Despite the challenges Dan and Katrina went through, they have managed to achieve a lovely wedding. It wasn’t really the wedding that they dreamed about, but it was better. A sand ceremony was performed maybe to get more beach-themed. They also had guest “LEAF” their thumbprints on a tree guestbook. They didn’t focus too much on decors instead they relied on the colors to make the setting/venue pop without having a lot going on. It was indeed simple and beautiful. Even though it rained after the ceremony, it didn’t put a damp on their joy. They just built a tent and the dilemma is fixed! Never panic when you encounter things like these. You should be prepared and plan ahead most especially when you go for an outdoor wedding. So here is Mr. & Mrs. Dan Sanow’s gallery.
What is your story as a couple, how did you meet & fall in love?
Dan and I met while we were living in the same apartment building in downtown Cleveland. He met my roommate first, and he was new to town, so he didn’t have many local friends yet. He fit in quickly with our whole group of friends and we often hung out in a group setting. Soon, we found ourselves hanging out alone and realized we couldn’t get enough of each other! That New Years Eve, he finally kissed me and from then on we were inseparable!
What makes the two of you a perfect match?
We just love to be around each other and do things together. It sounds so cliché, but he is my best friend. We love just to be together and experience life together!
How did he (or you) propose?
I knew it was coming since I had already picked out a ring, so I was almost expecting it for every special occasion. I made plans for us to meet up with my friend and her husband for dinner. I just KNEW it wasn’t going to happen that particular night since I was the one who made the plans. However, I didn’t know that my friend was in on it. When I got to the restaurant, both of our parents and best friends were already there, and he got down on one knee in front of everyone as we were walking in! He still managed to surprise me!
How long was the planning process? Did you think it was enough time?
We got engaged in December, and our wedding was the following August, so we had about eight months to plan. I felt behind schedule the whole time, so I don’t think it was enough time, although we did have some unusual circumstances. As a girl who usually doesn’t like being the center of attention, and not growing up dreaming of my “perfect” wedding, I knew I wanted to do something simple. So we initially started planning a destination wedding in Punta Cana. Unfortunately, soon after we got engaged, Dan’s dad was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. We decided it was important for us to have our parents at our wedding, so when March rolled around, and it was clear his health was only getting worse. Hence, we switched gears and started planning a wedding closer to home. So, with only five months to go, we still had an enormous chunk of planning to do. I ended up hiring a wedding planner to help me with some of the details and logistical stuff since I was so pressed for time.
What tips & tricks (can we use “hacks”?) can you share future brides that you yourself have learned during and after your wedding?
I wish I would have realized sooner just to use referrals to find vendors. I was pretty overwhelmed searching online because you come up with so many different options, and you have no idea whether they are good or not. If you can book a vendor that a friend you trust has already used, it helps. Then, when you have one vendor you like, ask them for referrals for other vendors that you still need. They can usually tell you who is good and who they have worked with before. When the vendors can work together well, it helps. This is
probably your first time planning a wedding, but they do this every day, and they can help you!
What were some challenges you faced while planning your wedding & what did you do to address them?
We had quite a bit of challenge – we were trying to deal with the shock of Dan’s dad becoming sick and his health going downhill so quickly. It was hard to focus on planning our wedding. We both work full time and were making frequent trips to his parents home 3 hours away on the weekends, so we didn’t have much time to devote to planning. The wedding planner helped us out with getting some of the details figured out and coordinating with the vendors that took some of the stress off us.
What inspired your wedding décor? Why did you choose the things that you did?
We wanted a simple, laid-back, yet still somewhat elegant wedding- classy casual as I called it. Even though we couldn’t have our destination wedding, I still wanted it to be outdoors. We found a cute little place called Firefly Beach Resort that has a small private beach on Lake Erie, which fit us perfectly since we spend our summers boating on the lake. We didn’t need a ton of decorations since the scenery itself is beautiful- not to mention I didn’t have a lot of time to worry much about that. We set up an arch with simple flowers overlooking the lake for our ceremony, and we had a big tent in the grassy area right next to that for the reception. We had long rectangular tables because I thought it made it looked more relaxed and social, and also allowed for more room for guests to get around. We had table runners with a pretty purple damask pattern on them and simple lanterns with flowers on them for centerpieces. We had a buffet of ribs, chicken, and pulled pork that was catered by an awesome local BBQ place, and an assortment of brownies and cookies instead of cake.
Where did you save the most money?
We were able to save a good amount on food and drinks. Our BBQ buffet was delicious and fit our relaxed style, and ended up being much cheaper than other catering companies. We also were able to bring in our own alcohol, so we bought everything wholesale.
What was the biggest expense?
Food and drinks are the biggest expense, so if you’re on a budget this is where you should try to get a deal if you can.
How many guests were invited in your wedding and what was the final guest count?
We invited 294 and ended up with 200 guests. I think we had a bit below average in attendance for a few reasons- we changed our plans halfway through; we didn’t send out save-the-dates, and a good number of our families are out of state.
How did you narrow down your list?
We decided not to invite children. We would have loved to have all of our family and friend’s children there, but it would have really increased the number by a lot. It worked out, and I think our guests understood.
What songs did you use during the ceremony?
Israel Kamakawiwo’ole – Over the Rainbow / What a Wonderful World
Imagine Dragons – I’m on Top of the World
Where did you go on your honeymoon?
We traveled for two weeks through New Zealand and the Cook Islands. We splurged a little, but it was an amazing and unforgettable trip. We wanted to do something where we could do some adventurous/exploring activities but also have some relaxation/beach time. We had the best time!
What are you most excited about for the future?
I’m just excited to start our life together and hopefully start a family soon!
Do you have advice for couples still in the planning process?
Try not to get caught up in the idea of having to have your “perfect” wedding. It was exciting to imagine our “perfect” destination wedding at first, but then we had to change our plans due to other circumstances. It was stressful, but I just kept reminding myself that at the end of the day, all I cared about was that I got to marry the guy I love. After talking to other people, I know we’re not the only ones who have had to adapt their wedding plans, so it happens. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in all the little details that feel like such a big deal at the time, but afterward no one will even notice or remember. We didn’t have all the fancy details that many weddings have, but we still had a beautiful and memorable day. In the end, we had a great wedding and great memories, and most of all we’re thankful we were able to have Dan’s dad there.
What inspired the wedding day outfits?
I just loved my dress immediately when I saw it- I didn’t necessarily have a theme in mind when I went dress shopping. This dress was one of the first ones I tried on, and I loved it so much I didn’t want to try any other ones. The Lacey back was so pretty, and I think the dress overall matched my personal style. We wanted a more casual outdoor wedding; we chose gray suits for Dan and his best man. I wanted a more funky tie for Dan and I was able to find a cool purple plaid tie.
What was your favorite part of the day?
It was storming all morning the day of our wedding, so they were going to have to move our ceremony to the tent that I made me bummed. My favorite part of the day was when I showed up in the limo to the ceremony area and saw that the sun had come out. They had set up our wedding back outside where it was supposed to be. It was a relief
What were the highlights from the ceremony & reception?
The biggest highlight for me was when I was able to walk down the aisle towards Dan. I had so many emotions flowing through me at that moment, and I was just so happy that the moment was finally here! I was also so relieved after all the more formal parts of the reception were over- like the speeches and dances- so that I could just take a deep breath, relax, and enjoy the night!
What part of the ceremonies do you think was the most memorable for you? (& your guests?)
I think what our guests will remember the most is the beautiful scenery of our wedding.
Photographer: Blue Martini Photography