My wedding in October of 2020 was beautiful. From the outside everything probably looked perfect; to me it felt like a dumpster fire. Here is what I would have done differently.
Hire help. As a new florist in the wedding industry, it seemed unthinkable for me to hire a florist for my wedding. I wanted the experience and exposure, and images for my portfolio. I truly did not think (and this is hilarious to me now) that anyone else would be able to bring my vision to life. Like my grand vision for the most exquisite and profound flower arrangements could not possibly be entrusted to another human being. Hilarious. What ended up happening is that I spent the three days leading up to my wedding processing flowers, stealing buckets and any flat surface I could find from my future in- laws, and working my ass off. Like I now do for my clients. I was also in charge of the huge stemmed compote vases for the flowers ( I still have them lingering around my shop, they’re the bane of my existence!) the candles, setup and breakdown and disposal of all of the non hard good items. The arrangements were beautiful, but not at all what I wanted. I’m not sure what I even wanted - my brain was so fried from all of the planning and ordering and organizing that I could hardly think straight. Which leads me to my next point:
Get a planner! Even if it’s just a day of human to walk around pointing at places to put things, perfecting little details and answering questions (There are always questions). Do yourself this favor, because an issue will inevitably arise, and the last thing you want to do on your wedding day is herd cats. Sometimes things are late. Or the wrong color. Make up a problem and I’m sure there is a wedding planner out there that has handled it. When you’re coordinating so many people and vendors and timelines to seamlessly come together for a few hours of organized chaos, you will be so happy to have this task off of your plate. I made the mistake of thinking that my working as a wedding planner’s assistant for a few short months qualified me to take on this task for my wedding, and was I wrong. All of the details that I didn’t think of until the morning of the wedding were left either undone or done poorly in a mad rush. I was asking my friends who traveled across the state to come to my wedding to set tables and deal with vendors. It felt so cringey. I just wanted to hang out with my friends and family and enjoy a relaxed day of getting ready, instead I was running around making flower arrangements and trying to remember clips to hang up my seating chart. If you have a very intimate backyard style wedding you may not need a planner, but if you are going to bring in multiple vendors and rentals, I would highly recommend it.
Let your vendors do their thing. I love music and wanted the music at my wedding to be epic. I spent hours putting together a playlist and organizing it to flow into the different parts of the evening, thinking I had created the most magical wedding music experience to ever exist. What ended up happening is that the DJ picked songs here and there from my playlist and totally missed the grand vision of my all over the place music list. I remember sitting at the table during dinner and hearing some weird ragtime music that was definitely not on The Playlist. Everyone looked bored out of their minds and I wanted to leave my own party. Had I just stuck to the comprehensive questionnaire that my DJ sent me ahead of time, put in a few song requests and let him do his thing, I’m sure it would have been fine. He literally does this for a living.
Trust your first instincts. I did a huge last minute change on my menu in a moment of self doubt and mental fatigue. We had a fun and interesting menu picked out with a variety of food. We had an awesome tasting with the caterers. Everything was great. And then it got to about three weeks from the wedding, and I panicked. I thought about all of the people that were coming, where they were coming from, what they might like and dislike. What they would think of my weird assortment of food. And at that last minute I changed the menu to freaking meat and potatoes. We had a beef and a turkey option. Ugh. The food was good, but totally forgettable. I was so disappointed with my decision. Had I just trusted my past, more sane self to make solid and rational choices, as I typically do, I would likely be looking back fondly on my rad dinner. I don’t like to use the word ‘regret’, but this was certainly a learning experience.
Here are a few random but very practical things you might also find useful, in no particular order:
If you get eyelash extensions, try them out WELL before your wedding. This is not something to experiment with for the first time on your wedding day
Also do a test run on fake eyelashes before the big day. I made the mistake of not trying mine on, and they looked really crazy. But it was too late to turn back once I realized it, so I just had to go with the crazy eye look.
Don’t get wasted the night before your wedding. It’s going to be hard to resist, but you’re going to want to be looking fine and fresh in that dress!
If you have a heavily beaded or lace dress, choose your shoes wisely. My dress was lace, and my shoes had crystals that would oh- so- charmingly get snared in my dress, effectively becoming a giant fish net that I was getting caught in. I kicked them off as soon as the ceremony was over and never looked back.
Find shapeware that has an open gusset. This is a feature that will let you pee without having to remove the sausage casing that is holding you into your dress.
Don’t feel obligated to participate in anything that doesn’t speak to you. My first dance was awkward AF! It felt like a middle school dance where everyone was just watching us. Literal nightmare material. There is no “right way” of having a wedding, and aside from religious traditions that you might not be able to opt out of, just do whatever you want.
Don’t take things too seriously. It’s not brain surgery, it’s just a party with some business at the beginning. If things don’t go perfectly nobody (hopefully, fingers crossed!) is going to die. And all of the stressing and freaking out on your part is not going to help a damn thing.
Be yourself. Perhaps you’ve been dreaming of this day your entire life, or maybe it just occurred to you that you’re getting married and you have no idea how to wedding (I was the latter of the two). It’s so easy to get caught up in the excitement and beautiful imagery that the wedding industry puts out to sell us things. This I found especially true with dresses. I love a classic and timeless look, and wanted something that would age well. When trying on dresses I discovered a super bohemian designer that had gorgeous photos of beautiful women elegantly laying around on rocks in the desert. I was smitten; this would be me, tan, blonde and six feet tall, just lavishing around my Palm Springs compound surrounded by macrame and succulents. I got it home and tried it on in the humble lighting and simplicity of my bedroom and felt like I was wearing a costume. This is definitely a trend, albeit one that I am particularly fond of, but it is not the timeless and classic look I wanted for my wedding day. So I ended up selling that dress, and found the one that I ended up wearing on my wedding day. Which was pretty much the exact dress I had in mind all along.
Take a deep breath before you walk down the aisle. Stop for a moment and look at everything. Walk slowly and make eye contact with all of those people that you love, here to support you on this new journey in your life. Make a memory. Someone told me this right before I walked down the aisle, and I am so thankful, because I was so out of my mind nervous that I would have sprinted down that aisle with eyes on the ground if my shoes hadn’t been tripping me up so much.
This is obviously just my experience, and the best and most important advice I can give is to enjoy yourself. Enjoy this beautiful time with your loved ones and your partner, and soak in as much as you possibly can, because it will be over in what feels like seconds.
Best wishes to you on this wild and crazy wedding planner adventure. Have fun and stay healthey