While this is all still fresh in my memory, here are my words of wisdom for brides still in the planning process.
- Think long and hard before you accept money from anyone for your wedding. With money comes control. Some parents may offer you a check and say “have fun,” others may hold the purse strings. If you want to assure complete control of everything, pay for your own wedding.
- Do a first look. I am so glad Tim and I decided to do this (and so was our photographer). I know a lot of people think that it will “ruin” the whole walking down the aisle experience, but it completely didn’t. I got jittery and excited right before my entrance at the church anyway, and I totally choked up like a goober. The first look was, more than anything, FUN. We walked around with our photographer and got to giggle and talk and people shouted congratulations as they ran by and stuff. We did the robot. It was SO nice to have time together to cuddle and look lovey-dovey, and it made the rest of our day that much less stressful.
- Don’t worry about the rain (unless your wedding is outdoors). We had rain off and on all day and it was cold and windy. I barely noticed, and the rain and wet sidewalks and grass actually gave us beautiful light and depth to our photos. There was a rainbow outside the church after the ceremony. The bottom of my dress got wet. It was fine.
- Things will go wrong. I forgot to put on my garter (my “something old”) and didn’t have anything borrowed. I promise our marriage is still valid. Our venue forgot to put out the flip-flop basket, so my mom went to find it and walked around with it half an hour before the reception ended. The DJ forgot to play music as we entered. Our ring bearer ate it in the middle of the aisle. It was all okay, because so many more wonderful, unexpected things happened that completely countered all the little insignificant stuff.
- Find somewhere unique to take pictures. Think outside the box, but get permission first!
- Don’t waste money on a veil. This is, by far, the biggest racket in the entire damn wedding industry. My veil was, I think, either $14.99 or $9.99 on eBay, and it looks absolutely gorgeous in photos and in person. And it got soaking wet anyway, and I didn’t feel at all bad about wadding it into a ball and shoving it into a bag afterwards. Tulle is tulle. I swear.
- Take mental pictures like Jim and Pam did. I will always remember the way Tim’s thumbs looked on top of my hands as we prayed in the church during our ceremony.
- Be kind to vendors, your wedding party, and guests!
- Speak up. I wasn’t crazy about my hair trial, so I told her, and we fixed it, and I loved it. Don’t be mean, but opinions are perfectly fine. You’re paying vendors for a reason.
- Hair and makeup is worth splurging on. It’s in every wedding picture.
- The monogrammed aisle runner was a huge waste of time and money. Our pastor stood on the monogram so you won’t be able to see it in the pictures. Oh well.
- Put time and effort into personal touches people will appreciate. Our display of family wedding photos was a HUGE hit because pretty much every guest knew someone in those pictures. And for those who didn’t, vintage pictures are cool anyway. Same went for our table numbers–they were very “us” and people liked them. (Although I did get asked, “Whose beagle is that?” more than once.)
- GEL FOOT PADS for your shoes. They saved me. I wore my heels all day and was only a little uncomfortable at the end of the night.
- Make an exit. We left our reception as soon as we saw the crowd starting to peter out—there were still some people there, but not many, and we left at about 10 to midnight. I had a feeling that if I stuck around, I’d start cleaning up…and that’s why we vacated. We said goodbye and slipped out and went back to our room and decompressed.
- Don’t, um, have expectations for the wedding night. You will be tired, and sweaty, and your feet will hurt, and it will take an hour to get bobby pins out of your hair and your makeup spackle off. You will both be excited and want to talk about everything that happened at the wedding. Wait until the next day. It will be better.
Anyway, these are just the things that stuck out in my mind as being potentially useful. I hope it helps!