“Real Wedding Advice” is a new ongoing blog series where PVP couples share honest-to-goodness, real wedding planning advice about how they created the wedding of their dreams, how they prepared for married life, how they hired their vendors, what they wish they would have differently, what they would never change and how they put what matters most first.
How did you decide the vibe you wanted your wedding to give off? What’s something you consider unique about your wedding?
I knew I wanted our wedding to feel wild, free, intimate and romantic. We had my cousin preform the ceremony and it felt so much like us – it was sweet, genuine and funny (in the best way). You could feel the love!
I consider my flowers to be the most unique thing about our wedding. They were not traditional in any sense. My bouquet was double the size of most bridal bouquets and I didn’t do roses. My bridesmaids’ bouquets were the size of a regular bridal bouquet and all had a little different touch to them. They were SO beautiful – I wish I had them in my house every day!
You live in Houston, but got married in Dripping Springs – what made you decide to get married elsewhere?
Aaron and I both love escaping the city life and heading to the hill country. We have spent countless weekends in Wimberley, Dripping Springs, Marble Falls, Fredericksburg, etc. We even got engaged at Enchanted Rock in Fredericksburg on one of our weekend getaways last year. Plus, I wanted an outdoor wedding and the concrete jungle just wasn’t going to give us the beautiful outdoor scenery we wanted. I love the way the hill country looks in the winter too!
How did you decide who to invite? Do you wish you’d invited more people or made it more intimate?
This was by far the hardest part of planning the wedding. I come from a very large family and Aaron doesn’t. We are both pretty outgoing people and have lots of different friend groups so getting the guest invite list down was tough. We decided to make a list of all family members, wedding party and mutual friends. We then split the remaining count between us and our parents. We invited around 280 people (knowing about 75 wouldn’t be able to make it) and we ended up with around 170 people at the wedding. I was happy with the overall guest count. My advice to anyone getting married – don’t stress about the guest list. The day is filled with so much love surrounding you and your fiancé, that it doesn’t matter who is or isn’t there. And honestly, you won’t even notice!
How did you handle budgeting your wedding? Were there areas you skipped on to save or found a more affordable alternative for?
Keep a spreadsheet! I went over budget about $1500 – which isn’t too bad in my opinion, and we opted to pay for that extra ourselves. I made sure to get multiple quotes for each item/thing. I kept in mind what was most important to us and what wasn’t. We chose to skip on things like cakes (we did a dessert table spread instead), appetizers during cocktail hour, and no photo booth. We spent our money on photography, flowers and shuttles. The photos are irreplaceable – spend the money, you won’t regret it. The flowers made up for most of our décor and gave us the look we really wanted. I wanted all my guests to enjoy the wedding, so shuttles were a must. The venue was on a curvy, dark road with no lights and since the hotels were 30 mins away, we didn’t want anyone drinking and driving.
Planners often suggest making a list of priorities for your wedding and divvying up your budget accordingly. What is the one thing you’re glad to have invested in for your big day?
Videography, photography and flowers. All 3 were a must and important to me!
This is question couples always ask me: What you most glad you registered for gift-wise?
I don’t have a favorite item – but I loved using Amazon registry. Simple, easy and great customer service for any returns, questions, issues, etc.
This is always one of my favorite questions! What surprised you most about your wedding photography experience? Any photography-related wisdom you’d like to pass along to other brides?
I think the thing that surprised me the most about my wedding day photography, was that during my grandparent’s anniversary dance, I looked over and saw Paige crying! For someone who goes to countless weddings, it touched me that she was also felt the love. It was just so sweet!
WISDOM: Do your research on photographers and trust your decision. I found photographers on Instagram that had photographed my venue before and reached out to about 5 or 6 that had the style I was looking for to get more info. I looked up all their portfolios and read lots of reviews. Narrow it down to a few and then go meet them in person. You want to feel comfortable with the photographer – they are basically with you all day on wedding day (longer than you are with your new spouse!). Also, be upfront with your photographer – tell them what kind of photos you are looking for! Paige knew my vision and gave me the most beautiful photos!
If you could do it all over again, what would you do differently? What’s your number one piece of advice for brides just starting to plan their wedding?
Advice to new brides: Just get past the guest list – everything else is easy & fun! Research your vendors, go with your gut feeling & trust who you hire – they are going to make your wedding day a dream come true!
What I would do differently: Rent out the venue earlier and had hair/makeup done at the venue on site.
Now tell us, besides marrying your best friend, what was the most memorable moment of your wedding for you? It can be anything from start to finish!
There are just too many to choose from! Some of my favorite moments were my first look with Aaron & sunset photos, my dad’s speech and my grandparent’s anniversary dance. For me – having a fun, intimate and meaningful wedding/reception was the most important thing. While planning, I spent time making sure that all the important people in our lives were detailed/incorporated in our wedding than anything else & I wouldn’t change that. I wanted everyone to feel how much love surrounds us all as human beings – I think that’s what brings people together and is also what makes for memorable weddings. I love so much that people still bring up to me how memorable our wedding was and how there wasn’t a dry eye during my grandparent’s surprise anniversary dance.
How did you feel when the wedding planning is all over?
Relieved, but happy! I was very organized and didn’t leave anything to the last minute. It was great to be able to relax the week or two before the wedding knowing everything was already taken care of.
Any other advice you have that I didn’t ask about? Now’s your chance!
Hire vendors who work together often – it really helps you relax on wedding day (& week) knowing they all have the same expectations and timelines.
Don’t be overly critical or a perfectionist – let your vendors do their job, I promise they are good at it! Give them your vision and let them run wild with it. I had no idea what my flowers or décor would look like until the day of the wedding. I was blown away with everything! It was also super fun to be surprised at everything. And a bonus – I had no idea If something went wrong or was missing – which is the last thing a bride wants on wedding day.
Hire a day of coordinator. You won’t regret it. The coordinator is a good person to be your point of reference – especially for family members who like to get too involved. She knew my vision and made sure everything was taken care of well in advance. And if something does go wrong, you want to have someone there to have your back & to keep everyone calm and relaxed. We had shuttle issues that delayed our ceremony almost 1.5 hours – our coordinator was beyond amazing! It could have been a nightmare, but she kept me calm and cool the entire time (& brought me more champagne to drink and dance with while waiting with my ladies!)
Don’t let yourself get stressed on wedding day. Prepare yourself that an issue may arise but trust that it will get handled. Even if doesn’t go perfect, you’re still marrying your best friend at the end of the day and it will be SO worth it.
Check out more Real Wedding Advice HERE!