Every girl dreams of the day her father will give her away to the love of her life. Sadly, for various reasons, there are brides-to-be, who experience their wedding day without their dad.
For our first dbandrea bride feature, we are featuring Kaleigh, who unexpectedly lost her father at 9 years old to cancer (Melanoma). Her touching story of how she chose to celebrate and honor her father on one of the most important days of her life was one we couldn't keep to ourselves. We hope you enjoy hearing from her.
Hi Kaleigh! We would love to get to know you. Tell our readers a little bit about yourself.
Kaleigh: My name is Kaleigh Hagler, formerly Springer. I am from- and grew up in the Colleyville-Hurst area, which is just northwest of Dallas, Texas, and Designs by Andrea! I met my husband, Parker, whenever we were in fourth grade, and we are high school sweethearts. Parker and I will have been married for two years this year in March. Together Parker and I have two fur babies: an 8-year-old Siberian husky, Balto, and an almost 6-month-old Chocolate labrador retriever, Hazel. Parker and I bought our first home in 2022 and reside in Weatherford, which is just west of Fort Worth, Texas.
You chose dbandrea to preserve your wedding bouquet. Can you share what pieces you picked.
Kaleigh: I found Designs by Andrea on Instagram October 27, 2020. I was researching floral ideas on Instagram for our March 2021 wedding, specifically my wedding bouquet. I reached out to Designs by Andrea in a private message on Instagram, "You're in Dallas?! I'm in Colleyville! Oh my gosh. I'm in love with your artwork and preservation services," and asked if she had availability for my wedding date. The rest was history.
When booking with dbandrea, I originally booked two pieces: a 16x20 pressed piece and a matching 5x5 mini pressed piece as an add-on for my now-husband's wedding boutonnière. I later added an additional 5x5 mini pressed piece to my booking for a rose I had saved from my husband's grandfather's funeral who had passed one year before our wedding that I had pressed myself. At the time of my booking, dbandrea only offered pressed pieces. If I were to have booked with dbandrea today, I would have definitely still chosen my two pressed pieces for my wedding bouquet and husband's boutonnière, but I would have added another pressed piece for the floral arrangement on our memorial table we displayed at our wedding reception as well as several floral blocks.
Not only did dbandrea preserve my wedding bouquet and my husband's boutonniere, they are now preserving and creating a pressed piece out of the white rose I saved from my father's funeral. It feels like we've come full circle.
Let's talk wedding! Share some of your favorite and least favorite parts of wedding planning.
Kaleigh: My experience of wedding planning was different from what most brides-to-be might be experiencing today. Parker and I were planning our wedding at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. We were engaged in August of 2019, but we did not formally start wedding planning until February of 2021. Aside from the pandemic, my least favorite part of wedding planning was managing the RSVP's and deciding on a layout for our wedding reception. We incorporated a simple but elegant invitation suite with our custom wedding monogram that we used throughout multiple aspects of our decor.
Aside from the wedding day itself, my most favorite parts of wedding planning were shopping for my wedding dress, the multiple dress alterations appointments, the multiple hair and makeup consultations, and the photography. I remember the feeling I experienced whenever I found "the dress." I was not particularly emotional, but I remembered my wedding dress was everything and more than I could have ever dreamt of, as the dress embodied everything that I am and was looking for in a dress, and the multiple dress alterations allowed the dress to fit me in a way that felt both flattering and elegant. I relished in my hair and makeup consultations, as I had never had my hair and makeup professionally done and applied prior to my consultations leading up to my wedding day. I felt the most beautiful on my wedding day, and our photographers were able to capture that and the entirety of our day perfectly.
We are sad to share that you lost your father growing up, which meant parts of your wedding were hard to imagine without your dad. Can you share how you were able incorporate your father on your wedding day?
My father was my best friend growing up. He unexpectedly passed away due to cancer (melanoma) in June 2004 when I was just 9-years-old. As a girl who lost her father at a young age, I dreaded addressing those aspects of my wedding day. While I loved attending weddings growing up and even into my college years, I could not help but feel a sense of jealousy and heartbreak each time I watched a bride walk down the aisle with her father during the wedding ceremony, let alone having her father-daughter dance during the wedding reception - both experiences I would never have on my own wedding day.
However, whenever my time came to plan our wedding, I knew I wanted to honor my father's memory somehow. I incorporated my father in multiple ways throughout our wedding day, including our wedding date. The number thirteen was my father's and my lucky number, so I always knew I wanted my wedding date to be on the thirteenth day of a month. As luck would have it, Parker and I immediately decided on March 13th, as the number three is his lucky number, which just so happened to be a Saturday in 2021. We had chosen our wedding date before we had even found a wedding venue.
Another way I incorporated my father on my wedding day was a heart I had sewn into my wedding dress from one of his sweatshirts he always wore in some of my fondest memories I had with him growing up. In our wedding ceremony, we had my father and other family members we have lost throughout our lifetimes listed on our wedding program.
In our wedding reception, we had a memorial table dedicated to my father and the other family members we had lost decorated with pictures of them and a floral arrangement filled with thirteen white roses - this is the floral arrangement I wish I also had preserved by Designs by Andrea into a pressed piece, as mentioned above. I specifically requested thirteen white roses for this floral arrangement as an allusion to my father, as thirteen was our lucky number and his funeral was filled with white roses. In fact, one rose from his funeral I have saved all these years Designs by Andrea is currently creating into a 5x5 mini pressed piece for me.
How did you choose to celebrate the father daughter dance part of your wedding?
Kaleigh: I chose to celebrate the father-daughter dance part of my wedding by still having a dance in his honor with my husband, Parker. Parker and I danced to one of my dad's favorite songs, "The World I Know," by his favorite band, Collective Soul, while a slideshow played behind us, which was full of pictures of us from the short time we had together. Parker and I were both sobbing by the end of the dance, and there was not a dry eye in the room.
Although I wish my father could have been present to give me away at my wedding and to dance with me in that moment during our father-daughter dance - two moments I had dreamt of my entire life - I am reminded that it was all in God's planning, and I am blessed that Parker was able to honor my father with me in such a moment that I will never forget.
After the wedding, during our "minimoon" (we did not take a honeymoon due to the COVID-19 pandemic), Parker and I talked about different moments from our wedding day, this dance being one of them. Parker then said to me, "I was crying because I should not have been the one dancing with you. Instead it was me and not the first love of your life." While the dance was emotionally trying, I am so proud and glad we honored my father in this respect.
What advice do you have for brides to be who have lost a father?
Kaleigh: My advice for brides-to-be would be to honor your father in a manner that feels most appropriate to you. Moreover, please know you do not have an obligation to honor your father in your nuptials or on your wedding day if you do not wish to do so. While certain aspects of your wedding day might be difficult emotionally due to the absence of your father, for whatever reason(s), I invite you to take a moment to reflect and remember your father if you choose, but primarily focus on the present and those that are in attendance on your wedding day. Please know it is okay to cry, it is okay to feel all the emotions you may experience throughout your wedding planning and wedding day, and it is okay to grieve the memories you never had the chance to share with your father.
Can you share some wedding advice for our 2023 dbandrea brides?
Kaleigh: My wedding advice for the 2023 dbandrea brides would be to create a dedicated email address for just wedding planning, such as appointments, contracts, vendor correspondence, quotes, etcetera. Having a dedicated email address for all of your wedding planning needs will allow you to consolidate all of your wedding details and documents into one place versus having these emails disseminated amongst your future spouse's and your personal email address(es).
Now that you have married the love of your life, how would you describe married life?
Kaleigh: I love married life. Parker and I had been together for almost eight years prior to having gotten married, so marriage did not necessarily change us as individuals or as a couple. If anything, marriage has solidified us more as a couple. I love being a spouse and a wife. While marriage is not always easy, as we have our trials and tribulations just as any other married couple, life is definitely much easier whenever you have a partner to weather the storms with you - it makes stopping to smell the roses all the more sweeter.
Do you have anything else you'd like to share?
Kaleigh: Out of all the vendors I collaborated with for our wedding, dbandrea was by far my favorite (#NotAnAd!). Dbabdrea even helped me choose which flowers to incorporate into my wedding bouquet solely based on how they preserve and press. Booking with dbandrea was one of the best decisions I made throughout my wedding planning, aside from saying, "I do!" of course. I am grateful that I get to admire my wedding bouquet and husband's wedding boutonnière each and every day hanging from a wall in our new home.
Now almost two years after our wedding, dbandrea is curating numerous pieces for me from various walks of life, including: my father's funeral, my now-husband's and my high school senior prom boutonnière and corsage, several memorial pieces, and even resin pieces using exclusively ribbon from our wedding gifts. If you are undecided on whether to book dbandrea for your wedding day, special occasion, or a memorial, please take this as your sign to book with them. Dbandrea is entirely worth every penny. You will not regret your decision.
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