In honor of wedding season (and my one year wedding anniversary!), I wanted to share a few moments from our special day and give a few pieces of advice for a beautiful, stress free wedding. (I promise it’s possible!) In honor of our wedding day, November 8th, 2014, here are 8 tips for your happily ever after.
Make it Special
One of the most important things I tell couples to remember is to not lose sight of the real reason for this day- to share the love you and your partner have for each other with the people you care about most. You are committing to a lifetime of adventures with your best friend, and although this day is an important milestone, it is nothing compared to the life you are planning with the person you love most, so make it special and celebrate the things you love most about your love story.
I needed to find a venue that could hold up to 300 people (we’re crazy, I know), and I wanted something that still had an intimate feel. We found the Monrovia Historical Museum and it was perfect! Most venues have partnerships (i.e. deals!) with local vendors so it is always worth it to ask. From the list we were able to get package deals for discounts on local hotels for guests as well as a special package from their local rental company, First Stop Party Rentals. We also found a high school program in Pasadena where the students work in a community garden and gain experience in floral arranging called Muir Ranch School Farm. We saved so much by not using a traditional florist, and we had the most beautiful arrangements created by artistic high school students.
Recruit your Friends and Family
Cam and I were so lucky to have our incredibly talented friends and family members share their gifts and talents for our special day. Our wedding cake was a gift from a family friend (and the most incredible cake I’ve ever tasted!!). A friend of ours came out to DJ and another friend coordinated our whole day for us. My cousin sang “Panis Angelicus” during our ceremony and her beautiful daughters (accompanied by my aunt) played violin and cello. My life long friend, Nanea Miyata, photographed our wedding and so many others shared their gifts and talents. Having people you love be a part of your day makes it that much more special, and people are always happy to help so don’t be afraid to ask.
Keep it Simple
At the end of the day, this is just one day. You don’t want to spend it being so stressed out that no one around you enjoys it. Breathe. Remember what is most important. And have fun! There are a lot of details that go into planning an event, but staying organized and not getting caught up in the small stuff will let you and your guests focus on enjoying the beauty of the day.
When you begin planning it’s important to sit down with your fiance and decide on what is most important, and what you don’t care as much about. If photography is your thing, budget more for that and ditch the designer gown… Pick 3 things that you’re willing to splurge on and save on the items that don’t mean as much. I’m Italian and my husband’s family is Persian and Mexican, so the food was definitely a priority for us. Our families had food catered from Porto’s Bakery, Old Spaghetti Factory and Ava’s Mediterranean and it was incredible. I also found sales on wine for the tables which gave us more to spend on extras like lighting for the venue and a photobooth. It’s all about the balance!
One of the biggest frustrations of planning a wedding is having to buy so many items that can only be used for one day. A great resource I found is the Ruffled Blog. They have a section where you can buy/sell recycled items from your day. I also recommend borrowing items from friends and family. They will mean more, and you can save money on things you wouldn’t keep anyway. One of my favorite things about my wedding was wearing my mom’s dress. It was such a special touch and made the day even more meaningful.
DIY v. Buy
I LOVE diy projects. I have an addiction to pinterest and I secretly binge watch HGTV, but let’s be real- there are some things that seem like a great idea in the moment that can become disastrous in reality. (Just google pinterest fails and you’ll know what I’m talking about). The good news is, there are websites like etsy where you can buy items that someone potentially more crafty than you have already created (like the beautiful dresses my bridesmaid’s wore!), and for everything else- there’s Michaels. I had a great time making the table numbers, quotes, and decor for our wedding, but these things can creep up on you if you don’t budget time well and can also add up quickly, so make sure to get out those Hobby Lobby coupons, and leave the bigger projects to the experts.
Enjoy your Day
Eventually you will wake up and it will be the morning of your wedding. Get your Starbucks and seize the day! And remember to take moments to pause. Be present. Breathe. The quirky things that happen throughout the day are what you will remember and smile about for the rest of your life, so don’t forget to enjoy it. And when it’s over, you will be starting first day of the rest of your lives, which is what it’s all about.