Ryan and Cara Friedman were married at Pear Tree Estate in Champaign, Illinois last September 9th. It’s always a pleasure to deliver to Pear Tree where the staff is pleasant and helpful. The weather was beautiful and to top it off, Ryan and Cara had booked an excellent photographer, Rachael Schirano who captured these gorgeous images of Ryan and Cara’s special day.
1. How did Ryan propose?
Ryan planned a special day in Chicago for my birthday. We visited the city museums in the morning and as we were leaving, Ryan told me the next stop was really for him, a tour of Wrigley Field (he’s a huge Cubs fan). We were running a little late, and it was snowing (in April!) I was frantically rushing to find the spot where we were to meet the tour guide and trying to explain to Ryan we were going in the wrong direction. Ryan stopped at the front of the building where we first met (one of the Cubs Rooftops) and said, “there is no tour – I just wanted to bring you back to where we met and this all began!” He got down on one knee and proposed. I was so thrown off I don’t think I ever actually said yes!! He had the rest of the evening all planned with dinner at a well-known steakhouse, meeting our parents for drinks at Harry Caray’s and then walking (in a blizzard) to the Trump Tower where we checked in and celebrated with champagne!
2. What did you enjoy most about wedding planning?
As cheesy as it sounds, I really enjoyed the time bonding, not only with Ryan, but my mom and my sister! We had to make some big financial decisions together for the first time which tested the waters of how we could handle that in a marriage. Luckily we seemed to align pretty well!! As I am an indecisive person and change my mind a lot, I really appreciated my mom and sisters help in planning and depended on their opinions to help me make decisions. As I lived at home until we married, it was really nice to have the last year so close with my mom and sister who is still in high school.
3. Would you change anything if you could do it over?
Throughout the process, there were times we would question why we were having such a big extravagant event – we really just wanted to be married!! There were times we thought, “lets just cut out all this stress, cancel the venue and go to city hall. But as most girls, I had thought about my wedding day for a long time and wanted to give that day to my parents and close friends and have them there to share it with us. I feel like some people would say they would do without the small details, that they wouldn’t be remembered, but I wouldn’t have changed a thing – I loved all of the decor!! I would change my hairstyle though – I loved my “messy braid look” when it was fresh at the beginning of the day, but it fell quickly and didn’t look as it had when it was fresh!
4. How did you decide on your vendors?
Deciding on vendors was a little tricky for me as neither of us was from the Champaign area. We relied heavily on online reviews from The Knot and Wedding Wire, along with personal references from friends. Since the venue was the first thing we booked, we asked the ladies at Pear Tree for recommendations.
5. What did you find most difficult in wedding planning?
Logistics! It was difficult trying to figure out rides to and from the venue/hotel for things like our first look and bridal party photos. There were times we needed cars & overnight bags at certain places, or when family needed to be there early, yet they didn’t want their cars at the venue because they wanted to take the shuttle back after the party. My recommendation is to write out a timeline so that no steps are missed!!
6. What is your advice for newly engaged couples?
Right after we got engaged, we took about a month to just enjoy being excited about our engagement without having the stress of starting to plan and make decisions right away. I would advise newly engaged couples to do the same – arrange for time to sit back and enjoy being engaged for a bit before starting to make plans.
Nancy was amazing from the knowledge & expertise that she shared at our consultation to the time and effort that she took to help set everything up the morning of the wedding. Our wedding florals were so much prettier than we even hoped for! Everything was perfect – the types of flowers, colors that she suggested and centerpieces. Would HIGHLY recommend Nancy for all brides in the area! – Cara Mulheran Friedman
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