#SpotlightSaturday – Andrew and Katja

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Introducing Andrew and Katja, a quirky, fun loving, down to earth couple from Sheldon, Vermont. Two weeks ago we brought them onto our site talking about the prelude to their wedding, their engagement, and relationship. We found out that these two were close to being high school sweethearts, and have grown together in friendship for quite sometime. Today we are walking you through their planning process, seeing how they made their wedding uniquely them.

“During our engagement we spent a lot of time discussing what we envisioned for certain aspects of our wedding – constantly confirming that we shared the same values. We also prepared for our lives together, finding our home in Sheldon and making plans for home improvement projects, our garden, and pets.”

Andrew and Katja, having recently purchased a house, were very careful to not compromise their incredibly tight budget of $10,000 to $15,000. They remembered that the hardest part of the process was to stay within this budget without compromising their vision. They wanted their wedding to reflect them as a couple and the friendship that they hve with the people around them.

“The best parts were whenever we figured out a detail that we’d had no good ideas for. Probably the most exciting was Cakewhen we finally figured out the perfect way to incorporate board games, one of our favorite hobbies. We read online the idea of using Carcassonne, a tile laying game, as the guestbook. We had guests sign tiles then we arrange them according to the game rules, framed them and hung them on our wall. Continuing with this train of thought, we decided to have small games on each table and to have the winner take the game home. We also decided to have meeples (little board game people shaped pieces) as the wedding favors and giant meeples for our cake toppers.” By incorporating their board games Andrew and Katja were able to show a reflection of themselves without breaking that tight budget. As a plus, they are now able to use their centerpieces over and over again. They also made budget conscious food and beverage options keeping them within their range.

“First we picked the “tier” that was within budget, then it was pretty easy to select the menu. We knew we wanted a cheese platter and clam chowder, because those were the tastiest starters. We then picked the vegetarian options that sounded best to us, picked the only fish option, and picked the meat option that my mom and sister said tasted best (we’re both vegetarian). For the cake we had cupcakes and a small cutting cake, because I don’t really like cake but love cupcakes, and Andrew liked that choice too. We didn’t stress too much over the menu decisions.”

A and KAs a bit of a “splurge” Katja was able to purchase her favorite dress. They wanted a casual yet classy feel and had the gentleman dressing in bowties and khakis. “I got my dress at Fiori Bridal in Essex, which was the first place (of three) I went to look at dresses. I had the best experience there (maybe in part because that was the one place where all my bridesmaids and my mom and mom-in-law came with me to help me pick). I ended up spending a little more than I intended but the dress was perfect; simple and elegant. The dress was made by Casablanca.”

It is imperative while wedding planning to really decide what is important to you and trying to focus on that rather than the smaller details which could stress you out. Andrew and Katja wanted to focus on the fun aspects of their wedding such as guests playing the board games an relaxing in the Mountains. The ceremony and reception took place in Jay Peak, Vermont.

“Everything was perfect. Even though it poured and we had to move to our back-up ceremony location, we were totally happy with the way everything turned out.”

Andrew and Katja wanted to remind everyone to not stress all that much, at the end of the day you are married and around all of our family and friends that are there to love and support you.Board games

“So far the hardest part has been getting used to my new last name. Enjoy every moment of the wedding, because it goes by so fast! Part of what makes Andrew and I such a strong couple is our similar family values, which come from our equally fantastic families and how we were raised. We’ve been supported by both of our families throughout our relationship, and both felt like a part of each others’ families before it was “official”, making the transition an easy one.  Likewise we have great friends who have been there to support us and will continue to be there for us. We have many people to go to if we ever need help or advice.”


#SpotlightSaturday Preview – Andrew + Katja

February 2013 (2)

“We met freshman year of high school (2005). I had gone to Enosburg school since Kindergarten, and Andrew had just started there since Sheldon (where he went to elementary school) doesn’t have a high school. We had English together, and maybe other classes too. We dated briefly in high school and then just remained friends for a while. When we graduated high school in 2009 we both went to UVM and we’d see each other every once in a while. Finally in 2012, just before our senior year at UVM, we started dating again and have been together ever since.”

Andrew, 23, and Katja, 24, were “almost” high school sweethearts. As we all have experienced at one time or another, sometimes it is hard to see what is staring us right in the face. Although Andrew and Katja were not dating, all throughout they cherished that in between time to really get to know each other as friends. After getting together in college, Andrew and Katja decided to take their relationship to the next level.

December 2013“I (Katja) had gone to my grandma’s on Long Island for Thanksgiving 2013, and Andrew had stayed in VT with his family. When I got back to our apartment all the lights were off except for some white Christmas lights on a miniature Christmas tree, which Andrew had bought and set up for me. I’d been bugging him about getting a Christmas tree earlier but he’d pretended we weren’t getting one because Christmas always overshadows his 12/23 Birthday. Andrew met me at the door, got down on one knee, and proposed by the light of the tree.”

Playing Rampage June 2013Anyone who knows Andrew and Katja, knows that they love the outdoors, fellowship, and most of all… boardgames. With one of the most impressive and obscure board game collections in New England, they are known as the couple to invite over for game night. Be sure to check in next week to see how they used their passion for boardgames as a reflection of their relationship in their wedding!

December 2012

Spotlight Saturday Debut: #Wedmeward


Meet Alexis


A Custom Designer for Shaw Industries

Her Something Blue: Her mother’s sapphire ring


Meet Brandon


Southeast Regional Manager for Operation Christmas Child

He brought his killer spongebob dance moves to the wedding

Jumbo Paper Flowers, Vintage Birdcages, Confetti-filled programs, and Chalkboard wine bottles don’t event begin to describe the beauty behind Alexis and Brandon’s Florida wedding. Although the gold overlay embarking the sweetheart table and the pillar candles lining the mantle were details that would turn any eye, the true spotlight behind this wedding was the immense amount of support that Brandon and Alexis received to bring this day together.

“We wanted it to be about us, so we used that as our baseline. A lot of it was traditional but small elements brought in artistic, conceptual elements. I didn’t want anything to be matchy or predictable, so I stayed away from themes, and color schemes for the most part. We just chose stuff we loved and ran with it.”

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With talented friends like Ellen Sortore and Meg Strahle to pull together floral arrangements, Chris Bahamonde to design the programs, and decorations by Anita Smith and Lori Begley, Brandon and Alexis were able to pull off this stunning affair at a budget of $16,500. Beyond the decor, Alexis and Brandon added many elements to their wedding that were a direct example of their relationship together.

“Some of the highlights of our wedding included our unity ceremony (pouring raw glass material together that we will take to have blown into a glass vase), Brandon turned his back while I walked down the aisle so that the first time he ever saw me that day would be at the end of the aisle, My dad seeing me for the first time in my gown that day, the speech Brandon’s dad gave at our reception, and our first dance to Rose of my Heart by Johnny Cash.”

The “must” that Alexis had for her wedding carried her artistic feel through long after the wedding day. Alexis was headstrong about not having “posed” wedding photos. SD Photography did an amazing job of having her dream come true. Rather than having “official” pictures they went with a journalistic approach, which truly captured all of the “raw moments” throughout the day.

Meet the Support Crew


Adrianne Gargasz, Maid of Honor; Emily Carr, Matron of Honor; Alicia Wines, Bridesmaid; Jenn Ortega, Bridesmaid; Jamie Lynn Kara, Bridesmaid; Macey Waddington, Birdesmaid; Anna Ward, Flower Girl; Natalie Freed, Scripture Reading; Andrea Freed, Scripture Reading.

Jordan Ward, Best Man; Justin Gargasz, Groomsman; Austin Ward, Groomsman; Riley Fishcelli, Ring Bearer; Justin Bowersox and Hannah Prentice-Bowersox, Music.



Alexis and Brandon mentioned many times that this wedding would not have been possible without the amazing support of their friends and family. “My dad and brother, and Brandon’s family were so supportive of us and keeping things calm and on the right track. I’m so thankful for the perspective they reminded us of when things felt overwhelming. They brought us back down to earth plenty of times.” If you are involved in the wedding planning process but are not the bride or groom, it is always important to remember the stress they may be going through, not only from the wedding planning, but also from the major life changes they are about to embark on.  As Alexis reiterates, “Encourage the bride in creative ways. Planning a wedding is a huge task and there is so much going on in a bride’s headspace. She’s dealing with opinions, hiccups in planning, and stress. She needs her girls to take her mind off the crazy but still keep her on track. Some great ideas for encouraging a bride can be each bridesmaid taking a month and sending a card with handwritten encouragement and affirmation, or a gift card for a date night for bride and groom sans wedding agenda. Get creative. No one can even begin to know what planning a wedding is like until you’ve done it. I used to laugh and mock “Bridezillas” because wedding hype is so trivial in the big scheme of things. But there is just so much happening that is out of your control that it is hard to always be the most grounded individual. Be understanding and encouraging, uplifted the bride and groom regardless of what other preferences there may be.”

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Fashion + Food

“We just wanted it to taste good. We did BBQ from our favorite place,Monroe’s Smokehouse, glass bottle sodas and wine bottles at specified guest tables. I wanted everything to be the least amount of bridal it could be, especially the cake. So we just went to one of our favorite bakeries, The French Bakery, and bought a cake we loved. It was rustic yet simple and modern and our florist just added a small handful of blooms on top. I loved it.”

Both the food and the fashion were consistent with the non conventional, artistic feel of the day. Barbecue, Coke bottles, and cupcakes from Camicakes comprised the menu for the evening. Dancing commenced outside in the courtyard of the Nocatee Crosswater Hall. The fashion, although not originally what she had intended, fit perfectly with the event.

“It was everything I didn’t want but when I tried it on I loved it and decided to go with it. I only went dress shopping one day and fell in love with my dress at the first store, but bought it at the second because at the second store alterations were included. It was by Maggie Sottero, the dress was called the Marianne in blush with ivory overlay lace. I got a blush veil to match, and wore a comb with fresh flowers in my hair. For the bridesmaids, I wanted the dresses to compliment their body type. So I just decided to choose dresses for them off Weddington Way that were different shapes but all cut from the same fabric. Nothing is more distracting then when a girl isn’t comfortable in her dress/ it’s the wrong cut for her. The guys I wanted to be different from brandon but still coordinate. So we put a gray jacket with navy pants and a patterned shirt. We kept the cut modern but conservative since the groomsmen all have different personal styles. We chose a patterned shirt to keep it young and unexpected. Brandon wore a blue suit from Zara. It was a slim cut and we kept everything monochrome (all navy). The groomsmen’s shirts had a micro-paisley pattern, so Brandon’s tie had a navy on navy paisley pattern in it. Too subtle to notice but a great detail to tie it all together.”


A Word of advice from the Wards…

  1. “Just ignore peoples opinions. People make such a fuss about so many things when it comes to weddings. But it’s not about them. It’s about your marriage.”
  2. Just relax. It’s not about the brand names, or having the best, or being the best. It’s about y’all. Don’t get lost in the weirdness of wedding competition and just enjoy it.
  3. Take a month or two to just be engaged. Wedding planning can wait. Make a road trip to visit friends/family and have fun. And know what you want and follow your gut. If you want to elope then elope without question, if you want it small then keep it small, or go big. Wedding culture is so crazy now with all the resources and awesome talent out there if can be easy to get caught up in comparing decorations, status quo, or budget to other brides.

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*all photos take by SD Photography

Coming Soon: Alexis + Brandon

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“He recreated our first date… we had pizza, frozen yogurt, and then a walk on the beach, where our first kiss took place. Originally, the plan was for his brother to wrap a lifeguard chair in Christmas lights, where he would propose–but there was a bit of a snafu: his brother brought over the wrong battery-powered generator, and couldn’t plug in the lights. It’s funny to look back at it, but he was definitely stressed about it that evening. He followed through with the proposal anyway–and we shared a moment of excitement in the dark on the beach, lol. Even though it wasn’t the most perfect and theatrical moment, it was nice because it was us, under the stars, and being together.”

Early on in the wedding planning process Alexis and Brandon were able to experience that things will not always work out as planned. Alexis and Brandon both live in the Sunny state of Georgia. Brandon, 27, is the Southeast Operational Manager for Operation Christmas Child. Alexis, 24, is a Custom Designer for Shaw Industries. Rewind a few years back to a much less sunny, much more swampy borough of New York, Staten Island.

11902381_10204878364185374_9202657265084846582_nBrandon and Alexis met at Oasis Christian Center while Alexis was on tour with Holy Hands Ministries. “I (Brandon) had just moved from Florida to New York to start working as a youth pastor of a church there. She was working with an organization that did outreaches in major cities of the Northeast–and the organization worked closely with my church. We actually met the first week I was in New York, because they were staying at the church next to my office. At that time we both had a weird suspicion we would end up together–but we both weren’t really interested in each other at the time.”

Sometimes our souls have a funny way of telling us who we will end up with, even if you don’t really know it yet. Obviously, Alexis and Brandon’s attraction did grow, and as they walked through the path of dating they realized a lot about each other. Although at times it wasn’t an easy road, Alexis and Brandon’s trials and tribulations resulted with them on the beach, in the dark, with a ring on her hand, promising that they would work through life together as partners. ​

“Make sure that you have time to laugh and be silly together–life is already too serious, so don’t take yourselves too seriously.” –Brandon and Alexis Ward


We are honored to have Alexis and Brandon as our first #spotlightsaturday couple! CampbellEvents will be continuing to follow Brandon and Alexis’s marriage journey. Check in this Sautrday, September 12, to read about their journey to the altar.

Stay Posted!

Boy have we been busy! August was definitely a busy month for us. Last weekend Alivia was busy working on our All White Affair VIP Sweet Sixteen


While Carissa was busy at Studio 450 in Manhattan working on this Gem.


We are now gearing up for a Birthday party and 2 Weddings for Labor Day Weekend!

After Labor Day weekend we have some exciting new updates coming to our blog.

#Spotlightsaturday will be premiering Saturday, September 12th. We will be announcing the premier couple later this week!

Our weekly series will be beginning! Each week we will be posting a blog correlating with our current running series. To begin we’re going to start you with the basics and go through your first steps of wedding planning.

#Marriagemonday we don’t want our support to end at the altar. Keep coming back every Monday for marriage encouragement!

We hope to see you on here again soon!