Last night I celebrated 7 years of marriage – even writing that sounds crazy and a little unbelievable to me. It has flown by in the blink of an eye and I am amazed at the way life has changed in those years. I am the proud (and exhausted!) mommy to a 4 year old boy and an 8 week old boy who both keep me on my toes. We have moved three times since the wedding and gone on countless vacations and date nights to keep things interesting! Even after all of these years I can still remember walking down the aisle and how I felt standing there saying my vows with perfect clarity. I want to share a few wedding tips and advice that I believe still ring true years later!
Be True to Yourself
Every wedding should be a reflection of the couple and their story together, so it’s important to not lose site of yourself when planning. Blogs and Pinterest can be valuable tools to find inspiration but don’t make wedding decisions based only on what is trendy or in style in the moment. Reflect on your own personal style and tastes before making final choices, and really ask if the idea you’re swooning over online really makes sense for your wedding. For me, a pink and teal color palette along with brown suits for the gentleman were very in style at the time. Not tan, but dirt of the earth brown! I seriously considered a color story of brown and pink for our wedding simply because it trendy. I ended up veering away from that idea and moved back to purple and ivory, which fit us much better as purple is my favorite color! I couldn’t imagine looking back on my wedding photos now and seeing my husband in a dirt brown suit!
Know When DIY is Worth it
We had a serious budget for our wedding so going into planning I knew I had to be conscious about what needed to be DIY and where we could splurge. DIY is a great way to add specific décor elements without breaking the bank, with the caveat that the projects are able to finished successfully. When DIY goes wrong it can become cost prohibitive and an eye sore, so making sure to plan what is feasible is key to DIY projects. Also, it is helpful to decide as a couple how much time you want to dedicate to any wedding projects. Working on different elements together can be a great way to bond over the wedding but can also add unnecessary stress if you are not crafty, patient people. We loved the idea of pocket-fold invitations, but knew that the set we fell in love with was outside of our budget. Instead, we decided to create our own pocket-fold invitation set. While we were able to create really lux invitations for half the cost, in hindsight the hours and HOURS and hours of work on the invitations was likely not worth it to me when all was said and done. Other projects we DIY’d including favors, table numbers, and sparkler tags were well worth the money saved and added a personal touch to the wedding.
Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff
Imagine standing at the altar saying your vows to your soon to be husband when you see a large passenger bus roll into the parking lot through the windows behind him. You know that can’t be right though, because you booked a vintage trolley for your grand exit from the church. Instead of focusing on the rest of the ceremony you become stressed about the transportation and lose sight of a special moment of your day. Yes, that exact scenario happened to us. Being an overly type-A personality, it was hard for me to relinquish control of the wedding to a coordinator and I allowed a small mistake on the transportation company’s part overshadow the end of my ceremony. In hindsight, I regret not having a coordinator to allow us to really enjoy our day and not sweat the small stuff.
Timing is Everything
Once you have had a little time to bask in that new bling and all of its glory, know that timing is key to getting your best vendors. Vendors who can only work one wedding in a day are your most important bookings and should be handled first. After finding your perfect wedding venue and date, jump into locating your photographer, officiant, entertainment, and videographer. While we had about a year to plan, we knew getting married in April put us in the beginning of spring wedding season and therefore our vendor options might be limited; we jumped into finding our top choice photographer and venue right away. Because we didn’t drag our feet on the planning we were able to hire our favorite photographer and venue with our first choice wedding date!
Keeping with Tradition
My sorority has a tradition of passing around a “loving cup” which is when we all take turns drinking from a bottle of champagne while singing a traditional AOII song. Albeit a little cheesy, I loved being able to share that moment with my closest sisters who were at our wedding and it’s one part of the reception that really still stands out to me. Traditions come in all shapes and sizes, from charm pulls to burying the bourbon for good luck. Some people still toss the bouquet or say traditional decades old vows that their parents and grandparents said before them. Whatever your tradition, I believe that you should always find time for it within the wedding, you wont regret it later. (Unless its a money dance- let’s let that tradition die!)
What They Say is Real
“It flies by so fast!” I bet you have had countless married friends and family members tell you this, but honestly it is the truth! There are so many small moments I still remember vividly but for the most part, the wedding day flew by with the snap of a finger. I could not believe how fast the day went and when it ended how much I wanted to do it all over again. My very best advice is to definitely take a mental snapshot of the moment before you walk down the aisle; it is hands down one of the most special moments of the day. Everyone in that room loves you and your soon-to-be spouse dearly and they are all there to celebrate the start of your new life together!
Best Advice of All
While planning, someone said to me “the wedding is only one day, the marriage is for life.” Seven years of married life later, this still rings true. The wedding was the greatest party we ever planned but if we learned one thing it was that communication and compromise is the key to success. We really talked about what we wanted to see for our wedding and made sure to take into consideration what was important to each other and our families when planning. If your future mother in law is insisting that her son, the groom, escort her down the ceremony aisle but you have another vision, maybe its time to consider a compromise. That moment likely means so much to her and will start your time as her daughter in law off on the right foot! That same mentality of communication and compromise is what has helped us to have seven great years together. All marriages have rocky roads, and whenever we find ourselves in a rut we take it back to the same principle of communication and compromise that helped us when we first started.
Overall, planning your own wedding may be stressful or time consuming but I can guarantee that in the end everything will come together and you and your love will have an amazing time; I know we did! Be true to yourselves, communicate with your husband or wife to be, and don’t forget to have a little fun! Oh, and don’t worry, if you begin to lose a little wedding planning steam, we here at United with Love can get those creative juices flowing again!
Photo credit: James Linkowitz Photography