1. You can’t please everyone. Seek out advice on anything and everything, but at the end of the day, you won’t be able to make everyone happy. It’s OK! If you’re determined to choose your flower colors, by all means. But there are other decisions that you might not feel as passionate about — like say, napkin color. Allow someone else to have a say and choose that for you. The more inclusive you are, the better everyone feels. At the end of the day, as long as you are polite, they’ll likely understand and be happy for you. (I wasn’t always polite, but I tried. Sorry, mom! Love you!)
2. Don’t be pressured into buying an expensive (or the wrong) dress! The first store I shopped at was lovely, but the sales ladies were pushier than I expected. Keep in mind, if the dress is meant to be and you need more time to think about it, it will be there later. And take it from a self-proclaimed bargain hunter - you can always find a cheaper dress. (I ended up getting mine at the second store I visited - Bridal & Formal. Gorgeous!)
3. Let your groom help plan. Andy wanted to be as involved as possible. I decided to let him take over decisions regarding music, i.e., dining playlists, band playlists and our first dance song. He nailed it! (Shout out to the Jordan English Band of Lexington. The dance floor was hoppin’) He also helped me choose songs for the ceremony. Our longtime friends Linda and Neil Gartner sang "One Hand, One Heart" from West Side Story after our vows. I still have chills.
4. When shopping for a venue, be sure to SEE IT before booking. We went to a wedding convention in January and picked out a few hotels to visit. Some were not as they appeared in photos. The venue we chose was under construction at the time, but visiting it helped us envision what was in store. (The Monastery Event Center was out of this world!)
TOUR the converted Mt. Adams church where Julie got married here:
5. Be thrifty! You don’t need to break the bank on everything. I made my own welcome sign and seating chart using a $5 chalk board from Goodwill that I repainted with spray paint and chalkboard paint. I think I received more compliments on that than my dress!
6. Take a few days off after the wedding to relax and let it sink in. Andy and I aren’t taking our honeymoon until August, but we decided to take a mini honeymoon after the wedding, and boy did we need it. We were so exhausted from the planning, nerves, dancing and celebrating that it was perfect to veg out and enjoy one another solo.
7. Hire a photographer you trust and enjoy. Just because some photographers charge an arm and a leg, it doesn’t mean their work will reflect that. Shop around. Check out some newbies. I found Chris Granger Photography on Twitter/Instagram and also hired Tanya O’Rourke’s son, Graham, who is going to college for photography. I haven’t seen all of their wedding photos yet (it’s only been 5 days…), but what I have seen is impeccable.
8. During the ceremony, take a moment to look at the crowd. A viewer told me to do this, and I’m so glad I listened. It’s amazing to see all of your closest friends and family members in one room and realize they are there to support YOU. Make eye contact, smile and enjoy their presence.
9. Say Thank You. And then say it again. And maybe again. (Thanks mom and dad!) The time, energy, money, traveling, gifts, cards and kind words … it’s A LOT to receive at once. Accept it graciously and say thank you. Try to work the room and thank your guests for coming. It’s fun to see them all having a good time! Then when it’s all over, write them kind-hearted thank you notes worth reading. Speaking of, I have a lot of work to do …