Time truly flies from the moment you are given a ring to put on your finger to the moment you say I do. Time also flies after you get married. How Parker and I have been married for two years blows my mind. It does not seem like it has been two whole years since we got to enjoy the best day of our lives with all of our family and friends! We frequently say we wish we could spend every April 25th with our beloved family and friends. Dad, you down to throw us an anniversary party every year? It can be a joint party to celebrate your birthday the 26th too. Sounds like the BEST plan to me!
1. Enjoy each moment. Time truly flies!
This is such a joyful stage of life. You are going to get stressed at times with all of the billions of decisions you have to make, but be sure to remember that you are ENGAGED to the man you will get to spend the rest of your life with, so there is no reason to be anything but happy! The days of planning may seem long, but the time goes by fast!
On the day of the wedding, it seemed to me that the getting ready part of the day went by slowly. This could be because I was writing a Final paper for one of my Masters classes. However, once I began walking down the aisle, it seemed like the night flew by in the blink of an eye. Our reception seemed to last 20 minutes max. We were SO excited about heading to St. Lucia for our Honeymoon. However, our reception did not last long enough. Live up every single second (as you can tell we tried to do in pictures 4 & 5)!
2. Make sure you are making choices that bring YOU happiness.
This one sounds so obvious. However, there will be so many people who will try to help you make decisions because they love you and want to be helpful. However, all of the different opinions can become overwhelming.
Choosing a dress is one of these choices I'm talking about. Where EVERYONE seems to have their own opinion that they want to express. One of the best pieces of advice I was given was to not tell many people what my dress looked like (thanks Prissy!). The first time I went dress shopping, I was in Birmingham with my mother-in-law, sister-in-law, and two nieces. I wish all brides had the opportunity to experience wedding dress shopping with a group this amazing. They only said the most positive, kind things about every single dress I tried on. They truly made it a fun experience. However, I know that is not always the case. Like I said, your family members and friends want the best for you, so they feel the need to help you make this decision. If you show everyone the pictures, you're going to hear so many different opinions that will influence your decision. You might hear oh no, you shouldn't go with a strapless gown or yikes, a tiered wedding dress? These opinions from people you care about will make an already difficult decision even more challenging.
I ended up finding my dress in Mobile with my mom and sister. The lady who was helping us took the one picture I posted below. I did not share this picture or tell anyone else about my dress until the day of our wedding. I did not even let my mom or sister have a copy of this picture. This was not to be cutesy or silly. This was because after shopping in Birmingham, I made the mistake of showing pictures of my 4 favorite dresses to others, and then I was given way more opinions than I knew what to do with. Once I started fresh in Mobile with my mom and sister, I chose what I wanted and what I knew would bring me happiness on the biggest day of my life, and I was ecstatic about my decision. By keeping this decision to a very small number of people, I was able to feel pure joy about choosing this beautiful white dress that I will cherish forever!
That was a long example that can apply to a lot of other areas. Whatever the case may be, make sure you are making decisions that bring you happiness!
Other smaller tips:
- Hire a wedding planner. If you don't have it in the budget for a wedding planner to do everything, hire one for the day of the wedding. This will take SO much pressure off you and your family when the day of the wedding arrives. If you are in the Mobile area, check out Blair Bullen Gewin (blairevents on Instagram). I cannot say enough wonderful things about her! I made it especially difficult because I refused to change my vision of an outdoor reception to an indoor reception until the terrible weather was here and we had no choice. She handled it like a champ and was amazing! She also made me feel like we were best friends and hand fed me bites of food while I was getting my hair and makeup touched up between the ceremony and wedding. #winning
- Have a rain plan. Let's just say from personal experience, this is an important one.
- Put thought into the gifts you give all of your hostesses and bridesmaids.
- If you have pets or hobbies or something else that you adore, weave it into your special day. Parker and I love our dogs way too much, so I surprised him and worked with his mom and a local pastry shop to create a groom's cake with Bailey and Rosie on it. We loved it!
- Be very explicit with your photographer about what shots you want taken.
- Buy your important dresses early on. If you wait too long, you might not find anything you absolutely love. I got my dresses for my bridesmaids' luncheon and rehearsal within a month or two of getting engaged. I had always loved them, and when they went on sale at the end of the summer, I scooped them right up for 75% off and could not have been more excited to wear them when my wedding weekend arrived!
- Write thank you notes as you receive gifts. DO NOT WAIT FOR THEM TO BUILD UP. This is one thing I did stay on top of, and it was very worth it.
- Before your wedding day, organize envelopes with money and tips for each person you need to pay on the day of your wedding.
- Plan special personal gifts for your immediate family and groom for the day of the wedding.
- Make the time to try the food you have chosen for your special day!
- If you have a super talented friend who can sing and who is fabulous at singing in front of people, ask him or her to sing a song at your reception. I asked one of my Huntsville roommates (I'm obviously talking about YOU Mary Catherine!) to sing at our reception, and this was one of the highlights of our night. She sang Halo by Beyonce, and my only wish was that I could have gotten her to sing more songs because her performance was so outstanding. I mean, check out the photos below. My younger cousins were fan-girling like crazy (right along with everyone else)!
- Choose a makeup/ hair stylist whom you love. This is one of the most special occasions of your life! There will be lots and lots of pictures taken. You clearly want to look your very best! Jason Chambers did so much more for us than just hair and makeup, and he was worth every penny.
- Walk around and check out all of the details of your reception.
- You will have lots of people coming up to talk to you. You are the bride! Make it a point to find your most special loved ones and give them a hug.
- Have a conversation with your fiance about the garter toss. He may not know exactly what he is supposed to do. He may dance into the middle of the room after everyone has been waiting for him and get a look like this (see 9th picture below), due to his questionable dance moves. However, as astounded as you may be, it may be an honest mistake because he truly does not know what he is supposed to do (yes, even at the age of 32). Take it from me, have this conversation with your fiance and make sure he understands exactly what this event is supposed to look like.
- Pack for your honeymoon before the day of your wedding.
- Sing with the band! Dance! Have the most fabulous night of your life! You deserve it after all of the work you have put into this day!