Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Wedding Tips: What I am SO glad I did

Here is a list of a few things that I am so glad that I did. They worked well for me, so take it for what it's worth!

Invest slowly in hostess gifts. This is usually my first tidbit of advice for brides-to-be! You need gifts for everything and everyone... bridesmaids, hostesses for showers, groomsmen, flower girls/ ring bearers, anyone that pitches in to help with your wedding - the singers, the officiators, the readers, the mom's friend who agrees to set everything up, etc. You get my drift...  While you are out shopping around (even if you don't know who will be throwing what yet) invest in cute notepads, necklaces, tote bags, etc. that you could gift to anyone. These little expenses add up quickly so it helps to purchase them slowly as you go.

My bridemaids got Michael Kors watches (hooray for Fossil perks!)

Date night the night before the Rehearsal Dinner. I cannot stress to you how needed this evening was. My SIL Erin started the Date Night tradition when she got married and I will be passing this one down for generations. The wedding week is stressful. You have company coming in town and vying for your attention, family members who don't read and keep calling you asking you questions and directions, and a To Do list a mile long. Set aside the night before the Rehearsal Dinner (or any night the week of the wedding) with your groom-to-be. No exceptions. Make this a well known fact to your family and friends and do not turn on that cell phone! Spend some low stress, quality time together. This was the night we exchanged gifts as well, which was very relaxed instead of rushed on the wedding day. PLUS, I wanted to be in the room when I gave him his gift rather than having my sister deliver it to him on the actual wedding day. We ate at a nice restaurant, drank a few glasses of wine, and I finally was able to settle my nerves and relax. It really put the whole weekend into perspective.

BONUS: Erin also suggested that I surprise Logan and walk him into Victoria's Secret after dinner to pick out a honeymoon outfit. This clearly was his favorite part of the evening. It really set the tone and made both of us excited about not only the wedding, but the honeymoon too! :)

I loved watching Logan's reaction when I gave him his wedding gift, a John Lennon epiphone guitar.

Keep the day spaced out and low key with PLENTY of extra built in time for last minute delays such as: missing wedding shoes, traffic at 3pm, and in impromptu football game in the front yard of the church :)  I have to admit, most of my stress and tears were wedding planning-related, but the day of I was in no rush, relaxed, and little things didn't phase me! I knew we had plenty of time built in to accomodate anything that could pop up.

Our Private and Personal Last Dance: I surprised Logan for our last dance and had the entire room emptied out while the DJ put on "Shelter" by Ray LaMontagne... everyone else was outside getting ready for our exit and we had 3 minutes of uninterrupted time together to reflect on our evening, unwind, soak it in, kiss slowly, and spend our first quiet moments together (just us 2) since we had become husband and wife. This was by far my favorite moment of the reception and one of the few moments that is not a blur. Just the 2 of us, reflecting on what just took place. 

Wedding Journal: I gifted Logan this wedding journal that I had been keeping since 2004 on our wedding night. Prayers, song lyrics, pictures, wishes for my future husband.  Once I met Logan (I am talking within 5 days), my entries shifted into our relationship and charted it from the night we met, to our engagement, to our wedding day.  I wrote my last entry the morning of October 30th, in the hair salon tucked away in the silence of an empty room. We read entries throughout the honeymoon and still haven't finished reading it together :) So happy we have a record of that first year of falling in love and all the emotions that came along with it.

We took AS MANY pictures as we could before the ceremony. Although we didn't opt to do "first glance" pictures, we took all of our wedding party pictures in the sunlight before the ceremony. This cut our post-ceremony pictures in half so we had longer to enjoy our reception :)

Got married in a church & waited to see Logan until the wedding.  I don't know if you are like me, but something about the build up of being with my dad, hearing the organ music, saying "Dad, this feels like a movie" and him not wanting me to talk to him b/c he was about to lose it still gives me that tight feeling in my throat.   The beautiful traditional organ music blaring the same tunes I hummed to myself as a little girl and two of Logan's best friends telling me I looked beautiful before opening those big heavy doors as I walked down the aisle, watching Logan bawl his little eyes out when he saw me for the first time... there is nothing like it. It is exactly how I envisioned it yet so much more than I could have imagined. It is a moment I will cherish forever. My heart overflowing with gratitude for God and His grace and bringing me to this moment in my life with a man I surely don't deserve. An out of body experience I surely would not trade for anything.

Okay, okay now bear with me as I play devil's advocate...  there are many pros to consider with outdoor weddings and first glance pictures.  At most churches, the photographer is very limited in what and where they can shoot. Since its a "worship service," most churches do not want it to be distracting. Therefore you often don't get the zoomed in, up close and personal, forward facing photos that an alternative venue can allow for.  We also (since we got married in the fall) had rushed couple shots directly after the wedding was over 1. Because we were fighting daylight literally and 2. Because we were on a tight time table to get the group pictures taken so people could head over to the reception in a timely manner.  When you take first glace pictures, you do still get raw emotion, you have some QT precious moments with your groom on an otherwise fast-paced day, and you get to take your time, use the sunlight, and take as many pictures as necessary to get those perfect shots.  So you first glance/ funky venue people- I salute you and totally support your decision as well!

Splurged on a worry-free photographer. Those memories will last us a lifetime and the day is SUCH a blur, I am happy to look back and remember who all was there to celebrate with me. I also (not once) had to request for Sarah Kate to take a picture of this or that...she was just there, present...the entire day, documenting it on my behalf so I could re-live it a thousand times until I am old and gray and fantasize about fitting into that gown again.

Sign in "Guestbook" frame.  I loved this because it is now displayed in our home instead of collecting dust on a bookshelf or coffee table somewhere. I love to look at it and read a comment as I pass by it every once in awhile. It makes me feel so loved to look at how many people made time in their schedule to see us on our big day.

Dance in entrances of Wedding Party. I think this trending pretty big right now, but it set a really fun tone for our evening and everyone got to see the Wedding Party and their fun personalities.

All Inclusive Honeymoon - No penny pinching, fruity drink OR steak limit, and zero bank account checking... We walked into our honeymoon knowing exactly what we would be spending.  We also chose Playa del Carmen because it was a resort within a city. We had a blast venturing into town and not feeling "stuck" on the resort in the middle of nowhere... we got to shop around and rub elbows with the locals. WORD TO THE WISE: We used Trip Advisor like it was the Bible.  We ruled out a TON of resorts by reading customer reviews from this site. I highly encourage you to do the same! We decided on The Royal and it was everything and more than we were expecting. I want to go back again someday for a special anniversary :)

I hope you found these helpful.  Again, these are just written from my personal perspective and experience as little nuggets of wisdom to consider.  The great thing about YOUR wedding day, is you make the rules, break the rules, ignore the rules... Do what works with you and your personality.


  1. Hi Abby! My name is Shannon, and I've been reading your blog since last August. At that time, I was engaged, and after reading your blog regularly for a while, I found your wedding posts: your tips, your album, your engagement, and so on and so forth. I LOVED them all. I got married on January 3rd, and I wanted to tell you that we took your idea of the private last dance and are SO thankful that we did. It is one of my most treasured memories from the day, the pictures we got from it are incredible - you can tell how happy we look after all that just happened, but also relaxed with it just being the two of us for the first time all day. Thank you so very much for your thoughtful posts on your wedding, and on your life. Your blog blesses me and encourages me every time I read it.

    1. Shannon- THANK YOU!!! I am so flattered and so happy you were able to incorporate the private last far my favorite moment of our hectic, beautiful day. Congratulations to you!!! Thanks again for reading- I love hearing that there are people out there reading my crazy ramblings haha It encourages me to keep on writing :)



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