I saw this idea on the Hollywood Housewife blog about her own wedding experience and thought it was great insight for other brides to read. I've been meaning to write my own 10 things to share what we did absolutely right during wedding planning. So, here it is!
1. Hire a videographer - Crazy enough, we were against the idea until about nine weeks before the wedding. We racked our brains trying to figure out who could just “tape it” for us and came up unsuccessful. That’s when I went out on a limb and hired White Dress Media without even meeting them. There was something about them that made me feel completely comfortable with the decision. To this day, hiring a videographer was the BEST money spent on the wedding. We value our pictures highly but having a video capturing the raw emotion and love cannot be beat!
2. Provided Guest Transportation - Our wedding was in a small rural town of Georgia. In other words, it was foreign to even the Georgia natives. The hotel that everyone was staying at was 15 minutes away and didn’t offer shuttle transportation. THAT’S when you know you’re far away from the city! I was dead set on hiring transportation for our guests so they wouldn’t have to drive a) in an area late at night that was unfamiliar and b) after partaking in our open bar. A lawsuit against us was not the way I wanted to start our marriage. We hired coach buses to pick up guests and return them back to the hotel. Money definitely well spent.
The funniest thing: Sean and I NEVER saw these buses. Had it not been for a story [we heard months later] about my matron of honor having a “MOVE THAT BUS” moment, we would have never known the buses really showed up! !
3. Did a First Look - Sean and I bounced the idea of having a first look verses staying traditional many times. We paid a pretty penny to have an amazing photographer so we felt that it was only right that a first look be captured. And, we are so thankful we did! Having those few moments alone seeing each other for the first time that day was priceless and I LOVE the photos that came from it!
4. Had an After Party - Sean and I included information about the after party we arranged at the hotel in the guests' Welcome Bags. The surprise was that no one knew we were going to be there and thought we were leaving for our wedding night destination immediately after the reception. When we walked into the party, the surprised looks on our family and friends’ faces were priceless! My mom arranged for left over grooms cake, Chick-Fil-A lunch, and the open bar remainings to be transported from Victoria Belle to our hotel. We spent a couple more hours with everyone before really leaving for the Westin Peachtree Plaza.
5. Wore My Shoes the Entire Night and Changed my Style - I was obsessed with my wedding shoes and hunted for the right pair the entire wedding planning process. With that being said, I was determined to wear my shoes the entire wedding. I wear heels almost every day to work so when it came to my wedding shoes, I looked to my most comfortable pair of heels and modeled my wedding shoes after the comfy characteristics. Platform sling back heels are my go to signature heels for comfort. I'm proud to say I remained my bridal glam the entire night.
I also planned ahead with my jewelry and style. My hair has a mind of its own and knew that it would need to be up for the reception. The last thing I wanted to see in reception pictures was me dancing the night away with big, frizzy, out of control hair! So, my amazing planner (who was also a hairstylist) left my hair down for the ceremony and pulled it up for the reception.
My jewelry also changed throughout the night. For the ceremony, I wore my grandmother’s Mikimoto pearl necklace and my late mother-in-law’s diamond earrings. These priceless, precious, and delicate pieces of jewelry would not be chanced at the reception. To go with my reception updo, I chose simple reception jewelry.
6. Provided Lunch for the Wedding Party - Chick-Fil-A catered our wedding party’s lunch on the wedding day. Lunch was brought in to the mansion as everyone was getting ready. If you’re going to hold people hostage that day, be sure to feed them!
7. Donations as Favors - I personally am very against favors, especially the cliché ones that people get and want to leave at the reception. We donated to my favorite charity instead that way everyone knew that their “favor” went to a good cause.
8. Bought Wedding Insurance - Wedding insurance, what’s that? I’m the expert in such coverage because that’s what I do currently for a living. I protect brides’ biggest days against unforeseen unfortunate events. And don’t tell me that “oh nothing is going to go wrong at my wedding’ because I have seen it many of times and Sean and I lived it.
Our rehearsal dinner venue [and bridesmaids’ tea venue] closed its door and turned off its phone three weeks before our wedding. We also had someone fall down the stairs during our reception splashing wine all over the mansion’s beautiful walls. Thankfully, no one was hurt and nothing was damaged. Our rehearsal and tea indeed went on with help of my planner. I am the biggest advocate for wedding insurance and think anyone would be crazy not to buy it. There is too much time, money, and emotion for that one day to leave to chance.
9. Planned Ahead and Delegated - I have a strong Type A personality and have a hard time not being in control. I knew that once Sean and I hopped into our wedding getaway transportation that I would have no control over what happens as guests leave for the night and weekend. So, I planned ahead! Here was what I knew would need to get done/noted prior to the last person leaving the venue and the hotel the next day.
- I wanted as many people as possible to enjoy the day and not have to drive back to the hotel at night. Out of the wedding party, I was the only one that had a vehicle at the venue. I drove my SUV to the venue the morning of the wedding (with my mom and bridesmaids. Sean and his groomsmen were also driven to the venue.) After the wedding, I needed someone to drive my car back to the hotel (who I knew wouldn’t take advantage of the open bar!) Wedding gifts, wedding décor, and all the wedding party’s personal items needed to be loaded into the car.
- The top wedding cake tier needed to be boxed and wrapped to sustain a year in the freezer to be enjoyed on our first year anniversary. I provided a cooler because it had to make it back to Florida the next day.
- Our wedding party needed to ride back to the hotel on the bus.
- Someone had to drive my car back to Florida since Sean and I drove it up to Georgia and were flying out of Atlanta to St. Lucia. We would be flying to Tampa on our way home from the honeymoon. [Mental note to bring my spare key!] My dress, cake top tier, wedding gifts, and all personal items would need to be in that car. [Another mental note, I had to pack two suitcases prior to leaving Florida on the Wednesday before the wedding. One suitcase for Wednesday-Wedding Day Saturday and a second suitcase just for the honeymoon. Keeping things completely separated kept me from going insane!]
- Tuxedos needed to be returned the day after the wedding. My matron of honor took charge and collected them all the morning after to ensure all 10 were properly and timely returned.
- My two cats that were being watched by a friend during our wedding festivities, were going to be kitty sat by my mom when she returned to Florida while we were on our honeymoon.
Our family and friends were amazing at making sure everything got done.
10. Blogged! - I am so thankful that I decided to blog through my entire engagement/wedding planning experience. It’s a great way to look back and remember the moments that lead up the greatest day of my life. I’ve also been given tons of kind words and love seeing how other brides took my wedding and used it for inspiration as for their weddings!
Reader question: What are the things YOU did right at your wedding? Comment and let me know.