By Azure Nelson,
Published Sep 10, 2009
We love hearing real wedding stories, and on the last Friday of every month we introduce you to a real married couple that worked through one or more challenges in planning their wedding. Since these couples are no longer in the midst of planning, we think you’ll find their solutions and perspectives refreshing. To read the first three Real Wedding Challenges, click here.
Luke and Amber have only been married a year, so I found their perspective on their somewhat unique situation especially interesting.
Amber, 26, Buyer for State Farm
Luke, 28, Occupational Therapist
Wedding Date and Location:
May 25, 2008, Eagle Ridge Resort, Galena, IL
How they met:
During college, Luke and Amber worked together at a bar, but Amber was in a serious relationship with another guy. Amber considered Luke to be her friend, but Luke told his visiting sisters that he planned to marry her. After knowing each other for five years, and dating for three, the two got engaged.
About the wedding:
Amber had always wanted a spring or fall wedding. They had originally considered a destination wedding, but decided against it. Venues in Chicago proved too expensive, so they were thrilled to discover the small town of Galena, Illinois. Galena was convenient for their Illinois friends and family, but still had the feeling of a get-away. The Memorial Day weekend date and having the wedding at a resort center allowed friends and family to stay together, creating the feel of a festive weekend.
Biggest wedding challenge:
Like a lot of young couples, Amber and Luke faced budget challenges. The couple also faced a more unique challenge, Luke, his two sisters, and many of their friends are deaf. This meant that Luke and Amber had to think through some decisions a little earlier and more carefully than other couples might.
For example, anything that needed translating by a sign language interpreter had to be set two months ahead of time, to give her time to learn it. This included the minister’s words, readings, and the vows. Luke considered hiring a local interpreter, but given the importance of this position he was uncomfortable hiring someone he had never met or seen work. Instead, he hired someone he had worked with before in Bloomington (two hours a way). Because the wedding was at a resort center, she and her husband joined in the fun and stayed for the weekend.
The DJ also proved challenging. Luke needs a heavy bass line to be able to feel the music enough to dance. After talking to the DJ, Luke wound up having to do his own research into speakers that would provide enough bass. Unfortunately, the DJ forgot to check with the venue about the available power supply for the outdoor reception. Every time the DJ tried to crank the speaker to an appropriate level for Luke, it tripped a fuse. Luckily, he discovered this before the reception, but it still meant that the bass was not heavy enough for Luke. The couple wound up getting a partial refund on the DJ’s services.
What would you do differently if you could?
Amber has two things she says she’d change, the first is that she wishes she had not gone offsite to get her hair and makeup done, it felt stressful and rushed. The other is that she wishes she had not waited a day before leaving for her honeymoon. “I would rather have gone the very next morning, or postponed leaving for a few days. The extra day in between was just a waste, and we wanted to be on our way to Hawaii.”
Advice for other couples:
Amber’s best advice is to try and leverage the talents of your friends and family. Both her mother and Luke’s mother helped with the planning, and décor. Her sisters picked out the bridesmaids’ dresses, and helped with accessories. Letting others help saved her money and time, allowing her to create the wedding she wanted.
Luke and Amber live in Bloomington-Normal, Illinois. The happy couple just returned from a one-year anniversary trip to Italy.