I got married about a month ago and have had some time to process what I learned from the experience. I just loved our wedding. We would both do it over again in the exact same way.
Here are 15 lessons from my wedding, which may help you if you are in the midst of planning.
- If you plan like a madwoman (or madman), you can mostly relax on your wedding day. Both the coordinators and everyone else I came across that day repeatedly commented that I was the “calmest bride ever.” They also repeatedly said I was crazy organized. Well, I planned every single detail there was to plan throughout the 6 months I had. My schedule read like it was the Emmy’s. After that, I let go and let God so to speak.
- On that note, have a day-of coordinator hired by YOU, not the venue, to execute. Honey- you can’t look fabulous, chat with your guests, and keep your cool while making sure your caterer shows up. Assign that gig to somebody else.
- Going off-site for a while after the ceremony was one of the best decisions my hubs and I made. We wanted to write our own vows. But, I predicted that I would be an emotional ball of tear sweat, during the ceremony. And, yes, indeedy I was. I could not even get the vows out of my mouth and took what seemed an eternity to compose myself. After the ceremony, and while our guests enjoyed a cocktail hour, our photographers came with us to a park about 3 miles away where we recited our vows. It was beautiful. And, oh yeah – I cried. Quelle surprise. I did not mind this in front of the hubs though. This is why I married him.
- Be grateful. And, say “thank you” constantly to everyone who helps you throughout this process.
- I skipped the parting gifts, and will give to charity instead. Do your guests really need tiny netted bags of candy? Really?
- Do not skimp on your photographer. We just loved ours. I gave her a rave on The Knot. Her name is Laura Ford and she is wonderful.
- Develop a relationship with the venue contact. Chris Redkahl, Facilities Manager for the La Canada Thursday Club, was one of the most competent people I’ve ever worked with. Ever! He also rented us the linens, tables, plates, etc. He answered every single one of my emails. Did not bat an eyelash that I was constantly at the venue checking things out. Fab.U.Lous.
- We asked a very dear friend of mine, Brandie B., to emceee the wedding. I LOVED that we had such a good friend with an amazing personality handle this for us. I just asked that she make things fun. She did not sit down the whole night, and ran things like only Brandie B. could. Let’s just say people were beat-boxing on the dance floor.
- I did not pick out bridesmaid dresses for my bridal party. I gave them a color palette let them loose. I wanted my besties to have the chance to pick something that fit within their own style. I let the cards fall where they may, and they looked beautiful and seemed really happy with their dresses. Success!
- We purchased general liability wedding insurance through Event Helper. It was less than $150 for 24 hours, and high coverage. They were the best deal. Other wanted me to have separate policies for each insured. Event Helper just added them to my policy for free. Please please please – get liability insurance. Please. You might even consider cancellation insurance as well in case the wedding is canceled.
- Ironically, I had a legal issue with one of the vendors. A demand letter and a phone conversation led to a fair and informal settlement. But, seriously, can you believe that? Things can go wrong, even when you’re covering your bases.
- Let’s just say that if you want to do the unity candle tradition, you need three hurricane glasses to cover all three candles. I did not exactly plan that well! The hubs’s best man apparently lit the candles throughout the ceremony because they constantly blew out. Whoopsie! Must have left that out of my schedule 😉
- Involve your friends and family. If somebody offers to help, say yes! Find a way to let everyone who wants to help, find a role in the preparation. And again, see tip #4. Be grateful and say thank you. Along those same lines, I erred on the side of inclusion which means that I invited everyone I could to every event I could. It was a great way to bond with new friends as well as old. I was told that it made for a very intimate feel, which is what we were going for.
- The number of guests you invite will have a direct impact on your budget. The less guests, the less money you will spend. The average wedding in California costs around $22,000 – $27,000. I shudder at the thought. That’s like almost an entire year of law school. Before the ladies on The Knot boards scared me away, I saw a woman discuss how she had a really tiny budget and even though she could not afford to feed all her guests, she refused to cut her guest list. With a smaller guest list, and our budget constantly on my mind, we kept costs under control. All of our guests had a great time because we treated them exactly how we feel about them – as if they were part of our family. I think it showed.
- I wish we had a Cornhole game going on. Darn – there was just not enough time to get that together.
If you are planning your wedding right now, take a breath, set some intentions and goals, and have fun with it. Also don’t forget to check out the rest of this blog, and template wedding vendor contract.
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A big ol’ thank you to Ms. Laura Ford of Laura Ford Photography. She was our wedding photographer and now I consider her a friend. She’s just fabulous. Her work as featured in this post and elsewhere speaks for itself, but I can assure you that she is equally lovely in personality too!
Check her out here: http://www.laurafordweddingphotographer.com; and https://www.facebook.com/LauraFord.Photographer.
Smart couples. Brilliant weddings. Meaningful lives.