morning of. It was SO nice to spend a couple hours by myself.

Sarah: “Believe it or not, when I found my dress, I had a completely different vision for it, which is where Anatomy came in and literally transformed my dress into a totally different style gown. Originally it was off the shoulder with these weird sleeves that started at my elbows. I’m pretty sure I was the only one who could see it’s potential. My mom and other family who came along dress shopping were trying really hard to act excited for this strange looking dress I chose. They were obviously shocked when they saw the finished product. I was still unsure about it up until the last few weeks and then at the very last fitting it was like all the pieces of my vision had fallen into place I completely fell in love with it. I had bought a short white dress for after dinner and dancing but never ended up changing into it because I loved my wedding dress so much! The best part is, there will never be another one like it ;)

Sarah: “We decided to have a small wedding party of just our family but chose to include our friends in coming over before the wedding and riding in the limo with us so we could still make them a part of our day. I feel like that is kind of non-traditional but I am SO glad we did it that way.

Sarah: “Dave and I actually spent our last unmarried night together (so taboo, I know), but it was the best decision ever. We wrote each other little notes in the morning and had coffee like we always do before Dave left to go get ready at his parents house.

Dave: “I loved having all of my buddies with me to just hang out prior to the wedding. It was really nice to include them but not have to worry about all the craziness that comes along with being in someone’s wedding. Literally all they had to do was show up and hang out.

Sarah: “My absolute favorite and most nerve racking part (in a good way) was standing at the back of the church with my Dad right before the doors open to walk down the aisle. I’ve dreamt about that moment forever, and it went by so fast!

Sarah: “Dave had his Dad as his best man. They both work together and are like 2 peas in a pod :)

Sarah: “We both agree that we are complete opposites, but in a good way. Dave keeps me grounded and I keep Dave on his toes. We encourage each other to try new things that were previously not something we may have ever considered prior to knowing each other. We really look forward to having a family together and we spend most of our time laughing at each other. What is better than knowing you get to spend forever with your bff? The thrill of not knowing what the future holds but knowing that we will be together through it all is the most exciting.

Sarah: “The overall feeling of these hundreds of people that are genuinely SO HAPPY for you was so amazing, and it continued well after the wedding. People are just so excited for weddings and marriages and love!! I run an assisted living and all these little adorable old ladies were so excited for me even months afterward. It was so cute and really touching.

Sarah: “It was so nice to be alone with just our families for pictures and to limit the chaos of a huge wedding party.”

Dave: “It was great having both our dads give a speech. My Dad gave an awesome Best Man speech, and Sarah’s Dad said a few words and then read a blessing that was given to her Grandma on her wedding day by her Grandma’s father!

Dave: “Our first dance song was Paul McCartney ‘Maybe I’m Amazed’. Sarah is the music girl so she made a small Spotify playlist so that I could listen to them and decide which I liked. We both agreed on Paul McCartney and still think it’s the perfect song.

Sarah: “My dad and I danced to Stevie Wonder ‘You are the Sunshine of my Life’. My dad is big into music; there was ALWAYS music on at home growing up. Stevie Wonder was definitely played a lot and it made it a perfect song to dance to. I wanted something that felt ‘at home’ with my Dad, not just choosing a song because it fit well as a Father/Daughter dance.

Dave: “I am definitely not a dancer. Usually Sarah has to drag me out there, but I had so much fun dancing all night long. It’s so nice to talk about all the fun I had at my own wedding. I felt like we had so many people tell us it was going to be so much work, but I genuinely just had so much fun.

Some great planning advice from Sarah: “I am generally not indecisive, but with Pinterest and social media and all these other platforms offering so many different ideas, I had a tendency to get wrapped up in asking myself if I made the right decision on my [dress, venue, color scheme, etc] every time I saw something new that I hadn’t seen before. You really need to try hard to be as decisive as possible and be confident in your decisions so you’re not wasting unnecessary time second guessing yourself. It helps to start by deciding what your style, theme and colors are and then sticking to that. Talk to anyone you know who has been married recently to see if they have any vendors that they really loved. Follow social media accounts of those photographers, florists, venues, etc that you are interested in prior to meeting with them to get ideas and know what to ask for!

Also, take time off work BEFORE the wedding. Do whatever you can to stay stress and anxiety free. Your wedding will seem so far away until it’s suddenly there. You don’t want to end up running around like crazy at the last second!

Sarah: “Jenn is a magical calm fairy that I wish I could be like. She was literally 9 months pregnant at our wedding standing on chairs and acting like it was no big deal, and clearly it wasn’t because our photos turned out beyond amazing. I want to look at them every day of my life for forever.

We love how Sarah and Dave kept their Family Formals small and simple and stress-free!

Not looking forward to that part of the day?? Click here for tips on how to help your wedding day Family Formals run as smoothly as possible!

Wedding Vendors Include:

Ceremony Venue: St. Joseph’s Cathedral
Reception Venue: Hotel @ the Lafayette Marquis Ballroom
Hair: Katie Wilson
Makeup: Ashley Kreutzer
Dress Shop: Bliss Bridal
Dress Designer: Pronovias
Dress Customization: Anatomy
Bridesmaid Dresses: Tulle & Chantilly
Groom’s Look: Jos. A. Bank
Florist: Blossoms and Treasures
Cake: Dessert Deli
DJ: H&H Entertainment