In case you missed the announcement on Instagram— Ryan and I got married on May 2nd! After having a bit of time to process everything that happened, I thought I’d share some helpful tips for any engaged couples out there. Seriously, I could write about this all day, but I’ll limit myself to just a few of the larger points. So here are 10 things I learned from having a wedding, including a few things I wish we would’ve done differently.
1. Small weddings are incredible. Our original list was 190 but we reduced it to 40 because of COVID and it made the day so much more intimate and relaxing. The pressure was dropped and we only had to coordinate with people we speak to on a regular basis (it’s so much easier). Plus we got to speak to every single person that was there! And an added bonus, we dropped a few obligation invites along the way which leads me to the next point…
2. Stop inviting people you don’t like to your wedding! Stop it. Cross them off the list. If you didn’t speak to them over the past year, and you didn’t check in with one another during a PANDEMIC, there’s absolutely no reason they need to be at your wedding. You don’t need to pay $150 for a plate for your moms third cousin’s best friend’s daughter. Also, if there’s anyone that brings you down, or who won’t lift you up on your wedding day, they don’t need to be there either.
3. Weddings are more expensive than you might realize (sorry for anyone recently engaged). This is another reason we’re happy to have had a smaller wedding. The pressure of paying for 190 people was way too much that it felt like we weren’t going to have any money left for the other things we wanted to do in life. The reduced wedding really allowed us to sneak by without paying any wedding taxes (i.e. we just picked up cakes from a local bakery instead of having a larger wedding cake made. No joke, it saved us $400).
4. The day of the week really doesn’t matter too much. When we were originally looking at venues, I was dead set on having a Saturday wedding. Because of the postponement, we ended up getting married on a Sunday and it felt no different. Turns out as long as your people don’t mind taking off a day from work, or if it’s local, it really doesn’t matter. Plus, if you’re open to a mid week wedding, you’ll be able to save money!
5. Really think about your bridal party. Put people in your bridal party that are not only your people, but that also have their shit together. I had a change in my bridal party and it was a godsend because my ladies were ON IT. Don’t feel obligated to ask someone to be in your wedding just because you’ve known them for a long time. Have people that will support you and who will make sure your day goes as smooth as possible.
6. Assign point people. If you want something done a specific way, give someone that task. For example, if you know for sure you want decor in a specific place, make sure someone is checking that for you. Who is cleaning up at the end of the night so you don’t have to? Other small details like that should be planned out beforehand. The day goes by so fast, that you will not be able to check in on anything. The good news is that people are more willing to help than you might realize. Lean on the people not only in your bridal party, but certain guests for the day. Sometimes it takes a village!
7. Get your cash tips early. Don’t wait to the day of the wedding to get cash to tip your vendors. We did that and the bank had withdrawal limits, so it became a production. Go to the bank the week of the wedding, withdraw what you need, and divide that into marked envelopes. It also helps to assign passing out the tips to someone, so you don’t have to worry about tracking vendors down.
8. Pick photographers you get along with. You’re going to spend most of the day with your photographers and they’ll be there for intimate moments. Definitely meet them before the wedding and see if you get along (aside from liking their style). We ADORED our photographers (Redfield Photography) and would 10000000% work with them again. They really became our hype people and left us feeling so good.
9. Make sure you eat before. I know it’s a cliche but it’s unreal how true this was. The odds of you actually getting to eat the dinner you’re paying for are low. I didn’t even get to eat the cake, which is the one thing I really wanted. So make sure to eat in the downtime before the wedding so that you have enough energy to make it through the day.
10. Leave the venue before everyone else. I know you’ll want to hang out with your guests for as long as possible, but trust me on this. We were there until the end of the afterparty and it actually left Ryan and I cleaning and running around at the end of the night. Honestly it’s one of my biggest regrets because it brought down my entire mood, we weren’t together at all, and we were both so tired. Make an exit plan for you and your partner and just go and be happy. Let someone else handle the wrap up for you (assign people to it!). Have someone wrap you up cake and just go and be married!
Over all, be prepared to hear a lot of opinions and input. Weddings apparently bring up a lot of complicated feelings for people, but try your best not to let anyone’s judgement keep you from having the day that you want. If you want to elope, elope! If you want a small wedding, keep it small. The day goes by very very fast, and time won’t feel real. Your body however will tell you in the morning that the day was in fact very real. Plan for a wedding hangover (even if you don’t drink), and have your bacon egg and cheese + aspirin ready to go in the morning.
Happy to answer any questions you might have about our experience. If you have any other additional advice for others who are engaged– please leave your tips in the comments.
So many photos and DIYS to come from our day, I can’t wait for you to see it all!