Recently, at work, I showed our wedding pictures to some of the ladies I now share office space with. From there, we got into a conversation regarding decisions made for our weddings--what we were so happy we did, and what we wish we would have done differently.
Since then, I've been thinking about things like that, and I figured I might as well write them down and share them with all of you, since many of you are still planning. So I'll get right to it.
I'm SO glad we:
1. Ended up hiring a videographer. We originally weren't planning on having one, but about three months before the wedding, I started freaking out that maybe we would regret it. After a bit of discussion, we decided to look around for one.
We hired one a short time later, and we are so glad that we did. There are so many things that I would have been devastated to never get to see/hear again (i.e. our fabulous toasts given by Lindsay and Justin). And there were many things I didn't see on the wedding day that were captured by the videographer (i.e. Michael's grandmother dancing up a storm).
If you're wavering on this decision, I'm telling you... DO IT. If you've decided against having one, I urge you to reconsider.
2. Planned it so that we would NOT miss our cocktail hour. We owe some of the credit to our photographers, who were extremely efficient taking pictures between the ceremony and reception. We said from the very beginning of our planning that we DEFINITELY wanted to be at our cocktail hour. Our thought was, we're paying so much money to throw this party--we want to be there to enjoy every single minute of it. And we did! The Krackes got us there on time (we may have even been a few minutes early!).
We had that extra time to walk around and relax, mingle with guests, enjoy drinks, etc. I also had a few minutes to go in the bathroom and have a friend fix my hair, have Lindsay assist me with going to the bathroom, etc. :) It was a great decision.
3. Involved our families so much in the wedding. Both of my parents walked me down the aisle, and I'm so glad that I made the decision to do it that way.
My brothers were groomsmen; Michael's sisters were bridesmaids. We were SO happy to have our siblings with us every step of the way. Although, I am misleading you... I act like this was a conscious decision we made. It wasn't. From the very beginning, it was never a question. Even before we were engaged, I always knew that when Michael and I got married, my brothers would be groomsmen and his sisters bridesmaids. It was a given.
We always looked at it like the entire bridal party was ours. I would never have chosen anybody to be a bridesmaid that Michael disapproved of, and vice versa. I hate reading on The Knot when a bride says she excluded the groom's sister, or that her groom is excluding her brother, because "I'm not that close to her" or "It's his side so he can choose who he wants; he doesn't want my brother." I'm sorry, but that is bullshit. That's your future husband's sister, and unless she's a crackwhore or an uber bitch that your fiance doesn't even talk to, she belongs in your wedding party. Period. And if your fiance is excluding your brother and you want him to be in it... you need to speak up. It's family.
We also chose family members to do readings. Michael's uncle, my cousin, my brother's girlfriend (who is now his fiancee). Great, great decisions. No matter what happens in life, these people will always be our family.
4. Chose to do a sweetheart table. Sitting down quietly to dinner with just my new husband was a fabulous part of the evening. We were able to have a few minutes just to ourselves, and we had fun chatting together for that time. The day goes by in a huge blur, and much of it was spent apart (as silly as that is). I'm glad we at least had that time together. Plus we got to do a little trash talking about the no-show guests!! :)
5. Listened to the recommendations of professionals. The big one that comes to mind is our florist. I went into the florist meetings with an open mind because I wasn't quite sure what color flowers to pick for the aqua blue bridesmaid dresses we picked out. When she first suggested hot pink and orange, I thought to myself--gross. I even said to her, "I like the idea of the hot pink, but I am not sold on the orange." She asked me to trust her and I did.
The ladies at work said they would have vetoed her, and said what a shame that would have been. They would have missed out on a BEAUTIFUL color combination! I loved the way the hot pink and orange popped against the aqua blue. Fantastic.
6. Had a morning after brunch, and waited until the Monday after the wedding to leave for the honeymoon. It was nice to get an opportunity to see a lot of our guests again the next morning. Everyone was still on a high from the fun of the night before, and we got to reminisce about things while they were still fresh in our minds.
But man, were we exhausted. I'm not sure I have ever been so tired in my life! We really needed a day at home to recoup and regroup before we left for our honeymoon in Hawaii.
Speaking of Hawaii...
7. Splurged and went to Hawaii. It was amazing, and we're not sure when we'll have another opportunity to 1) take that long of a vacation, and 2) spend that much money on one. We're looking at kids in the next few years, and once that happens, lord knows we likely won't have the chance to go again until several years down the road.
I think that's it for now... if I think of anything more, I will put together a "Reflection: Part 2" post! As for things we wish we didn't do... I honestly can't think of anything. I don't think we have any regrets.
I hope this "advice" helps people. Good luck!