Our first anniversary is quickly approaching which, of course, has me feeling nostalgic — but it also feels like the right time to reflect on what I would have done differently at our wedding. I’ve shared almost every bit of knowledge I have about wedding planning over the course of the past year and I love giving out advice to anyone and everyone who’s engaged, but, often, I’ve found the most helpful words of wisdom are those about what I would have done differently.
WHAT I WOULD HAVE DONE DIFFERENTLY AT OUR WEDDING
For the most part, our wedding went off smoothly and without a hitch. It was gorgeous and everything came together just as I’d hoped (y’all, it’s going to be published in a magazine in February, which I can’t wait to share in just a couple months!). It was the perfect day spent with our closest friends and family. However, as with all events that require many moving parts, yes, there were things I would have done differently.
So, listen up, because hopefully, these can save another bride a few headaches:
- Hire a Day-Of Coordinator: A few weeks before our wedding, the day-of coordinator at The Farmhouse at Veritas quit. The week after our wedding, the new one started (funny enough, the new one is a friend of a blogger friend — I’ve heard she’s fabulous!). We had the option of hiring a staff member from Veritas or bringing in our own coordinator. It was about the same price either way, but I decided to go with the in-house staff, hoping they would know the lay of the land and make it happen. Well, he was great in most ways. Everything was set up beautifully and went off without a hitch. However, I think an actual day-of coordinator would have been a bit more aware of some of the ins and outs of weddings — as in, don’t ask the bride questions regarding missing glassware while she’s getting her hair done. And, move guests from point A to point B so the bride and groom don’t end up doing it. It wasn’t a huge deal, but it did add extra headaches and a professional coordinator would have made the difference.
- Have Hair and Makeup Trial Photos on Hand: You can read all about the disaster that was my hair and makeup in this post, but, the bottom line is, if I’d had my hair and makeup trials readily on hand, this could have been avoided. I didn’t have my phone most of the day and, because I got ready alone, there was no one else to try to dig the photos up. My makeup was so awful that I redid it, but my hair could maybe have been salvaged had I had the photos and been able to show exactly what was off with my bun/chignon.
- Write Checks for Vendors Ahead of Time: You know what’s a pain? Writing checks while you’re in your wedding gown and trying to get to your first look. Just have those ready ahead of time and hand them off to someone (again, a reason to have a day-of coordinator!).
- Splurge on the Dress You Really Want: I did love my dress — and you can’t beat paying only $1,100 for a $5,000+ dress. However, every time I see someone in a dress that resembles what I’d really wanted, I feel a pang of regret that I didn’t just cough up an extra $1,000 for my dream dress (of course, now it’s on a used dress site!). It’s a drop in the bucket over the course of a lifetime and those memories and photos last forever.
- Host a Larger Day After Brunch: Because we stayed at a bed and breakfast, we did have brunch the next day with my family and Adam’s family that didn’t have an early flight back to TX (no surprise, the Texas-Charlottesville flight options are somewhat limited…though more reasonable than you’d expect cost-wise!). However, in retrospect, I should have seen what it would cost to host the entire wedding for brunch and considered keeping the party going for just a few more hours.
- Stay an Extra Night After the Wedding: I’m currently trying to plan a trip back to the Farmhouse at Veritas as a belated anniversary gift to ourselves, but I wish we’d stayed an extra night after the wedding! It was a bit anti-climatic and a little hectic to pack up the morning after, and it would have been lovely to spend a leisurely day enjoying brunch at the Farmhouse, walking up to the vineyard for a tasting, and slowly making our way back to DC from Charlottesville two days later. We did have reasons to get back (we got married on Sunday, headed back to DC on Monday, had our official marriage ceremony with the Rabbi on Tuesday, and left for our honeymoon on Wednesday), but it would have been nice to slow done and take it all in for a bit.
If you’ve been married, is there anything you would add to this list from your own experience? And, if you’re engaged to be married, definitely let me know if any of these help you as you plan!