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January 13, 2018

The Story of Our Intimate Elopement

Adventures, Wedding


Buckle up and prepare for a long post! Today’s post is a little bit different because we are blogging about OUR wedding day – the most perfect day of our lives! I (Brandie) cannot talk enough about how perfect our day was and how perfectly everything fell into place. It was a dream come true and absolutely everything that we could have imagined. Follow along below to read about our journey to becoming the Nowak’s!

First up – our planning process! When we first started planning our wedding, we were 100% set on a destination wedding. Think New Zealand or Costa Rica…somewhere far, far away! Sometimes God has other plans, though, and life happens. When we decided to take on a new puppy, AKA sweet Carson, we needed to keep him in mind. We were 100% committed to this sweet pup and he quickly became our best friend. We knew right away that we wanted to incorporate him into our special day, which meant no incredibly long trip for a destination wedding.

We then focused on trying to plan our ceremony somewhere within driving distance. As we went through our options, nothing really spoke to our hearts or caught our eye. Then late one night as we were sitting in our living room, a light bulb went off in my head. Call me crazy, but what if we got married right here in our living room?!?! Our Brick Baby is the most significant place in our lives! I mean we did buy the DIY project and pour our hearts and souls into renovating our dream home for nine months!! This home represents all of our hard work, dreams and aspirations so I literally could not think of anywhere more perfect. Bret immediately lit up and it was decided – we were going to get married in our very own living room!

Even being married at home, we still loved the idea of having some form of surprise factor to our special day. When we work with our clients, we strive to make their day as stress-free as possible. We try to eliminate all factors for chaos. We wanted to be able to apply this mindset to our wedding day, as well, and focus solely on our marriage. At the end of the day, we would be married and ultimately, that is all that would matter. We decided together that we would invite our immediate family and closest of friends. We each narrowed it down to our 2 closest friends and then started snooping. We secretly started listening to everyone’s plans and casually asking what upcoming plans they may have. After some investigating, we found out that everyone would be off on Friday, December 29th. We even were lucky enough to have our sister-in-law, Meagan, off work and that NEVER happens. Not only was Meagan off, but we were even able to plan it around an upcoming flight across the country set to leave on the afternoon of 29th. That’s when we knew that everything was going to fall into place perfectly. Slowly, but surely, the stars were starting to align.

Next, we did a little hoping and praying before we made our calls to the vendors. First on this list was a wedding photographer. Being wedding photographers ourselves, we know how important beautiful pictures on your special day are, so a wonderful photog was one of the top priorities for us. We had our photographer in mind, but did not know if she would be available. We contacted Shillawna Ruffner on Tuesday, December 26th to see if she would be available that Friday. We met Shilawnna through the Rising Tide Society and immediately hit it off with her. We have very similar shooting styles and knew that she was the one, so we kept our fingers and toes crossed that she could be there. Shilawnna giggled when we asked her and happily agreed to be there!  Vendor #1: CHECK!

Next up, we contacted Tara Benton to see if she would be available to do my hair. I have been good friends with Tara for a very long time and she has been very pivotal in the success of our business. Tara is a past B&B bride and is a magnificent hairstylist. I could not think of anyone else that I would have wanted to be there to help transform me into a beautiful bride. She agreed to be there with tears of joy in her eyes and happiness in her heart! Vendor #2: CHECK!

Brooklyn Maldonado is also a past B&B bride, and an extremely talented makeup artist. We have worked with her on many occasions and I am always amazed at her work. Not only is she amazing at what she does, but she also works a full-time job. I was nervous to call her, because I knew we would need her on a weekday morning. What are the odds that she had randomly requested the day off?!?! When I say, the stars were aligning for us, I am not even kidding!!! Vender #3: CHECK!

Last, but not least, we reached out to Bailey Marie Studios for some wedding day pieces. Obviously, we wouldn’t be sending out traditional invites, but we were interested in a mock-up invitation for a special keepsake. She created us the most stunning custom pieces, and even sent us the most precious surprise! Bailey created a watercolor portrait of our home for us, because she knew how important Our Brick Baby was to us and knew that’s where we would be tying the knot! How sweet is that?! Vendor #4: CHECK!

After we knew all of our vendors would be available, it was time to ask our friends and family to be there for our special day.  All of our friends agreed to be there with the most enormous smiles on their faces and some of them were even in tears. It was obvious that they would not miss our wedding day for anything!! Tuesday evening, we made our rounds to each of our families. This was one of the most enjoyable parts of the whole planning process! For the longest time, our families had expected us to go off alone and elope, so to see their faces when we asked them to be present for our wedding in just three short days was PRICELESS! The rooms were filled with lots of laughter and tears. There was excitement, but also some panic – wedding-ready in just three days?!?! These are moments that we will forever hold dear in our hearts.

Now that our families knew, we had a few requests for them. Bret’s mother, Kim, is a talented wedding decorator part-time. We have worked alongside her in a few weddings and we knew she did remarkable work. We asked if she would help us transform our living room into our dream ceremony space and she hastily agreed. We also asked my dad if he would be the one to marry us. With tears in his eyes, he also agreed. They were both honored to be included in the planning of this special day!

On Wednesday, December 27th, we headed out to find a dress and suit. And yes, I am serious – two days before the ceremony! Bret had his heart set on the most perfect velvet suit that he had found on Unfortunately, it was an online exclusive, so he knew he would have to settle for something else. We headed to Evansville, Indiana, to shop around and see what we could find. I am not even exaggerating when I say that we walked into Express to find the EXACT suit. Someone had returned an online purchase the day before in Bret’s EXACT size. He grabbed it off the rack and ran straight back to the fitting room. When he walked out of that room, he had what I like to call his ‘bridal moment’. He was beaming from ear-to-ear because it was the perfect fit. What are the odds? Next up, I needed to find a gown. I knew I would need to go somewhere that had many sizes and many options available being in such a time crunch. We didn’t have much luck until we went to David’s Bridal. We were waited on by the sweetest gal who helped me find a Vera Wang bridesmaid gown. Once I added a belt to the ensemble, it was perfect. The beige-colored gown was exactly what I envisioned in our wedding day plan.

We spent all of Thursday running errands. The seamstress at David’s Bridal was fabulous! She altered and attached a belt to my gown in less than 24 hour which is almost unheard of. I spent the afternoon with my mom and sister doing fun stuff to get ready. As we got our nails done, my sister kept exclaiming, “Just one more day as a Woodward!” It had never really set into me until that moment! I was going to be a Nowak tomorrow!!! The day flew by and before we knew it, it was wedding day!!

On Friday, everything fell perfectly into place. The day was relaxing and stress-free. We picked up our marriage license on Friday morning before we started to get ready for the day. Brooklyn and Tara showed up to work their magic, my sister showed up with Starbucks, and then it was almost time!! When I looked into the mirror for the first time with my hair and makeup done, I felt a huge wave of emotion rush over me. I felt so incredibly beautiful and felt like a beautiful bride. Add in my beautiful gown and bouquet, and I was over-the-moon excited! I was eager and ready as I was about to marry the love of my life.

Bret helped me get my dress on for the ceremony. For the past ten years, he has been my rock, and has been there for me through everything. He is the definition of my best friend, so there was no one more perfect than him to help me get into my gown. It was a sweet, intimate moment that I will treasure forever.

Before the ceremony, we walked out into the living room to see how Kim was coming along with the decorating. Oh my goodness, it was BEAUTIFUL!!! We asked Kim for lots of greenery and flowers, and boy, did she deliver?! We are somewhat obsessed with greenery, but most importantly, eucalyptus! Let’s go back to a few days before when Kim had to be the bearer of bad news that eucalyptus was unfortunately out-of-season, and would need to be ordered which we had zero time to do. We were disheartened by the news, but continued with our motto of living this day out stress-free. One night before the wedding, Kim ran into a grocery store and noticed the floral department bringing out a clearance cart. She made her way to the cart only to realize that a truck had a dropped off the wrong shipment which just happened to be, you guessed it – EUCALYPTUS!!! (SIDE NOTE: it was also on CLEARANCE so my frugal, couponing heart screamed a little on the inside)

Let’s jump back to our wedding day, and the living room had been transformed. Just look at that backdrop! Bret built a beautiful white shiplap wall to be the main centerpiece and Kim worked her magic with her flowers and greenery. We rented 12 white, wooden chairs from Sweet Rentals in Owensboro, Kentucky, for the seating arrangements. The ceremony space turned out simple, cozy and intimate. It was literally everything that we imagined.

The ceremony was sweet and laid-back. It was so magical standing next to the man of my dreams as my dad married us. It was a very special moment not only to us, but to our loved ones experiencing it with us. The room quickly filled with tears as our families watched ten years’ worth of love becoming officially official! Carson roamed through the living room sniffing our guests as nonchalantly as possible and had everyone in giggles. The way that Bret looked at me as we said ‘I do’ will be a vision that I could never forget. Our first kiss was magical in every way and we threw our arms up in the air in excitement as we became Mr. and Mrs. Nowak – CAN YOU BELIEVE IT?!?! We toasted with champagne and then left with Shillawna  (and of course, Carson) for about an hour to get some sunset images in a field near Rockport, Indiana. Believe it or not, but our favorite pictures are the ones that include Carson – I mean check out that sweet little bow-tie! Shillawna blew our images out of the water! We are so happy with how they turned out. (Insert happy dance here!)

We know this post is lengthy, but our clients and our followers are such a large part of our lives, that we couldn’t bear to leave out a single detail. I thank God every day for our business and the man that I can now call my husband! We have built this amazing life together and I couldn’t imagine doing it without him. We are so thankful to our parents and our wonderful families and friends for celebrating this day with us and for helping us to arrive at this sweet moment in time. Please enjoy some of the images from the most important day of lives!

With Love,

Mr. & Mrs. Nowak

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The Creative Team:

Photography: Shillawna Ruffner Photography

Invitation Suite: Bailey Marie Studios

Hair: Tara Benton

Makeup: Brooklyn Maldonado

Florals: Kim Nowak


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  1. Savannah says:

    I got teary-eyed reading about your special day! So many precious details and surprises… and gorgeous photos to capture it all. Congratulations to both of you!