This past November, my husband and I got married with 100 of our closest family and friends at a lodge in Estes Park, Colorado. Guests came from all across the U.S. to spend the weekend with me and my soon to be husband. Our wedding was really quite perfect and filled with so much more joy than what I could have imagined. Like all weddings, there were a few things things that didn’t go “as planned” so I’m writing to those couples looking to have a great wedding and not get stressed out. First piece of advice, expect for things to not go as planned so you are delightfully surprised when they do but you save yourself from disappointment when they don’t. Here’s my story…
- Be flexible and embrace surprises
One of my bridesmaids gave birth to her first child right before my wedding. She and I both wanted her to be in the wedding if possible but I also knew bringing a baby into this world is much more complicated than being a bridesmaid! So, I relieved her of her bridesmaid responsibilities and said, “even if it’s a last minute decision, please come if you can but I totally understand if you can’t.” I thought the whole time that she wasn’t going to be able to make it to the wedding. She even texted me the morning of the wedding a picture of her new baby girl with a sign that said “Good Luck!” but low and behold, about 10 minutes before we were supposed to walk down the aisle, she showed up in her bridesmaid dress all glammed up and ready to help me say “I do!” It was the best surprise ever – apparently the other bridesmaids and wedding coordinator knew all about it and gave her instructions. They even made sure to prepare a bouquet for her and get the timing of the music just right to accommodate an additional bridesmaid! I had no clue. Everything was taken care of and I was given a wonderful gift of having one of my best friends be able to slip in at the 11th hour and stand up beside me at the wedding. A huge thank you to the bridesmaids and wedding coordinator who pulled off that surprise! Note: All of my bridesmaids were simply asked to wear classy black dresses of their own choosing so it was extra easy to have a last minute addition.
2) Honor your mother and father…or whoever is representing your parental unit
For many brides, you come up with a timeline of when and where you and your bridal party will be and what their roles will be. This helps ensure everyone is on track and keeps the stress level down. However, I forgot to make a timeline for my mom! My father passed away a long time ago so my mom was playing the role of mother AND father of the bride. Additionally, she was staying in a condo a little ways away from the bridal party, hosting some family members, which made it a little difficult to keep her in the loop. She also doesn’t own a smart phone so last minute changes and text messages were not the best way to communicate.
Weddings have changed quite a bit from back when my mom got married and if I had to do it all over again, I would’ve talked through the minute-by-minute timeline with my mom and printed out a schedule for her specifically. After all, even though she is not a bridesmaid, she played a big role in the wedding and she was marrying off her baby girl. Many of my bridesmaids had gone through multiple weddings and knew a thing or two about being in a wedding. However, don’t expect your mom to be up to speed with your expectations or the flow of the day unless you clearly communicate, listen to her questions and make sure she feels comfortable in all of the roles you have asked her to play.
3) Remember to eat
For how much I love food, I can’t believe I found myself in so many situations during my wedding weekend where I was running around and had forgotten to eat and didn’t have food nearby! Luckily, my maid of honor had a granola bar in her purse to save me from becoming “hangry” and at one point in time I even called my mom while I was in the shower to see if she could run a plate of food over to my condo! It was kind of ridiculous. In the planning stages, I was too concerned about making sure everyone else had free time and dining recommendations that I totally forgot to allow time for myself. Ladies, take care of yourself and stop “hangry” before it starts! 😉
4) Pad your schedule
During the wedding weekend, many friends and family were arriving at the wedding site throughout the weekend and every time someone new arrived, I stopped whatever I was doing to welcome them and chat for a while. I’m kind of a social butterfly. However, this accidentally cut down on the time I had allowed to do other things like checking in on decorations, slowly getting ready for the rehearsal dinner or having quiet time to write my vows. Getting quality time with friends and family is important so make sure you allow time to make this happen without sacrificing other things on your to-do list.
All that being said, the most important thing is that at the end of the day, you’ll be married to the love of your life. Everything else really pales in comparison to knowing that someone amazing has chosen to walk the road of life with you through thick and thin, as long as you both shall live. What a gift!
p.s. I will also give a shameless plug for Ampersand Family – they are amazing! High quality photographers and videographers capture moments that other people don’t always see. They help you remember the special details, facial expressions, sights and sounds that continue to provide smiles and laughter many years after you’ve said “I do!”