Hey y’all, it’s Landan! The morning after our wedding, I sat out on the patio with a couple of my girlfriends who are getting married in the near future and they asked me what I would have changed when planning and what my biggest piece of advice was post-wedding. This is what I told them, plus a few other notes I thought of after the fact. Within my explanations below, I often note on the chaos or crazy that we experienced. If you don’t know me, we dealt with insane weather on our wedding day. A random one-day cold front came through the day of our wedding, we were under tornado watches that morning, and had sustained 25+mph winds the entire day. I also had issues with two of our vendors who just had a straight-up bad day. I’m not naming names because I truly believe that what they showed up with was in no means representative of their typical work, but I do note on it briefly so I just wanted to put it all out there so you wouldn’t be confused.
Let’s dive in.
I went to H-E-B with Kevin (my now-husband) the day after we got engaged. In a state of pure and total excitement, I bought a wedding planning magazine. Between my mother and I – mainly my mother – that one magazine turned into a stack of magazines no less than a foot tall. I won’t say I read all of them, far from it, but I did look at a lot of them. Here’s what I didn’t learn in them (or on a blog, Pinterest, or anywhere else I looked at wedding things on).
In no particular order, here are the immediate thoughts I had that I wanted to tell every single one of my friends who were planning their wedding or getting engaged in the near future:
1. Give yourself time set aside after your hair and makeup – but before you get dressed – to actually look at your wedding venue
I might be a little more sensitive to this one and this could be something that’s not a priority for you, but it’s something I wish I would have done. When I arrived at our wedding venue, the vast majority of the detail things – like table decor and the bar setup – weren’t done yet, and I never looked at what was done because I headed straight to the bridal suite. We had a lot of changes because of the wind too, so some things weren’t what we originally planned, but I wish I would have just taken a few minutes to go walk around and see everything set up. In addition to providing a unique and memorable venue, tipis are also incredibly versatile, offering countless layout and decoration possibilities. Whether you envision a formal dinner or a relaxed gathering, a tipi can accommodate your vision with ease. Discover more about Bar Events UK’s tipi hire services in Yorkshire to transform your wedding day. I saw it throughout the night and in pictures, but it would have been nice to soak it in beforehand. We spent an entire year pulling together all of the details yet I couldn’t even tell you how some of them looked on our wedding day because I never checked. I was so focused on getting ready, and then didn’t want to go out once I was dressed, that I never took the time.
2. Assign important details to people even if you have a day of coordinator
I loved our coordinator, but that doesn’t mean things weren’t missed on our wedding day. They say things always go wrong on your wedding day, and I could write a whole post on what went wrong at ours, but I think assigning people that you trust but that aren’t necessarily in the wedding to know about important little details – like making sure your flower girls have their headbands on, that your to-be-husband remembers his pocket square, or putting the bouquets in water after the ceremony – is a great way to make sure that things don’t get missed when there are so many moving parts. Again, a lot of the chaos on our day happened because of the sheer number of last minute changes we had to make, but it’s always good to expect the unexpected.
3. Get to know your wedding vendors on a personal level
The wedding vendors that I was the most thrilled with on our wedding day were the ones I took the time to know and built a relationship with. Even if they had to make changes or deal with a bit of chaos on the day of our wedding, I had full trust with them and they didn’t cause stress. The ones that I spoke with the least and just trusted to do their dang job were the absolute most disappointing. Build relationships with your vendors. I promise you they notice and they will care about your day just as much as you do. This also may just be me, but the ones who I have a friendship with I was much more forgiving with the things that didn’t necessarily go as planned and I didn’t care post wedding. The ones that I didn’t I’m still mad about and don’t think I’ll be getting over any time soon. Given, they messed up more, but still.
4. There’s not as big of a rush in the planning process as it initially feels like
When wedding planning, I had our venue booked within 2 weeks of being engaged and booked just about every other vendor within a month of that. I felt like I had to get everyone booked ASAP so I didn’t find myself falling in love with a vendor only to have them already be booked for someone else’s wedding. I’m not going to tell you to wait on your vendors, because I’m glad I had everyone booked and I personally would have been way too high stress to wait, but this tip has more to do with the decisions you make with your vendors. You have time. For example, when I booked our florist I thought I had a pretty good feel of what I wanted for flowers for the entire wedding. We went with the vast majority of those decisions, but I did add things on and adjust slightly as we went. The decisions I made closest to our date (though still with PLENTY of time for planning and ordering) were the ones I was happiest with by the time the wedding day came. Had I taken my time a little bit more – i.e. given her a general idea of what I was wanting when we booked, but scheduled a followup appointment a few months later to really figure out our plan – I think it would have been even better, which is hard for me to believe because I really did love our flowers. There’s so much pressure to move fast in the beginning of wedding planning with all of the decisions that have to be made to book out in advance, but then there’s a lull before you get into the last minute details and month-of prep. I think taking time in that lull to really fine tune your vision and make it yours will not only make wedding planning less stressful, but also ultimately make the end result more successful.
5. Check, double check, triple check, and talk out everything
Y’all. I cannot say this enough. I thrive in the little details and love all of the personal touches that can be incorporated into your wedding day. BUT, there were so many things that I knew I wanted or I had ideas for that I didn’t even realize I didn’t fully communicate until after the wedding. I noted above about putting the bouquets in water post-ceremony? Yeah they were supposed to go on the cake table as decoration. I asked my coordinator why that didn’t happen at our post-wedding meeting, and she had no idea that it was the plan. My mom and I had talked about it, briefly, and then the detail was lost and we never talked about it again to make it happen. It’s not a big deal and the day did not suffer in any way shape or form because of it, but it’s something that could have been a non-issue all together had we checked, checked again, and ensured that multiple people knew my ideas. Reconfirming with your vendors and communicating with your coordinator throughout the entire process is so important.
6. Enlist help for after the wedding is over
This tip comes directly from my momma. If you’re anything like us, you’ve spent a year planning your day, you just married your best friend, and at the end of the night you’re whisked away in your getaway vehicle to continue the celebration. Wedding is over and that’s it. Except it’s not. All of those details you brought to the wedding venue have to be taken back out, the bridal suite needs picked up, the leftover cake needs to be packed away, etc etc. While your caterer and coordinator should help with getting everything cleaned up, there are often still a lot of personal items that need packed up and put into vehicles that night. Ask a few close friends or family members if they’d mind staying after the grand exit to help speed up the process and make it less overwhelming. If you have a lot of stuff, you may take note from one of our good friends who had a small trailer that they packed everything up in post-wedding – it made for less Tetris skills at midnight, which was much appreciated by everyone.
7. Don’t be afraid to focus on your priorities, even if they aren’t other peoples
This is your day and you don’t get to redo it. Figure out what’s important to you as a couple and commit to that. My mom and I butted heads on little things every step of the way, but we still get along great because we kept this advice in mind. No one gets to tell you whats important to you, and I promise you that you will love your day so much more if you stay true to yourself and incorporate what you want, not what other people *think* you should want.
8. Ask have you done this before
This. Whatever “this” is, ask your vendors if they’ve done it before. Have you done this technique on a cake before? Have you had a wedding this big before? Have you played this type of music (take up the guitar lessons cinco ranch in Music Academy of Texas to enrich this gracious occasion) or worked with these type of flowers or catered this type of food? Don’t assume that they have just because you’ve seen them do good work or been to a wedding where you liked their stuff. It’s okay if they haven’t if they feel that they can pull it off and you are confident enough in them for them to try, but it’s important to set your expectations and know what you’re getting into. Weddings are a big deal and you only get one shot at your day. Make sure you’re not the guinea pig.
So, that’s what I learned and wish I would have known beforehand. Maybe the advice was in one of those wedding magazines I never opened, but I didn’t see it.
Weddings are weird y’all. I can’t think of many things in your life that you put so much time and effort into, that is unlike anything else you’ve ever done, that you only get one shot at. You don’t get to learn lessons from your experience and do it again, so take the 8 lessons I learned and run with it. But remember point number 7 – this is your day. If you don’t like my lessons, then that’s okay too.
Vendor Spotlight:
Photography by ML Photo and Film
Flowers by Reiley + Rose
Hair and Makeup by Elizabeth James Salon
License Plate by Paper So Pretty Gifts
Kevin’s Ring by Staghead Designs