“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.
Couple: Emily and Matthew Lessner
Wedding Date: November 3, 2018
Location: Houston, Texas
Planner: Chancey Charm, Skylar Caitlin
Venues: St. Anne’s Catholic Community + The Parador Houston
- So often brides-to-be are overwhelmed with choices for their wedding day: do they want something more formal or casual? Something brighter and more vibrant or understated and classic? More traditional or more modern? How did you decide the vibe you wanted your wedding to give off?
- Planning a wedding is kind of like building a house. I have dreamed of my wedding my whole life, and I know many other ladies can relate to that. My dream was the foundation, and what was built on top of that foundation was what Matt and I had dreamed together. Just like building a house, you have ideas and inspirations and then logistics to consider such as budget and timeline. So, combining dreams and reality is exactly how we determined our wedding vibe!
- Now for timing: Texas is a hot mess sometimes, sometimes leaving couples out in the heat, worrying about rain or combating the humidity (especially in Houston, like your wedding was!). Was weather taken into consideration at all when choosing your date, your hair and makeup, your dress, etc.?
- The date was definitely chosen based on weather! I work full time at a hospital and for the past 2 years we’ve held an outdoor fundraiser in early November and the weather has been PERFECT, so we decided our date based off of that. In regards to hair, make-up, my dress, my bridesmaids dresses, etc. those decisions were made based on my dream to have a naturally elegant wedding and had little to do with the weather. In fact, a week before the wedding it got really chilly (crazy Texas weather!) and I wondered if I was going to be freezing in my sleeveless dress, so weather was truly not considered on that front 🙂
- Usually after picking a date, a venue, a planner (or coordinator) and a photographer, the next big task at handle is the guest list. How did you decide who to invite? Do you wish you’d invited more people or made it more intimate?
- We’ve heard this at weddings we’ve attended, and it was said at ours at well, but the people at your wedding are not only there to start you off on your marriage journey, but to also help you through it. Thinking about that, who would support us for the rest of our lives, really helped us decide who to invite. If we could’ve invited more people, we would’ve, but realities like budget and venue size only allow for so much. But narrowing the list down to something realistic was a lot easier when we considered who would be there to support us in our marriage for the rest of our lives.
- 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?
- Large investment wise, and I genuinely mean this, the pictures. The pictures really are the only thing that are completely timeless and last forever! Small investment wise, the little details like koozies. People are still wanting to know where we got our koozies from and sending pictures to us when they use them, so that was money well spent!
- This is question couples always ask me: What are you most glad you registered for gift-wise?
- A nice vacuum! Truth be told we registered for 3 styles of vacuums; a robot vacuum, a cordless standing vacuum and a cordless handheld vacuum. 2 of them were purchased as gifts, and 1 we used a gift card to buy and I swear we use all 3 of them religiously. Granted we have a dog, a cat and we find my hair on the floor daily, but you just can’t beat clean floors!
- 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?
- Hands down, the biggest surprise of our wedding photography experience was seeing all the things through images that we didn’t see in real life on wedding day. Of course you can only be in one place at one time, but Paige and her team can be in multiple places at multiple times so you get to see everything just like you were there! I never got to see the welcome table at the reception, but you bet it was captured in beautiful images that I love looking at.
- With that, my photography-related wisdom to pass along is graciously give the time needed for detail pictures, because you will appreciate them! In the planning phase my thought was, why take pictures of that stuff when you can take pictures of me (slightly kidding :)) but now I realize just how valuable that time was for Paige and her team to do that.
- What would you say was the most unique part about your wedding?
- As much as I’d love to say it was something about our reception, I think our wedding mass was the most unique part about our wedding. Everything from the music to the priest was chosen by us, and was uniquely for us. And mass is where we did the dang thing! Which was the purpose for the whole celebration!
- If you could do it allllll over again, what would you do differently? What’s your number one piece of real wedding planning advice for brides just starting to plan their wedding?
- Okay this one is tough and kind of embarrassing to expose how much of a sweet tooth I have, but we had an immaculate dessert spread and I had one single bite of cake when we cut it and that’s it. Obviously I don’t regret breaking it down on the dance floor all night, but I do wish I would’ve slowed down a little and taken some time to eat desserts, and then I could’ve enjoyed some time with our guests who weren’t as fond of the dance floor!
- My number one piece of advice is to focus everything on the ultimate goal; marrying your best friend! If at the end of the day you say “I do,” nothing else matters! This helped us through the whole planning process and wedding day, and honestly has made our marriage extremely strong because that was always the focus. Related to marrying your best friend, include your groom as much as possible! Obviously there’s going to be things they don’t care about, but if they have any kind of opinion (of course within reason – trust that when Matt figured out I was listening, he tried to get away with a live donkey at our black tie wedding *insert eye roll*) try to incorporate it and honor it! It’s really easy to take charge as the bride, but this day is about two people so always keep that in mind.
- Now tell us, besides marrying your best friend, what was the most memorable moment of your wedding for you?
- There’s so many to choose from, but walking down the aisle with my Dad to my groom was hands down the most memorable. That walk had so many special elements; my first love, getting to see all of our guests, getting to see my groom for the first time that day, the music, everything!
- How did you feel when the wedding planning is all over?
- OMG I cried the day after the wedding because I was so sad it was over! I LOVED planning, and seeing everything come together was a true treat. While it’s nice now to have some of that time back, I really miss it! I think I’m an outlier, but I could probably spend the rest of my life wedding planning.
- Any other advice you have that I didn’t ask about? Now’s your chance!
- When you’re trying to select between a few awesome vendors, factor in intangibles that you value and choose off of that! For example, it was really important to us to have kind vendors. And it’s hard to quantify that when your making decisions but we would’ve much rather had someone new to the wedding scene who was kind, than someone who had been around for 15 years and was a grump. There are so many experts in the industry, so pick ones that check all your boxes – including the intangibles!
Thank you for sharing your real wedding planning advice, Emily!! I’m so sad our work together is over for now, but I love watching you and Matt kill it at being a married couple!
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