Before I tied the knot last September, I was constantly looking up advice on all things wedding related. Phrases like “what would I do differently” or “wedding advice” or “bridal regrets” were somewhat frequently typed into my search engine of choice during my planning period. This post from Christy at Avoiding Atrophy was my hands-down favorite and inspired me to write my own little post-nuptial advice here.
The Unsolicited Advice
- If the details are important to you, put someone in charge on the day-of. That person should, preferably, not be someone in the wedding party or immediate family. If you have the money for a day-of wedding planner, I highly recommend hiring one. I didn’t, and I wish that I had. Although my Matron of Honor was fabulous at communicating with all of the vendors, there were a few little details that didn’t get executed because 1) I didn’t have a set person making sure they were happening, 2)I was just trying to enjoy the day, and 3) I’d never shared with anyone that I wanted them done. Oops! Had I the time, I would have made sure ribbons had been tied around the bundles of books and that every single paper lantern made its way into the air. Do not be shy in asking your venue coordinator to assist as, typically, they should be helping make things happen.
- Remember to smile when you walk down the aisle. This is reiterated from Christy’s post, but it’s an important one. As we waited for the right moment to go forth, my dad and I were joking about something; so I spent my entire walk down the aisle holding back laughter. The result? An, oh, so chic grimace: cute story, not so cute in photos. Seriously. I destroyed the evidence. Practice that smile and focus on your wonderful groom (or bride) as you take the longest short journey of your life. You will thank yourself later.
- Make a shot list for your photographer and make sure you see that he/she/they are referencing it. Don’t forget all of the little details you want to get! I greatly regret forgetting to specifically tell my photographer that I wanted some shots of my gorgeous shoes (that’s my after-the-fact photo above) and other accessories – including one of my gorgeous drop veil actually dropped over my face! Not once did I think to pull that bad boy forward for a shot. Sigh. Regrets.
- Make sure you know way ahead of time how much time you will get in your venue/venues for set-up and have a solid plan and to-do list. Call in your cavalry to assist and assign them to crews or tasks. Don’t leave anything to the day of or day before that can be done ahead of time (i.e. The seating chart for guests…ahem). I had a large, antique mirrored door that I’d wanted to write the seating chart on all along and, last minute, no one wanted to or could bother with it. We ended up having to improvise with a door at the barn and some sheets of printed charts hanging from string: decidedly not classy, but it got the job done and was a good last minute compromise.
- Know what is priority for you and put your money there. I have very creative and crafty friends, so I originally thought we’d all lump in and do floral ourselves; however, it became very clear after I’d pinned basically every wedding bouquet and arrangement on earth that skimping on the flowers was going to be a mistake. If amazing editorial photographs are most important to you, then, by God, go hire that crazy expensive but totally worth it photographer. If a six course gourmet meal is most important, then shell out the money for it. You’ll be so happy you did.
- Don’t be afraid to barter or trade services. It never hurts to ask. My husband works in advertising and a casual conversation led to an even exchange of the venue for a virtual tour video. Remember: bartering only works if you have something of value to offer to the other party; it should be mutually beneficial. No one should be expected to give up their goods, services, or art for free.
- Pinterest is a tool for inspiration but not an absolute. Many of the photos you see on Pinterest or wedding blogs involved either a professional, curated photo shoot of models – not always real couples – or people with a lot of money, time, and resources at their disposal. Not all, certainly, but take it with a grain of salt. There comes a point when you have to chuck some ideas out the window. Absolutely I would have loved lush floral garlands on the railings and to have rented chiavari chairs for the reception and church pews for the ceremony site. And, yeah, I really wanted every single one of those lanterns hanging in the barn at varying heights in well designed clumps. But, on the wedding day, I didn’t sweat it because I was marrying the love of my life surrounded by my family and friends. It was perfect.
- Laugh – Laugh a lot. Everything is wonderful and hilarious on your wedding day, and that’s the way it should be. Laugh at the missteps: the guests who show up who didn’t RSVP, the wrong song cues, the speech gone awry, the one thing you really wanted to happen that was forgotten. You know what? In the end, you will not give one flying leap about any of those things. My wedding day is a blur for the most part, but I remember the laughter distinctly.
- Take at least one moment with your groom (or bride) to take it all in. As I’ve mentioned in a previous wedding post, this was one of my favorite parts of the night: looking back at that magical barn with all of our loved ones with my favorite person. Taking that time with your special someone helps you connect all of the pieces together of an amazing night when you were both constantly being pulled separate ways. Plus, it’s just a chance for you to both breathe!
All photos in this post by the talented Tyler Core, except the shot of my shoes. I loved my shoes, you guys. They were Very Fine dance shoes. My last piece of advice: buy ballroom dance shoes for your wedding day: gorgeous vintage style and supremely comfortable!