While this picture makes our wedding look absolutely magical (Sherri Barber worked some crazy awesome photographer magic to make this happen), there were many areas in which the experience could have been improved, and possibly a little less stressful. (Hey, you live and your learn.)
Below are a handful of tips and lessons learned. I'm sharing these tidbits in hopes they can help ensure smooth sailing for current and future brides.
- Getting married in a church? Select a date close to a holiday and you'll find luck in the flower department. Since we were married the weekend after Easter, the church was already decked out in beautiful blooms, which meant significantly less money we had to spend.
- Avoid ordering bridesmaid dresses without seeing them in person. As you may recall reading in a past post, the fit of my bridesmaid dresses was a disaster. I saw the short version in person at the boutique, but ordered the long version thinking they would look the like the picture. Not the case. It was expensive to get them majorly altered.
- If you're looking to shave a little off your expense list, it's okay if the groomsmen do not have boutonnieres. In fact, my florist said that many people are forgoing these to save money. By wearing matching tuxedos, it is clear who is and isn't in the wedding party. The guys don't need a boutonniere. They don't care about them. Plus, the boutonnieres have the potential to get turned while pinned and then they look awful in photos.
- Prior to the ceremony, designate a person who can help pace out the wedding party as they walk down the aisle. Typically, a wedding planner would handle this for you, but we did not use one.
- Prearrange for someone to close the church doors before you prepare to walk down the aisle in order to create the feeling of a grand reveal. My church doors were wide open and it didn't even occur to me that they should have been closed until I re-watched the video weeks later. Now each time I attend a ceremony as a guest, I notice that the doors are closed before the bride arrives. One area I wish I could re-do.
- Think of every possible photo scenario you would like captured on your wedding day and make sure you add it to the shot list for the photographer. They can't read your mind, so if there is a decorative detail or a certain family or friend photo you would like to have captured on film, write down in advance and give it to your photographer.
- Know what vendors need to be tipped and designate a friend or family member as the person who distributes the tips on your behalf.
- One final logistics note for Catholic brides - Don't forget to kiss your groom! The priest will not say, "You may now kiss the bride," but you do practice incorporating the kiss during rehearsal. We practiced, but were so excited in the moment that we forgot. Total bummer.
LOOK YOUR BEST
- Most definitely do a trial run on hair and makeup, but perhaps not on the same day as your engagement pictures. I thought I would be smart and save money by combining. Not such a great idea, because I didn't absolutely love my hair or makeup for my engagement pictures. I honestly would have liked my hair to be a little more natural and not so stiff for my pictures. (See the rest of my engagement picture prep tips here.)
- Have someone tighten your belt (or dress if it laces up), fluff your veil and touch up your makeup before you walk down the aisle. These are all things that did not cross my mind that I wish I would have done to make sure I was looking a little more polished.
The wedding process definitely has it's ups and downs, so I hope these tips and lessons learned are food for thought to help make your wedding run a bit smoother.
All the best,