My wedding was perfect. And I know that everybody says that but truly, it was. After our big grandiose ballroom wedding got cancelled due to a venue issue, we had to scramble to reconfigure our entire wedding (they fired their entire catering staff a month before our wedding and now we no longer had a chef to even do our tasting!). The original wedding was going to be large scale, with an elaborate buffet and a Dj and all that jazz. However after doing some serious talking and even more serious thinking, we decided that a big wedding for us just wasn’t the way to go. We chose instead to scale everything down and go with about 40 close family and friends for the event. It ended up working beautifully and the pub we got married in was more than accommodating. The drinks and the laughter flowed all evening and I can honestly say that it was the most laid back wedding that I have ever been to. I loved it. And my hope for this blog post is that I can give other Brides a few pointers as to how to totally love their wedding too!!!
So…what would I change? A few things actually. As many things went right an equal number of things went wrong. I tried to come up with a list of the things that I thought would be most pertinent to Brides planning their own weddings. Granted this was my wedding and my experience so my thoughts are jaded of course. But maybe, just maybe, I can prevent a future Bride from stroking out on her wedding day by helping her keep things simple. So for the purpose of this post I am going to do a “what I got wrong” and a “what I got right” point of view. The what I got wrong’s will go first.
- I should have listened to my gut about the venue selection earlier on in the process. I loved the idea of having a big fancy wedding in a formal ballroom where I could just dance the night away with all of my fabulous guests. Did this happen? Nope! As much as I liked the idea I just couldn’t envision it actually happening. I secretly craved something small and carefree but my fiancé thought he was doing the right thing by agreeing to this huge shindig of a wedding that neither one of us really wanted. In the end it worked out perfectly because that venue cancelled forcing us to actually explore options that we both wanted to do in the first place. If I could have done it all over again I would have saved myself the stress and just picked the Pub first thing. It would have prevented me from changing wedding invites, flowers, and décor last minute!
- I should have gone with the wedding day look I wanted and not what everyone else wanted me to look like. Or so I thought anyways. For my wedding day I envisioned this beautiful flowy dress that made me look like I was dancing on air. I wanted a girly yet whimsical look that reflected my personality. Thankfully the dress I chose was indeed all these things and more….even though it was a bridesmaids dress and not an actual wedding dress. Good enough for me though…I loved it. And it only set me back $140 AND they sold it to me off the rack that same day. Originally I had picked out another wedding dress that was very long, very satin, and very not me. When we changed venues I decided that now was the time to get the dress that I actually wanted. So I did. And then I made a terrible mistake. I decided that since it was a winter wedding that I would have a faux fur bolero jacket to match my dress. So I ordered one from Etsy, not thinking to maybe actually try on a bolero jacket to see if it would even look good on me or not. Don’t get me wrong….the jacket was gorgeous but I looked like a football player because I have very broad shoulders and thicker arms. Not a good look. What I really wanted was to wear a cute little sweater and a flower in my hair. You know…kind of a boho vibe. But when I told friends about my vision, they frowned and thought I was “too old” for that kind of look. I trusted their opinion and went with the fur. And I hated every single photo that was taken of me at our wedding. So much so that I had our wedding photographer do a second photo shoot 3 days after our wedding to take different shots. I bought a cute little sweater from banana republic and got a flower to wear in my hair. I just loved the result!!! I just wish I had gone with my gut in the first place.
- Only invite the people you really want to be there. Like all brides, when I first got engaged I was all stars and wanted this elegant event with all of my friends and family there. I sat down and made a guest list with everybody I knew on it. I am surprised I left off my kindergarten teacher! By the time I finished I had close to 100 people, and that was just for my side! I realized however that nearly half of this people I barely talked to anymore. Some were no longer close friends, some were always only acquaintances. So why were these people going to celebrate my big day with me??? It made no sense financially to pay for dinner and an open bar for people that I may only see once a year or less. We sat down, got real with ourselves, and whittled the final guest list down to about 50 people. Of that only 38 came because everyone got the flu last minute. I didn’t regret it one bit. We chose our venue because it was cozy and inviting. Honestly the number of people that showed was the perfect amount. I did regret inviting a few people because I was worried how they would fit in with other guests and because I hadn’t spoken to them in awhile. Turns out they didn’t show anyway. In hindsight though, I would have saved the money for the invitations I sent to those people and used it on something else.
- Go with your gut and trust your instincts. This is not anybody else’s wedding but yours. The only people that should have say so over anything about the wedding are you and your fiancé. Not your parents, or friends, or coworkers, or anyone else. Just the two of you. I made the silly mistake of casually asking a few friends about some of my wedding ideas. I told them that I didn’t want a traditional religious ceremony but that I wanted a hand fasting instead. I got a lot of flack for that but honestly I didn’t care. I wrote our ceremony with the help of my fiancé. We spent several evenings over a bottle of wine discussing what was important to us. We decided not to recite our vows during the ceremony but instead do them during dinner during the speech time. That time was one of the highlights of the whole wedding. It was so personal and heartfelt and there wasn’t a dry eye in the place! Don’t be afraid to step outside of the box and try something that isn’t the traditional wedding norm. And if you have a gut feeling about something, don’t ignore it. Lesson learned for me……I felt deep down that I should do my own hair and makeup because I know what looks are best on me. I didn’t listen however and had my stylist do my wedding day hair without a trial first. BIG MISTAKE. I hated my hair. I mean, cried all the way to the hotel to get makeup done, hated it. I tried to fix it quickly with my sister’s curling iron but it didn’t work. Now I hate how most of my wedding pics look. Thankfully, we did a reshoot with our photographer 3 days after the actual wedding. I fixed my hair and makeup the way I wanted them to be fixed and everything turned out stellar. I loved the retakes! Another thing that I did for the wedding was my own music. Everyone suggested a DJ but I knew that our venue would be too small of a space for that. Instead I created a wedding playlist with my fiancé on Spotify and played it through my phone with the help of a high quality blue tooth speaker. Everyone loved the music and we got to add silly songs that were significant to us and our relationship. It did take a long time to put together….over 6 hours across a 3 day span…. but it was so worth it. I still listen to it in the car when we drive because some of the music dated back to our high school days and is totally awesome! A little Edwin McCain never hurt anybody ;P
- Don’t be afraid to piss people off. Everyone has an opinion about weddings. I mean everyone. And eventually, someone will get their feelings hurt. It happens. Just be mentally prepared to deal with it. This is your day and your wedding. There are no do overs. You have just one shot, one day. Make it count. If you piss someone off to get exactly what you want then at least you took a stand for yourself. I pissed off the nail tech who did my wedding day nails. My sister was trying to be nice and planned a spa bachelorette for me and my girlfriends. The tech I wanted was booked so they bumped me to somebody else. My nails looked pretty wrecked and the simple design I wanted, an I DO on my ring finger nails, she couldn’t do. I was really disappointed but to add insult to injury they charged my sis over $80 for a sloppy job. I wasn’t rude or mean about it but I made it very clear that I was not happy with the experience. I gave them a not so nice Google review because when I complained they said they were too busy and had other customers to do. The manager got pissed and confronted my sis when she went back after the wedding for a fill in. Very unprofessional. It was my experience and not hers. So not only did I piss off the salon but my sister as well. If it had been any other time other than the day before my wedding then maybe I would have let it fly but I knew that my nails would be photographed for pictures. Not cool. Moral of the story, don’t let people take advantage of you just because you are getting married. I know that we were charged more because we were a bridal party. Which is why when I booked things for my wedding I told everyone that it was a family party, not a wedding. It may not work out all of the time but it seemed to work well for us and our situation.
- Consider the time of year you are getting married. Our original wedding was to take place in October of last year. We were planning on getting married on the land we were purchasing. Sadly, things fell through with the house planning and something came up on the exact day we had chosen to get married. This caused us to bump our wedding to 2018. Our thought was to get married in winter because….who gets married in winter anyways? I knew we didn’t want a Christmas wedding so we picked February as our date. Which would have been fine. If it hadn’t been right after a big ice storm and right in the middle of flu season!!!! Most of our guests got sick and even my groom was fighting illness off days before the ceremony. The temperature was supposed to be in the mid 50’s but thanks to a freak cold front the night of our wedding it was a balmy 19 degrees. So all of the cool outside shots we had planned got nixed because anything more than 5 minutes and your fingers would freeze! If we had to do it again I think we would have gotten married at the end of March when it was warmer. I really would have liked to have an outdoor ceremony in a garden somewhere but sadly in February that just won’t work. Not to mention our wedding anniversary is right before Valentine’s Day. Now my poor husband has two dates to remember for that month! It is also harder to get certain flowers in winter and the décor is either old Christmas or budding Valentine’s Day. Luckily I bought most of my wedding décor last Spring right in the throes of wedding season. If I hadn’t I would have been in trouble for sure!
- Always order more dessert! We chose not to have a wedding cake for our wedding. I dreamed of this awesome dessert bar with all of our favorite desserts from this amazing little gluten free restaurant here in the Raleigh area. We ordered 3 types of mini cakes (vanilla lemon, chocolate, and pumpkin), clementine cakes, and hot powdered donuts. I ordered more than expected just in case because honestly I wanted the leftover donuts for our breakfast the next morning. Well that didn’t happen! The donuts were so good that everyone ate them up and I only got one to bring home. One little donut and that was it!!! We were able to snag a few cupcakes to bring with us to eat in our hotel room but they got forgotten in the car. Our hotel however was totally awesome and decorated the room with rose petals, a card, some sparkling cider, and chocolate covered strawberries. So we literally ate McDonald’s in the hotel room on our wedding night, watched Batman, and ate chocolate covered strawberries. This is why I only stay at the Hilton! I get nothing but the best experiences there. We stayed there at the Asheville location back before Christmas when we went to the Biltmore and it was a perfect location right next to a Starbucks, which you know I loved! So for all my brides reading this, the moral of this story is…. if you want left over dessert, order more. Better yet have them set it aside for you before the reception. You never know….you’re guests might just actually like all of the options you are offering!
That in a nutshell is my best advice for my wedding do-overs. My wedding day was amazing and it was totally perfect for us. But I do admit some things could have gone a bit smoother. All in all, I wouldn’t change it. I got to marry my best friend after all! And eat donuts. Who can top that? 🙂