Hello, soon to be Brides!
My name is Brooke Fox (…I still smile every time I use my new last name) and I am 26 years old. I work as an Occupational Therapist in sub-acute rehab with older adults (for those who may not know what occupational therapy is- where I work, I treat patients who experience a variety of health issues and diseases such as stroke, joint replacements, cancer, pneumonia, you name it. I work with patients to help them regain their independence in the things they love to do most). In my spare time, I love hanging out with my family and friends, shopping, working out, and of course spending time with my husband and our two sweet pups!
Our Love Story
I can seriously remember this as if it was yesterday, but the very first time I met my husband was actually in first period art class of 7thgrade!!! That year, we dated for about an hour before I broke up with him over a note haha (…sorry, babe!). We still went to our very first school dance together and our photos from that day are my absolute favorite.
Bailey may have tried a few more times in between, haha, but we officially started dating in High school on January 1st, 2011. We did four years of long distance after we graduated when I went away to college and were SO excited when I was accepted into graduate school back home so our days of traveling over the pass to see each other every other weekend were done! I remember calling Bailey in the bathroom of the airport when I got the news uncontrollably sobbing in happiness. Over the years we’ve been through so much together and I couldn’t imagine life without him! We moved into our first home about 3 years ago and last year we added a second pup to our family.
Anyone who knows me, knows that I am OBSESSED with Christmas. Like the kind where I watch the Grinch in the summertime and start counting down the days beginning September 1st. I’ve always thought how special it would be to get engaged Christmas morning (fast forward until after we were engaged, Bailey said the one day he wouldn’t propose to me was Christmas morning because I would totally be expecting it, haha)! So December of 2017, we decided we wanted to start a new tradition hosting a Christmas party for our closest friends. This was our first year and we wanted to go all out. I pretty much planned the whole party (little did I know it would also serve as our engagement party) and Bailey went out the night before and bought this ridiculous red Christmas suit. Toward the end of the night we gathered all of our friends in our living room to give a toast and let them all know how grateful we are to have them in our lives. At the end of the toast, Bailey turned to me and our song “Greatest Love Story” began to play. He proposed to me in our first home, with our closet friends there to celebrate, with the sweetest song, and most BEAUTIFUL ring.
Let’s Talk Wedding Planning
Wedding Date, Geographical Location, Venue
We got married on July 20th, 2019 at Rock Creek Gardens in Puyallup, WA. Here in Washington, you can never really guarantee sunshine or that it wont rain even in the summer. We originally were thinking about getting married in May (which was also about $2,000 cheaper to reserve the venue during), but the venue we chose was mostly outdoors and had the most breathtaking arbor and ceremony views so I didn’t want to risk (as much as I physically could) having it rain on our wedding day and having to move the ceremony space elsewhere. So we chose the end of July hoping for the best odds.
Rock Creek Gardens was the perfect venue for us. It has the cutest little white bridal party house, amazing gardens and landscaping, a giant white arbor, and the best part – it was a “one stop shop”. This was particularly appealing to me because all I had to do was book the venue and it included a Day of Coordinator, chairs, tables, reception tent, chandeliers, etc. It made everything soooo easy! Rock Creek Gardens was seriously so beautiful and green that I didn’t even stress about having enough decorations or “fluff,” it pretty much spoke for itself.
The venue was also super close to home which we loved and it made it so much easier for all of our families and friends to get to without having to reserve additional arrangements for taxis, hotels, etc. (it all adds up quickly!) The venue did close at 10pm, which I know for some might be a bummer – but actually, 10pm ended up being perfect for us since most our alcohol was gone by then and people were starting to get a little rowdy! Ha!
We invited 260 guests and had somewhere close to 230 attend. Yes, this is a huge number, but both my husband and I have large families who we’re very close to. Our families alone probably accounted for 100 of the total guests. Our venue allowed for 300 guests so that wasn’t an issue! When we sat down together to make our guest list, we both talked about how we really did want it to be our closest friends and family and not get too out of hand with the number of people we invited (my goal was 200). We did choose to have an “adults only” ceremony and reception which helped, but our guest count still added up a bit with plus ones and friends of our parents who they really wanted there. In the end, we were so happy that most of our guests made it out to celebrate with us! We LOVED the big party + celebration feel.
What was your wedding budget?
We were super lucky and blessed that our parents together paid for the entire wedding. We sat down at the beginning with each of them and talked about budget and everyone’s priorities (highly recommend)! It was a little uncomfortable talking specific figures with our parents, but it made the rest of the process so much easier that I knew exactly what we were working with and how we would divvy things up and stay within budget. So instead of splitting costs for every single thing, I broke it up by vendors. My parents paid for the venue, photography, etc. and his paid for the catering, florals, etc. It really made the planning process easy and organized and allowed each of them to pay how and when they wanted. Overall, we were pretty much right at our budget of 45k. If you needed to cut costs, it really comes down to the guest list. The more guests, the more table and chairs you need, which means more flatware and plates, centerpieces, linens, and FOOD. So that was where I would revisit throughout the process when we were getting too close to going over budget!
How did you prioritize your budget, what factors were most important to you?
Prioritizing the budget was difficult at first. Neither of us had any siblings or many friends who had gotten married before when we began to plan, so we didn’t have any idea how much things cost or people to ask for advice on what was worth spending money on and/or passing up. I read a lot of magazines and blog posts which is how I found Stephy’s Bridal Guide!! For me, I prioritized the venue, florals, and photography. I wouldn’t change a thing! We also opted to make room in the budget for videography which I AM SO GLAD WE DID! I’ve watched and cried at that video over 100x by now.
How did you ask your besties to be your bridesmaids?
I put together little boxes for each of my bridesmaids that included the cutest “Bride’s Babe” shirts, a mini La Marca Prosecco champagne bottle, and a card asking them to be a part of my special day. For my sister who was my MOH, I also gave her an Alex and Ani bangle from their new bridal collection. My friend, Kimmy, who did all of the calligraphy for my wedding wrote each gals name in gold foiling on their boxes which was so pretty!
How was your dress shopping experience?
Ahhhh DRESS SHOPPING! This was seriously one of the best parts of wedding planning. So, before the actual day of dress shopping I spent a ton of time looking at gowns online and Instagram just seeing what I loved and could picture myself in. I found a few designers that caught my eye and looked up what bridal salons near me carried them. I only went shopping one day and at two different boutiques – A & Be Bridal and The Dress Theory Seattle. I remember telling my sister how nervous I was and sort of anxious about if I would be able to find the perfect gown and actually make a decision and commitment so early on (I went 13 months before my wedding date). I decided to bring my mom and sister and my future mother and sisters in law with me. I wanted the experience to be super intimate and it really was so special just having those women with me to find my dream dress.
I pretty much knew I wanted something form fitting and with a lonnngggggg train. The first shop had a lot of really pretty dresses but none that truly felt like “me.” I did try on a fully beaded gown that I felt super sexy in but it just didn’t seem like my wedding gown. I also knew thatthe second place I had an appointment at (The Dress Theory Seattle) carried a few Pronovias gowns (which was my absolute favorite designer) and I couldn’t say yes to another dress before I looked at theirs. I actually saved a photo of this one gown on my phone and PRAYED they would have it to try on. Fast forward to looking through their selection, I found THE gown I had been obsessing over for so long! When I tried it on, it was everything I had imagined. I felt beautiful, elegant, and timeless. I knew right away it was the one!
I was so glad I started the dress search early because the dress I chose was made and shipped from Spain (I think it took about 7-8mo just to receive the dress in shop) and I had about 5 fittings each separated around a month to make everything just right for me!
My MOH + bridesmaids wore dresses from Show Me Your Mumu, which were absolutely stunning and great quality! I chose a few of my favorite dresses in the color I liked, Steele Blue, and let them pick their favorites from there.
What was your overall vision or theme?
I wanted our wedding to be super elegant, timeless, and soft/delicate. I used Instagram and Pinterest for all of my wedding inspo.
If you had to describe your wedding style in one word what would it be?
How did you find your vendors?
I would say 90% of our vendors I found through Instagram! The others on The Knot or from recommendations of friends. Most vendors I researched as much as I could before I scheduled an in-person meeting with them which saved me a lot of time. Most of them have online galleries where I could view their work and get a feel for if they would be able to create something my style. Some also had pricing details available which was helpful. This made it so that by the time we scheduled and drove to an in-person meeting, it was with the vendor I knew I wanted to book! However, I do remember going to a floral meeting and talking with the florist about all of my visions and the flowers I wanted, etc. and she quoted me 10k! 10k!! Even if I had the budget to spend that much on florals I couldn’t imagine paying that much for them. I asked her how we could change some things to bring it down to an amount I felt comfortable spending and she basically just told me it wasn’t possible. I felt super discouraged and like my vision was no where near feasible until I met with Juliet and Lou! I told them what I wanted to spend and they made it work! They helped me adjust things here and there and even choose similar flowers that were most cost effective and ALWAYS reassured me we would be able to create something beautiful! So it’s worth it to take your time and get multiple opinions if the first or second aren’t what you were expecting. One other thing to keep in mind when booking vendors are some have service fees which can add up such as the catering crew and florists!
How did you design your table layout & decor?
We had a pretty large bridal party (19 of us) so we did the classic head table up front but had bridesmaids and groomsmen sitting on each side of the tables so that we were close enough to visit with everyone. We sat on a loveseat and kept the center of the head table open so Bailey and I could also look out to see our guests. As far as table décor goes, I wanted everything to be super simple and elegant with small pops of powder blue which was the color of my bridesmaid dresses. Each table had a floral centerpiece, wooden table number, two taper candles on acrylic holders, white scalloped plates, and glass water goblets and champagne flutes. We mixed high and low arrangements on the tables (which was also another way we decreased cost) and I had my caterer fold a light blue napkin in a knot style that I had found on Pinterest and loved to place on top of each plate! I did also make my own menus for each of the settings and while I really liked how “complete” they made everything look, if you’re trying to cut down on costs that would be a good place to do so. Our tables would have been just as beautiful without any menus at all! For the head table, I had wooden laser cut names made for each of the bridal party members and placed just above their setting. They were pretty cheap too on Etsy (under $30) for 19 names!
How involved was your fiancé in the planning process?
I am such a planner and had a pretty good idea of what I wanted things to look like – my husband is very easy going and kind of let me have free reign on all things wedding. When I couldn’t decide, I’d give him my top two options and have him choose. With that being said, he came to every tasting, venue meeting and walk-through, helped with the guest list and registry, and with some of the DIY projects when needed. It was a good balance for us.
Did you guys do a “First Look”, or did your fiancé see you for the first time walking down to aisle?
From the very beginning, the one thing we both wanted was to wait and see each other for the first time walking down the isle. When we got closer to the wedding, I started to second guess myself and get stressed out about having enough time for pictures, etc. afterwards. I read blog posts on the pros and cons of first looks and at one point almost let them change my mind. HOWEVER – we stuck with what we wanted and I honestly couldn’t have imagined anything more special and genuine. Walking down the isle, all I saw was him and nothing else mattered. It is a moment in my heart that I could never forget. Plus, taking pictures after the ceremony worked out just fine. Sure it may have been a little smoother if we got them done before, but that just wasn’t what we wanted to do. I’m sooooo glad we decided what was best for us!
What would you recommend as “must have pictures” for future brides?
My photographer actually gave me her typical “must have” picture list and I made changes as needed from that. Of course, lots of you and your groom and plenty with family! I made sure to have a list that included both sets of parents, siblings, grandparents, etc. so it was easy for my photographer to go through. I also realllly loved my veil and was glad we took tons of amazing photos that showcased it. Some of my favorite photos were actually the candid ones that my photographer took and weren’t on any particular list.
Did you have a videographer?
I highlyyyyy recommend a videographer if you can squeeze it into your budget. I was a little stressed out at first because some of the videographers I had found were charging 4-6k for wedding videos! I just took my time and did tons of searching around to find someone whose videos were beautiful but still within the price I wanted to spend. Our videographer, Taiki, was absolutely phenomenal. I would pay for videography over and over again. Having that video literally takes us right back to those exact moments to re-live that passed by so quickly on the day of. He also included raw footage of the ceremony and speeches for us, so definitely ask your videographer if this is something they can do before hiring! I wouldn’t say it’s a “must,” but it is nice to have.
What song did you choose for your first dance?
We danced to the song “Greatest Love Story” by LANCO. When the song first came out, it reminded bailey and I so much of our love story. Bailey also had this song playing when he proposed to me. I get teary eyed every time I hear it!
I wanna be your forever
So baby will you be my wife
Now that we know a little better
We could have a real nice life
‘Cause I’m what you wanted and your what I need
So let’s meet in between
We’re gonna be the greatest love story this town has ever seen
Cake or Desserts?
We did both! My friend Ashlee from Sweet Dough Cookie Co. seriously makes the prettiest custom cakes and cookies. We met up with her for our tasting and decided to do a 4 tier simple white cake. She made cookies with our names and wedding date on them and all white beaded cake pops which were gorgeous displayed on a variety of simple white cake stands.
Top 3 most memorable moments of your wedding day?
Walking down the isle and seeing my groom for the first time!
Getting ready with my mom, sister, and bridesmaids
One thing that made your wedding unique or something special and personal you added to your day that stands out from other weddings.
Each of my flower girls were daughter’s of my bridesmaids.
Having all of our parents, grandparents, and siblings a part of our ceremony (this was super important to me!)
My husband and most of his groomsmen grew up riding and racing dirtbikes as a huge part of their lives, so I surprised him with a bike as his wedding gift which made for some pretty amazing pictures and it’s something close to his heart.
Total months planning?
We got engaged in December of 2017 and the very first thing we did was book the venue just to have a set date to look forward to. In total, we were engaged and had 1.5yrs for planning – I think we definitely could have done it in a shorter time frame but we both wanted to get married in the summer and most venues had already been booked out for that upcoming year. After we found our venue, I worked on booking one main vendor at a time and checking things off my list (this probably took the first 6 months after engagement). Then around the one-year mark things slowed down a bit and I didn’t have as much to do! Fast forward to 3-4 months before the wedding my life was consumed with checking and writing emails, dress fittings, consultations and vendor check-ins, and everything else in between! Time flew by and oh my gosh, I already miss it!
One thing you wish you knew when you were planning your wedding?
One small thing (& maybe it was just me who forgot to do this, oops) but remember to put an “RSVP by…” date on your wedding invitations. I totally forgot to put a deadline and ended up having to send reminder cards to probably half of our guest list asking them to go onto our wedding website to let us know if they could make it or not!
Anything you would have done different?
For me personally, I really enjoyed the wedding planning process! However, if you aren’t super into details, planning, negotiating, etc. I think it would be well worth it to squeeze a wedding planner into your budget if possible. If I didn’t have my mom helping me every step of the way, I would have without a doubt gotten a planner! Just with how much goes into it, I think it would help keep any brides wedding planning process so much less stressful and on-track because it’s so hard just knowing where to even start.
One thing that helped you stay stress free throughout your planning and on your wedding day?
Having a day of coordinator. My venue actually required it and at the time I booked, the package included one of their own. My “day of” coordinator started checking in with me a few months prior to help me create layouts, timelines, and vendor arrivals. She called me a few days before the wedding and we talked through everything and at the end of our chat I just said to her “If anything goes differently than we planned, just do what you would do if it was your wedding and I don’t need to know about it.” I trusted her and I literally had zero stress the day of my wedding about details or timeline, etc. She handled everything!! It also took so much stress off of my family – I didn’t want them to have to do a single thing other than be present and truly enjoy themselves too. I even hired a few people just for a “clean-up crew.”
Did you go on a honeymoon? If so, where to? Did you go right after the wedding or wait?
Yes!!! We went to Bora Bora for an absolute DREAM honeymoon! We are already planning to go back on our 10-year anniversary, it was that breathtakingly amazing. We booked our Honeymoon through Costco and had just about a year to save up and make payments as we were able to. We got married on a Saturday and left the Tuesday after. We were both lucky enough to be able to take a month off of work for wedding festivities and our Honeymoon which made it really nice. We were both super happy that we decided to give ourselves at least a couple of days after the wedding before we headed off though because we were SO tired and there was so much to do!
Last but not least if you could give ONE piece of advice to a bride-to-be planning her wedding what would it be??
Just enjoy your day and delegate any duties to your wedding coordinator or bridal party. No matter what happens or if something goes differently than you planned, at the end of the day you are getting to marry the love of your life and it will be the best day!
Brooke & Bailey’s Happily Ever After
Newlywed life has been amazing. While not much has changed in our day to day routines, being married just feels so special and intimate and boy is it surreal to see your hubby with a wedding band on! We are soaking in every bit of this new chapter and get excited talking about our lives together. We hope our next 5 years include designing and building our dream home from the ground-up together and starting our family with little ones!
Venue: Rock Creek Gardens // Catering: Gallucci’s Catering // Wedding Dress: Pronovias from The Dress Theory – Seattle // Veil: Sara Gabriel Veils // MUA: Andreigha Wazny // Hair: Madeline Rude // Bridal Robes: Le Rose // Florist: Juliet and Lou // Photography: Sydnee Marie Photography // Videography: TaikiGreen // Cake + desserts: Sweet Dough Cookie Co. // Calligraphy: Kimmy Betzina // Bridesmaid dresses: Show Me Your Mumu // Groom’s custom suit: Joseph Abound // Groomsmen suits: Men’s Wearhouse
Keep scrolling for more photos of Brooke’s fairytale wedding. Dream come true!
Congrats Mr. & Mrs. Fox… you two are hella foxyyyyyyyyy!