Love Stories TV royalty Vanessa Buenger is MARRIED Y’ALL. If you’re a Love Stories TV ride-or-die, you already follow Vanessa on Instagram and love her as much as we do. As LSTV’s Head of Growth Marketing and Filmmaker Happiness, it’s literally her job to build amazing relationships with the most talented filmmakers in the whole world. So yeah, she was destined to have a flawless wedding video. We are beyond thrilled to finally share it with you. (In case you were wondering, we had a team viewing party last night and tears were definitely shed.) Watch Vanessa and Anthony’s gorgeous Maryland wedding shot by LSTV fave Canvas & Light below, and then read on for Vanessa’s sage wedding advice and a run-down on all the creative ways she and Anthony made the day 100% them.
How did you meet and fall in love?
Anthony and I met at Towson University in Maryland our freshman year, though we didn’t begin dating until a few months after we both graduated in the spring of 2011. We developed a close friendship in college, and even starred in a few plays together (we were theatre majors). I truly believe that timing is everything, and Anthony and I started our relationship when we were both ready, which is how we’ve made it here today — MARRIED! I fell in love with Anthony’s kindness. I’ve never met someone who genuinely cares as much as he does. And he doesn’t only care about me, but everyone around him. It’s truly a gift to watch him exist in his circle of family and friends, and I feel lucky to call him mine.
Tell us how the proposal happened.
Well, the proposal was COMPLETELY unexpected, we’ll start there. I mean, I knew I’d be marrying Anthony one day, and hoped a proposal was coming, but I didn’t have that “feeling” everyone talks about. Anthony and I live in Chicago, but both of our families are still in Maryland, so we travel back often for holidays. We were home for Thanksgiving 2016. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday and always overlaps with my birthday, either falling on it or being a few days before or after. That year, my birthday was the Sunday following Thanksgiving. We woke up in my mom’s house, and I was prepared to be treated like a QUEEN because, hey, it was my birthday. So, as I laid in bed cruising Snapchat (remember Snapchat?), and Anthony approached me with two glasses of champagne I was like, YES. he got the memo that I wanted to be treated like a queen today. Little did I know, this was the day. I don’t remember many details after that. I just know that it was laid back, just how I wanted it and very “Anthony” of him. It happened in the bedroom I grew up in, with my mom peeking around the corner. It was perfect. Anthony’s mom came over, my mom made us brunch, and we celebrated later that night with close friends at what I thought was just my birthday dinner. We ended the night on 34th Street (Baltimore people know what’s up!) seeing Christmas lights. Did I say it was perfect?! It really was.
Where did you get your engagement ring?
Anthony designed it with the help of a local Chicago jeweler, Homer Segura Jewelers, who came highly recommended by one of his colleagues.
What products and vendors made your wedding so beautiful?
I cannot brag on my vendors enough. I did not have a SINGLE complaint on my wedding day. They all worked so hard to bring my vision to life, and it was more than I could have ever dreamed. They’re all listed here, and they’re all standout. I cannot recommend them enough.
Tell us about something that was creative or unique to your wedding.
Anthony and I were theatre majors, and though we both agreed that we didn’t want a theatre themed wedding, we did want to nod to that shared passion of ours. One day I had the idea of making our ceremony programs Playbill-inspired. Thankfully, I have REALLY talented friends! My MOH, Rachel, designed our programs and they were the perfect touch.
I also have to give a shoutout to our greenery wall, and tell the story behind that. I had always planned on a greenery/garden party décor vibe, but it wasn’t until I watched this video (which also happens to be in my wedding venue) that I knew a greenery wall had to happen to bring this vision to life. Shout out to LSTV bride, Morgan, the originator of this idea! I showed it to my florist and told her I loved it, but wanted her to put her own spin on it because she’s amazing. Our greenery wall was born, and worth every penny we paid. It made the room!
Describe the moment from your wedding day that stands out to you the most.
Anthony and I always agreed that we just wanted our wedding to be FUN. If all else failed, we wanted it to be a killer party. I think the moment I knew we succeeded was when I saw people I had never seen on a dance floor in my life busting out their very best moves. The standout for me was seeing so many people I love happy at one time. I could cry just thinking about all of the smiling faces. It was so special to be able to dance with my dad, and my mom, and my sister, and my stepmother… the list goes on. Seeing my grandmother, who walks with a cane, dancing with her youngest son to Kanye West’s “Hey Mama,” or Anthony’s 10-year old nephew Gabe, whose answer to whether or not he’d be dancing that night was, “Maybe,” stealing the entire dance floor, was just the sweetest. I’ll never forget the way I felt looking into that room and seeing how genuinely happy everyone was. It was really special and so much bigger than Anthony and me.
How did you find your wedding dress? Who designed it and how did you know it was the one?
I scheduled all of my bridal appointments for a weekend in June 2017 when I knew my mom would be in Chicago. Our second stop was Lovely Bride Chicago. I walked in with a list: I wanted detail, potentially lace, possibly sleeves, NO halter or strapless. Then they pulled this seemingly plain ivory gown by Leanne Marshall. Her name was Gabrielle. I looked at it and thought, “well that’s none of the things I just said.” I guess they could see that on my face, because the staff convinced me to try it on. The moment I did, I remember just knowing that was it. I would never feel better in another dress. It was simple, classic, a dash of sexiness (yaaas deep v-neckline), and something I’d still be in love with in 10 years. We added a rose gold belt because a girl needs sparkle, and that was that. My mom forced me to go to the rest of my appointments that day (I wanted to cancel), but I knew that was the one the moment I tried it on.
What made your wedding feel extra special to you and your partner?
The fact that we planned it from start to finish. There were so many accents that were just us! Air Force 1s as our guest book, a nod to Anthony’s affinity for sneakers. A late-night French fry bar, my favorite food of all time. My mom’s crab dip recipe, something I’m still grateful our caterers worked with us to recreate. I was proud of how we were able to mix classy elements (mirrored signs designed by my MOH, Lauren) with really relaxed details (see: sneakers + French fries), which perfectly encapsulates us as a couple, I think.
How did you find your filmmaker Canvas & Light and what made you choose them?
LOVE STORIES TV, of course! 😉 No, but seriously, I work and speak with so many of the talented filmmakers in our community every day. I am, in many ways, all of their biggest fan. Canvas & Light always held a special place in my heart, because when I started with Love Stories TV in September 2016, their films immediately stood out to me before I even knew how to rate wedding films (I’d only seen a few!). After watching their films, the important things stuck with me. I could always remember the couples’ names and their wedding vibe, the look on the groom’s face, etc. — that really says something about the films. They’re all couple-focused, which I love. When I was making a list of filmmakers (not an easy task with all of the talent on our site, let me tell you!), Alexandra from Canvas & Light was always on it. I feel so lucky that she was down to fly to Baltimore from Colorado to film our big day.
What is your favorite moment from your wedding film?
Is this a trick question?! Ummmmm… I really like the moment when I’m dancing with my dad and you can tell he’s smiling really hard, and it’s just the sweetest. It was really special to see him so happy. It meant a lot to me that it was captured.
feeling all sorts of grateful and reflective at the start of my 28th year. this bday marks one year engaged to my best friend and my last birthday before our next chapter begins (152 days to go, but who's counting 🤷🏾♀️). i know 27 on the 27th was my golden bday, but I'm looking forward to what 28 has up its sleeve. thank you all for being a part of my journey!🥂🎈
What do you think the “secret sauce” to your relationship is?
That we are actually best friends. Not just because that’s what you say, but our relationship started as a friendship. We share a sense of humor, nothing is off the table. We never had the phase where you were super “lady like” (whatever that means), or didn’t say certain things. It’s always been raw and real, and that’s what makes it so fun. I also think the fact that we actually tell each other how we feel. We don’t just give up. Almost seven years of loving the same person is a journey, and it can be REALLY hard if you don’t talk to each other. We’ve always done that.
Tell us the No. 1 piece of wedding planning advice you wish you would have known.
I have two. First, don’t stress! I was super stressed toward the end of getting ready, and I was nervous it was going to show in my bridal party photos (thankfully Bekah Kay is a magician). There is no reason to be stressed. No matter what happens, you’re getting married, you’re going to look beautiful, and everyone you love is there. No one cares about your timeline but you.
Also, some things are actually worth the splurge (within reason). Get the day-of coordinator! Unless your venue comes with one, you need it. A point of contact at the venue is not a day-of coordinator. I’m talking someone who will keep all of your vendors on track, will call a groomsman if he’s running late, will run down to get your lipstick from your purse because you want to change your look for the reception (this actually happened!). They are professionals and they are great at their jobs, and if you want to enjoy your day, hire this person (please don’t make your mom do it!). Also, VIDEO. And I’m not just saying this because I work at Love Stories TV. I know you’re all going to hire a photographer, and you should! Mine was UH-mazing. But I’m sure even Bekah would admit that her photos cannot show you what our vows said, or capture the hilarious, heartwarming speeches. Get. The. Video. Trust me! I’ve had mine for less than 24 hours and I’ve probably watched it 10 times. 🙂