So let's just start with, I was young and hadn't been planning others people's weddings. I just helped them with their rentals at this point and time. Here are the top 7 things I learned from my wedding.
1. NEW YEARS DAY: I wanted to start the year off right and married to my guy who I'd loved for the last 5 years. So we were either going to do this now or wait till, you guessed it, after the baby. What I didn't know was first round flower picks go to the Rose Parade on New Years Day, and because of that there's also a bigger price tag. You'll pay more around Valentine's Day, and Mothers Day too, just to name a few other holidays.
2. LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION: Because we wanted to do it fast, we naturally thought of Tahoe. I didn't want to do it a casino, so my mom found a little chapel. That's what they called it, but did you know a chapel is just a room? I have to laugh looking back, my wedding was in a strip mall office building, lace curtains (see above), and rows of benches you'd normally find in the front yard. Do a site check. PERIOD.
3. WEATHER: Let's go back to it being Tahoe, do you think we looked up the forecast? Nope, it stormed so hard on NYE when we were heading up, the last mile to the cabin it snowed so hard it took an hour to get there. Then on the day of my wedding the only cars that could go anywhere had to have 4 wheel drive. The officiant who lived there couldn't get out of her street, asked if she could postpone to the next day. What do you think a hormonal bride's response was? HECK no, we do this today or it's not happening! Again remember there was a reason I wanted the 1/1/04 wedding date. I don't care much what people think, it wasn't REALLY a shot gun wedding. So what did my officiant do? She was the best, she hitch hiked to the ceremony location. That's a devoted wedding vendor in my books. Some would have just said flat out no, act of god, I'm covered. Please, please have a rain/snow contingent plan for your wedding, and look up the 10 day forecast.
4. FAMILY: I remembered being so hurt that my MIL didn't dress up for our wedding, but really I should have had the conversation with her that while this was an elopement, I still hoped she'd dress for a wedding not for the snow. I can look back now and know it was my job to tell her not her job to approach me. Tell people what seems obvious to you, because it's not obvious to everyone else.
5. SHORT NOTICE/SMALL SPACE: The Venue (office) could only hold 20 people, and Mike is one of 8 kids, so this worked to our advantage, people couldn't get the time off work so close to a holiday. It was also a double edge sword, I didn't get to invite my cousin who I found out later was deeply hurt. I wish I had her there. You'll forget someone on your guest list hopefully not this kind of blunder. So have family/friends check your guest list.
6. PHOTOGRAPHER: Do you think I could find one in 2 weeks, who would work on New Years Day? No. But my Uncle and friend did an amazing job capturing the day. No, it wasn't blog worthy (except my blog), but it was scrap worthy. Now I know to talk to the photographers about what their boundaries are. My Uncle bless his heart was behind the officiant, and to say the least it was distracting. He did get some good shots, but please hire a pro, they can get good shots and you'll feel like they weren't even there.
7. MUSIC: This is the story I tell the couples most often. You need music to walk down the aisle to. Here we trucked through the valley and hills and snow, hitch hiking officiant, bride wearing thermals and snow boots, only to not have a wedding march. I didn't care about a whole lot of things. I gave in on the kinds of flowers I wanted. I didn't get a photographer. I was getting married in a FREAKING office. The music is what sent me over the edge. I cried, I'm sure it was an ugly cry in the "Ready room" when I realized we had no wedding music. Then you know what happened? I could hear our family humming the wedding march for me to walk down the aisle. I dried my eyes, powered my face, and walked down to the best part of my day and married my best friend. The humming is what I remember first when I talk about our wedding. Stuff happens but I have some great stories. This is normally the story I tell couples where they think they don't want a videographer. 10 years down the road I wish I had someone capture my family humming me down the aisle, photos can't tell that story.
Sometimes I think we should renew our vows, and maybe one day we will, but at the end of the day I married my better half, and partner in crime for the last 15 years.
I've learned so much more than this over the last 10 years, but please know your wedding will be so much better than mine just because you read this. Please hire a coordinator so they can think of what you aren't.