So before we start, realize YOUR wedding is YOUR rules, wants, expectations, and memory; so do you boo boo!
For example, we got engaged, found out we were pregnant a day later, had a wedding 2 years later, didn’t get a manicure for my engagement pics, bought the first dress I tried on, and almost allowed my dad to wear a kilt at our wedding (we’re not Scottish); my point is making your rules- or breaking them is actually kina fun!
I decided to have my wedding local, because I knew a destination wedding would be difficult for my friends and family and if we were havin a wedding- everybody was coming!
Speaking of everyone, for our wedding party we decided to have no one or everyone, so 21 people later, the Wilsons had a small army and it was awesome!
A local wedding also means a larger quest list and can get pricey!
So finding a venue during off season saved me tons and let me have a unique theme.
I choose not to have “colors” but a color pallet. This helped tons with a large bridal party because everyone got to pick a dress they liked in a different color.
No matter what your friends say, they LOVE what THEY get to pick out.
Our groomsmen wore a dark suit because I knew they’d spill on it anyways.
Now because I didn’t have a “theme” or “colors” things got a little difficult on decorations, but also helped.
I knew a fall wedding wouldn’t require a lot of flowers, so I did succulents and greens which saved serious cash with my florist. Fall is a little slow for them as well, so you can usually get good discounts.
For decorations, I spray painted pumpkins, bought vases at the dollar store and a hell of a lot of gold spray paint and got creative. My original quote for centerpieces was $5,000! I made my own for $1,000….
Just make sure to sign up for the craft stores coupon list and buy your decorations after the holidays or seasons.
Also, I scored HUGE off Craigslist! So many brides had similar themes and will really make a deal too get it outta their garage. Other consignment sites get pricey with shipping so look local.
So this next tip is totally up to the bride- your dress! Personally, I hate trying dresses on and really didn’t want to spend hours and dragging my family around town so my first choice was a larger department store too try on as many styles as I could…
Turns out the mermaid I HAD to have, I hated and fell in love with a traditional style dress that- wait for it- was 50% off!
I mentioned before I had a small army of bridesmaids so I knew there was no way to find a dress everyone loved, plus I hated the idea of making them buy a dress THEY normally wouldn’t, so I gave 4 colors and let them pick. Honestly I loved how different they all were and everyone got to show their personality with hair, make up, and dress. Most of my girls rented dresses off rent the runway and saved tons!
Speaking of hair and make up, I had the most amazing glam squad! I HATE super fussy updos so we went with an easy, tussled low bun.
Oh and I’m notorious for changing my hair color; don’t do silver hair 6 weeks before your wedding- it’s hell to get back to natural color!
I downloaded a monthly wedding checklist and it was awesome keeping me organized as the weeks grew near and before I knew it we were at our rehearsal dinner!
We did a simple margarita and taco bar the night before and it was a blast!
I also made my fella stay at a friends the night before and as cheesy as it sounds, it was really fun to have the build up too seeing him at the end of the aisle! Totally worth hiding in my pantry the day of when he had too stop by and grab the guy’s ties!
The afternoon of my wedding was probably one of my favorite parts! Just me and my ladies; getting all pretty! Since having so many, I made a time schedule for everyone that really helped hair and make up stay on time and I was the LAST one too go (helped me from getting nervous).
I think my favorite part was when the venue cut off beverages 2 hours before the ceremony (make sure too read EVERY protocol in the contract) and my girls decided that wasn’t going to work and snuck to the bar and hid Coors Lights under their dresses to the bridal suite… did I mention I’m from Kansas?
Tips for the day of is always assume you’ll be 15-20 late and plan for it. Bring spares of everything and don’t drink too much and eat well.
I have the baddest most incredible group of friends and even when a problem arose, I really didn’t know about it because my girls took care of it. Don’t stress the day brides; your people will take very good care of you!
I was never one of those girls who “dreamed” of her wedding but one thing I always pictured was an evening wedding. Our ceremony began right at dusk and the thousands of led candles I woke up at 4 am on Black Friday too get were absolutely worth it! My ceremony decorations were wood slices and candles and I’m so glad I went minimal because the mood was set perfectly!
I also had the brilliant idea that myself as well as my bridesmaids should walk down a grand staircase for our entrance…. in heels.. lord help us! But every girl stuck the landing! (This is where the whole “slow down on the mimosas” thing comes in)
Our WP walked down to Kings of Leon songs (our favorite band) by a string quartet and I did the traditional wedding march.
Prior to this moment I was a little terrified to walk down the aisle with so many people staring at me… I met both my dads and as I turned the corner I locked eyes with my future husband…
I don’t remember one face. I don’t think I even breathed. I just couldn’t stop looking and smiling at him.
I think that moment, more than ever, I knew this man was perfect for me because with a day filled with so much chaos; just seeing him made me calm.
We were married by my very good friend and ordained minister, which was great because it was very personal.
We kept it under 20 minutes, and wrote our own vows and exchanged traditional ones too.
My ceremony made the entire process worth it! Everyone laughed, cried, and it was just full of big love! And my first vow as a wife was to even root for my husbands team, my team’s rival, because love makes you do crazy things….
Brian and I snuck off after walking down the aisle to just have some moments to ourselves while everyone went too cocktail hour. We were like excited kids trying to grasp everything that just happened and it was just a great moment too share.
So now too the reception….
This might sound crazy too some reading this, but instead of mass photos during cocktail hour- we snapped a couple and joined the party!
Actually, brian and I didn’t even take one photo of just him and I!
At first I was disappointed, but I instantly realized that I couldn’t be sad about that because we did EXACTLY what we wanted to do for our wedding: LIVE IN THE MOMENT and enjoy our people!
Speaking of my people; we like to eat, drink, and dance and that’s exactly what we did!
We spent majority of our budget on the drinks and food.
Instead of an open bar we set a high dollar limit and it stretched the drinks further; totally suggest that!
For food I hired a local caterer and instead of plated or buffet style; we did stations. Every station was food influenced by countries we’d traveled too and although I was nervous about it, our guests loved the variety!
I really don’t like cake and opted for our favorite doughnut spot to make us themed wedding doughnuts. My first pricing on a cake was 3,600; our doughnuts cost $200 and there wasn’t even 1 left over!
To be honest, I wish I could tell you more about the reception but it’s honestly a blur!
Everyone talked, danced, drank and the bags of “props” I got got the party going too say the least!
All I can say was it ended too soon and I wouldn’t have changed one thing!
I got too marry the most incredible man. My son got to share this day with us and I got too celebrate with the people who made me who I am today. It’s absolute gratitude, joy, and love wrapped into one great memory.
The decorations, food, dresses; whatever! I don’t even remember much of them but what I do remember is the truly beautiful and genuine moments celebrating with my friends and family.
To my brides: please don’t get caught in the small things and details.
No matter what happens- he loves you and you love him and your wedding day is 24 hours set aside for the rest of your life to celebrate loving one another.
It’s the best gift you’ll ever give one another.