22 July, 2009

From the Trenches:

A question from a friend:

Hey Erin!

I was just wondering, now that you’ve had time for reflection, what you learned from your wedding planning ordeal that you might be able to pass onto me in terms of advice. Anything happen unexpectedly? Would you do anything differently? Anything you wish you would’ve spent more time and money on or less time and money?


My Reply:

First of all, yes! Things happened unexpectedly. The morning of the wedding, my makeup artist called to confirm the time with me and all of my girls decided they wanted to have their makeup done too. I hadn't planned on that, so I ended up shelling out an extra $250! The banquet manager was giving me a hard time about the placement of our tables and she wouldn't move them to where I wanted them. After much coaxing, she acquiesced, but I really didn't need all that stress, which ended up making us late since I couldn't start my makeup until later. The groomsmen were a tad late and unruly, so wrangling them was difficult. There were a number of things that were a little wonky throughout the day. So, please, please please, have a contingency plan, because you can bank on the fact you'll hit a snag or two.


1. Well, I am so glad that I had a day-of coordinator. I think it's almost imperative for the bride to have someone to just take her phone and navigate the day. Even if it's just a friend who's good at events, I'd consider it. If I had been less controlling, I would have refused to take any calls that weren't from my Mom. It's just an incredibly emotional day. We're all good at drama that's scripted, but a wedding is challenging because it so emotionally charged for so many people.

2. I made a call sheet of everything that was in the wedding (linens, flowers, cake, favors, dress, people...etc.) complete with: Arrival Times, where it was coming from, contact information and who was in charge of it (i.e. Charise was in charge of placing our Waterford crystal champagne toasters. Jillian was in charge of the vows). My day-of was in charge of the list. He checked in with me periodically when things arrived, but I never knew if anything was late. Don't involve yourself unless the lateness is bordering on catastrophic.

3. I spent a little time in the room as it was being set up for the ceremony. I needed a little serenity before the craziness started. That, and, I was too controlling not to duck my head in and micro-manage here and there.

4. One of my 'maids was in charge of my health. She had granola bars, fruit, nuts and water handy (also my favorite candy in case I got fussy). She also made sure I ate some lunch. We went to Centraal. I barely ate anything. This one is important! Remember to eat a little something. Low in carbs, but high in protein and fiber. The chance you won't eat much dinner is high, so you want to watch your energy. Stay hydrated, but don't drink too much water....you don't want water to bog you down. I also suggest staying away from salty foods and alcohol for a few days. Stress and sodium will be hell on your system, not to mention the possible booze bloat.

5. Be sure to take some time for just you during the day. Seriously. Kick everyone out of the room, or wherever you are and just breathe. Relax. Take time to center yourself. Think about all the great places life has taken you and what that means for your future. Just positive things. You have to make some time for yourself. You may regret it if you don't.

6. Have a little time in the morning for you and Blake. Andy and I ordered room service and exchanged gifts. We just wanted to be alone for a little while. We knew we really wouldn't have that luxury later in the day. You and Blake are what the whole day is about anyway. Take some time to remember that.

7. When the reception venue is done being set up, have someone come and get you and Blake. You two should go in and see the room before the guests. It's a really great moment. Also, It's important to have a few minutes to re-acquaint yourself with the space.

My Regrets...

The cake cutting. No one saw it. We were rushed over to the table by the banquet staff and we had to do it really quickly, if we wanted to cut it for dessert. I did not like that. I don't think anyone but our photographer got a good picture of it. I would have taken more time with that for sure.

I didn't eat dinner. I was being pulled in so many directions, I lost my focus. Likewise, I had to get my makeup retouched, so I missed cocktail hour.

I forgot to toss the bouquet. That is possibly my biggest regret. I completely forgot about it and so did my day-of. Boo.

These are the three things I would have done differently.

I don't regret anything we spent our money on. Not at all. Our photographer, the linens, and the flowers were the really big ticket items (after food and booze, of course) and they were the things I really wanted to stand out. Between the three of them we spent more than $10,000. Totally worth it. The cake and my dress were the big steals. My dress was a discontinued design from the Winter '08 line and therefore half price. The cake was from Eat Cake on Vliet and she's a small business with only one part timer. Her ingredients are top of the line, most are imported and both cakes combined cost us about $800. We spent a lot of money on the venue and the food, but we knew that would be a lot. All told, we definitely tripled our original budget (something I don't let my brides do, but...meh) but everything was exactly what we wanted.

Well, that was long winded, but there you go. If you have any questions on anything or need any clarification, just let me know. I'm happy to help.

The more I thought about her questions, the more I thought it would be apropos to post them here. I think these are questions most Brides have at some point during the planning process. If you don't have a planner to help you hash some of these things out, it can be quite tricky. It has been approximately 4 months since our big day, but my answers haven't changed. In the end, no one can make decide but you and your SO. I does help, however to having a friend to listen and offer advice can help considerably.

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