I’m married! It is so terribly exciting. John and I are still giggling every time we call each other “husband” and “wife.”
Our day went perfect. Even when things went wrong, it was still perfect. Here’s some of what worked for me and what didn’t.
- The master “to-do” list
This thing was a wedding saver. It was a last minute list I typed up a couple days before of all the things that needed to get done on Friday and Saturday (we had the venue Friday for set up, but the outdoor things couldn’t be set up until Saturday.) I had assumed I would wield that list and when people would say, “How can I help?” I would look to the list. Long story short, I wasn’t there for most of the set-up Friday and none of it on Saturday. The list, which was detailed with drawn maps and descriptions of the boxes where things were, was extremely helpful for the people there setting up. When I showed up at the venue right before the ceremony, everything was set up exactly as I had laid out.
- Doing everything we wanted to do
I don’t regret not tossing the bouquet, and the piñata was one of the best parts of the day. Everyone says “it goes by so quickly!” but we really underestimated how quickly! It really zips by, and I love that we chose to spend those quick hours doing what we wanted and only what we wanted.
- Hiring vendors we trusted, DIYing where we trusted ourselves
We splurged on the photographer, and he was amazing. He put my disabled sister at ease with good direction during the photos. He made my mom feel comfortable having photos taken, and impressed her with his skills and attitude. He impressed our photographer friend, who kept raving about how professional he was. I don’t know how he did it, but I only noticed him when I wanted him around (and he’s like 6’5”, so that’s impressive). He even brought an assistant he never charged us for.
Our caterer and their servers and bartender really made us feel special. I felt like a princess because of their kindness and treatment. Even when we weren’t able to pay them Friday because of the car fiasco, they accepted payment the day after the wedding. Oh, and the food was incredible. I wish I could have feasted on it all night.
The DIY DJ was great. There were a couple of hiccups, like our first dance song playing twice and the failed 9 minute “Funky Town”, but overall it was worth the saved $100’s. The friend we “hired” was attentive and sweet and the only music we heard was music we loved.
The DIY flowers were perfect. 2 of the bouquets got crushed in the fridge, but we were able to either fix them or hold the crushed parts to our bodies. The photographer remarked more than once how gorgeous my bouquet was and asked what florist did our flowers-“Um…me!”
- The small guest list
I didn’t miss anyone and I had a conversation with everyone. Everyone was able to really feel intimate and embrace the day. If I did this all over again I would do it exactly the same.
What Didn’t Work
Thankfully I learned this one on Friday. The plan was for everyone to be at the venue by lunchtime, have lunch and then set up. The van with all of the décor and most of the people didn’t arrive until almost 7pm. I spent those 6 hours stressed out. Finally, I abandoned the idea of eating the sandwiches that were in the van, and went for a burger and beer. When I got back everyone was there, halfway through setting up, and I felt perfectly relaxed. When little things went wrong on the day-like the shirtless guy hanging around our ceremony spot, starting the ceremony 30 minutes late, my bouquet getting crushed right before the ceremony and needing a big fix, a guest dressed in a long white dress (seriously?!), the globe lights not working (making the dance floor very dark), or a rip happening on the hem of my dress-I laughed it off and continued having a great day. Even when John lost his wedding ring on the beach the next day all I did was take a deep breath and proceed to dig through the rocks with him.
- Not paying attention to what goes into what car
We had 3 cars carrying most of the stuff the venue. I headed up first with the flowers and camping gear. The aforementioned delayed van had the lunch and every decor item. While we waited for several hours, all we were able to do were set up the bouquets-the camping check-in wasn’t until later, and we didn’t even have all the vases for the centerpieces! I got very hangry (hungry-angry) and stressed out. In hindsight, the first car there needs to be packed with the things needed right away. Like the food.
- The alcohol situation
We bought way too much alcohol. We bought 6 cases of beer and brought 3 ½ home. We bought 6 Costco sized bottles of wine and the bartender served 5 glasses. We bought a Costco sized bottle of Whiskey and came home with only a couple shots left. We bought 12 bottles of Champagne and brought 3 home. I’m glad we had leftovers of everything, it shows no one was left hanging. But if I could time travel I’d tell myself to save a few bucks on beer and wine.
Overall it was an absolutely perfect day. The careful planning really paid off, and the unplanned aspects were some of the best parts of the day.
Editor’s note: Due to the pandemic, some of the general wedding planning advice we share may not be applicable or possible due to restrictions on events. Please adhere to all current regulations and stay safe and healthy! Get more pandemic wedding resources here.