We just celebrated 5 years of marriage and I took a long trip down memory lane via all of the photos and videos we had of our big day. Back when we got married the blog was the furthest thing from my mind and in hindsight I realize my entire planning experience needs to be shared. Planning my own wedding was probably the most exciting and the most stressful things I’ve done aside from having multiple children. There was a lot of fun had along the way… but a lot of tears were shed as well.
Am I happy with the way things turned out on our big day? Yes!
Would I do it again? Hell no!
For those of you considering planning or helping a friend plan their wedding, here are a few lessons I learned from planning my wedding:
One of the biggest things I learned planning my own wedding is that prices will be slightly inflated the moment vendors realize you’re doing anything that involves a wedding. Research or get some quotes before drawing the line in the sand that is your budget.
We initially started with a $10k budget in mind. Then we fell in love with our venue…that alone was $9K; budget out the window. I think we finished up just under $30k. Considering we built a house that same year, I can think of a million ways we could’ve been smarter with the money we spent.
Attempting to DIY everything is Expensive and Stressful AF. You ever see something online, decided you can make it your self then go spend more at hobby lobby than the price you saw it for? …and you still haven’t made it! People pay for convenience for a reason. There are so many stressful factors when it comes to a wedding, do not add the struggle of making/creating things to your plate. Be sure to compare the total cost to buy something to the time/cost it will take to DIY it. In most cases it’s not worth it.
It’s going to be impossible to enjoy your day if someone else is not running the show. You need to have someone reliable to make sure that all the dots connect while you float off into marital bliss.
We put a great deal of energy into considering what would be best for our family as a collective, like not doing a destination wedding because everyone couldn’t afford to travel internationally. Or having a large bridal party so no one would feel left out. If I could do anything different it would be those two things, a destination wedding with no bridal party.
The long and short of this is if folks aren’t financing your wedding then their opinions don’t matter. Makes sure you get what makes you and your partner happy. It’s your party!
For me it was one of my sisters and it got so bad for a minute that she was kicked out of the bridal party, uninvited to the wedding and I thought we would never speak again!
While we have since made up, it doesn’t lessen the impact that it had on my experience. If you set the precedence that outside opinions don’t matter from the start it can help.
Wedding talk will take over your life and could start to turn you and your fiancé against each other. Have at least one day a week where wedding talk/tasks are off the table. We did this on Sundays and it saved us from being at each others throats.
Aside from our champagne toast and the cake James smashed in my face, there was no eating for us during our reception. Our coordinator was sweet enough to make sure that a full plate was packed into togo boxes and I did eat once we got back to our hotel but it would’ve been nice to enjoy that expensive food and cake in real time.
Ask the caterer to assign a serve that will be committed to whatever the two of you need. If you’re a caterer reading this, hey new selling point!
James wasn’t allowed to see my dress, normal right? So he decided that I wasn’t allowed to see his suit. I just knew that it would be grey and I was okay with that. He found a designer that he loved and was raving about his suit for months. The suit arrived about 3 weeks before the wedding and homeboy had ordered a houndstooth print suit. Yes, HOUNDSTOOTH.
So yea, the purple tux jacket y’all love so much? Total fluke! We ended up finding it last minute at our local Neimans and it was the last one in his size. Talk about meant to be. lol
We had traditional registries at places like Target and Amazon but as always, people will buy you what they think you need. It’s easier to register for a honey fund or gift cards only. That way you all can put it toward item’s you actually needs for your new life together or toward your honeymoon.
Our wedding video is the perfect highlight reel of our day… and we almost didn’t have one. It was the 9th hour, budget was exceeded two times over and James started talking about more money. My immediate response was no but the more I saw examples of the work, the more I felt it was worth it and I’m so happy we didn’t take the “cheap” way out.
I’ve talked to other wives and they too wish they had gotten a video made. Photos are great for memories but the video brings the memories to life.
You might spill champagne or wine on your dress. You may not get every single photo you planned on your Pinterest board. It may rain all over your outdoor seating and your coordinator may have to dry them with a hair dyer hours before the ceremony. A table number may catch on fire. Rain and traffic my have your guests an hour late and the venue may be kind enough to give you an additional hour for free. Guests may still take pictures despite your no photo sign/requests, etc…
All of those things did happen but I didn’t find out about most of the until the next day. It was the most perfectly imperfect day of our lives. Thats the tea on all the of things I learned planning my own wedding.
Venue & Uplighting: Ventanas Atlanta
Day of Coordinator: Janel Elise Events
Photographer: Ladd Photography
Videographer: DP Weddings
Wedding Cake and Cupcakes: Apple Butter Bakery
Caterer: Dillons Catering
Bride Makeup: Jeremy Dell
Bridesmaid Makeup: Crystal Hudson
Bridal Hair: Re’con Nicole
Bridal Gown: Allure Bridals
Bridal Shoe: Betsey Johnson
Grooms Tux: Tom Ford
Grooms Shoes: Jimmy Choo
Did anyone else plan their own wedding or are you in the process right now? If so, what was/is your biggest struggle?