Ask a McG Bride : Leslie | McGowan Images Blog


Ask a McG Bride : Leslie

Once again, thank you so much to the brides who are taking the time to answer questions for our “Ask a McG Bride” series! We’d LOVE to continue this series throughout the year, so if you’re a McG bride who’s been married a few months… or a few years!!… please email me for the list of questions! We’ve found these blog posts to be helpful and encouraging to brides who are currently “in the trenches” with planning their own big days, and it’s so awesome to be able to hear unbiased wisdom from someone who can see with the perfect 20/20 hindsight vision. 🙂

Our next installment comes from Miss Leslie, who married her beau Ryan at the incredible Oak Water Ranch last fall! She had a fantastic vendor team that we were honored to be a part of, and a perfectly Texas feeling to her beautiful day.


On Appreciating an Involved Fiance:

Ryan was very involved…more than I ever expected he would be. One of his friends who’d gotten married a couple of years before us advised him never to say “I don’t care” when I asked him anything wedding-related, so he always had an opinion. My mom was also very involved in the planning process. We couldn’t have done it without her help. Our parents always gave us their opinions when we asked, but the final decisions were up to Ryan and me.

In fact, although we didn’t have a specific date in mind for our fall wedding, I was told we COULDN’T get married the opening weekend of hunting season. 🙂 Keeping that in mind, we set the date based on when our venue was available, and our 10 month engagement was the perfect length.


On An Indispensable Wedding Planner:

I enjoyed wedding planning…but I never in a million years could have done it without our planner, HeidiBeth Ramirez {The Wedding Connection}. She coached us through all the decisions and made us aware of all the little things that have to be done that we wouldn’t have thought of {or thought of too late!}. I can’t even imagine how stressful the planning would have been without HeidiBeth. My advice to all brides would be that a wedding coordinator is worth their weight in gold! Not only did she get us through all of the wedding planning, but because of HeidiBeth and her team, Ryan and I {and our families} were able to enjoy our wedding day without worrying about a thing!


On Putting Together a Vendor Team:

After we booked our venue and had a date set in stone, finding the right photographer was our highest priority. Photos are really the only tangible thing to keep from your wedding day, so having a photographer that would really capture “us” was very important.  We stalked photography blogs and met with several photographers. We fell in love with McG’s style of photography…and the albums that Mack puts together to document the entire day really sealed the deal. Going with Chelsea and Mack was a fabulous decision. We L.O.V.E. our photos and have gotten so many compliments on how great the images turned out.

We had an A-MAZ-ing team of vendors! As I mentioned above, I’m not sure there even would have been a wedding if it hadn’t been for HeidiBeth’s coordination. The McG’s gave us beautiful images that we can keep forever…and captured photos of things I didn’t even notice on the day of the wedding {details, etc.}. Chelsea and Mack obviously have lots of experience and know what they’re doing bc one of them was always in just the right place at just the right time to capture images that are truly bursting with emotion. I also want to give shout outs to:

  • DJ Rod Baker {DFW Parties} for making our reception a great party
  • Adrianne and Aytek {Turquoise Video Productions} for a phenomenal wedding highlight video.

I really have no idea how things actually came together on the day of the wedding. I’m telling you…having a coordinator and vendors you trust is crucial if you’re going to truly enjoy your wedding day. We didn’t think/worry about a thing on the day of our wedding. When we arrived at the OW Ranch for photos, I was blown away with how perfect everything was set up. I can’t imagine all the work that went on behind the scenes to make everything so beautiful, but I am forever grateful to HeidiBeth and our fabulous vendors for taking care of everything and ensuring that the day went off without a hitch.


On Budget Guidelines and Unexpected Costs:

We stuck to the budget for the most part. Cutting our guest list was the biggest challenge for us, so anything over budget was due to having a few more guests than the original budget allowed for. We were told, on average, a wedding costs about $200 per guest, and that proved to be pretty accurate for our big day.

Another example of surprise costs… It’s nearly impossible to find an invitation suite that can be mailed with standard postage. In the budgeting process, you should just plan that your invitations are going to require additional postage {it adds up fast!}.


On Her Favorite Moment of the Day:

The first moment I saw Ryan, hands down my favorite moment of the day. One of the best decisions we made was to do a “first look” before the ceremony. Not only did it allow us to save time between the ceremony and reception, but it also gave us a few moments to just take it all in together…to fully absorb what the day was all about just the two of us. It was the calmest few moments of the entire day. It truly felt like we were the only two people in the world during that time.

For couples having a hard time deciding whether or not to do a “first look,” I say do it! I don’t feel like it took away from Ryan’s reaction to seeing me walk down the aisle. That’s a totally different situation that spurred different emotions/reaction. In fact, I think I got a more genuine reaction to him seeing me in my wedding dress for the first time because it was just the two of us. Some of our best photos are from before the ceremony. I will go ahead and admit that I might be a little vain and wanted to make sure we got images when my hair and makeup were at their best!


On Being “In the Moment”:

I will say that 10 months of planning does go by in the blink of an eye when it comes to the actual wedding day. Everyone will tell you that the day will fly by, but you’ll still not be prepared for how quickly time will pass. Just be sure to enjoy every moment. Take time to chat with as many guests as you can. You’ll never have that many people who love/care about you all in the same place again. Don’t forget that the day really is all about the two of you becoming one…so as long as you’re married at the end of the day, it will have been a success!

When it was all said & done, I wouldn’t change a thing. It was PERFECT…better than we ever imagined. The absolute best day!


Thank you so much, Leslie! Your wedding will always be one of our favorites, and your spectacular attitude about everything was the icing on the cake! 🙂

  1. Heidibeth says:

    Soooo Cool! Love seeing one of our couples on the blog! Thanks for all the wonderful shout-outs Leslie! People like you, and vendors like McG is why I love my job!

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