I recently finalized travel arrangements for three glorious weddings we’ll be attending in the coming months. I got lucky, with two of them landing on the same weekend and are only two hours away from each other (one is in Palm Desert, the other is in Temecula). We are beyond thrilled to be road tripping it to see some good friends, drink some good wine and have a little grown-up time together. To top off our year, we’ll be heading to NYC in December for a fabulous winter wedding. Beyond excited for these upcoming nuptials!
Despite my fond memories, I’d be lying if I said there isn’t anything I’d do differently. Below is some of my hindsight wedding advice for brides-to-be.
- Hire a videographer. I cannot stress this enough. I know it’s easy to dismiss this as one of those “extra” things you don’t really need, but just do it! Why? Because it’s the only way – THE ONLY WAY – you will be able to relive that night. You think you’ll remember everything, but you won’t. The years cause those memories to fade and although pictures give you somewhat of an idea, a video truly takes you back to everything about your day. Just do it – you won’t regret it. Here’s a shortened version of my video, by Ryan Eytcheson, if you’d like to take a look. 🙂
- Choose your photographer wisely. I LOVE my wedding photos and truly believe my photographer is beaming with artistic talent given to her by God himself. However – this process taught me that there is much more to look for when choosing a photographer; namely, organization. Make sure you find someone who is organized, or has someone they’ve hired to keep them organized.
- Have a sweetheart table. I went with the more traditional head table, but if time travel was possible, I would have a sweetheart table. You spend most of the day surrounded by everyone but your groom – some alone time with some dinner would have been nice.
- Don’t buy a photo album through your photographer. I just got my wedding album last month. My wedding was in September of 2011. Yes, that’s how long it took me to get my album. While I realize this is an unusual situation, it’s still a chance you take when the power is in the hands of anyone but you. Also, my album wasn’t anything I couldn’t have designed myself. If you have a creative side, just cut out the middle man and work with the album designer directly. You’ll save time, money and frustration.
- Choose your bridesmaids wisely. If you suspect that anyone in your wedding party is talking behind your back, seems mad, bitter, or competitive about anything to do with your wedding/engagement, it’s time to get the scissors and do some cutting. Don’t make excuses and tell yourself it will get better once your wedding is over. It won’t. Weddings often force true colors to shine through – make the cuts before these people end up in your wedding photos. The comparing/competing won’t end with your wedding. “The first time someone shows you who they are, believe them.” – Maya Angelou
- Don’t put pressure on yourself to say hi to every single guest. Many weddings are only four or five hours long and it’s going to fly by faster than you ever imagined. Every bride and groom says this – so believe it to be true. You’re on a timeline and your guests know this. They won’t be offended if you can’t say hi to them – and if they are offended, they’ll get over it. Spend your time however you want – it’s the one night of your life where it really is all about you (and the groom), but mostly you.
- Go dress shopping with an open mind. You might think you know what kind of dress you want, but you won’t really know until you start trying them on. Keep an open mind. My dress was pulled by one of the sales people and I would have NEVER picked it out for myself.
- Be very careful in choosing your DJ. My DJ got good recommendations online and was highly recommended by my photographer, but I had a weird feeling about them and I wish I had just listened to my gut. My DJ completely butchered the names and introductions I wrote for my wedding parties. It’s like the man didn’t know how to read. There were other issues about them that night, but I won’t get into details. Just be careful and don’t rush into choosing a DJ. The good news is that most of the guests I talked to didn’t seem to notice, and there was still a good dancing vibe – check out the moves on my father-in-law below.
- Make sure someone puts your purse into your getaway car. Funny story – I thought the wedding coordinator at my venue would take care of something like that. Little did I know, she was getting wasted as the night progressed (she was since fired from my wedding venue, Bella Piazza Winery). Ryan and I were locked out of our B&B – and there wasn’t anyone on the premises to let us in. We laughed it off and played checkers on the front porch (randomly, there was a giant checkers board) until some of our wedding party met up with us to give us our stuff, but it still sucked. Make sure you task a trustworthy bridesmaid/family member to put your stuff into your getaway car.
- Use a lip stain instead of lipstick/gloss. You don’t want the groom to worry about lipstick transfer during your first kiss as husband and wife. You also don’t want to worry about it getting on your teeth, reapplying, or getting your hair blown into your lip gloss during pictures/walking down the isle. Just get a lip stain and be done with it. I used this one from Benefit.
- Have your hair and make-up professionally done. It’s natural to have some jitters before you walk down the isle. For me, the jitters were 100 percent related to my anxiety about so many people staring at me. Being able to relax, drink a glass of champagne and enjoy your bridesmaids is a much more calming way to spend the day – just make sure you do a test-run session with your glam girl/guy before the big day. I used Tania Voochen of Byuti Salon. You can learn more about her through this feature on Girls on the Grid. She’s amaze-balls.
- Consider doing a boudoir photo book as a wedding present for your hubby-to-be. Many women have the best bodies they’ve ever had during their weddings. Why not document that with some sultry photos for your husband to enjoy? I felt kind of silly during the photo shoot, but they turned out to be stunning and Ryan loved them! Plus it was totally fun shopping for lingerie! Men are visual creatures – your groom will be beyond thrilled to have a private booklet of the woman he loves. Coming from someone who is sleep deprived and currently rocking a post-partum body, trust me – you’ll be glad to have those photos. An added bonus is presenting the album to him at your wedding with your photographer capturing his reaction in the background.
- Treasure the moment. Your day is going to be full of craziness – no mater how well you plan. Ryan and I took a moment to be alone during our reception and it was so special to reconnect through all the chaos and cherish the moment together. I’ll never forget it
- Have fun!