13 Things I've Learned In One Month Of Wedding Planning

Date: January 20, 2015 at 9:44 am- by Ali- Comment(s): 148

Right after Brian and I got engaged — like while we were still on the top of the mountain — we made four immediate phone calls: to my mom, to my dad, to my BFF Michael, and to Brian’s mom.

Here I am calling BFF Michael. I don't think I've ever been quite so animated. We yelled so much that we made her baby cry. Oops. Sorry, Blair. Love you.

Here I am calling BFF Michael. I don’t think I’ve ever been quite so animated. We yelled so much that we made her baby cry. Oops. Sorry, Blair. Love you.

After we got breakfast and very indulgent 90-minute massages, we made the rest of the “important” calls — starting with the three grandmas (I have two, he has one). They all wanted to know if we had a date yet.

“Um, nope, not yet…because we have only been engaged for three hours…and we’re in Hawaii…so no, unfortunately we have not yet sat down to work out the logistics of a wedding.”

DON'T LOOK AT US, THIS IS A PRIVATE MOMENT. J/K. Nothing is private.

DON’T LOOK AT US, THIS IS A PRIVATE MOMENT. J/K. Nothing is private.

And I know that’s par for the course. Everyone says, “Don’t jump right into wedding planning! Enjoy being engaged!” They follow that up with, “Do you guys have a date? What’s your color scheme?”

Brian and I have been engaged for a month and a half now (whoa what?), and I’m excited to report that we are very close to locking down our date (fall 2015!) and venue, and I have a whole bunch of dress shopping appointments next weekend. We’re making progress without driving ourselves crazy. Yay!

We went out for a celebratory dinner last week with Lauren (on the far left; you know her, she's been around the blog — she's the one who live-Tweeted the Hamptons Marathon while I was running it!) and her mom, Megan. Megan is the greatest. And so pretty!

We went out for a celebratory dinner last week with Lauren (on the far left; you know her, she’s been around the blog — she’s the one who live-Tweeted the Hamptons Marathon while I was running it!) and her mom, Megan. Megan is the greatest. And so pretty!

We see eye-to-eye on pretty much everything, which is a big plus, and when we don’t necessarily agree exactly, Brian is pretty quick to say, “Whatever you want!” But truthfully, all I want is a great party.

I thought I would be an awesome bride with all these great visions and creative ideas, but instead I just want to hand it all over to someone else. For free. I’ve learned quite a bit about wedding planning, all of which I’m sure will make you say, “Yeah, no kidding” if you’ve already been through this. But nonetheless, here’s what I’ve learned in 1.5 months of wedding planning…

1. So about Pinterest. I decided to join because I thought it would be inspiring and pretty and would give me good ideas when I had none. It was fun at first, and all those DIY projects seemed totally attainable and easy.

I made this mug, so...I'm awesome.

I made this mug, so…I’m awesome.

But now it’s completely overwhelming. Those DIY projects? Not so attainable. Glitter is messy. Our wedding will very likely not be “Pinterest perfect.” Oh, and that is an actual term they use in all those wedding magazines.

Hello, and welcome to Pinterest! Do you have your glitter glue ready?!

Hello, and welcome to Pinterest! Do you have your glitter glue ready?!

2. Those wedding magazines are a waste of money (they’re like $9.99 each and they’re massive!), and everything in them is insane (come on, absurd fashion spreads), but I love them and I keep buying them every time I set foot in Duane Reade. I tell myself this is the only time in my life I’ll get to buy these pretty glossy magazines, so I keep doing it.

I support the print industry.

I support the print industry.

3. The wedding industry is kind of a scam. I mean…right? I knew that going into this — that the minute you say you’re having a party and they ask if it’s a “wedding,” the price instantly gets jacked up by thousands of dollars. So many things are measured in thousands of dollars, not hundreds of dollars or tens of dollars or ones of dollars. Thousands. So many thousands.

4. Some people won’t be happy for you at all when you get engaged! The great thing is that you don’t have to invite them to your wedding. Yay! You can walk home, bitches!

5. The people who love you most will support your decisions and won’t complain. I found this really beautiful venue that I loved and could totally picture for our wedding. The only drawback was that it was in Vermont. Like really really far from New York City, and not actually near any friends or family members. It would’ve practically been a destination wedding, which we did not want to do. Still, I was pursuing it and set up an appointment to see it, and my parents were going to meet me there, and they were being super nice about it.

At the last minute — like the night before I was supposed to head north — I decided it was way too much of an effort. I didn’t want to get married in Vermont and it was too far and I couldn’t ask my friends to go that far, especially since many of them live in NYC and don’t have cars. It wasn’t until Vermont was completely off the table that my parents confessed they didn’t think it was a brilliant idea, but that they were just being supportive. They are great. I appreciated that.

Dad, you can totally wear that shirt to the wedding. It's not going to be black tie.

Dad, you can totally wear that shirt to the wedding. It’s not going to be black tie.

6. Barns are trendy and “rustic chic” is a very popular thing right now. I did not know this. When Brian and I first started discussing what in the world kind of wedding we would have, he said he liked the idea of doing it “in a barn or somewhere cool.” We knew we didn’t want a big ballroom or anything that felt “like a wedding venue,” and thought a barn was a unique idea. Guess what? It’s not. At all. Everyone is getting married in barns right now. Barns are having a moment!

And for that reason, a barn on a piece of private property in the middle of nowhere (but within, say, two hours of NYC) can run you up to $20,000. And that includes nothing. That’s just the barn. The big, empty barn. Bring your own linens. Bring your own food. Bring your own booze. Bring your own glassware for the booze. Bring your own servers, chairs, and silverware.

7. Venue shopping is a lot like New York City apartment hunting. When I first started making calls, the people I spoke with would either laugh when I asked “if they had fall 2015 availability, Saturdays only,” or tell me that they had “only one date still open, but there are several other brides who are interested, so we need to come see it and put down a deposit immediately.” It felt very scary and cutthroat. Be aggressive. Be-e aggressive.

Ultimately, though, the venue we found and are pursuing was the opposite of this, and the people are so nice and laid back and are letting us have total free rein over the entire place for the night. Score one for Ali and Brian.

Instead of a first dance, we are going to show our guests how we do airplane rides.

Instead of a first dance, we are going to show our guests how we do airplane rides. (Not well, apparently. Brian couldn’t even get his feet off the ground! So lazy.)

8. I am — so far — a way more low-maintenance bride than I expected to be. Like I said, I thought I would have a lot of cool ideas and instead I’m exhausted just thinking about it all. I care about the big picture, but not so much about all the little details.

Too much Pinterest = escape to yoga.

Too much Pinterest = escape to yoga. Can you find me? I can’t. Somewhere in the front row. Duh.

I thought I must have dreamed about my wedding at some point during childhood or early adolescence, but apparently I wasn’t specific enough during those daydreams, or I should have taken better notes. Because now I’m supposed to have a “clear vision” and a “color scheme” and OMG I just don’t care. I don’t care at all, and so many strangers and vendors are curious to know what my “color palette” is going to be.

I don’t care about flowers and plan to only have them for my bouquet and my bridesmaids’ bouquets. I’m also not particularly interested in linens. It’s just a party. A low-key, super fun party. The industry sure does try to put pressure on you to make a lot more of it! (And for a lot of people that’s fun, and power to them. Go team. Go bride go.)

CHAMPAGNE. All the time.

CHAMPAGNE. All the time.

9. I feel weird calling myself a “bride.”

10. People straight up feed you champagne. I’ve had more champagne in the past month and a half than I had had in the entire previous year. I don’t mind this part of engaged life one bit.

Poppin' bottles of the good stuff.

Poppin’ bottles of the good stuff. THANKS, BROTHER RYAN.

11. I don’t want anything about our wedding to cutesy-ly be about running or cycling. This apparently surprises people? Running and cycling are our hobbies and we are passionate about them, but I am not wearing Pure Flows underneath my dress and Brian is — to my knowledge — not wearing a helmet to our reception. But he should. That would be amazing.

Remember that time Brian went running with me to train for his Turkey Trot three days before the race? I really wanted him to write a guest post about the Turkey Trot because he ran a personal worst and positive split the five-mile race by like...half an hour. It's a really amazing story. Totally inspiring. (Hahahaha.)

Remember that time Brian went running with me to train for his Turkey Trot three days before the race? I really wanted him to write a guest post about the Turkey Trot because he ran a personal worst and positive split the five-mile race by like…half an hour. It’s a really amazing story. Totally inspiring. (Hahahaha.)

Cycling and running are not our defining characteristics. What defines me is 20 years of classical dance training and a complete inability to casually freestyle on a dance floor. So get excited for that, party guests. I’ve got jazz hands and a solid shimmy, but that’s about it. I’m all upper body.

12. Engaged life is actually pretty awesome. I do mean this in the cheesiest way possible, and hopefully you don’t want to punch me yet for being giddy and annoying all the time. (Or, if you do want to punch me, hopefully you don’t know where I live.)

Abby kept spitting up on me, but she never spit up on Brian. So I guess once we have kids, I will give birth to them and then Brian can raise them. He's clearly better with kids.

Abby kept spitting up on me, but she never spit up on Brian. So I guess when we have kids someday, I will give birth to them and then Brian can raise them. He’s clearly better with kids.

Since we got engaged, Brian and I have been generally acting like fools. We smile a lot and giggle a lot and are really really extra super nice to each other. I no longer yell at him for leaving hundreds of those clear little plastic collar-stays from his button-down shirts all over our bedroom floor (seriously, what is that habit?), and he doesn’t get mad at me for being perfect and sweet all the time (it can be hard to live up to the standard I set, I imagine). We’ve both just been happy and are enjoying the little “newly-engaged phase.”

I found this note inside my closed laptop one day. Brian probably did not think I would post it on the internet. But here we are...

I found this note inside my closed laptop one day. Brian probably did not think I would post it on the internet. But here we are…

13. I do, in fact, care very much about a few things. I’m not totally anti-bride or lazy-bride or “no please don’t throw me a shower” bride. I want a very personal ceremony (I’m a writer; you bet I’m writing my own vows and yes I already have notes and they are 80% funny/sarcastic/jokes, and 20% quotes from Pitch Perfect and/or Celine Dion lyrics), an open bar (done), great music (not done, because I don’t know yet if Celine and Enrique Iglesias and Pitbull are all free that day), one very specific photographer (she said yes!), and a top-notch wedding video (finding this person is Brian’s project).

This is a note from the front desk girl at the Andaz Wailea, where we stayed in Maui right after getting engaged. I love her and need to get her address so we can invite her to the wedding.

This is a note from the front desk girl at the Andaz Wailea, where we stayed in Maui right after getting engaged. I love her and need to get her address so we can invite her to the wedding.

I also care about marrying Brian. That’s the point of all this, right? I’m pretty pumped about it.

I asked Brian if he had anything to contribute to this post, or any thoughts he would like to share. Here is what he said:

  • “I’ve realized I’m in the wrong industry.”
  • “If wedding planning were a Facebook relationship, I’d change my status to ‘It’s complicated.’ “
  • “One year is enough time to write a novel, learn to fly, learn a new language, train a horse, build a house, start a charity, travel the world, or get an online degree. But it’s apparently not enough time to book a wedding venue.”
  • “There’s a barn shortage in the tri-state area.”

So there you have it. To quote Kris Kardashian Jenner, “We’re having a wedding!” She said that when Kim and Kanye got engaged. The Kardashians love weddings. Also divorces, though… And sex tapes!

HAVE YOU BEEN MARRIED OR BEEN TO A WEDDING? I’m keeping a lot of the wedding details we do have nailed down mostly private because I’m trying to avoid having people weigh in and give me their opinions I don’t really want. But one thing I am loving asking people who have either planned weddings or been to lots of weddings (which we’ve certainly done the latter!) these questions…

What was your favorite part of your wedding? (Most people say their ceremony! Love that.)

What would you have done differently about your wedding? (The most common answers so far are “invite fewer people,” “spend less money on flowers,” and “get a wedding video, because I didn’t think I wanted one and now I really wish I had one.”)

What was the best wedding you’ve been to and why was it awesome?

Now you do it. You answer the questions. BE HELPFUL.

Remember when this used to be a running blog? It will be again! Eventually. Hopefully soon! I’m in the midst of taking some time off right now to give my body a little break, and once we figure out when we’re definitely having this wedding, I can make some race plans for 2015. Yay! Running!

Posted in Wedding Planning, Weddings and tagged -

148 Responses to "13 Things I've Learned In One Month Of Wedding Planning"

Oy… no offense, but I hope this blog doesn’t become about your wedding. Most of us read here because of fitness/running and don’t have a lot of interest in your wedding.

Fortunately for both of us, it’s not about to become a wedding blog (hence the little note I included at the bottom). I’m taking a short break from running right now (just for a few weeks), and wedding planning has been on my mind lately, so I figured I’d write about it. But this isn’t a wedding planning blog, so feel free to stick around if you’re so inclined.

I’m the opposite, I like seeing how people plan a wedding while still keeping their active lifestyle, so you won’t lose everyone with a wedding post or two! I consider myself a “professional” bridesmaid/personal attendant (only in that I’ve done it about 3 times each year for the last 4 years…uff da). My biggest tip is when it comes down to it, have a solid itinerary for the bridal party, including a list of the pictures you want the photographer to take, and everyone’s phone numbers. The itinerary usually gets off, but at least everyone has an idea of where they have to be and when. Plus it helps you realize you can’t do it all and you can delegate tasks as necessary.

Christina says: January 20, 2015 at 3:42 pm

I read this blog because I enjoy YOUR voice and reading about the world from your point of view! Running, disease, relationships, wedding planning…

Keep on with yo’ bad self 🙂

hey! i am curious to read your statistical analysis on the readership of ali’s blog; please advise.

Wow….really? There really are all kinds of people in the world!

“Oy.” Sounds like you fit into the “everyone isn’t happy for you when you get engaged” camp here, perhaps. As a friendly reminder, if you have to say “no offense” you’re being offensive, aggressive or passive aggressive. If this free content Ali writes doesn’t float your boat, here’s the great thing about the internet, find free content elsewhere. Also, should she stop blogging about Crohns since that doesn’t always include fitness/running? The blog is about her life, it’s YOUR life choice/personal choice to read or not read (again, her FREE content). I don’t normally argue with people in comments sections, but I’m just so tired of negativity. Why can’t people (you, in this case, my dear) just be nice?

Well this is rude. Since this was Ali’s FIRST wedding post (minus a very exciting and appropriate engagement post), I think you could have kept that comment to yourself.

You do you, Ali! Love your blog and so excited for you!

I disagree too! Bring it on!

Hey Ali! Congrats again!

Ive been reading the blog for a little while and I think we have met at a couple of NPs? Anyways, I got married a couple years ago at the Bell House in Brooklyn and it totally had that “rusty chic” vibe without actually being, you know, in a barn. Renting the venue included an open bar (hell yeah), we had Robertas cater it (mobile pizza oven FTW) and had the most amazing DJ from Scratch DJs. Seriously, we had to tell people to stop dancing so dinner could be served. We had a mix of DIY decorations and flowers (family photos in frames from IKEA as table numbers = 10 minutes of work) and we wrote our own ceremony (hin-jew wedding).

Long story short, totally possible to do a rustic, fun, inexpensive but amazing wedding in NYC. As long as you are willing to make the trek out of Manhattan .

Feel free to reach out if you want/need more info!

That sounds awesome! And yeah, I know it definitely is possible, especially after doing quite a bit of research, I was just so shocked at first when places either laughed at me for asking about fall 2015, or gave me price quotes that were just so bonkers crazy. If the plan we’re going with right now doesn’t work out (IT BETTER WORK OUT), I’ll hit you up for sure. Thanks!

So I haven’t had my own wedding BUT my roommate’s boyfriend is a wedding photographer so I’m basically an expert.

One thing I recently took away from looking at a photo album is to WAIT on the props (if you’re planning to bring props) on the dance floor. If you bring them all out at the beginning, ALL of the dancing pictures will be so distracting and quite unseemly to look it should you choose neon green sunglasses and hot pink boas!!

Sounds like you’re having fun with it and you’re continuing to be SO good to each other, which is so sweet and makes me happy!

Hahaha love that. Great tip. Will definitely hold off on handing out tambourines to everyone too soon.

I also thought it was a bit silly to go overboard on the flowers, since after all they die in a week. My fiancé kept suggesting different floral shops. In the end I went to the grocery store with my mom and maid of honor, bought every flower I wanted and made a beautiful bouquet. It ended up being one of my favorite memories from the whole wedding experience.

Love that!!

Love this post. I just got married in the fall and honestly I wish we had just eloped. The day ended up being so great, but it was so, so expensive and was a huge pain to plan a wedding from afar. Also, like you, I never had a clear vision of my wedding. However, after I started planning, I suddenly started caring about the details way more than I thought I would. Like the flowers? I also wanted the bare minimum. But then we met with the florists and they had the best ideas and so we had way more flowers than I originally intended. Don’t let vendors pressure you into things with the whole “but it’s your wedding” thing. It will be a lot tougher than you think, but stick to your guns and remember what is important to you and Brian and what you would like if you were a guest at your own wedding. That’s what we kept in mind the whole time and it worked–our guests had a fantastic time!

Ali Jackson says: January 20, 2015 at 10:06 am

We got married on a Friday, which helped with cost and two, it just seemed so relaxing versus a Saturday. All of our guests really loved that we got married on a Friday and said that it allowed them to enjoy all of Saturday of that weekend. We also did the ceremony and reception all at the same place. Don’t be afraid to call in for help or ask for discounts! My husband got the DJ from $1200 to $450 – the DJ wanted to do lights, etc. We just wanted music. The DJ said that he needed to do the lights to promote himself. My husband said well that is promoting you, not us. So guess what? The DJ ended up doing the lights and we didn’t get charged for it at all! He got more business from us for some other events for my husband’s work and other people booked him as well.

Go Ali Jackson’s husband! Nice negotiating!

Step away from the glitter! That shit is messy, and you will be wearing it for months, haha. It’s hard, because you want it to be “what you want” but you also want it to be an awesome party that all your friends enjoy and talk about how great it was. But at the end of the day, as long as YOU have a good time and it includes everything you want, that’s all that matters. Flowers (aside from you & the girls’ bouquets) are a waste of money, and all you really need is good food, booze, a rockin’ band/DJ, and a good photographer to capture all the special moments. The rest is just fluff!

I, like you, was not concerned about flowers, decor, etc. and wanted a fun party. So we hired a wedding planner (not in NYC, but it was way less expensive than I thought) told her a general idea and let her run with it and it turned out great. But the things we loved were our officiant (who was non-religious but really worked with us to make it personal), over her objection that we were turning our wedding into a comedy show, we decided to write part of each others’ vows and keep it a surprise until the actual wedding. Turned out great!
Also, the photo booth was super fun and the ice cream sandwich station at the end of the night was a big hit!

Writing each others’ vows — that’s amazing and was probably so funny. Love it. We are planning to hire a day-of coordinator person, in lieu of a full-on wedding planner, but I would love to have one! Yours sounds like it was an amazing day. GOOD JOB!

Oh I have so much to say. First i think your description of the wedding industry is hilarious. And this post was quite enjoyable and i think totally appropriate. We all know your blog isn’t going to be a wedding blog forever. You blog about your life. And this is your life!
So I got married in the desert in the outskirts of Las Vegas. My husband was diagnosed with cancer and a few months into his treatment we decided to “elope”. But my brother said that wasn’t happening. So it ended up being my brother, sister in law, parents and our two best friends. I booked the wedding online. The package came with a reverend (of the church of spiritual wisdom! Lol) and a corsage and bootaneer and a photographer who would take pics and give us the rolls of film to develop. (This was 1998). I bought a dress in the Bronx. I saw it in a mag and fell in love and the store I got it in was the only store on the eastern seaboard to carry it. Everything about our wedding was perfect. Including the buffet dinner at the Rio! Lol. He died 5 months later and I am so glad we went a little more memorable than just going to city hall.
My current boyfriend and I are still in the first year of dating and we are in the giddy in love phase and I feel so bad for my friends because I am sure it’s nauseating. But I never thought I would find true love again so I am just over the moon about it. (Took 15 years between hubby dying and meeting current boyfriend so my expectations of the possibility sort of dwindled each year.). And that’s my long comment!!! Congrats again. I can’t wait to follow your planning all year. 🙂

Well, your comment made me cry. I love this story. I love that you two got to have a perfect day together (many perfect days on top of that, too, I’m sure) and that you had your friends and family there with you. That all just sounds so special. And also I love you. (And yay for the happy nauseating giddy phase of the new relationship!! So exciting!)

Hilarious post! I got married three years ago (in a barn! haha, but my husband grew up on a farm, so I like to think we weren’t being trendy, just sentimental). Favourite part of our wedding was having everyone we love in one place, had never happened before and I don’t think it will happen again. There’s nothing like all that love in one room. And our wedding was our favourite wedding haha, how can it not be, we knew EVERYONE. That never happens, and it was such a blast. My ‘tip’ is that you do NOT have to invite those people you think you have to. Really. 6 months later you’ll wonder why you even thought you had to invite them. Either people will understand (and those people are awesome) or they won’t (and who needs people who aren’t awesome in their lives?). You sound like you’re in a great head space, keep up the ‘I don’t care’ attitude, and when your day does arrive, SOAK IT UP. Take as many moments as you can to take it all in. Congrats!!

HI Ali — I’ve been following along with your engagement! Congrats again. I LOVE weddings. Ours is how I cut my teeth in blogging. I was a wedding planner for a year AFTER we got married and I still do day of coordinating for family and friends. 🙂
What did I love about our wedding? We aren’t religious so we combined different aspects of different faiths into our day. We borrowed the Jewish yichud where the bride and the groom get 30 minutes just them after the ceremony. As it turns out my husand had the flu on the big day so we spent most of our yichud going to 7-11 getting pepto and gingerale and then taking said things on a park bench but whatever. It was just us and that was amazing.
I would literally do nothing different about our wedding. I loved every second, every person that was there and having MB as my husband afterward was the best thing.
Our wedding would be my first choice for best wedding but aside from ours they have been the weddings that have not been overly planned, and focused on the wrong things (like flowers and centerpieces) but are really about the couple and their families joining forces to be super happy. Those are always the most fun (and THOSE all had open bars so I don’t think that’s a coincidence.)

I was a bridesmaid in a wedding this past October. The bride is one of my best friends, and was generally laid back until about a month before the wedding. This is to be expected. Pick bridesmaids that will support you, but also keep your head right. When you explode because you only have 400 pennants made instead of 500, you need someone who can calm you down without making the situation worse.

Also, try to be upfront about your expectations of your bridesmaids so that they can properly budget. Let them know if you expect them to buy a certain dress, shoes, pay for a shower, help you DIY, etc. My bride told us our only obligation was to buy a dress of a certain color. Then once the wedding planning started she picked our shoes. Then a sash. Then asked us to bake 12 dozen cookies for the wedding (which we also had to pay for). I thought my obligation at the start would be a $200 dress and chipping in with the other bridesmaids for a bachelorette party. I ended up spending over $1500. Let me be clear – I have no problem spending $1500 to make my friend’s wedding perfect, but that kind of money takes planning and budgeting.

Congratulations on your engagement! I hope this next year is full of fun and wonderful excitement!

I am planning wedding right now. I was talking to my husband to be about all the wedding planning nonsense, when it dawned on me we had not yet talked about the most important detail – the honeymoon! Take a break from all those unattainable pinterest wedding boards and spend a few hours one night day dreaming and researching the most outrageous honeymoon places you can think of! It is a great stress reliever. And seriously, if I have learned one thing in this month of wedding planning, it is to stay off pinterest. For real.

I just got married in August. I don’t have one favorite part, the whole thing was amzing…… once it started. We tried to do most of it ourselves and it was stressful and exhausting. That is my advice, hire people to do things for you. And don’t sweat the little things. As long as people have enough booze, food, and dancing they are happy.

This sounds a lot like my internal dialogue. I had a really wonderful wedding, but I think my favorite feeling was waking up the next day and thinking about how happy I was that I never had to plan one ever again.

hi ali! congrats to you and brian! i just got married thanksgiving weekend of 2014 so i know how you are feeling. i was kind of the same as you – never dreamed of my wedding day specifics, i didn’t care about a color palette – why do i have to have one?, and had a few things i really cared about. i don’t think i can pick one thing but i think seeing my husband for the first time walking down the aisle was the best. i am also someone who does not like attention so i was super nervous about handling that – i had a big (215 people) wedding and catholic ceremony. the day was so great though that i didn’t even care. people who know me really well even commented about how relaxed i was. i don’t know if there is a huge thing i would change but like you mentioned we didn’t get a videographer. we splurged on a photographer which was more than worth it though. my thought was pictures are something you want to hang and have around always while videos just kind of get forgotten about. the best weddings i have been to our ones where i don’t even remember the flowers or the food or the small details because i was having so much fun. weddings are insane and so much money but just stick to what you want in your day and it will be perfect. everyone says to slow down and enjoy the day and that really is so true. it is over so fast. make sure you spend enough time with brian alone – even if it is 15 minutes. just take it in because it is the one time you will have so many people you love in one place and it is wonderful. good luck!!

I got engaged this fall too, and am looking for the same thing – rustic-y, not a typical wedding venue, fall 2015. omg I had no idea how quickly things book up! we are now probably going to have to do 2016. oh well, gives us more time to save $$, since apparently you need lots and lots of it for a wedding. I have to say, the whole process has been quite depressing thus far. I’m hoping once we lock down a venue and a date then things will start to get more exciting.

I’ve never been married but I love attending weddings! As a former event planner before going into media I am very aware of the planning process, it is tedious. Sounds like you have a good attitude about it all. Being a part of so many others weddings though I feel the biggest thing in it all is making you happy and not everyone else, it is your day!
My sister is getting married this fall in NYC and must say the hardest part was the venue selection – insanely cut throat!

1. Just remembered how much I loved my friends’ candy bars, where you make your own goodie bag. DIY favors!

2. Also, slip n slide instead of a rug. Your dress will be ruined but the pics will be awesome.

3. I hope Brian skips the helmet, but wears his bike shoes and clickety clacks down the aisle.

4. Confetti at your ceremony.

5. Funfetti wedding cake!

6. Include foamrollers in complimentary toiletry basket. People will be dancing so much and will need them!

7. Only #1 was serious, and sort of 5. And 6.

1. My favorite part was at the ceremony when we were announced as MR and MRS and we turned to walk out I looked out at my dad and he started to cry and I started to cry (hadn’t cried before that point). It was just a very vivid memory I’ll have with me for always.

2. I think I would have spent less money on the venue. It was great and all but it was half my budget.

3. Weddings with lots of group dance music are the most fun. I live in Texas so there are lots of line dances etc everyone knows.

Its only one night. It goes by really quickly no matter what. Live in the moment and savor every second. Whatever your wedding ends up being like –it will be perfect.

I didn’t know barn chic was a thing when I booked my barn wedding, but I chose it because it was SUPER cheap and close and easily available for dates in June 9 months away. And there were alpacas! Or llamas. Not sure which. But if I could do it over again, I’d elope in Bermuda.

The llamas at your wedding looked amazing. Those pictures are so great. I am planning to bring Selena Gomez The Giraffe to our wedding so we can at least have one long-necked animal.

I got married last year and found the pinterest stuff so overwhelming! so much DIY! so much perfect flower bouquets in mason jars. Even the customized guest favors seemed intense.

My biggest priorities were good food, photographer and that everyone had a great time – which I think we achieved! the planning process seriously zips by so soak it all in (which I think you are doing). and of course drinking lots of wine helps 🙂

My daughter has UC, and so I started running with Team Challenge and reading your blog. She is getting married in March and one of the things I think is a great idea is to include a card in your invites for the guests to suggest a song for the DJ- I feel like this will make it more like a party!!
And congratulations, BTW, on your study meds working, getting into remission and your engagement!! Whoooooo hooooooo!!

Yay Team Challenge! That’s awesome! I hope your daughter is feeling well and THANK YOU for running and raising money for such a wonderful cause. I appreciate it — and I’m sure your daughter does, too! <3

I’VE BEEN MARRIED.

And actually still currently am at least at the time of writing this comment.

Wedding planning sucksssss. It sucks money and it sucks time and it sucks energy and it sucks when people ask you about your colors and you’re like IDK RAINBOW MAYBE?

Good weddings for me all have three things in common – good booze, food, and dancing. Just don’t make your guests wait a million years to eat or they’ll get hangry. Or if you’re waiting at least give them appetizers. That is literally my only advice.

This is funny. Will you be my real life friend? You seem fun.

Congrats! So excited for you. My thoughts, for what they’re worth:
1. Favorite thing about our wedding: I wrote our entire ceremony (“till death do us part…” – that’s depressing!) and all 70 of our guests were in tears the whole time. Not only was it moving for us, but everyone else got to feel the love too. And we laughed during the ceremony too. A lot! Didn’t have to be all serious, all the time.
2. My other favorite part was dancing with my dad – we had a rough relationship when I was growing up, but have since gotten to a much better place. And we danced to “Butterfly Kisses” – I let him pick the song and surprise me – and I was a pile of mush in his arms. Absolutely sobbing hysterically in front of everyone and I really didn’t care. It was amazing and a moment I’ll treasure in my heart forever. It was as if everything that was rough for us for so many years just melted away.
3. I’m so glad we had a small wedding. i knew everyone there. My husband has a large family and I was not about to be surrounded by a bunch of people I’ve never met.
4. We did not have bridesmaids/groomsmen and it was SOOOO much easier. Before the wedding, I had my favorite women in my life hang out with me to have champagne, snacks, etc. in the bridal suite and the guys went to a bar for a few drinks. No pressure, no dresses to buy, no suits to buy/rent, no extra flowers to buy, no gifts to stress over and buy. It was perfect.
5. I don’t think I would have changed anything about our wedding. We kept it simple and focused on what was most important – good food, plenty of booze, yummy cupcakes, lots of dancing and fun. We got married in Newport, RI and made it a long weekend for everyone with lots of activities – sailing on an America’s Cup boat, clambake for our “rehearsal” dinner, etc. Everyone loved being in Newport for the weekend and had a blast.

Good luck with your planning!

WTF YOUR WEDDING SOUNDS AWESOME, WHY DIDN’T YOU INVITE ME?

Congrats to you and Brian! I planned my own wedding and I had the same goal as you, a fun party. Our friends still tell us our reception was a ton of fun. We didn’t spend a ton of money on a venue, I made my own bouquets, the tables were simply decorated. We did spend a good amount of money on booze and a good photographer. It was laid back and I loved it! We wrote our entire ceremony too and I loved that it was so personal. If I could do it all over again we would do a destination wedding and still have the big party but I didn’t have the most supportive family when planning. Just remember the day is about you and Brian and not everyone else.

lisa@exercise eat repeat says: January 20, 2015 at 11:44 am

I would agree that my favourite part was the ceremony especially when my family started taking family pictures and it hadn’t finished. No actually one of my favourite parts was walking in and seeing my husband to be. I was so happy and excited. Cheesy I know!

Not worried about the little details so much as people really don’t care or notice.

One of the best weddings I went to was an Italian one. The food was amazing and the people really friendly. But seriously the food was AMAZING! Also they had a weird tradition that every time a table of people clapped the bride and groom had to get up and go the table and kiss. It was really fun and people did it a lot!!

On a side note I kept a lot of my wedding details quiet and it made it all the more fun on the day. At the end of the day it is really only about the two of you. That said I hope we get to see pictures!

anna krystine says: January 20, 2015 at 11:45 am

You are absolutely right. Planning a wedding is just throwing a big party and if you keep that in mind you will have an awesome wedding! I got married in August and really dont remember any of the details like decor, flowers, etc but what I do remember is everyone had an absolute blast and we were surrounded by people we loved all night.

So- Favorite part of my wedding- definitely the ceremony. Personal is the way to go. What I would have done differently: Spend more money on alcohol. Best wedding i’ve ever been to: Mine! Congratulations and happy planning 🙂 being a bride is so fun!

bing a newly wed myself the best parts of the wedding were a quiet wedding day (before the actual wedding). only my tiny bridal party (sister and bff) and later my mom and photographer wer ethe only people i saw until about two hours before the wedding. it was quiet and calm and full of fun. i loved the very personal parts; our friend got ordaned to marry us, we had a cake from a place we absolutely love and always go to, and a photographer that kicked ass. the only thign i’d change is spring for the videographer (sounds like you are) and we should have gone on a honeymoond (planned now for fall 2015). congrats! and good luck!

We knew going in that we wanted a “party” and not a “wedding”. Sit down dinner was not our style, we wanted to do heavy passed apps and app stations all night so people were constantly mingling and not forced to sit at tables with 4 other couples they kind-of knew. When I called venues I said “I’m interested in having a cocktail party at your venue” and declined to offer details as to the occasion. Saved us nearly $15,000 in the end and I still am hearing from people that our wedding was the most fun they had ever had at a wedding. Depends on what your goal is, but if you just want people to get drunk and have fun, cocktail party is the way to do it!

Congrats! I was very much like you – a low maintenance bride who just wanted a great party. We were lucky enough to find a venue right away. It was (still is) an active concert venue, and they are professional party people. I bought my dress online and had a friend make bouquets. Almost 5 years later, people are still talking about what a great time they had – definitely a victory! My favorite part? The food, definitely.

Pro tip: Have the caterer save you (at least) a piece of cake. We didn’t and ended up cutting into our top the day after because our cake went fast.

Enjoy the planning! I’m glad I got married before Pinterest…too much pressure. People will try to tell you that you need to go over your budget for this and that, and you just have to stick to what is important for you and Brian. Especially in the city – it’s so easy to let things get out of hand.

What was your favorite part of your wedding? Every single part. I loved getting ready with my closest girlfriends, I loved the ceremony, I loved the reception and the after-party. The only thing I didn’t love was taking all the photos because it felt so rushed, but I wouldn’t go back and change that because I love how they came out.

What would you have done differently about your wedding? Nothing! 5 years later and I’m happy with the amount we spent, what we spent it on (not a lot on flowers, more spent on photos and open bar. My dress was relatively inexpensive but gorgeous)

What was the best wedding you’ve been to and why was it awesome? My own wedding! It was awesome because it turned out exactly the way we planned and was a great time.

My favorite part of my wedding was seeing my husband’s face when I walked down the aisle. Super cheesy, but it was so nice to see how happy he was that I was walking towards him.

My best lesson from wedding planning: I had my bridesmaids all just wear a black dress. Any black dress they wanted. They LOVED me for this. They were all happy and felt beautiful and confident because they picked a dress they loved. My friend’s mom was really concerned that the pictures would look funny because everyone was wearing something different, but they came out great because everyone was actually happy.

My fav parts of this post: “You can walk home, bitches,” and “There’s a barn shortage in the tri-state area.” Dying. Also, I am not engaged, but I plan on my one day wedding to just be a big pancake eating dance party.

Always happy to entertain 😉 Can I come to your pancake wedding, please?

I got married! And I liked it! I enjoyed the whole planning process too…except that I DID get married in VT and NO ONE there has email. WHY? Not sure. Hopefully they’ve upgraded by now. We got married at my mom’s house in a tent in the backyard. We didn’t assign seats, we had the guys help move the chairs from the ceremony area to the tables, and we had pie, not cake (my husband doesn’t like cake). We danced in the grass (floors are NOT cheap) and we made all our own wedding invites (and save the dates, and programs). Definitely a DIY wedding, but it was all about us, and it was SO MUCH FUN.

1. Best part was DEFINITELY the food. We had a BBQ food truck come and he smoked all the meat and cooked up the BBQ right there. It was AMAZING. (I hate being stared at by other people so the ceremony was a lot of anxiety for me, although we said lovely things to each other).

2. I would have gotten a different dress. I was scared of dress shops and my dad’s wife made something for me. it wasn’t exactly what I wanted, but it was lovely, so I went with it. Looking back, I should have just said something. I know she wouldn’t have minded.

3. Best wedding ever attended? Our friends that was at a summer camp this fall. It was nothing fancy, but it was so very representative of the couple. From the vows and readings, to the pictures of them decorating the hall, to the camp itself (they are super outdoorsy). It was them in a nutshell of a day and we had a blast celebrating them.

The best advice my Gramma gave me was to say…”everyone will tell you their input and their advice. Be polite and listen, but do whatever the hell you want” 🙂 Enjoy the whole time!

Your Gramma sounds fantastic. I will direct all inquiries about our wedding to her, and will expect and anticipate a very sassy response.

I’ll take the bait!

What was your favorite part of your wedding? This is a toss up. Part of me wants to say the ceremony, because really that’s what all this fuss is about right? 🙂 Our ceremony was really short (maybe 15 minutes tops), but I just remember looking at my fiance that was now becoming my husband! and thinking- this is so AMAZING-, but the single best part of the day was our “first look” moment before we started pictures. It was private, personal, and amazing. 🙂

What would you have done differently about your wedding? I would have cared less about what people thought. I wasted so much of the planning process trying to please people, which ended up in pleasing no one and losing sight of what was really important about the day. Weddings can bring out the best of people, but the y can bring out the worst in people too (and not just the bride).

What was the best wedding you’ve been to and why was it awesome? The best weddings are thrown by people who don’t buy into the princess fairy-tale, showboating, mentality. Good people, booze, food and dancing so bad that it’s good- that’s what makes a great wedding!

My top advice… fake flowers! I wasn’t too interested in flowers for my wedding either. I spent probably $60 total for fake flowers (or maybe less, it was almost eight years ago so the details are fuzzy), only had flowers for me and my wedding party, important family members and a couple arrangements for the alter. My mom arranged them for me. I keep one of my alter arrangements, my bouquet and my husband’s boutenniere (no idea how to spell that!) on display at our home. That’s the best part, fake flowers are way cheaper and they don’t die! You can keep them forever. We also did our own centerpieces for pretty cheap as well.

I just got married in August and my husband And I often say we wish we could do it again it was SO fun. My favorite part was dancing with my friends and showing off my utter lack of moves- but you’re the bride so people think whatever you do is awesome! I’d order less food next time- people won’t eat that much if you have a bumpin party.

Vermont weddings are beautiful!!! That being said, I got married on the beach in Maine. My best advice, is, it’s one day….
ps, you mentioned a few posts ago a new job??? Have I missed something, have you posted what it is?

Yes new job! No I haven’t written about it yet! (Not because it’s a secret, just because I’m waiting to settle a bit before blasting even more of my life to the internet.)

I’m planning my wedding now. We’re keeping things “low key” and “informal,” which it turns out means… nothing. It’s still going to be frigging expensive. I had expected to spend this period surrounded by giggling women feeding me champagne and cake, but it hasn’t turned out that way. It’s me, alone, calling the same vendor 8 times just trying to get a quote. I’m overwhelmed and wishing we had done a court house wedding. We just want to be married. I always thought I wanted to gather all my family and friends from near and far and celebrate our love, but it turns out I don’t. I’m sick of people calling me individually and repeatedly to help them plan their trip, although I do feel beyond loved that they are even coming. Just, like, wait until I get the invitations together or something. I know it will end up being a lot of fun and I’m excited to see everybody and, above all, marry my dude! I just expected the planning to be joyous and not so difficult.

Hahaha I love that: “which it turns out means…nothing.” So funny and so true. What a crazy industry! I’m so sorry it hasn’t been fun and relaxing thus far, but hopefully the planning will take a turn soon. Cheers to champagne and cake and giggling girls!

I LOVE hearing about your wedding plans and was so excited for you when you got engaged, even though I don’t actually know you! I’ve been reading your blog for a loooong time (seriously, like 4 years. Does that make me a stalker?). Anyways, I got married in Oct 2013, so these are my thoughts…

Favorite part: Although I loved our ceremony, we wrote our own vows and the pastor made it very personal, I HATE being the center of attention and was nervous with everyone watching. So, my favorite part was once the party started!

Done differently: We had ~170 people at our wedding and we tried to go around to tables to say hi. But people want to chat for forever and you don’t really have the time. It became stressful and we didn’t make it to all the tables – since I insisted on eating dinner and having cake. Thus, I wish we would have had a quick receiving line after the ceremony (since then people move more quickly, but you still see everyone).

Best wedding: My own 🙂 Haha. Seriously though, I agree on your planning style. My focus was open bar, good food, and a fun party! And I think that’s what makes other weddings great. Nobody really cares about the centerpieces or other time consuming details (and if they do, they suck) they just care that it’s fun and that you’re enjoying yourself.

**Biggest piece of advice: Take a moment to pause and take it all in. Grab Brian and stand off to the side and enjoy it. Watch all your friends and family having fun celebrating YOU. We had a balcony at our wedding, so my husband and I went up there and watched the reception/dancing for a short bit and had a quiet moment to ourselves. 🙂

Ok, I’ve written too much. Happy planning and CONGRATS!

You’ve been here as long as I have! I LOVE that! Thank you 🙂 And thank you for the fantastic comment. Such good stuff!

Here is what I learned from getting married: Pinterest is the worst. Your ceremony will be the best because it is basically sweet sentimental moments followed by hours of fun. And as long as you have a ton of love, booze, and music, nothing can go wrong. My favorite weddings have been those where the outpouring of love for the bride and groom is felt by everyone and we celebrated that by getting drunk and cutting a rug. I have no idea what flowers any of my friends/family chose or what we ate for dinner or if they had personalized cocktail napkins (WHY did I flip out over the need for personalized cocktail napkins?). I just remember being thrilled I was able to celebrate with people I love. And if it comes down to it, I know a barn in Northwestern NJ.

Pinterest is the devil! I am glad it wasn’t around when I got married. I was in grad school at the time that I was planning my wedding, and I am pretty sure Pinterest would have given me a nervous breakdown.

The favorite part of my wedding was walking down a staircase lit with twinkle lights with my dad and then having my father-in-law officiate. He did the most personal, wonderful ceremony, and it was perfect.

What would you have done differently about your wedding? DEFINITELY get a good videographer. We watch our wedding video every year on our anniversary, and I’m so glad we have it. Also, make sure your photographer takes all the pics you want! Mine failed to get pics of me by myself in my dress or any pics of me with my grandparents (we had candid shots, but none by the photographer, which I only realized when we got all the proofs back). I was devastated, and it’s not like you can go back and recreate the day! I had made a list of all the shots I wanted and had given it to him and expected that he would go by the list, but that didn’t happen, and of course the day itself is so hectic that I wasn’t keeping track. I still get upset about this to this day, and I got married over 7 years ago!

I love the giddiness in this post and am so happy for you!

For me, I love weddings…but never wanted my own. I have never pictured myself as a bride or had ‘the dress’ in mind since I was 8. I wouldn’t have changed anything about getting married on the side of a cliff ovelooking my favorite vineyards in Healdsburg in 106 degrees, with 6 of my favorite people and a failed Skype attempt with my grandparents and mom 😉 I would have only wished we got more pics. we got some but not as many as I wished! And I LOVED the newly engaged phase too, it was so fun and perfect and still makes me smile every time I think about it 🙂 XO

I don’t understand why, if we are technically sisters, I was not invited to Healdsburg. I just feel like…we are triplets…and I should have been there.

First off….congrats! I loved and hated wedding planning.

My favorite part of the day was the ceremony, for sure. I am so sad we didn’t spend the money on a videographer because I’ll never get to relive the ceremony.

My second favorite part was the first look. I was so opposed to this until right before the big day. I had always envisioned my husband to be seeing me for the first time as I walked down the aisle. But, in reality, I was such a puddle of nerves that day. Once we did the first look we got to drink a little, hang out and take photos, and it was perfect. I went into the ceremony feeling nothing but excitement. I was also glad we did so many photos of just the two of us before the ceremony so all we did was bridal party and family shots after the ceremony. Judging from the raging hunger monster I was at that time, it’s a good thing those were the only photos we had to do. And we still missed cocktail hour.

The best wedding I have ever been to was so good because of the band. They were awesome. If you’re looking for a band over a DJ I can get the contact info, the wedding was in Westchester so I would imagine anywhere within a couple hours of the city they’ll travel to.

My biggest piece of advice, it will all work out. It’s really supposed to be fun. If its not, delegate, moms think everything is fun 🙂

So I am not yet married, but was the MOH in my sister’s wedding, and I think the most important piece of advice I am SURE my sister would have done differently is making sure the bridal party, including the bride and groom, are well fed while getting ready. My sister and brother in law forgot this particular planning aspect and the bridal party was pretty freaking intoxicated. Hilarious, don’t get me wrong, but definitely intoxicated. May I suggest carbs? Crossing my fingers that your venue works out!

You’re smart to stick to what’s important to you. For me, weddings are all about the people and just enjoying the experience. I love a personal ceremony, a great DJ and some fun drinks and an open bar. While the decorations and all are pretty, they don’t make or break the wedding. I ditched a lot of my Pinterest projects in the month leading up to the wedding bc I just didn’t make the time for them and didn’t want the headache associated with them.

We/I wanted to get married in a barn/rustic location and we settled on an outdoor wedding next to this little pond and a hall that was owned by the Central Oregon Parks and Rec department in the area. It made it affordable, but had the outdoorsy look I had wanted. The barns, while frequent around here, usually house animals and aren’t set up for wedding-like events. And the ones that are seem to be ridiculously over used or expensive.

Best of luck and keep your priorities in mind! Also, I loved that my husband (then fiancé) chose a lot of our music and so it was sort of a surprise as to which song we’d walk back down the aisle to, or enter the hall to because I didn’t pick them out, which made it fun.

1) I recommend remembering it’s YOUR wedding and make the day about you. My #1 regret from when I got married. I LOVE that I got married. I love who I married. I love being married. I do not love that my wedding had nothing to do with my marriage. My absolute favorite part was when my soon to be husband made an appointment at the Justice of the Peace so we could get married, just the two of us, and make our marriage about marriage. It was awesome. We had the wedding, but the marriage means so much more.
2) I recommend NOT getting married in a barn because for the love of God if I go to one more barn wedding or see pictures from one more barn wedding I’m going to wonder if anyone has ever had a creative, independent bone in their body.
3) I recommend staying OFF Pinterest. All the weddings look the same! Thank you, Pinterest.
4) I recommend staying giddy and happy and loving and letting it be you. And write about it all you want on your blog and talk about all you want and buy all the magazines and HAVE FUN because really, isn’t that what life is supposed to be about?

Congratulations, Ali!! I got married in September of 2013, fall weddings are the best!! My favorite part of our wedding was that we had our reception in the very same room we met. We met each other as servers at a local golf club and dated/worked together for four years there during college. We worked so many weddings together as lead servers, so it was so perfect to be able to celebrate our marriage in a room where we first met and fell in love. so cheesy and I cried.

I don’t have anything I would change, but having worked hundreds of weddings at my venue I knew what worked and what didn’t. My advice is to go easy on the flowers, candles are just as beautiful…. especially at night. Serve a late night snack – we did pizza at 10:00pm and it was a hit with the dance crew! refuel!! And as mentioned by many people above, take a moment and look around to take it all in!! Congrats!

So I’m not married or anywhere close to thinking about planning a wedding but I liked this post a lot it was so funny and refreshing compared with other wedding planning things.

Also my favorite wedding was my second cousin’s who just invited me because I went to college near the venue but there was a lot of good food, dancing, and open bar of course. Also for your first dance “Love You More” by Celine Dion, your welcome.

Nailed it. This post is everything I thought and said, ad nauseum. I love the wedding stuff, so keep it coming!

Newlywed over here — almost two months in and still smiling. I’ve also been to (and in) a lot (one year, there were SEVEN). Favorite part of my wedding was — the entire day. It was extremely important for me to be present the whole day and savor every moment, it really does fly by — I loved getting ready surrounded by family, running errands to get the cake and flowers, and going for one last run as a single gal. The ceremony was a close second, we really worked hard to make it totally about us and personalized every touch (our favorite poems, bible verses, own vows, family member officiant, our dogs were even there). We chose to have immediate family only and really pulled out all the stops to celebrate family and our new life. Since our guest list was so small, we splurged in other ways — fancy dinner at one of our fav restaurants and lots of champagne. The one thing, in hindsight I wished we had was a videographer. My sister videoed clips on my phone that I made into a video (on the cameo app), so I’m not missing out technically.

The best part of a wedding I’d been to — rehearsal dinner at her parents backyard. Super low key, plenty of booze, BBQ and great people.

Whatever is important you you two, make that #1 and everything will fall in place. And in times of crisis — drink a glass of wine (or two), it helps 🙂

Happy planning!

Marcia

Congratulations on your engagement!! I got married last spring in Manhattan. If you are not religious, consider having one of your friends or family step in to marry you (like Joey did on Friends). It was one of my favorite parts of our wedding and it saved us the hassle of having to find and pay a random stranger to officiate the ceremony. It’s really easy to get a non-denominational minister’s credential over the internet and become licensed in NYC. People still ask me if my brother-in-law is available to officiate (he’s not–it was a one time thing).

If you need any NYC vendors, I’m happy to share mine.

I’m super happy for you Ali. Talk about your wedding all you want. 🙂
I loved my wedding. It was in Vegas. Very low key, with only a handful of guests. We had a weekend-long reception- fancy dinner at an upscale restaurant after the wedding, went out on the town that night, and rented a cabana by the pool the next day so we could have our own personal waiter bringing us food and drinks all day. It was truly awesome!

Congrats!

Longtime reader, first-time commenter.

The biggest thing I learned from wedding planning is to remember that you (and Brian and all of your family/friends) will be themselves while planning and on your big day. By that I mean that, if someone tends to be anxious or someone tends to be laid back or someone else hates being the center of attention–all of that will still be true throughout the planning process and on your wedding day.

I personally dislike being the center of attention, so I hated that everyone asked me, The Bride, all about wedding details, and I was jealous that people didn’t bug my husband as much (the groom isn’t as important, right?! Vomit.) I dislike being the center of attention, but I didn’t think I would be as uncomfortable as I was feeling all eyes on me walking down the aisle. Once I was at the front of the church and people were looking at both my husband and I, I felt better.

This seems simple and perhaps too obvious to point out, but it is something that didn’t really occur to me. I sort of assumed when I got engaged/married I’d want x, y, and z typical things and that I would be magically comfortable with them. That just wasn’t true for me, and it wasn’t true for my husband or family either. My mom tends to be controlling, and guess what? She was just that throughout the planning and on the day of. My dad also hates being the center of attention, so he was nervous to walk me down the aisle. Taking into account personalities while planning/on the day of the wedding was perhaps the most helpful thing to me.

I hope this makes sense!

Here are the answers to your specific questions:

What was your favorite part of your wedding?

I agree with most people–the ceremony! Also, right afterward we went into a room by ourselves for 10 minutes and just had “us time.” It was great to be all giddy happy together and to catch our breath before spending the rest of the day/night with all the people.

What would you have done differently about your wedding?

We had a very, very small wedding (think 6 guests, no wedding party), and it was wonderful. If I had to do it again, though, I might elope :p In the end, though, I really wouldn’t change anything. We didn’t have a video done, and I have 0 regrets about that. My husband and I wrote up our feelings/lots of details about the day on our honeymoon, so we can remember. I think if I had a video I would pick out all the flaws I saw and that I would remember the day through someone else’s eyes, if that makes any sense.

What was the best wedding you’ve been to and why was it awesome?

Good food and good company!

Favorite part of my wedding: the dance party, and eating all the things once my nervous stomach died down! Awesome dance party is clutch. My approach was similar to yours: make it nice, but CHILL the whole way through and enjoy it. I trained for my first marathon during that planning phase too- totally kept me sane.

Favorite part: dancing and the dessert bar (we had 7 cakes and I made a bunch of cookies and got a lot of candy, then put out empty cookie boxes for guests to fill as their favors)

Wish I had done differently: save room for cake and take fewer pictures during the reception. We did a first look and got all of the formal family and wedding party pictures done before the ceremony so we could spend time with everyone during the reception. But then we left to get a few sunset shots, which turned into 30-45 minutes of pictures around the venue, instead of spending time with everyone.

Favorite wedding: I may be biased, but I thought ours was pretty awesome. We didn’t do a garter/bouquet toss, or any of the staged activities during the reception… the only thing we stopped the party for was to cut the cakes. We had an awesome DJ, a great playlist (picked mostly by me), glow sticks for the kids but the adults stole them, and I just don’t think the party lasted long enough. In fact, some friends got married a few months after us and used the same DJ, florist, and baker, and even changed their flavors after having the cake at our wedding.

I could have written this exact post about two years ago. It’s scary how similar our ideas/priorities are!

My favorite part of our wedding was our ceremony. We wrote the ceremony together, we wrote our own vows, and (my favorite part) my brother was our officiant. It was so personal and emotional and I think really captured the entire purpose of the occasion. I cried like a baby from start to finish (like, not cute tears. UGLY, emotional crying). People are still telling us months later that it was the best wedding ceremony they’ve seen, which is the best compliment ever.

I really, really wish we had gotten a wedding video. It was something we thought a lot about but decided to forgo—videographers in our area cost about the same as photographers, and we couldn’t justify the price. We decided to save that money and put it towards our Hawaiian honeymoon (which was the best trip of our lives and that I don’t regret for a second), but I do wish we had had someone at least record our ceremony for us.

I don’t regret anything else—not spending $$$ on things I didn’t care about, not paying close attention to tiny details that no one else would notice, etc. It really was just the best day ever: all of our favorite people were in one place at one time, and I married my best friend and the love of my life. And then we danced for four hours and drank from the open bar and ate a shit ton of cake. It really just doesn’t get any better than that.

Enjoy the process. It’s freaking crazy, but the end product will be incredible.

Keep it simple. That’s the best advice I could give anyone. I had a destination wedding and LOVED having just my immediate family there. But then we came home and had a bigger reception (which morphed into a reenactment of the wedding). I wish my parents had saved the money on that. It was fun and all but just an open house after the fact would have been just as good.

Best wedding was my own of course. Nah just kidding. I liked the wedding I attended that included a giant and amazing candy bar….so my standards for weddings are pretty high you see. If I had any advice it would be don’t let too many people weigh in on things. It is really all about you and your hubs to be so what you want or envision matters but that can get lost sometimes. And it is totally normal to freak out about weird wedding details….I think or hope…at least I did. I got very set on a particular cake and it was a showdown with my mom bc she thought it was too big (hello never enough cake) but I got my cake and that made me happy. Weirdly that was like the only detail I cared about. Congrats!!!!

My favorite part of the wedding is always the ceremony. It’s the reason you’re there right?

The only thing I would have changed was to wait a bit before taking a honeymoon. I’d suggest waiting a week or maybe even longer so you can really enjoy it. We went on our honeymoon a day after our wedding and pretty much slept through the first half because we were so beat from all the wedding planning!

No wedding planning/marrying experience, but I was recently tricked into planning a 200 person dinner and casino night, which ended up being very wedding-like, minus anyone getting married. It turned out awesome, and I spent the entire thing either running around like crazy or hiding in the corner. I absolutely support your interest in not doing any of the planning. At the very least make sure you’re not in charge of anything day-of, other than jazz hands/eating cheese.

Hahahaha I love that you were tricked into it. That just made me laugh. I’m sorry. I doubt it was funny for you.

It was hilarious. A friend at school asked me to run for PR Chair on the school board, whatever that is. It turns out what that is, is spending the entire spring planning everyone’s casino night dinner for them. COOL TRICK, FRIEND.

Got married about 6 months ago, although we’d been together about 8 years, I find the whole wedding thing so fascinating. How so many people want so many different things out of a day. We started off with the barn wedding as well. yes, perfect! then it quickly became we just want good food and good booze 🙂 We’re also painfully awkward in public, I get the giggles like whoa. And the idea of a ceremony didn’t feel right to either of us. Since we live in DC and lots of same sex couples get married here (woop!) although we’re not same sex we got a great woman with a lovely little set up and got married in front of her, just the two of us. It was great. Then we had dinner with our immediate families that evening, rented out the top floor of a wine store, they did the aforementioned food and booze. and then we met up with local friends at a bar for an after party. Although we didn’t celebrate with extended family (mine is huge and the wedding would’ve gotten out of hand $$) and didn’t get out of town guests, we celebrated with them separately mostly because we visit them all throughout the year. It was great, we just mentioned how we’re happy we did what we did even though we were bummed we couldn’t share it with everyone or other people didn’t like the idea. I got to get up my wedding morning for a 10 mile run, have a tasty breakfast, hang out, casually go get married, and then have a spectacular dinner. and with all the money we saved on a wedding, we bought a condo in DC. Perfect for me. I hope you two can say the exact same about yours! (and side note I was so blown away by the people in the not happy you’re engaged camp, I mean we had been together so long anyway I really didn’t see a difference, but man it was a bummer).

Best prt of my wedding day are as follows
1. I married my best friend
2. What mattered to us was food, photography and enough booze – all were perfect
3. Cocktail party with lots of food saved, everyone was able to talk – no seating plans, place cards or other extras
4. Potted plants on the tables which were given out to who ever wanted them
5. Approved bridesmaid dresses over text and found my dress in one day!

From other weddings I like top three muic request on RRSP card –

Congrats and enjoy

I got married 5 years ago at the local registry office (city hall). I didn’t wear a wedding dress, and we just went to a restaurant for dinner after.

I liked that our wedding cost us under $1k but I do regret not making a bigger deal out of it.

I wish I hadve had the dress, the reception and a proper photographer!

My advice, set your budget and go all out!!!

I had been to like two weddings by the time I got married (at 26) and now I’ve been to about 30. Still, I would change almost nothing about mine — except, I would have gotten a video. Specifically, I wish I had the toasts recorded. If it were now I would just have someone GoPro that, but it was 2008 and I think I had the last pre-smartphone wedding.

Favorite parts: setting up (we did all our own decorations and the wedding party set them up together the morning of — a big ol’ barn-raising, so to speak); walking back down the aisle after being married; dancing all night; our playlists (we went with “dj ipod” and made our own playlists, and I still listen to them all the time).

The best weddings I’ve been to have had something about them that is very uniquely that couple — e.g. a dancer friend had bridesmaids dance down the aisle; a couple showed a slideshow of them making all the same facial expressions as kids; another couple walked each other down the aisle

I got married almost 5 years ago (yikes!) and at the beginning, we made a list of priorities, which were (for us) – good food, good DJ, open bar. That was it. So we figured out how much we needed to spend on those things to make us happy the rest of got the remnants of our budget. Our poor florist! I basically told her “I know that your whole life is flowers, but I just don’t care! Here are our colors, our budget and hte bouquets we need…have at it!” And to be fair, she did a great job!! We did the same for ceremony music. We wanted one song played and then I was like “it’s a Catholic church…you guys do your thing.” And they did! Sometimes, it is best just to leave the details to the professionals.

Krista Jennings Langford says: January 20, 2015 at 6:54 pm

This whole post makes me happy. You will get used to being called a bride, but it might take you a year (if you’re anything like me) to get used to being called a wife.

Now to your questions, in reverse order- I have 2 favorite weddings, one had an EXTREMELY personal true to the bride and groom ceremony (like their friend who married them referenced how they were finally getting married after years of living in sin… this sounds awful but was hilarious) where I bawled and then we (the wedding party) did a flash mob. The other had the most food and alcohol I’ve ever seen in my life, a rockin band, and the bride and groom were incredibly hospitable to all. This was in NJ, and I’m convinced the bride’s dad is in the mafia.

what I wish I would have done differently… virtually nothing. my only regret, years later, is it was a dry wedding. My side of the family, at the time, were teetotalers and also alcohol (even just for a champagne toast) is expensive (we had to use the venue’s options for liquor, couldn’t even bring in anything cheap). At the time I thought my husband’s side of the fam was being lame for whining about no alcohol (which they didn’t do directly, but I heard about it) and now if I find out a wedding is dry I plan my outfit around a purse big enough for my flask.

my favorite part was that it felt like a big party. And that everyone seemed to have a good time and that the whole dang thing went off with almost no problems whatsoever (be obsessive months in advance so you can enjoy the day of!).

Can’t wait to hear more about your plans!

OMG I LOVE THIS COMMENT AND LOVE THAT YOU READ MY BLOG. Such an amazing surprise. And such great wisdom, my brainy little intern! (You were always my favorite. Don’t tell the others. I’m sure they knew, though.) And the open bar is set. For sure.

Oh and advice! Get a day of coordinator. SERIOUSLY LIFE SAVER. My brother didn’t have one and it was a pain in the butt making all the family deal with the details when they should have been enjoying the day like all the other guests.

And a video! I was also one of those who said I didn’t need one…but man, I wish I had one now!

YES! We are definitely planning on it!

From my vantage point a bit further along in the process (four months until the big day!), I’d say there are three things that have kept me relatively sane:

1) Don’t be afraid to say no. As in “no, I do not want rhinestone sparkles in my bouquet,” or “no, I do not want disco lighting.” As wedding planning goes on , it will be easy to accumulate extra … stuff… around your wedding, which can be fun – but also stressful My philosophy is that I’m less likely to regret the extra sparkles than I am to regret the stress and the fighting it can lead to.

2) Always remember why you’re doing this. It’s easy to lose sight of the awesomeness of getting married in the craziness of wedding. Bookmark your engagement blog post, or write something just for yourself to remind you of how amazing you feel. Then in six months when everything is crazy and you’re terrified your favors won’t turn out right, you can remind yourself of what really matters.

3) Have your dress made with a corset back.

Here’s what blows my mind/pisses me off: When people are like ‘well you have to have flowers’ or ‘it’s impossible to do it without it costing $40,000.’ No, it literally does not HAVE to be anything. The marriage will still count even if you don’t have place settings.

This post was hilarious! Love it, all of it, and love hearing about your wedding planning, because the IDEA of wedding planning is terrifying to me! It’s nice that you seem to be on an even keel – definitely keep that up 🙂
So I’ve never been married, and I’ve also never seriously considered my wedding day, but this is the internet! And I have these notes from past weddings:
I cannot remember the decorations very well. But I do remember the looks on the bride and groom’s faces when they saw each other for the first time that day. So don’t worry about flowers or candles or whatever else, because people are really probably more into you than the burning wax on the table.
There was a slideshow! Of the bride and groom growing up and being adorable together. And also, no speeches – this was excellent, because interested people watched the slideshow, and people who didn’t care ate and drank and everyone was merry.
That’s literally all I’ve got. Good luck!!

CONGRATS ON THE ENGAGEMENT!! Flowers were important to me with no budget. I’ve been to too many weddings where I thought the bouquets were skimpy. Open bar and good food were up there as well as beautiful stationary. I loved the thank you note in our programs which gave a shout out to my grandparents & their beautiful gardens…thos no budget for flowers.

This was the fun thing…beèr koozies! We ordered them from Etsy. They looked better than red solo cups, everyone loved them, and they went well with the canoe filled with beer!

Enjoy the process and remem it’s just a day, but it’s your day!

Just wanted to briefly defend Pinterest, since everyone seems to hate it.

I’m planning my wedding too (also a rustic barn wedding, who knew how that became such a common thing). I thought I’d want more of a nuts and bolts wedding – good drink and a nice playlist but not much in terms of decorations or whatever – but it’s been really fun to make stuff. My whole family is pretty crafty – we do homemade Christmas gifts and stuff fairly frequently – and it’s been a great way to bond with my sisters.

That said, it’s obviously not required – if it’s not your thing, I don’t think you need cutesy escort cards or favors or table settings – but some people above suggested that liking Pinterest means you don’t have your priorities straight. Which is bullshit.

Anyway, my wedding hasn’t happened yet but what I’m looking forward to the most is the first dance… we picked out a great song and not sure why, but just hearing it – even now – makes me realize how real it is that I get to spend the rest of my life with this amazing person.

I really like making things, and I have a very crafty family and I have been loving Pinterest – so much more than I expected. It’s been a great way to bond with my sister who has had all

Preach, girl. Totally agree that Pinterest can be great and helpful. It was really good for me when I was getting started because I had NO idea where to even begin. It was really good for helping me start to see what I did and didn’t like. I’m not crafty like you and your crew (jealous!), but still found lots of good ideas on Pinterest.

Hi! Creeper coming out of the woodwork after being a long time reader 🙂
Congratulations on your engagement!!! That’s so awesome.

I used to be an on-site wedding coordinator/catering manager at a private event venue in NYC, so saw my fair share of weddings.
Some things I picked up along the way:
– hospitality/care baskets for the ladies and gents in the restrooms. These baskets held everything from Tide pens and Shout Wipes, mints and mouthwash, bandaids for blisters, sewing kits with safety pins, tampons and anything else that one might possible need. All stuff that you can easily grab from Duane Reade and (nicely) throw into a basket, but it’s such a nice touch for the guests!
– Asking a restaurant to cater can sometimes be better than asking a catering company!
– Centerpieces: Potted flowers/plants can be a nicer, cheaper option than arranged cut flowers. Just try to cover the dirt with some moss or something, and also make sure that the plants don’t have a strong fragrance.
– If you can afford to, even a day-of coordinator can really help you enjoy the day.

But more than anything, remember that it’s just a big party celebrating a happy moment in your life, and as long as you and your loved ones are having fun, it’s all good.

umm…sorry for the longwinded comment…

Love all this! Thank you!

Your comment on the running/cycling thing made me think how when I got married, people kept asking me about the theme–as if I everyone goes the route of an Alice in Wonderland wedding or a Harry Potter wedding or a hobby-oriented wedding. I kept telling them–the theme of my wedding is WEDDING! White stuff! Flowers! Cake! 🙂

The only thing I would do differently about my wedding is put some sort of delayed fee into the contract with the photographer. This will help make sure you get your pictures in a timely manner, because the photographer will be getting the rest of their check once they hand over the pictures. My photographer is going through a divorce, and has yet to do the pictures, 8.5 months later.

I’d watched both my brothers get married and saw the whole thing turn into a gong show. They were fighting before the wedding and under so much stress. I did NOT want that. I wanted a destination wedding so bad, but that just wouldn’t work for my husband’s side of the family.
We’d bought our own house and had been busy doing renovations, so we finally compromised and agreed to a surprise wedding! We sent out housewarming BBQ invites to all of our friends. We told our parents about a month before hand – after everything was booked / planned and just so they could find a nice outfit for the photos.
We took off and did our photos before the ceremony, while everyone was arriving and getting settled. Then we showed up, had the ceremony in our backyard, then partied it up until 5am! I’m not even kidding! It was so low-key and super fun and the best party EVER! It was as low stress as possible, I think.
Downside was nobody brought gifts, but we were already living on our own for a couple of years and really didn’t need much (and we expected that because of the surprise)
I was also ok with no showers etc before the wedding.
We did get a lot of wedding cards with cash arrive after the wedding, so that was fun! 🙂
Whatever you decide to do will be the perfect celebration for YOU guys. Just be true to yourselves, and remember that the goal of the day is to exchange vows and be married. The rest is just gravy. If it all goes as planned, yay! If not, then as long as you get married the day was a success!!!!
It really is soon much about your attitude and how you react to things. Just remember that you guys are teammates. For always.
And have fun!!! I know it sounds cliche, but it really does FLY by sooooooo fast. Make sure you stop and breathe and try to take it all in during the big day!
xo

So glad you’re enjoying this awesome journey! My favorite part of my own wedding was the moment that hubs and I took to step away from it all and look around at our friends and family having a blast. Favorite part of other weddings is the first dance – I love how in love the bride and groom are in that moment!

I”m in the “get a wedding video” camp for what I would have done differently. We hired a recent high school grad to take raw footage and one of hubs’ friends was supposed to edit it, but that hasn’t happened yet…so I guess there’s still time to get that video done 🙂

Aside from my own (which I prefer for obvious reasons), my favorite weddings have been those with great djs and lots of dancing.

Just got married in May so I truly appreciated this post. Long time reader but have never commented before. But wanted to weigh in to give you this tip for flowers – Costco. You can order them online and have them shipped to the venue. I almost completely eliminated flowers from my wedding because of the outrageous cost (you are right – say the word wedding and the price of anything triples) until someone turned me onto Costco. For just over $100 I got flowers for my bouquet, my bridesmaid and 10 centerpieces (and they were beautiful). You have to arrange the flowers yourself but I’m sure you could find able volunteers! Best of luck in the planning. Believe me – on the day of the wedding none of the tiny little details matter. Congrats and best of luck!

I second Costco! That’s where we got all the flowers for ours as well! Super cheap yet still gorgeous!!

Hi Ali: I got married in 2013 and my best tip is to set a deadline to “let things go” a couple of days before the wedding. When the deadline came, I stopped scrambling around and any loose ends had to be dropped or dealt with by my helpers. It’s sort of similar to the days leading up to a marathon … the work has been done, so trust your training. This really helped me feel really relaxed and enjoy all the wedding events. I also made a “F**k It” list of things that just weren’t going to get done in the end. Trust me, the morning you wake up after the wedding day, none of those missing things will matter … you’ll just be happy you’re married! Hope that helps. Congratulations!

Abbe Baker fka Abbe Lew says: January 21, 2015 at 4:16 pm

Alright. I normally don’t comment on your blog (because we’re friends in real life, huzzahh!), and you and I have already discussed a lot regarding this (because we’re friends in real life, huzzahh!), but I wanted to share a few more tips, regardless. Truthfully, I don’t think I would have done anything differently about my wedding. The guest list was huge, but that was due to our mammoth-sized families. We talked about how we wished we could have done a smaller wedding, but it really wasn’t in the cards. (Queue Daddy Lew saying, “SO MANY PEOPLE WOULD BE MAD AT YOU.” #peoplepleaser) I wish I had more time to talk to people I don’t see often. I had high school friends there who I hadn’t seen in well over 5 years. It made me feel special. Weddings are truly spectacular in that you, A. see who your true friends are, and 2. FEEL THE LOVE. So much love. Everyone is there for YOU. And sure, there will most likely be hiccups along the way. But by the end of it, the drama will cease, and everyone is there to celebrate you. And they probably brought their drinking pants. Because, as you know, you won’t stop drinking until you return from your honeymoon. Except then, people want to go out and talk about your wedding and honeymoon, so you’ll drink for that too. Jesus, that was a lot of word vomit. Baker out.

Lucy Tiger Wallace says: January 21, 2015 at 5:07 pm

Hey!

Does this work? Will you really respond to this? I MISS YOU AND YOUR BLOG IS WONDERFUL!!! Also I want to be invited to your wedding.

OH – and what color pallet are you thinking of?

xoxox Tiger.

Hi!

1. Yes.
2. Yes.
3. I miss you too, and thanks.
4. You will be.
5. Orange and black tiger stripes.

The bit when you said you care about marrying Brian made me tear up a bit because frankly, that’s all that matters. When I got married, I was determined to keep in mind one thing. That NOTHING else matters except that He and I showed up with the vicar and got married. NOTHING else. Everything else is icing on the cake. And that attitude made our wedding utterly brilliant.

I got dog poo ON MY DRESS. In the churchyard after the ceremony. Green, smelly dog poo on my wedding dress. I couldn’t even be poised and elegant for one day. It was very funny.

ARE YOU GETTING MARRIED IN WAITSFIELD?!!?

‘Caaaauuuuse my sister is in August. And she’s also doing this new “rustic chic” trend. We are drowning in lace and burlap.

The best wedding I ever went to was the marriage of a Russian woman and a Jewish dude (I was someone’s date, I barely knew either of them). They served martinis pre-ceremony, and the dance floor was everything you would imagine a Russian-Jewish dance party would be. I had so much fun.

Dancing is huge for me at weddings — I hate when no one is dancing, or there’s such a short time limit to dancing. At my wedding I want every single person on the floor sweating!

Congratulations!

I loved my wedding. We had so much fun & so many special memories. We didn’t want to go into debt so stuck to a tight budget and I am so glad we kept the meaning of the day as our focus, not all the expensive extras.

Advice that helped us with this…
1. Choose 3 things that are really important to you & let everything else not stress you out (even better if you can let other focus on the less important stuff). This made life so easy & even on the day of when the head table was temporarily distroded by a few kids who were learning how to do the worm, I was able to laugh while the tables collapsed to the floor with everything going flying. It really was quite funny since our table decorations were carved pumpkins. Pumpkin cuts went everywhere. Nothing a bottle of wine couldn’t fix 😉

2. If you have a friend that is super organized, crafty & loves Pinterest ask her to be a bridesmaid & give her free range on everything but your top three things.

3. Remember this is just one day. Celebrate the hell out of it but don’t forget it is about the marriage,not just the wedding.

One of my favorite things about a wedding I went to was that they used wine bottles as the table numbers. That way each table had a bottle of wine to start out with for dinner, too. Another cute idea was having mad libs about the couple on the table so that people had things to do while they were waiting for the bridal party to come in 🙂 Have fun planning!

I felt SO much like you when I got engaged… can someone just plan a big, pretty party and I get to show up?! Sadly, that costs way too much. I was advised to spend on a great photographer. See some stuff they’ve done. BIG BONUS with ours (based in San Diego) was that we go a beautiful slideshow to share – set to amazing music a few weeks later with some of the hand-selected pics- priceless. We did a nicer taco bar and had a non-wedding DJ do our music. He was awesome and it wasn’t all YMCA-Come-on-Eileen (though I do love those songs :)). We got flowers from a local florist and didn’t have a floral “designer.” Day-of coordinator was amazing and about a thousand bucks (which in the grand scheme of things was fine). Wine and beer kept the cost down too, and everyone was wasted. I brought lots of random frames with old and new pictures from home and put them in the wine barrels all around the place- and hung some pictures on little twine clotheslines too, which made it personal. Candles (from IKEA-votives) were cheap! OK – enough about me- enjoy the planning and wedding and dress shopping! It goes by fast! 🙂

i know you’re close to locking down a venue, BUT! barn weddings really are so in. one of my best friends got married at glynwood farms near fishkill last summer and it was amazing (albeit have to bring your own food/booze) BUT! the glorious house was big enough for the entire wedding party to stay at and was only like 1.5hrs from the city. and roberta’s from brooklyn catered and brought a wood fired oven for delicious pizza and took care of the booze, too. wherever you decide to have it, it’ll be so so lovely and glorious :)…and all those non-congratulatory bitches can keep it moving.

I LOVED Glynwood. Stunning venue. It was one of my first phone calls! They are fully booked for 2015! Boo! Really beautiful, though. My cousin almost got married there, too!

1. Congrats! I love weddings though I have to say my marriage is way better than my wedding day. That said I have very few regrets – if any about the day. I started to respond to this and it ended up being almost a page long…whoops…So I hope here is an condensed version of my favorite things:
1. Always remember that no matter what detail may not work out perfectly the day of the wedding at the end of the day if you are married to the love of your life it was an amazing day. Enjoy being with the people you love the most celebrating such an important commitment.
2. Make it personal and tailored to you – not what wedding books dictate. My husband hates dancing so there was no mother son dance but my grandfather is the best dancer I know so we did an extra dance. One of the pastors was also the best man, the cubs score was announced during the ceremony and I tried to create details that allowed people to get to know us as a couple in case they only knew one of us. We also skipped the garter and bouquet toss since there would not have been a lot of single people and it would have been awkward.
3. We announced our wedding party at the reception. We had the DJ announce us first and then we stole the mic. Instead of just giving names we each said 1-2 sentences about why we asked them to stand up in the wedding – some funny, some sweet but it introduced our favorite people to the rest of the guests and then we got to hug them when they came out. I loved this.
4. We did not have a head table. We sat at a round table with our best man/maid of honor and their spouses. We could still see out since we did not fill a whole round table but we could still have a conversation and our bridal party got to sit with their dates. My brother had done this at his wedding and I had SO much more fun sitting with my cousins and fiance (now husband) than I would have with his good friends having everyone watch me eat.
5. See each other before the ceremony. It lets you have a few moments to just be excited together without lots of people watching what could be a very emotional moment. Plus then you can do pictures early and not make guests wait a ton of time. It was calming just to be with him for a few minutes.
6. EAT! Make sure you have a plan for breakfast and lunch otherwise the day gets busy! Eat at the ceremony too 🙂 MMMM cake.

Sorry this got long! I loved my wedding 🙂

(OOOH veil off before the receiving line if you do one – lots of hugs pulling down on your veil hurts and have a second jacket/flower for pin – the make up from all of the women gets all over the jacket and the flower gets SMASHED by all of the hugs)

I was never a girly girl who dreamed of her wedding day. I don’t like being the center of attention and really just didn’t want to be stressed out on my wedding day and have the whole “ohmigosh, I just want this over” feeling. So, we got married in a very private ceremony at the beach . The only people that we invited were our parents/siblings/grandparents (and a photographer). It was great! I think it broke my mom’s heart though so we wound up having a big party to celebrate a few months later. That was (as I predicted) incredibly stressful – but at least we were already married and I didn’t have to worry about getting up in front of everyone and saying vows. We did our party on a Friday night to cut costs (everything was SO much cheaper this way).

Also, we got engaged in May and wound up getting married a few months later in August. We had our party in November. So everything was super fast tracked which raised a few eyebrows at the time. However, a few months later my father in law was diagnosed with a terminal illness and he passed away shortly thereafter. Our wedding/party photos are the last ones where he looks healthy and happy. It is weird how things work out.

Ali!! Thank you for this post! I got engaged a week or so after you and am going through the exact same thing! I’m the first of my friends to get engaged and so no one I know really knows what it’s like. It’s nice to know someone else feels the same way I do. It just seems like so…much. So moral of the story I hope you do post more about your wedding planning!

I got married in 2007. Pinterest did not exist! Kind of glad about that. Although the internet certainly did, and there was no shortage of DIY projects on the internet.

What was your favorite part of your wedding? Our reception! We had it in a banquet room at a restaurant (so the food was good), we were our own DJs via iTunes on my laptop (so the music was good), and we skipped the cheesey stuff that we had (like the bouquet and garter toss). Um, I also really loved my dress. I really wish I could just wear it around.

What would you have done differently about your wedding? I do wish we had hired a videographer. My father-in-law had a video camera there, but I only got video through the beginning of the reception, which was mostly my nephew playing drums on a plate. So. Yeah.

What was the best wedding you’ve been to and why was it awesome? Um, mine? Haha. My brother and his wife got married in a garden at a mansion (in the country … no barn though) and then had a reception in their backyard. And they don’t have a very big backyard. They turned their garage into a buffet, got a couple kegs from their favorite breweries, rented tables/chairs/tents (like … a giant beer tent), rented a jumpy, and ended the night with a bonfire on their driveway. It was dope.

My husband and I got engaged in April and married by August of that year…nope, I wasn’t pregnant. I won’t say what year that was because suddenly I feel old. I cared about certain things, but the little things…holy shit, I just wanted someone else to take care of it! Enjoy it, it will be nuts, but so much fun 🙂

I just read every single comment, so thank you!! They were extremely helpful. I am planning my wedding at the moment too. I got engaged in October but I knew exactly where I wanted to get married, luckily I got their very last date for the Fall 2015 and it was a Friday. Unluckily for me, there is no price break since it is a seasonal venue.

I also found myself feeling like my wedding wasn’t going to be “cool enough” for these artsy photographers. Does that make sense? I see their pictures of weddings that look straight from a magazine and I don’t even know if I will have cutesy things like that.

Also, I went dress shopping and I got to say I was SO close to falling for a $3500 dollar dress at Nordstrom. I was at the register and everything but got cold feet. Now that I didn’t get it, I am SO glad because I found a gorgeous dress for $1400. Do not spend a lot of money on a dress, it has no effect on the party! There are tons of dresses out there that are reasonable and beautiful. This made me scale back and remember what the day was about. I started off with a simple vision, and being reasonable but just like that, I was ready to break out the credit card…because “ITS MY WEDDING!!!”…

Best part of wedding: having (almost) all of your favorite friends and family members together. I never imagined how fun it would be until everyone arrived. I actually keep asking Anthony if we can do it again…. 🙂

What I would change: actually, nothing. How snotty am I?! 🙂 For us, our day was perfect.. Stick to what you and Brian want and don’t let everyone else get in the way. My motto for planning was “we can’t make EVERYONE happy so we’re just going to do what makes us happy” Everyone has an opinion about who you need to invite, what you need to do, this that and the other thing but really all that matters is that you and Brian have the day YOU want to have!

(Actually, if I had to change one thing, I would say that we should have waited one more day before leaving for our honeymoon. We got married Sunday morning and left Tuesday and it felt sort of rushed since we didn’t get packed beforehand as planned…)

Yay excited for you! Can’t wait to hear more about venue/details! 🙂 xo

I am not married, but I have been to a shit ton of weddings. The only things that guests remember –

Vows (well I do! I always cry)
Have a heartfelt ceremony and follow that up with plenty of food, plenty of booze, and some groovin jams and the rest is just cake.

You should also have cake.

So, I got married in October of 2013 – in a barn. Shockingly original. At the time, it was! I’m from Indiana, but live in Chicago and all of our city friends thought we were insane. Turns out, we were. That shiz was a TON of work. I dropped 10 pounds the two weeks before the wedding b/c i was working so hard and so stressed. While it was definitely WORTH it, it’s not something i would EVER do again.

I, like you, didn’t give a care about the flowers (how do people spend THOUSANDS on flowers that DIE in two days???) So we went with fake ones for everything except for our bouquets. Geinus and no one noticed.

Last thing – we decided early on that we didn’t care what other people thought about our wedding. We wanted it to reflect US. And, it did…and we had a blast. Surprisingly, so did our friends & family. 🙂 I adopted the “honeybadger” attitude quickly and walked around the week before saying “just call me honeybadger b/c i do not give a sh!t.” It worked in relieving a lot of stress.

Shameless plug: I LOVED our photographer (worth every penny) so here are our wedding images 🙂 I’m still obsessed with them 1.5 years later. http://www.jessicarstrickland.com/blog/wedding/lindsay-mike-zionsville-wedding/

Yay! it sounds like you are doing everything right. I also did not care about linens and was sparing with flowers. Did no ceremony decorations which was a great way to save $ because everyone will be looking at you, and you will be looking at Brian. You are right on prioritizing a great photog, and my only piece of advice is hire vendors who are hardworking and have an aesthetic you love and then let them do their job. It was so much easier to just trust their expertise/vision and enjoy it rather than micro-manage. soak it up!

I loved this post!

We didn’t have a video made because “everyone” told us they had never watched theirs and so that is where I chose to save money. It was a mistake for us. 🙁 I wish we had a video…. even if it was just a friend sitting on the front row to video our vows.

I loved our wedding. It was fairly traditional. One thing I did was get up that morning and go get coffee….. by myself. I am very much a people person, but I wanted to be able to take a few minutes for just myself and focus on what the day was really about. I am SO thankful for those few minutes of calm before the excitement of the day!

You will LOVE whatever you decide. I am SO thankful I got married before Pinterest was so huge. I can’t imagine the pressure I would feel. Just do whatever feels right for you and Brian!

So excited for you!
My husband and I got married in a tent on the lawn of my family’s lake house. It was bigger than we originally wanted, but it was a great party. We were adamant about only a few things: who performed the ceremony (someone who respected our religious beliefs/lack thereof); making sure the language of the ceremony/our vows demonstrated our commitment to equality (no “man and wife” or “Mr & Mrs Hisname”); and LOTS of cheese. Like, a lot. The food was very simple, but we had a variety of cheeses.
We were very lucky that my mom made our cake and and my aunt provided wine. Advice: If someone, a relative or friend, is really good at making something/finding songs/arranging chairs/whatever… let them! Also, EAT the day of the wedding. I LOVE food and I didn’t believe people when they said you wouldn’t have time to eat. After it was all over we were scarfing leftovers in bed because we were so hungry (but not thirsty– we made time for wine). I can’t wait to read about what you do!

Hi Ali,

Congratulations! I hope you enjoy every minute of being engaged and “lovey-dovey”. When we were engaged, my husband and I would drive around in our car, listening to songs we were going to play at our wedding and crying. Bliss.

We got married in 2007 and planned our wedding in just under a year. The BEST part was the moment when I stood at the top of the aisle and saw my husband for the first time. It took my breath away and I have never felt love like that before. It was also cool because I had no idea what he was wearing until that moment. He ordered a gorgeous custom made black suit with a very subtle pink pin strip and shocking pink lining. It was amazing.

I honestly wouldn’t have done anything differently. It was the best and happiest day of my life and the only thing that was really important that day was the fact we got married. All the details were lovely but now mostly forgotten. Except the open bar. Our friends still talk about that so was a good decision.

Anyway, enjoy the planning, enjoy this time with Brian, be true to yourselves and surround yourself with lovely, positive people.

Wishing you lots of love and happiness,
Erin

Omg…this post! We sound so similar! I just got married in August and all I kept saying was that I wanted low-key and fun. I just wanted everyone to be there, drinking, dancing and having fun. I got lots of crap from people who were afraid I was missing out on the tradition of it all. I barely wanted a first dance or to cut the cake…that’s how low-key I wanted to go (btw–I gave in…I think it’s called “picking your battles”). It basically came down to me figuring out two-three things that were very important to me and letting go of the rest. Decision making was SO.MUCH.EASIER once I knew what mattered.
Also, the things you think will matter to your guests, often don’t. We went to four weddings before ours this past summer and I feared that I would get wrapped up in all the extra details. It actually made me realize what no one paid attention to (such as the toiletry baskets in the bathrooms) and what was helpful such as doing a welcome party for guests the night before, having a snack come out towards the end of the night when everyone was drunk hungry at the reception (hamburger sliders were clutch late at night!), etc etc etc. I could go on forever.
I loved our wedding day and it didn’t “fly by” for me. Once the wedding weekend came, I could’ve cared less what happened and was just too happy to see everyone. It is possible 🙂

Hi Ali!
2 year reader and first time commenter coming out of the woodwork here in North Carolina. I just wanted to chime in that I absolutely LOVE this blog for many reasons (like I was moping for a solid 2 days when I would read my blog list when you were chronsing and so sick and you were thinking about stopping the blog..Ahhh!) . I would LOVE to hear about your wedding planning, just like a previous commenter said, we read for the whole spectrum, and many of your posts–about having a disease, needing a change, a horrible ending to a relationship, and just being a fellow 20-something, have been so uplifting when I’ve gone through some of the same things, and I will sometimes go back and re-read them. I’m 26 and single (eeek), but my favorite weddings have been ones with an open bar, a dance party, really good food, and an outside reception….I also read about the idea of having all your bridesmaids sign/write tiny notes on the bottom of your wedding shoes that way they are figuratively “walking down the aisle with you” to start this new chapter of your life and stay with you all the way. Kind of cheesy, but awesomely cheesy, like queso or something.
THIS BLOG IS AWESOME! PLEASE DONT CHANGE A THING!!

I’ve been married 13+ years. Best advice is enjoy the day, that’s what you’ll remember the most. Also don’t go all “Pinterest” on the wedding, my stepbrother did and it was a bit overkill. Have a great day, great music and lots of fun!

Late to the party here, but I’ll throw in my two cents.

I’ve been married for 29 years this May.
Longer than most of these commenters have even been alive. How’s THAT. Ha.

My husband and I were married in Montana in a park. It actually is a church in a park as it has logs for pews. My dad played the guitar to walk me down the aisle. My parents splurged on a horse drawn carriage to take us to the reception where there was cake (my mom made it…three tiers, Cherry Chip…I still love it but can’t have it now that I’m Celiac), punch and finger sandwiches, and other little snacks and such.

No alcohol. We were 19. 😉

Most memorable wedding gift…a window fan. We took it back to the store so we could get the $24.95 to help pay for our honeymoon to Cooke City, MT for the weekend. The most beautiful place at the top of the mountain.

When summer hit, I would have given nearly anything for that darn window fan back.

Whenever I go home I still hear from people how much they loved our wedding. It was simple, and beautiful.

Sorry, I guess that was the point. Simple. Do what you love.

I’m also planning right now and I agree with so much of what you said! We have a long engagement…about halfway through the 2 1/2 years and we’ve gotten so many weird reactions about why we are waiting and I just do not understand why people care! The comments we have heard have boggled my mind. But in the end I know it will be an awesome day even if it’s ridiculously hard to pick between flowers (?) and colors and all that.

Continue the mindset of being an easy-going bride-to-be — it’ll save your sanity! I can totally relate to your desire to not have anything cutesy running related. I got married last May and wanted nothing to do with cliches or barf-inducing cuteness.

Ah! I just got engaged too! We have been engaged for almost 4 weeks and I agree with everything here. Especially the barn thing. I thought I was unique – definitely not. We have until Fall 2016 so will definitely be reading to here about how everything goes!

We had a 9 month engagement and I think having a 1+ year engagement would have been terrible. I’m convinced a longer period of time would just give you more time to stress out. I was too busy to get too stressed about the wedding. That also explains why I decided on and made all the centerpieces a month before the wedding.

I would have invited less people because I didn’t even get to talk to everyone at the reception but FWIW my husband still says he would have invited more people. And we had about 330 ppl attend (which some people think is crazy but is definitely not that large for my small town). I think you should just keep in mind what is worth it to you. If that’s flowers, spend money of flowers. For me it was food and booze and good music. I swear no one remembers the centerpieces.

I dropped off the face of the earth in blog-world so I totally missed this but CONGRATULATIONS!!!! how exciting. you’re already glowing and will make a beautiful bride.

i’m the same way–i have zero idea what i want when i get married. other than small and intimate. which is ironic and also impossible with the guy i’m with.. his family is about the size of a city.

Again, whoo hoo! And congrats! (I think I just started two sentences with words that are not supposed to be used to start sentences. Whoops!)

Married a little over 2 years and my favorite part of my wedding day was the most cliché part. We did a “first look,” only I wouldn’t let anyone near us except our photographer. Our moms sure were pissed, but it was literally the only moment of the day where my main squeeze and I could share a few minutes alone. I’m so glad we did it. My second favorite part of the day was being announced as Mr. & Mrs. and having the Notre Dame fight song playing as we excited the church (mind you, this was a Catholic wedding and very untraditional in our church, but dude is a huge ND fan, our wedding was on a game day, and so it just worked).

Being a Catholic wedding, there was a huge (3 hour) break in between the wedding and the reception and so we did the whole party bus to the reception venue. I was told by one guest who is an avid partier that our wedding party was the drunkest wedding party she had ever seen. Uh, not a good thing. I’d forgo such fun shenanigans if I had to do it all over again.

My wedding was pretty amazing, but I’d have to say that my brother’s wedding takes the cake. He was being deployed so they moved up the wedding by several months and it was so simple, but great DJ, plenty of booze, fun people, and lots and lots of dancing. I think the key is having a good group of friends that you can rely upon to be on the dance floor all night long to help carry the party!

Enjoy this time, and even being a married ol’ bitty, I still love reading about your planning! Pinterest and Etsy are the devil – talk about making you feel woefully inadequate! Etsy does have really great wedding accessories and gifts – just don’t look for decorations and projects;)

I would totally invest more $$$ in our photographer & videographer. I keep seeing these guys all over my Insta and they seem dreamy …..,
http://candlelightfilms.com
I wish you all the best as you plan this special day. You’re already light years ahead of so many couples who get wrapped up in planning the event and forget that they’re building a marriage & future. Blessings!

Jen (fka Well Read Fish) says: February 4, 2015 at 1:20 pm

Is it weird to leave a link to our wedding stuffz? Well, here it is: http://www.photojj.com/jennifer-tim-sodo-park-wedding/

I am so excited for you! The day before our wedding I had lunch with all my girlfriends who were already in town. It was AMAZING to hang out with all of them in one place. It’ll never really happen again. Obviously that’s not about the wedding, per se, but it was way cool. For me personally, I didn’t want formal photos. I like candids, so aside from a couple an old aunt insisted upon, we didn’t bother with formal family pictures. I would say it’s important to dance. I don’t think I need to tell you that though. My family was used to black-tie affairs, and while mine wasn’t casual, it was way more casual, which was our style. Aside from the one guy who wore jeans, it worked out well.
You don’t need to make everyone else happy….just you and Brian.
HAVE FUN GIRL!

Jen (fka Well Read Fish) says: February 4, 2015 at 1:22 pm

OH YEAH, PS – if you want a poofy very wedding-dressy dress, do it. But there are TONS of wedding-appropriate dresses out there that aren’t marketed as such and therefore less expensive. Search stores for white and white-ish dresses (Like Saks, Bloomingdales, Nordstrom etc). Mine was from JCrew and not too expensive, as far as wedding dresses go, but I think they’ve upped their prices, or at least, have less inexpensive options than they used to.