Things I'm glad I did at my Wedding

things i'm glad I did at my wedding,  wedding tips, dallas wedding, the castle at rockwall, heidi lockhart somes photography, dfw wedding vendors, marriage, wedding ideas

I feel like everyone is literally chomping at the bit for me to start my post wedding blogs features. (or so it seems!)  Welllll here we go - don't hate me by the end of the series; there is a lot of ground to cover! I was trying to think of what wedding topic to start with (I literally have a whole list from vendors to vows to discuss!) and thought that  my overview would be best! I know there are a lot things to choose from these days in regard to weddings - there's really not a "normal" wedding. You do you! (that's honestly my number 1 thing...the bride and groom reign supreme. I'm NOT saying be rude to everyone; however, it is YOUR day and you only get one. I cannot stand when others take over/let feelings enter in a day that isn't theirs)  

 

Here's a list of things I'm glad I did at my wedding, as well as a couple of things I didn't like.

1) First Look. I never thought I wanted to do this, but am so glad I did. I'll say it wasn't by choice, though. We got married in October, so it got dark around 6pm. We were married on a Friday, so we couldn't start the wedding until 7 (If you start a wedding before 7 on a Friday, it is going to be really hard for people to get there due to traffic and work hours.) If we wanted photos of us, we had to do a first look. Not mad about it. They were super special moments I will treasure forever.

2) Rest Day. Like I said, we got married on a Friday - we didn't leave for our honeymoon until Sunday. This was partially because the only flight where we could get to Saint Lucia was at 5 am  (any day) and partially because we had heard it was smart to catch up on sleep and relax. #worthit 

3) Same Dress.  I wore my wedding dress the entire I night. It is fairly common to have people change for their reception and even their getaway. I toyed with the idea of changing clothes, but ended up deciding against it. I think what made me officially decide was that I wanted my exit photos to have my dress in them - I'm so glad they do! Side note - less dresses also mean less of a cost;)

4) On Film.  I actually wrote a whole post on why we hired a videographer here. This was something we originally decided against for budget reasons, but we were convinced to do it and are SO glad. It sums up the entire day in 5 minutes and is one of my favorite videos EVER. We can't wait to watch it on our anniversary each year!

5) Personal Vows. Nick really wanted to do personal vows at our ceremony, but I didn't want to. The compromise was doing personal vows at our first look, which be both LOVED. Nick was so glad that is when we did them, because it made it that much more meaningful and set the tone for the evening. I will do a blog post on how to do these later!

6) Choreographed Dance. The Tuesday before our wedding, Nick decided he wanted to choreograph our first dance. I looked at him and was like..."I've been asking you to practice for forever!!" I was never worried about our dance, because Nick is a great leader, but I was like seriously?! hah. It was around 10pm when he said that, too! We went down to the basement and I choreographed it. We practiced it a couple times the next day and then didn't do it  until the day of! Our song was Frank Sinatra's Fly me to the Moon, so it as super fun. A lot of people told us this was their favorite part. I'm so glad Nick said he wanted to make it fun. 

7) Last Dance. At the end of the wedding, before we left for the evening, Nick and I shared a last dance. We just had our DJ, photographers, and videographer present, so it was very intimate. Our wedding just flew by (as most people say), so this was a great time to just be together and reflect on the wonderful evening. Our song was Brad Paisley's Today and anytime I hear it, no matter my mood, I instantly smile.  

8) Late Snack. This was another one of those things that almost didn't make the cut/budget. Unfortunately, I don't think there was a picture taken, but we had Chik-fil-a Chik-n-minis and they had a sign that said "mini thank!". We gave these out to our guests, while they were waiting for us to do our last dance. Side note- they were placed next to our favors. They actually put a container of these in our car, which we ate on the way to the hotel!

9) One Location. Our venue was the Castle at Rockwall and it is an all-in-one location. I love that our guests didn't have to drive somewhere else.

10) Wedding Traditions. A lot of people don't incorporate wedding traditions like cake cutting, bouquet toss, garter throw, etc anymore. We did most of them and I thought it was fun. As a little girl, I always looked forward to those type of things! Any wedding I went to as a child I would bring home cake and put it under my pillow when I slept and "dream of who I would marry";)

11) Traditional Tuxedos. We were SO close to having Nick wear a burgundy tux jacket, but decided against it in months leading up to the wedding. I was open to it, but am glad that we went with the classic look. I don't want to look back at my wedding pictures and think "oh gosh why did I do that?" because it was too trendy.

12) Aisle Walking. I had 8 bridesmaids and 3 house party girls. Both had coordinate dress and both walked the aisle. You don't really see house party walk down the aisle, but I wanted mine to, because they were super important to me. I don't like the labels and separations of the two roles, but it is what it is. Though the house party didn't stand at the front with me, I still wanted to make them feel special.

13) Research / Negotiate. Do your research and ask the right questions! Our venue came with SO much (chiavari chairs, chargers, etc), on top of being so beautiful! Also, don't be afraid to negotiate with vendors. Weddings are expensive and you need to make the most of your money. The worst they can do is say no!  

14) On Site. We got the space around 11 am on the day of the wedding, so we were able to get ready there. My hair and make-up team did everyone's onsite, which is just the way to do it. Things often run late, traffic happens, and you just don't need the added stress. If the bridal room is big enough and you are able to, be sure to get ready at your venue. You can thank me later;) Also, I asked that if girls didn't participate in hair and make-up, that they come with 95% of it done, so that it lessened the possible mess and clean up time, after the wedding.

15) Food Buffet. We went back and forth on this. We loved the idea of stations, which you can actually save money on, because you can get away with less food. My mom really wanted to have a seated dinner, but I didn't care. People say buffets take a long time, but seated dinners don't actually take less time, as you have to have servers and such...which is what makes seated dinners cost more. You have to have so many servers. We also didn't run out of food, which was one of our concerns. I will write a post on my food vendor, but they were amazing and we didn't run out of food, just like they promised! Not to mention that we got so many compliments on the food. Side note - do passed appetizers though, not staged at a table. Will talk more about that on a blog post to come.

16) Assigned Tables. We only assigned tables, not seats. I don't like it when weddings don't have assignments, because there's always an odd number or something and some groups don't get to set together, not to mention that if you get up, you can lose your seat! Seating charts might be a pain, but they are worth it. We also did a table assignment for our rehearsal dinner.

17) Girl Time. About a month before the wedding, I started getting really anxious, not about marrying Nick, but about the day. People would be like "so how are you doing?!" in nonchalant settings and that would just set me off. I didn't want people asking a billion questions to me the day of and I didn't want people coming back and forth. I have been in weddings where literally everyone and their mom comes in before the wedding and not only does it create an anxious environment, but it ruined the surprise of what they looked like. My mom was helping the day of so, even she wasn't really in there, except for an hour to do her hair and make-up. I wanted it to just be my mom and my girls, make up- artists, videographers, and photographers in the room. That included keeping out immediate family members and some of my mom's best friends who are like second mothers to me, but they understood. I came out and said hi to people that morning when we arrived at the venue and was able to spend time with them before getting ready, which still made it special and showed my appreciation. 

18) Guest Book. We had the normal guest sign-in, but also had a non-traditional guest book! We had a magnum bottle of wine that we drank and people signed the bottle in sharpie and also put a note or marriage tip in the bottle. We will read them all for our first wedding anniversary! There are lots of cool things people do for this - I've seen anything from jenga to cornhole game pieces. Find something that is you and make it work!

 

Here's a list of things I didn't really like and would have probably done differently if I had a do over.

1) Wedding Time. Like I mentioned above, our wedding started at 7pm. I SO wish that we could have started earlier, because I felt like we ran out of time. This also means that I would of had to do move it to a Saturday, instead of a Friday. I don't mind Friday weddings at all, but would have liked to have more time.

2) More Photos. This kind of goes with time. We got so many good photos, but simply ran out of time to take extended family pictures and such. At the end of the day, it doesn't matter, but I would have loved to just get a couple more shots.

3) Manage Expectations. So. As much as I say it is the bride's day (and groom's!), some people forget that or just feel like it should be their day as well. It is true that people are a part of the couple's special day, but it is not anyone else's day. Unless you are being a complete brat, you should never have to apologize on your wedding day. Do I have to say it again? It is YOUR day. Make sure that you make everything clear so there are not miscommunications or hurt feelings, even though there shouldn't be. Not doing this can ruin your getting ready time and actual daytime portion. 

4) Confirm Uber. Our venue was in Rockwall, TX. People took Uber out there, but didn't realize that they wouldn't be able to catch an Uber back and had to call a cab. Just make sure your guests know!

5) Flipped Room. We loved our venue, but it would have been nice not to have to flip the room from ceremony to reception. They did an awesome job and it only took 20 minutes. Heck, it took us longer to bustle my train! It just would have been nice to have it ready and good to go, from the beginning. Our venue actually has the ability to do that, but with our size, we couldn't.

6) Split Guests. Also due to our size, some of our guests had to sit in a different room. It was open connected, and you could hear, but it wasn't the same as being in the same big room.

7) Wedding Coordinator. I'm super organized and didn't really need one, but I kind of wish I had one for the day of. The venue provided us one for the day of, but she was more for venue type of things and making sure they stayed on time. When the late night snack arrived, the Chik-fil-a lady literally asked me where put the Chik-n-minis. I helped her find my mom/a place to put them, but the bride should never be bothered with tasks like that at the wedding...not in a "high and mighty" way, but just in a "it's your day" and just have fun kind of way!

 

SIDE NOTES.

1) Comfort. I was so worried about stepping on my dress and tripping during our first dance, so at the very last minute, I took off my shoes, so I could feel the ground. I didn't put my shoes back on until we left;) On that note of comfort, we stopped by our apartment and left my dress and Nick's tux, so my parents could come and get them / we didn't have to bring them to the hotel.

2) You. Make the wedding you!! We had a heavy wine theme in decor and such and also had a heavy Greek theme, as Nick is Greek. We didn't do a traditional Greek wedding, but we did have elements like Baklava (our favorite), Koufeta, and Greek dancing. Our table settings were wine bottles (cut down on flower costs too!) and we used a wine barrel as a table for our Lord's Supper table. (don't forget that you need something to put the Lord's Supper on if you are doing that). We now use the Wine Barrel as a nightstand in our bedroom!

3) Music. I hate canned music at wedding ceremonies. We had my friend play the harp for our ceremony and  my aunt sang. It was sentimental, yet professional. We would have loved to have a live band, but that didn't make budget. I actually know people who have both bands and DJs. If you need a DJ in the DFW area, check out Arbutus Entertainment. They are awesome!

4) Exit. I love sparklers, but wanted to do something different, because everyonnnnne does them. We did olive leaves, because it is a Greek symbol, went with my greenery theme, and was compostable. 

 

If you want to see my top 3 things I would have done differently in wedding planning, check it out here.

 

 

Here are all of my vendors and information:

Dress: Blue Willow by Anne Barge, Nordstrom

Hair and Makeup: Grand Slam Glam

Eyelash Extensions: Amazing Lash Garland

Flowers: Lizzie Bee's Flower Shoppe

Jewelry: Elsa Peretti Diamonds by the Yard Necklace and Bracelet, Vintage Diamond Earrings

Nails: Bellacures

Engagement Ring and Wedding Bands: Fuller's Jewelry

Shoes: Tory Burch Holiday 2015 Satin Burgundy Pumps

Photography: Heidi Lockhart Somes

Tuxedos: Menguin

Food: Culinary Art Catering

Wedding Venue: The Castle at Rockwall

Videography: Bow Tie Media

Rehearsal Dinner: Eddie V's

Snapchat Filter: Wedding Wire

Invitations and Save the Dates: Minted

Vow Books: Etsy (similar here too)

Wine Glasses and Platter: A Finer Impression

Cakes: Annie's Culinary Creations (she doesn't refrigerate her cakes!)

Bridesmaid and House Party Dresses: Brideside

Did you do something that you LOVED about your wedding day? Do you have a suggestion that I didn't mention? Let me know! I still have friends and family's weddings that I can influence:) I hope this helped you! I had fun writing it. Thank you so much for reading!

Like what you read? Click here to subscribe and receive every post in your inbox!