Monday, March 12, 2018

Wedding Planning Tips & Frequently Asked Questions

The topic I get the most messages and emails about is definitely wedding-related! From planning tips to where we found inspiration, those are the messages that most often fill my inbox. In another world, I might have been a wedding planner as I have always loved all things wedding, so I really enjoyed the experience of planning ours from start to finish.

I'll start with a few FAQs before diving into the tips!

Q: What did you give your mother or mother-in-law for the day of the wedding?
I gave both my mom and mother -in-law handkerchiefs that I found from Etsy! And then I also gave my mom a photo brooch that she pinned to her bouquet (I pinned one to mine as well) that has my grandmother's photo in it. I still have mine sitting in my ring dish on my bedside table. 

Q: Do you have any advice for bridal portraits and engagement shots?
Have fun! Seriously though - if you have a fun photographer who makes you feel at ease, then it ends up being so much fun.

Q: Did you have a wedding planner?
I opted not to have a planner. I thought about it a few months in, but by that point, I already had the big details picked out: venues, floral inspiration, dress, etc. I did have an incredible friend who was also the director of sales at the venue where I was married who served as my week-of coordinator. She had contacts for all of my vendors and got in contact with each of them to guarantee they knew where they were supposed to be and when. She also made sure that the day-of went smoothly! If you don't need a planner, no stress on that, but I would highly recommend having a go-to contact for the week of and especially the day of your wedding!

Q: What did you use as a guest book?
We opted for a photo book from Artifact Uprising featuring our engagement photos. Not only does it serve as a way for us to see our engagement photos, but there was also plenty of space for people write messages.

Q: Did you and your husband exchange day-of wedding gifts?
We did! I gave Stephen a watch and he gave me a second wedding band that I fell in love with while we were wedding band shopping.

Q: Where did you get your bridesmaids' robes?
I ordered both theirs and mine from Plum Pretty Sugar! I absolutely loved them and wished I had ordered the one I purchased them for myself.

Q: Where did your mom find her dress?
My mom actually got her dress the week after I got engaged! We had already planned a trip to New York City for Labor Day weekend, so while we were there, mom and I decided to just look around. We stopped into BCBG and found her stunning black dress, and as soon as she put it on, we both fell in love with it.

Q: How did you decide on a wedding day hairstyle?
I almost always wear my hair down, so I knew I wanted to do something at least semi-down for our wedding. I spent time looking at different styles on Pinterest, and texted pictures of a variety of options to my stylist before my portraits. She created a hybrid of them that I loved way more than the inspiration photos!

Q: Where did you find your bridesmaids' jewelry?
I actually found them at market while buying for ZIA. If you are looking for a similar pair, please email me and I would love to help you out!

Q: What is the color of the Inesse dress that your bridesmaids wore?
There are so many pretty colors but I ended up choosing Champagne!

Q: What kind of makeup did you wear?
My makeup artist uses Limelight so she used that for both my bridal portraits and our wedding day. She started doing my makeup around 2:30 and it stayed put until midnight when I finally took it off. 

Q: What is the style of your second wedding band?
I get so many questions about this! It is by Henri Daussi and is style R6.

Q: I'm getting married in the Wilmington area; who made your cake?
We actually got ours from Whole Foods and it was incredible! And for Stephen's groom cake, my mother-in-law used One Belle Bakery.

Q: Should I send a save the date?
That's a tough one - we did send Save the Dates, and though I loved ours, I'm not sure I would do it again. Reason being is that our guest list changed even after sending out save the dates, which made things confusing at times. When you send a Save the Date, you're also committing to a certain guest count way before you have to turn in numbers. 

Q: What length veil did you have?
I had a cathedral length veil! I actually knew that was what I wanted before I even had a wedding dress picked out. The veil was exactly what I imagined and Coastal Knot ordered extra lace from my gown to create it so it would match my dress perfectly.

Q: Who was the designer of your wedding dress?

Madison James - purchased from Coastal Knot in Wilmington, NC.

Q: I loved the romper you got ready in - do you have any suggestions since it is sold out?
This one is very similar to mine! Such a pretty back.

Aside from these questions, I have received messages asking for general tips about how to get started with planning or what I learned throughout the planning process. Here are a few suggestions!

Prioritize your list of needs and wants.
I think this is one of the first things you should do! Sitting down with your fiancé and then with anyone who is helping you plan the wedding and making of list of everything you envision for your day will really help you get a good idea of everything in your mind. It is so easy to go crazy with the planning, so by making a list, moving the items that are "must-haves" to the top, and then slowly adding numbers by them will give you the best idea of cost, etc. For me, having a great photographer and videographer were at the top of the list, so I made sure to prioritize those in our budget as well. 

Book the big things and then take a moment to relax.
Once you've narrowed down a budget and decided on a venue, get the "big ticket" items booked! For me, those were our venue, photographer, videographer, and band. 

Incorporate details that are important to you as a couple.
Throughout the wedding, we tried to incorporate things that represented Stephen and I and our relationship. Stephen's uncle is a pastor, and it was so special for him to officiate our ceremony. Stephen loves to golf, so I loved that our venue allowed for him to play golf with his groomsmen the day of the wedding. I really love french fries, so we had little cups of fries for guests to take with them on their way out to the sparkler send off. For our rehearsal dinner, I wore my mom's wedding gown that we had made into a cocktail dress. There were so many details that we chose to use because they were representative of us - so use those fun details!

Ask about the extras.
When it comes to a wedding, there are always extras. Do your photographer and/or videographer charge extra for additional hours? Who is in charge of set up and break down? What time can I begin setting up? Is the rehearsal included in the fee for the venue? Does your florist have a minimum?  Do I need to get wedding day insurance?There are so many things that can add up and also details that you didn't even realize you needed to worry about that could sneak up on you. By hashing out all of these in advance, it will avoid chaos later in the game.

Create a timeline. 
I created a Google Doc that Stephen and my mom both had access to. It had a running list of things that we needed to get done. The first part of the list was just a running list of those big things, but about 6 months out, I created an actual timeline with things that needed to be done under each thing (i.e. 6 months out, 4 months, 3 weeks, week of, etc.) I also put Stephen or my mom's name beside anything I needed help with or anything that they were working on, that way we were all on the same page.

Have fun!
Seriously. I can geuniunely say that for the most part, I enjoyed planning our wedding - and though I had a few Why are we having such a big wedding or We should have eloped! moments, I knew everything would be perfect because at the end of August 5th, Stephen and I would be married. I am very Type A when it comes to how I want things done, and I was so worried I wouldn't be able to relax on our wedding day, but I had a fun sleepover with all of my bridesmaids and I woke up feeling so happy and excited on our day. Soak in each moment because it's an incredible experience!

Have any questions or want more details?! I love chatting about weddings so send over an email or leave it in the comments!

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