“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.
Tell us about the moment you saw Ben for the first time on the big day.
I was SO excited..he looked so handsome and I was ready to marry him. You can tell in some of the pictures I was looking to the side to see him as soon as I could!
How would you decide the vibe you wanted your wedding to give off?
The feel we wanted was a mix of romantic/vintage with modern. Simple and elegant but fun. Mostly, we wanted to have a badass party for our family & friends!
What moment of your wedding day did you most anticipate?
I was excited for the time after the ceremony to mingle with all our family and friends. A lot of them traveled from out of state and it was so special they were there to help us celebrate. That is what it was all about for us.
Now, the weather wasn’t the absolutely best it could have been on your wedding day (le sigh). Now that you’ve made it through the nasty cold and rainy, what is your advice to couples who may also experience inclement weather?
My biggest piece of advice is to have a back-up plan. I knew from the beginning we would not book a venue that did not have an alternative ceremony option inside. My anxiety would have gotten the best of me if we were stuck outside. Secondly, do NOT let the possibility of bad weather stress you out! It is something that is completely out of your control. Would we have loved to have a beautiful outside ceremony? YES! However, our wedding day turned out to be cold and rainy and we had to make the call to move it inside. It was still beautiful and I’m glad we made that call instead of making everyone (including myself) freeze outside, even if it is for a short ceremony. Look into alternatives to help handle the weather (umbrellas, heaters, tents) and get an idea of how much it will cost you and the timing for making the decision on when you would need to commit to renting them. It also helped to be on the same page with my coordinator & catering team – I was able to make a last-minute call the morning of the wedding whether we would have it inside or outside. So, make sure you know how late you can call it. Lastly – I had a leather jacket that I wanted as a back-up in case we were outside, and we also used it for some of our pictures – which turned out to be gorgeous – and it kept me warm in-between photos. Find a cute shawl, sweater, rain jacket or blanket and work it into your photos!
We know weddings are notorious for going over-budget. How did you handle budgeting your wedding? Were there areas you skipped on to save or found a more affordable alternative for?
I’m probably the wrong person for this question because we didn’t REALLY budget. I did work on a budget spreadsheet and kept track of what we were spending and to get an idea of what things were going to cost. In general – we decided what to prioritize. We knew photography and food was important to us so those were the areas where we splurged. We cut a lot of costs out by eliminating small details that I didn’t care too much about; we didn’t do wedding favors, printed menus or programs – things like that. For centerpieces, we used glass vases, most of which I found at various Goodwill stores throughout town. It’s easy to go overboard and I think we ended up spending more than we needed to on some things – but you also have to weigh how much time it will take for you to find a lower cost option – at some point we decided it wasn’t worth the time to save a few dollars.
You had an all-star coordinator! Would you recommend other couples invest in a planner and coordinator for your big day?
I would 100% recommend a coordinator. I met with our coordinator a few times in the months leading up to the wedding and she was a great resource for me. It’s so helpful to have someone who has experience in the industry and can serve as a point person for your vendors. She took a lot of stress off me during the last few days as we were making last minute decisions and the wedding would not have gone as smoothly as it did if she wasn’t there. I didn’t have to worry about a thing during the wedding – she knew the schedule and took care of absolutely everything.
What surprised you most about your wedding photography experience? Any photography-related wisdom you’d like to pass along to other brides?
I thought I would be more controlling about family photos, but Paige and her second shooter had everything down and I didn’t even have to think about it. I have a huge family which I’m sure was not easy to deal with, but they were pros – so patient with us as we all shuffled around. I also didn’t think about how many photos they would be taking without me around – all the detail shots, groom photos and photos from the reception which made it so much fun to go through the gallery. We were able to see everything that we didn’t see on the wedding day – you can’t be everywhere at once. I didn’t even look at our guest book table at the wedding that had old family photos displayed – but I wasn’t worried about trying to see everything because I knew Paige would have everything documented.
I recommend doing the engagement photos with your photographer so you get used to each other – it makes things easier on your wedding day because you know what to expect. We considered skipping the engagement photos since we had a short engagement, but we’re glad we did them.
If you could do it allllll over again, what would you do differently? What’s your number one piece of advice for brides just starting to plan their wedding?
My number one piece of advice is “keep the main thing the main thing” – focus on the marriage and not on the wedding. The wedding is just to celebrate the marriage. This helped me keep calm throughout the process. I decided from day one that if we were not enjoying the process of planning the wedding – what was the point? It’s not all fun, but you have the opportunity to do some really special things with your future spouse, family and friends throughout the process and you may as well enjoy it. Yes, there was a certain way I wanted things to go, but by accepting that things aren’t perfect, and that you can’t control everything, you will make it easier on yourself. We had a cold, rainy day, our catering company didn’t bring the champagne flutes for the toast – which ended up being fine since the champagne didn’t make it from the liquor store – nothing is perfect! We still had a blast. No one is going to notice the little things that you’re stressing out about, but they will remember if they had a great time. That allowed us to focus on what we thought was most important – great food, great drinks and a fabulous DJ who kept the party going.
There is not much I would change if I was to do it all over again. There were some small details I wish I would have remembered – I didn’t think about perfume until 30 seconds before I walked down the aisle and rolled some on my wrists. [I also forgot to put on deodorant until maybe 15 seconds before I walked down the aisle ;)] I wish I had been able to find different shoes for the wedding – I ran out of time before my dress came in and had to go with what I had in my closet. My guy is a shoe guy and it would have been fun to surprise him with some funky shoes. Pretty minor in the grand scheme of it all, though.
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!
The most memorable thing from our wedding is how much fun everyone was having. I stopped a few times to look around the room and soak it in and everyone looked like they were having a BLAST! Even our DJ had a big grin on his face and our photogs were cutting it up on the dance floor 😉 Looking back at our photos, they so perfectly portray everyone having a great time and that was all we wanted.
How did you feel when the wedding planning is all over?
RELIEVED!! Wedding planning is not my thing and we were so happy it was over, honestly! We had a lot of family in town, and we were glad to have more time to spend with them. We were also ready to veg out on the couch and not make any decisions or talk to anyone for a few days 😉
HANNAH! You’re the best, thank you so much for sharing your real wedding advice!
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