Having been engaged since February of 2013 but deciding to marry in the Fall of 2014 (we both always knew we wanted a fall wedding and 2013 was just too soon), we had almost NINETEEN months to worry, stress, agonize, and change our minds about how our wedding day would go down. In retrospect, I almost feel like it would have been easier to pop out a pair of Irish twins. That said, every single decision we made and dollar we spent was completely, totally worth it in the end. I can honestly say I wouldn’t have changed a thing.
In an attempt to attempt to compete with the myriad of wedding blogs dedicated to the subject, I’m going to share a few highlights from our wedding and the things I learned from the process.
1) THE VENUE – Less is More.
If you have the flexibility to chose an all inclusive venue, I would highly recommend it. Since we made our marriage official at the courthouse in Stamford, we didn’t need to worry about transportation from a church to a reception. We were also able to eliminate a long, usually awkward, intermission between ceremony and party, which I think our guests appreciated. The Grand Summit Resort at Mount Snow had everything we were looking for – a beautiful outdoor space for the ceremony and cocktail hour, a gorgeous ballroom, delicious farm-to-table food, and the ability to accommodate all of our out-of-town guests (which in our case was everyone.)
An all-inclusive venue also allowed us to keep the party going longgg after the end of the sanctioned after-party. One stop shopping really helped maintain a smooth flow for our wedding day.
2) THE PHOTOGRAPHY – Don’t Skip An Engagement Session.
Our photographer Jeff Weeks was fabulous. Our package included an engagement session which we considered skipping because of the distance between our home and our photographer. We figured out a weekend close to the holidays last year to make it work, and I’m SO glad we did. Spending one-on-one time with your photographer before your wedding day is crucial to feeling comfortable!
Also, this amazing perspective on wedding photography. I dare you to read it and not cry.
Highlights from our wedding can be seen at Jeff’s blog here.
3) THE SMALL STUFF – You should only sweat it if it really matters to YOU.
If I had a nickel for every time someone asked me about my “vision” for my wedding day, I would have been able to invite a lot more than 120 people to the party. To be honest, I didn’t have any specifics in mind when we first started wedding planning, but I will tell you as soon as I did care about something, I REALLY cared. (Confession: I went so far as buying 150 eggplant colored napkins because I hated the color options offered by our venue and renting linens was too much of a logistical nightmare.) If buying linens is more cost-effective than renting, I highly recommend eFavorMart.com. They have excellent prices (lots of sales!), speedy delivery, and high-quality products. I also had our tables set with these champagne organza runners.
I received another stellar piece of wedding planning advice that I feel should be passed along to whomever stumbles on this blog:
“Sometimes, you just have to throw a little money at the problem… Especially if it’s under $100.”
Amen sistah. That’s not to say you should be reckless and wasteful, but in the grand scheme of your wedding budget, although the dollars will add up, if $65 worth of napkins will give you peace of mind about your tablescapes, I say pull the trigger and move on. (If you don’t already have your credit card number memorized, a few weeks of online shopping for your big day will take care of all that.)
4) THE FOOD – more is more.
Feeding 100 people of various backgrounds (Germans, Italians, and people who know good food) can be quite a challenge. From my experience, I would recommend at least one (maybe two) stationary displays of the usual cheese and cracker fare (ours was antipasto themed to satisfy the eye-talians of the family) as well as 4-5 options for passed hot hors d’oeuvres. Your goal here is to satisfy, not stuff your guests. They should have a solid base of snacks in their systems when they hit the open bar, but not too much food that the thought of napping becomes more appealing than dancing.
5) FOCUS ON THE PRESENT – don’t get distracted by shiny objects.
I know, I know. You realize there will be A LOT going on in the background of your wedding day events. You’ll want to be part of everything, which would only be possible if your party consisted of 3 guests. It’s tempting to spread yourself SO thin that you spend exactly one minute with each of your guests (between dances, speeches, dinner, and cake cutting) but I think it’s more important to focus on what’s happening right in front of you, not across the room. Will you miss out on an inside joke or funny story? Probably. Will it matter that much? Not likely.
To wrap it up and move on to honeymoon posts, I will say this: Our wedding day was perfect…for us. It included the most special people in our lives and was so full of joy and happiness that nothing else mattered. So the best advice I can give you, is to take everyone else’s wedding advice with a grain of salt and do what feels right for you and your soon-to-be-husband. You can’t make everyone else happy so don’t even try.