Did you get engaged over the holidays and already feel the pressure from family and friends asking the Whos,Whens and Wheres?

With an overwhelming number of resourceful websites, Pinterest boards, and unwanted opinions of family and friends, Solutions by Cara helps clients coordinate the stressful logistics that tend to be the biggest planning stressors. In this new blog series, Cara interviews brides and grooms who have survived the planning process. Learn about the realities, joys, and challenges you may face as you start to plan your big day!

Our first featured Survival Bride is Anissa Hartline Orsino who celebrated her 5 year wedding anniversary this past May. Anissa and her husband Michael got married in Media, PA at Broomall’s Lake Country Club.

Photos by Tim Hussey

Cara: What was your #1 priority when planning your wedding?

Anissa: To have a relaxed, fun, and meaningful celebration with my family and friends.

Cara: What was your greatest challenge?

Anissa: Making a nice party without spending a fortune.

Cara: Did you have a predetermined budget?

Anissa: We went about 20% over our budget, I think.

Cara: What DIY pieces did you feel were attainable? Which do you wish you would have hired out for?

Anissa: We wrote, printed, and decorated our own invitations, made our favors, and wrote our vows. I had originally intended to make our own centerpieces and create our own music playlist. I’m very glad that I hired a competent florist and DJ to handle that for us. We enjoyed the DIY that we did, but it was a challenge to not get stressed out about everything that needed to get done, even when we were hiring significant help.

Anissa added a personal touch to her Table Cards with photos of each of their guests.

Cara: If you could change one thing about your wedding planning experience, what would it have been?

Anissa: I would have tried to enjoy the planning more. I was able to relax and enjoy the big day, but the months leading up to it were filled with anxiety about stuff that wasn’t really important.

Cara: In what areas did you call in help? Who helped you and what was that experience like?

Anissa: We hired some terrific vendors. I absolutely loved my caterer, florist, DJ, and photographer. Although it was a challenge to not micro-manage them, in the end, I was able to tell them what I envisioned and then just let them do their jobs. My family and wedding party helped, too, with things like selecting and purchasing the alcohol for the bar, doing my makeup on the big day, and tracking down the cake when it didn’t show on time.

Cara: What was your favorite memory from your wedding?

Anissa: My husband and I met on a musical theatre tour where I was an actress and he was the stage manager. Many of our friends are theatre people. When a show is about to go on, the stage manager typically gives the actors warnings that it is almost time to go on stage — saying, for instance, ‘this is your five minute call to places’. The actors will let the stage manager know they’ve heard the message by responding, ‘thank you, five’.

We chose to have our cocktail hour before the ceremony so that we could have a chance to say hi to our loved ones before saying our vows and so that there would be a really collegial vibe once it was time for the ceremony to happen. Everyone was milling around eating snacks and drinking wine. I was upstairs getting ready for the ceremony, and my husband-to-be took the microphone to announce, “Ladies and Gentlemen, this is your five-minute call to my wedding ceremony”. A giant chorus of all the people we love yelled out, “THANK YOU FIVE!!!” It was just the relaxed, fun, and meaningful vibe I wanted for the day.

Solutions by Cara is run and operated by Cara Fish, events coordinator and personal assistant. To learn more about Solutions by Cara’s event planning services, contact Cara @ solutionsbycara@gmail.com or visit www.solutionsbycara.com.