Wednesday, August 14, 2013


Since returning home from vacation, I have been nonstop catching up around the house, garden, laundry, and life in general!

I can't believe that Michael and I had our 1st month anniversary as husband and wife this past week! Crazy how fast time flies....

In between the busy-ness of catching up, I've had had some time to sit back and think about some things that I would have done differently in the past year or so with planning a wedding. I just thought I would share what I learned! It also helps to get it off my mind too!

- When you get engaged, I know it's exciting to start planning! But if your like me and you have a long engagement, WAIT to pick your bridal party! Take into consideration who you KNOW will be a part of your life forever and who has been there for your through thick and thin. Also, keep in mind, that people change! A wedding truly does bring out the best and worst in those you never thought could change. I also never took into consideration that I would want to add a "newer" friend who had become such a great friend... Which was sad to look back and tell her I wish you were a part of my wedding! And most importantly, don't feel obligated to put someone in your bridal party because they tell you they want to. Or because you used to be best friends. Or because you were in their wedding. Looking back, I picked my bridesmaids way too soon. I was arguing with one of my best friends at the time and I didn't give her the title she deserved. All because of a typical arguement betwen the 2 of us. I should have known I would have changed my mind as soon as we kissed and made up! Then there was the friend that caused more stress than I could handle which caused me to ask her to step down. That was harder to do than anything. If you have to second guess putting someone in your wedding or what title you would like to give them, let some time pass before you make your decision... because having regrets of someone being given the wrong title or even feeling that it would be best to ask someone to step down it is extremely emotional. I experienced both of those feelings and trust me, it was stressful, emotional, and frustrating. The bottom line is, I realized who was truly there for me and who was more concerned with themself. Some did what a bridesmaid is expected to do, some went above and beyond, and others didn't do a damn thing no matter how much direction they were given.

- Give yourself plenty of time to get ready and take pictures throughout the evening! I totally regret not having our wedding earlier in the afternoon and not having enough time in between the ceremony and reception to take pictures. Which therefore meant we kept leaving the reception to go take pictures since we hadn't gotten many before the reception. Which in turn meant we were taking time away from visiting our guests and dancing!

- In addition to having plenty of time for pictures, I really suggest doing a first look with the bride and groom! I've heard nothing but great stories from those who have had a first look! I would have loved to had a first look for many reasons! One being that it would have saved us some time at the reception for when we had disappeared to take pictures. Most importantly, I think I wouldn't have had so much anxiety built up. People say "Oh, you will want to see his face when he sees you coming down the aisle." Guess what? I don't recall seeing his face because I was a quarter mile away and I can't see that far! So his first sight of me, we didn't have eye contact. He seen me from afar. And by time I got close enough to lock eyes with him, "that look" on his face probably wasn't as intense as the inital look on my face. Not to mention that I was so worked up (excited, nervous, anxious, suffocated in my dress) that I could barely focus! My remembrance of going down the aisle consists of this:
** Heavy (very heavy) breathing **
** My Dad asking me if I'm going to be okay **
** More heavy breathing **
** A friend in the back row giving me the rockstar symbol **
** Me telling my Dad to SLOOOOOW down **
** Chewing on gum like a cow **
** Big breaths in.... and out... Repeat. **
** Oh there's Michael! Look he did listen to me and gel his hair! He cleans up so nice! **
** Music in the background **
** A couple more heart racing and breathing heavy moments **
** My Dad giving me away **
** Michael practically dragging me to the alter because I couldn't move that fast **
** And then relief! **
The bottom line is that until I got to the alter and was next to Michael, I had terrible anxiety and focused so much on not crying, passing out, and breathing. I feel as if we had a first look, I would have been more relaxed!     

- Have a list of MUST HAVE pictures to give your photographer and request that he/she doesn't leave until they are all completed! I did give my photographer a list and she loved it! However, a very important one on the list was missed... I didn't get a picture with each individual bridesmaid. To this day, I am still devestated about it. My mind was so busy that I never thought about it. But I can't believe someone else didn't realize it. Especially out of 7 bridesmaids!

- Bring your own camera to the reception! I did not get any pictures with my guests because I didn't think to bring my phone or a small camera. Some of those people I see on a yearly (if that) basis. Not to mention that it was a once in a lifetime picture moment. A group picture of all the grandkids would have been nice... or us with our aunts and uncles, or us with our God parents, or a group picture of all my high school girlfriends because Lord knows we're never together at the same time anymore. Yes, I am a picture fanatic. If you are too, do yourself a favor and bring a camera to take your own fun/random pictures throughout the evening. Or maybe ask a friend to take some photos for you!

- Designate someone to help set up the last minute details!! My florist came a couple hours before the wedding and I had ordered some extra flower stems to put around some of the centerpieces. I did this to save money and taking care of the centerpieces myself was a huge cost cutter. However, I didn't think about the "time" it was going to take to set those last minute flowers up. So when us girls all got to the hall to get dressed, I also had to find time to cut the flower stems and place there where I needed them. No one knew exactly what I was envisioning or what pictures I had gotten ideas from, therefore, I was running around doing them on my own. Eventually, one of the bridesmaids understood the look I was going for and took over for me. Next thing I knew, an hour had went by. I wish I would have thought to designate someone to take care of the final details of set up!

- Along with set up, clean up is just as important! I never discussed clean up with anyone, therefore, no one else thought about it or knew what to do. As I spent my last half hour dancing the night away, I was either stopped and asked what I wanted done with this or that... or I had to leave the dance floor to go help. No one knew what went where, what was mine and what wasn't, or what stayed on the tables and what didn't. The few people that wound up figuring it out and took care of it, did a fabulous job! It was definitely my fault for not discussing this with my maids or the groomsmen beforehand!

- Photobooth's are great! We loved ours and so did our guests! However, if your going to have one, put it close to the dance floor rather than across the room. Because if people are going to spend their time around the photobooth, they are definitely not going to keep walking back and forth to go to the dancefloor!

- Stick to your budget! I don't have any regrets for the cost of our wedding because we did cut corners as much as possible and I definitely love every aspect of things we spent money on! But just a reminder that the day flies by and the money flies out the window just as fast! It's easy to spend a lot of money on a wedding, but keeping it within budget is definitely a good idea! :) Looking back, I am glad that we didn't spend the money on certain things that I originally thought that I "had to have". Such as chair covers, a horse and carriage, centerpieces made by a florist, aisle decorations for the ceremony, hors d'oeuvres for cocktail hour, etc. We minimized or excluded as much costs as we could and I'm glad we did!

Phew! That seems like a lot! I hope my thoughts and suggestions help future brides planning their special day! If you made it through all of my blabbing, thanks for reading!

~ Julie XO ~  

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