On September 28, 2019, I married the love of my life. I planned the wedding myself and I learned a lot a long the way. A friend had asked for my wedding tips, so I’m sharing the tips from the email that I wrote to her. I hope these 25 tips help you! But first…the video and photos!
The Wedding Details:
Post Ceremony Photos:
Rehearsal & Dinner:
My 25 Wedding Tips
The Wedding Vision – Choosing the aesthetic you want to achieve is so important for picking all of your wedding details, like the gown, venue, florals, bridesmaid dresses etc. I wanted my wedding to be formal, have an enchanted garden feel, with pinks and jewel tones, geometric and clear acrylic details. I used Instagram and Pinterest to collect all of my inspiration. I took all of my inspo photos and made a PowerPoint presentation to make sure all of my colors went well together, and to check how my signs would look when they were placed. I also used it to see how all the bridesmaids dresses would look together, and how my outfit, makeup and hair would look all together. I would recommend doing this because it’s fun and it really helps you pick and remember all the details. Here are a few examples:
Save the Dates, Invitations, and Place Cards – I used Minted for our magnet save the dates and Basic Invite for the invitations, place cards and thank you cards because it was more affordable and the quality was great. Most people will throw these away, so it’s really not where you want to spend a lot of money.
Guest List – If you’re having trouble deciding if someone should be invited, I would ask yourselves, would this person coming contribute to my happiness? If the answer is no, then don’t invite them.
Wedding Dress Shopping – Take your time when you’re picking a dress. Take lots of pictures and videos to see how it moves on your body. See how it feels while you’re sitting down. Don’t let the sales people pressure you into making a decision if you’re not ready. Take a few days to think it over, look at the pictures and go back when you’re ready.
Meet Your Vendors – This is so important! Make sure you and the people you select make you feel comfortable and are easy to be around.
- Bridesmaid Dresses – A few brands with great options are Amsale, BHLDN, Jenny Yoo and Katie May. I picked Amsale because it offered so many of styles in lots of different colors. All of my bridesmaids are so unique and have different styles, and I liked the idea of everyone getting to select a dress that they felt most comfortable in. I picked the color and narrowed it down to about six styles and they all chose one of the six. https://brideside.com/ is an amazing resource for finding bridesmaid dresses!
Tuxes – If you are doing suits or tuxes, we used the Black Tux for rentals and we were really pleased with the service! https://theblacktux.com/
Flowers – If you have a florist, be very specific about the kinds of flowers that you want and the colors. Send them your inspiration pictures. (Or if you’re like me you can make a PowerPoint presentation with all the inspiration pictures and send it to them). Let them know if you want the flowers to be long stem. If you’re doing any sort of arrangement on an arch or arbor, ask them the dimensions of the flower display they are doing so you make sure what they bring lines up with your expectation what is needed to fit the space.
Signage – If you like to craft, making your own signs is a way that you can save money and keep all the font consistent. I bought the Cricut rather than buying signs on Etsy because I didn’t want to have mismatched fonts for all of the signs. I chose two fonts from dafont.com, downloaded them and used them to print the adhesive vinyl for all the signs! I built a lot of my signs with copper piping from Home Depot. They are SUPER easy to cut and put together with the connector pieces. Lowe’s sells clear acrylic and they will cut it into custom sizes for free.
Makeup/Hair – Do lots of research, look and pictures and read reviews. (That really goes for all the vendors). Do a trial for hair and makeup. If it doesn’t turn out the way you want it to, don’t be afraid to try another makeup artist. Take lots of pictures and a video. If you decide as the wedding get closer that you want another makeup or hairstyle, have your person do it again so you know they can give you the exact look you want to achieve. On the day, be very specific about what you liked about the makeup and hair, and show pictures from the trial if they didn’t bring it with them. Start your makeup as early as possible!
Day of Coordinator – Our venue came with a day of coordinator which was essential. You need someone to be the point person and to make sure everything is going along according to schedule. That day you’ll want to try and relax and not worry about the time. (In my case I was so stressed I couldn’t focus on the time). If you don’t have a coordinator, assign someone as your point person. They will be the one answering any questions and helping setup and arrange everything to match your vision. You will not want people asking you a million questions that day.
Photographer – The engagement shoot is like a trial run for the wedding. I would 100% recommend you do engagement photos to make sure you like the style of the photographer’s work, that you get along with them, that they give you the direction you need to get good photos, and that they are reliable. I ended up not using the photographer for my engagement shoot for my wedding. I LOVED the style of her photos, she gave us great direction, but I didn’t feel like she was reliable. It was really difficult to not use her because her style of photography was stunning, but I couldn’t risk her not showing up on my wedding day. I didn’t get a trial run with the second photographer I hired, but I did meet her in person and could quickly tell she was reliable and sweet. Bring your save the date, wedding invitation and any other cute wedding things for your photographer to take detail shots of. I gave my photographer 10 must have inspiration shots for the wedding, which I sent in an email so she could pull it up during the wedding and make sure she got them. I also emailed her the list of family photos we wanted with names.
Photos by Friends – Your professional photos will take some time to get to you, so ask a friend who is good at taking photos to document EVERYTHING. The setup, getting ready, the venue, the flowers, etc.
Videographer – I am SO glad we hired a videographer. The day goes by so quickly and the photos are amazing, but the video really brings me back to the moment. Before selecting someone, watch all of their videos and make sure you like the angles, lighting, flow and music.
Coordinating with the Bridal Party – Make sure you are specific and clear with your emails or text messages. People will appreciate knowing what the plan is and what you need from them. I made everyone in the wedding party a spreadsheet of times, events and locations so that they wouldn’t get lost. I also listed out everything they needed to bring..shoes, dresses, suits, jewelry, robes etc.
Day of Emergency Kit – Make sure to bring Advil, Pepto, deodorant, band aids, eye drops, a sewing kit, bandaids, tampons, and a sticky bra.
Music – Make a day of getting ready playlist is fun! Bring a speaker for music if your bridal suite doesn’t have one. For our processional we used Somewhere Over the Rainbow for our parents, Count on Me for our bridal party, and Can’t Help Falling in Love for me.
First Look – We did a first look so that we could get some of the photos out of the way and have more time to enjoy the party. I loved having that intimate moment for just the two of us.
Speeches – Limiting the amount of speeches helps move things along, and prevents the party from feeling stale. We limited the speeches to our best man, maid of honor and both our moms. We didn’t want them to go on for too long, so we suggested about 5 minutes for each.
First Dance – Dance lessons are a great idea! We took dance lessons for a few months before to do a choreographed dance. Neither of us are good dancers, so it helped us feel more comfortable to have the lessons and know exactly what we were going to do up there. It also gave us one night a week to spend some quality time together.
Vows – If you plan on writing your own, practice them out loud. Make sure you are comfortable with the words because when you get up there it can be overwhelming to have everyone’s eyes on you. Breathe and take your time.
Look Out to the Crowd – After you walk down the aisle and get to your fiance, take a few seconds to look out at the crowd and breathe in the moment. All those people are there because they love you and want to celebrate your love. Make sure you see them.
Delegate – You are just one person and won’t be able to do everything yourself. Don’t be afraid to delegate some of the work. Your friends and family love you and will want to help you. Try not to let yourself become overwhelmed, ask for help!
- Stay True to Yourselves – When you start wedding planning, it will feel like everyone wants to give you advice and some people will tell you how they think things should be at your wedding. It can be overwhelming, especially when it’s coming from a friend or family member that you love and respect. Do what is right for you and your fiance. Do what makes the two of you most happy. It is a celebration of your love after all!
Things Go Wrong – Some things may go wrong, and it’s okay! For me it was a a few things. The forecast was rain (IN TEMECULA! WHAT ARE THE CHANCES)…so I bought a bunch of umbrellas just in case. It didn’t end up raining during the ceremony, but I felt WAY better that I was prepared. I forgot to grab my bouquet from my maid of honor and we walked back down the aisle after our first kiss. My hair and makeup took so long that I was an hour behind to get to my first look and didn’t get robe pictures. And although I gave a seating chart with the position for each name, none of my tables had people in the correct order. I still loved everything about my wedding. I have a hard time letting go of control, but I knew I had to if I wanted to enjoy it day. Prepare as much as you can for the day in advance and when the day comes, let the small things go and enjoy it!!!
Here all are the details with links! 🙂
Venue: Patio of the Black Bird Tavern
Dinner Dress: Goldie from BHLDN
Shoes: Vinyl Sandals from Zara
Ceremony & Reception Location: Ponte Winery
Photographer: Cait & Co Photo
Videographer: Allison Karlyn Films
Floral: Nancy Lobo Designs
Makeup & Hair: Bridal Artist Agency
DJ: Jeremy from DJ Pro’s
Dessert: Nothing Bunt Cake
I made all of the signs with my Cricut Explorer Air 2
Custom Cut Acrylic: Lowes
Copper Piping: Home Depot
Table Names: Hexagons
Neon Sign: Love Struck
Teddy Napkins: For Your Party
Robe: Showstopper Cover Up from BHLDN
Gown: Eve of Milady Dress Style 1593
Hair Piece: Etsy, Rosy Rose Studio
Earrings: Twigs & Honey
The Black Tux: Peak Lapel
Earrings: Olive & Piper – Porter, Valentina, Leah
Robes: Plum Pretty Sugar
The Black Tux – Notched Tux
Tux: Oliva’s Doggy Design – Etsy