You may remember Alyssa and Justin from their beautiful, emotional wedding ceremony earlier this year. Well, they are back! And we are so excited to share their big celebration and vow renewal with you now! These two Sporting KC sweethearts had their vow renewal in their church, followed by a fun-filled reception at Children’s Mercy Park. And, they’ve shared some of their best wedding planning advice with us!
Getting Ready | Children’s Mercy Park
What do you wish you knew before you started planning?
Justin: There are a lot of details. It can get expensive. Try to make those decisions together.
Alyssa: It will all be okay in the end. If a song is missed or you forget the flowers at home, or your groom gets dehydrated and the ceremony doesn’t start on time, everything will be okay. And, chances are, your guests won’t know that anything is differing from the schedule you set out.
Best Advice for a bride?
Alyssa: Make sure those that are helping you get ready know how to get you into (and out of) your dress. If you have a corset back, take time for them to learn how to properly tie the dress so it stays up while you’re dancing all night. If you have a train, ensure they know how to bustle it. You want to be comfortable while simultaneously looking your best.
Best advice for a groom?
Justin: Have a plan, stay fed and hydrated, and let your party do things for you. You’ll be stressed enough about the ceremony (and other things if you expect family drama), at least until it’s over.
First Look & Wedding Party Pictures | Children’s Mercy Park
What were your favorite moments from your wedding day?
Justin: Seeing her for the first time. Walking in to the reception and seeing everyone’s smiling faces, knowing they’re there for you and are happy for you.
Alyssa: Since we had two celebrations, there are two favorite moments. In January, when we said our vows, my favorite moment was the emotion of my groom. We decided against a first look, but took the time to pray together before I walked down the aisle. I could hear his voice breaking as he tearred up and prayed for our future. I still get butterflies and weepy eyed thinking about it. When I saw his tears as I walked down the aisle, the weight of the emotions of the day hit me – but the love that surrounded us gave me an unspeakable strength. The balance of what it means to be in partnership with one another was immediate in that moment and something I will always carry with me.
Similarly, in September, when we renewed our vows, my favorite moment was walking down the aisle of the church. I wish I could go back in time and take that walk again and again. Seeing the faces of so many family and friends who had traveled from near and far to pray with and for us and surround us with their love moved me to unexpected tears. I could feel the presence of those we had lost around me giving me strength, and the smiles of those present gave me hope for many joyous memories in the future.
Vow Renewal Ceremony
Any words of wisdom for those still planning?
- Don’t procrastinate. Make a schedule (or use a planning tool like The Knot) and STICK TO IT. You don’t want to feel pressured to get everything done at the last minute.
- If you do procrastinate (or if things don’t go according to schedule because life happens), don’t be afraid to relinquish control and ask for help. This is coming from a control freak who didn’t follow this advice and missed out on fun social activities because of it.
- Your friends are more talented than you think. If they offer to write your escort cards, LET THEM. (That list could go on for ages… the point is, let your friends help make your special day UNIQUELY YOU).
- Pinterest is great for inspiration, but let your wedding be YOURS. (I would have never imagined having table numbers based on Sporting KC players, but when we chose our venue, the idea came to me and I ran with it.)
- Take time to be with your guests outside of your wedding throughout your wedding weekend. We did this at the advice of the bride’s parents from out of town, and we are so glad we did. We had guests fly in from halfway across the country and if all we had been able to do was dance to a song together at the reception, it would have been a bummer.
- Be organized and communicate with everyone. Between yourselves, designate a point person for communication leading up to the big day and designate someone else to be in charge the day of. Wires will get crossed, but if everyone knows who to go to for information, that is immensely helpful. (With one person in charge, you know you haven’t forgotten to tell your future mother-in-law what time rehearsal is.)
- Have a FLEXIBLE game plan for the big day. Allow plenty of time for life to happen. Sometimes you take longer than planned to get into your dress. Sometimes the groom gets dehydrated before the vows. Build in time and you won’t be stressed out if something goes awry.
- STAY HUYDRATED ON THE BIG DAY. Especially if it’s hot out. Make sure you have a protein-rich breakfast/snacks while you’re getting ready and drink plenty of water. (This may have something to do with point 7.)
- HAVE FUN This is an insanely busy time in your lives, but know that every ounce of stress will be lifted off your shoulders the day after ‘I do’ and you’ll immediately want to do it all over again for the good times with family and friends by your side.
Bride & Groom Portraits | Children’s Mercy Park
Our two favorite splurges were our venue and our photographers. Because we met at Children’s Mercy Park, fell in love while attending Sporting KC matches at Children’s Mercy Park, and got engaged at one of those matches at Children’s Mercy Park, it only made sense to us to celebrate our love at Children’s Mercy Park. Because of our unique situation, we also had the privilege of saying our vows there, so it was a complete joy to share our reception with everyone from out of town at a place that means so much to us.
And, while there are PLENTY of photographers in Kansas City, there’s only one Rivas Photography. You’ve not only cemented your place in our lives as friends, you’ve stood by our sides on incredibly emotional days – crying and laughing with us – and made some of the most beautiful images to capture those moments.
Reception | The Shield Club at Children’s Mercy Park
Anything else you would like to share with us/planning brides and grooms?
Justin: Having the right people (especially photographers) hired to do the wedding makes a world of difference. We were blessed that the bride’s parents could afford who we chose. I would say splurge on Rivas Photography (second to the dress) and cut corners everywhere else. Songs change, video formats change, memories fade and people pass, but photos last the longest. Trust them. They will knock your socks off.
Alyssa: Working with Rivas Photography has been one of the best parts of this past year. From planning sessions to the day of (to the years of friendship ahead!), we are SO IMMENSLY PLEASED that our paths crossed.
What’s next for you two?
We are ready to get back to a new normal. I say a new normal because we have lost so many loved ones this past year that, in our planning, we never really had a time to slow down enough to see what life is like without them – we just had to press on. We will be reflecting on memories with our loved ones who have left us and creating new memories with those that surround us. We have been “Dave Ramsey”-ing with our money to become debt free and save for our future together. We are hoping that we can take a belated honeymoon someday and make a down payment on a house. We look forward to whatever God has in store for us, knowing that if we can make it through the challenges we’ve already faced, we can truly do all things through Him who strengthens us.
CONGRATULATIONS Alyssa and Justin!! We can’t even begin to tell you how incredibly happy we are for you! We’re so happy that you two have come into our lives, and are SO excited to see where life takes you next!
Book us for your Wedding:
To book Rivas Photography for your upcoming engagement session or wedding, please visit our contact page to send us a message. Or, feel free to check out our calendar to find our next available meeting time.