Weekends are for weddings! If you’re like me, with 9 weddings each year, the weekends are, quite literally, for weddings (attending them, that is). Also if you’re like me, the weekend is a time to think about planning your own wedding. Lots of people carve out a certain time each week for wedding planning (Wedding Wednesday seems to be very popular). It ensures the wedding doesn’t take over their whole lives; however, I find that confining wedding planning to a specific time is too pressure-filled and bicker-prone. I planned my wedding when inspiration strikes. Weekends, in particular, offer the time to let my mind roam and plan my own wedding in a stress-free environment. In this series, I’ll take you through some of my major planning steps – hopefully this will help you plan your own wedding!
I wasn’t one of those girls who planned her own wedding before getting engaged. I didn’t really want to assume anything and it felt like thinking about it would be approaching jinx territory. Sure, I would think about weddings in general and plan other people’s in my mind…but not so much my own. Having been to about ten million weddings, I had a nice long list of things I liked and didn’t like. So figuring out my wedding should have been a breeze – and it was. But the thing is, that nice long list was exactly that: a jumble of things I knew I did and didn’t like. It wasn’t a cohesive vision, and there were plenty of things I liked that didn’t necessarily go together.
Also, much of what I mentally noted about these weddings were overarching themes – not specific details. For instance, I knew that I hated it when a wedding started late because the bride assumed you’re supposed to be fashionably late. Well that just made for antsy guests, a shortened cocktail hour, and a ring bearer who got too fussy to walk down the aisle because he was now up way past nap time. Noticing things like that are great because it helped me figure out the tone of my wedding. But what I hadn’t thought of were the details for my personal wedding, like flowers or invitations. All of a sudden I was so overwhelmed by the the thousands of options.
The solution: stop trying to plan the individual things and figure out the general vibe/theme of the wedding. From there, everything will fall into place.
I talked with my beau and we decided we didn’t want anything too stuffy. We’ve been to so many weddings – many in ballrooms – and we’re more casual as a couple. Think: gastropubs instead of clubs. We realized we wanted to incorporate outdoor elements without having a fully outdoor wedding (too risky weather-wise). And then, like I said, everything fell into place.
HOT TIP #1: The first question you need to ask yourself is “how formal do we want this to be?” It’s amazing how many things fall into place once you decide on the formality of the wedding. Dress length, suit color, centerpieces, even cake design are all influenced by how formal the vibe is.
The vibe meant Albert was feelin groomsmen in suits, not tuxes, and I let my bridesmaids pick their own dresses. As I started looking at flowers online, I realized traditional bunches of flowers felt stodgy. What I loved was tons of lush greenery (plus, green is my favorite color) so the majority of our florals were actually greens like eucalyptus, succulents, and brunia. We wanted everything to feel very natural and organic (but not bohemian because no one would ever describe us as hippies!) – a romantic botanical motif began to emerge.
Having a motif narrowed down the invitation options. All of a sudden, we could go straight to the section of botanical invites. All the decor could fall under the romantic botanical style, as well. That meant strung lights, farm tables, garlands, etc.
HOT TIP #2: I can be a pretty Type A person but for my own wedding I didn’t want to stress about the minutiae. Instead, I spent time choosing the vendors and assumed if the vendor was good, they would do a good job. I reviewed their portfolios and pow-wowed with my wedding planner to make sure whoever we chose could execute this bright, romantic botanical vibe. From there, I just trusted them. Once I knew I was happy with our florist, for instance, I gave some broad strokes (lots of greenery, as little pink as possible, light on the roses) and then just let her go to town. I didn’t really know what I was going to walk into on the day of, but I trusted her – and it was PERFECT. The below photos are a perfect example. I had mentioned to our florist that I liked garlands, maybe an arch, but then forgot about it. I was floored by the cascading arch at the ballroom entrance that epitomized romantic botanical. Same goes for other vendors. Pick a photographer whose style you like, give him one or two shots you know you want him to capture (in our case, the breaking of the glass), and then just let him do his thing. If you trust the vendors, don’t micromanage.
We incorporated vintage and whimsical elements as well. I’m a big reader and much of our relationship has consisted of me dragging Albert to bookstores so I wanted to incorporate some literary pieces throughout the weekend. I didn’t want it to feel like a literary THEME since that could easily go the way of cheesy, so we just had hints here and there. We tucked stacks vintage books and candles throughout the reception, had literary (vs. religious) readings at the ceremony, and had confetti holders made from book pages after the ceremony. We also went literary at the rehearsal dinner, as you’ll see in a later post. We tried not to make it too in-your-face while still keeping it unique to us as a couple.
When planning a wedding, I highly suggest taking a moment to just breathe. What is the overall vibe you’re looking for? Once you’ve figured that out, you can zero in on specifics instead of diving aimlessly into the black hole that is Pinterest.