Marriage Monday: Wedding Day Lessons Learned

I don't know if it's just me or if there are other people who do this, but I often look back on our wedding day and think, "Man! I wish I had done this differently.  If only someone would have warned me!"  Not many things, but enough to compile a decent mental list over the last year and a half.  If I ever can, I really love to share any knowledge (most of it is relatively insignificant) with others so when they make their own decisions, maybe they won't make the mistake I did.  Sharing and talking... it kinda what I do most.

So for those of you who have yet to tie the knot, here are some of the lessons I learned either from my own wedding, lessons learned from weddings I've attended, as well as the lessons I've learned from other weddings I've been a part of.  {Some of these lessons were learned by mistakes that were made and other lessons learned were realizing we made the right choices!}
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#1.  "The more the merrier!" might sound fine and dandy beforehand, but when it comes down to it your wedding day is about YOU and your HUBBY (or wife) joining in marriage - that is intimate and if you're anything like me, you will wish you had trimmed the guest list!  The same goes for your wedding party - don't ask someone to be in your wedding that you can't picture being a part of your life forever.  It is an important day that you will both look back on for the rest of your lives, you can stand to be choosey in regards to wedding guests.  You don't want to look through your wedding pictures or watch your wedding video and have to play the trivia game "Name that bitch" every twenty seconds. {"How I Met Your Mother" reference for all you Mother fans!}  You want to be able to look out at the group of people at your wedding and feel loved and supported by people you know and LOVE, not strangers.  TRUST ME.

 

#2.  LESS is MORE.  This means:  go easy on the makeup {you want to look like YOURSELF... and go easy on the tanning}, only bring with you what is necessary throughout the day {less to keep up with}... it will give you so much less to worry about and MORE time to do things that actually matter!  TRUST ME.


#3.  Try to keep the plans for your big day as SIMPLE as possible.  This gives you a chance to relax and savor the beauty of this important day.  You don't want to be running around the morning of the wedding putting together table pieces because the idiots those in charge at the reception hall made an oversight so you couldn't set up the night before your wedding, so MAKE SURE that doesn't happen to you!  TRUST ME.

#4.  Give yourself PLENTY of time between the ceremony and the reception for pictures.  Sure, some people would appreciate if you had them right after the other, but you know what?  IT'S NOT THEIR SPECIAL DAY, it's yours.  And you will be very upset if you don't give yourself enough time to take the pictures you'd like to have.  Not only that, but running around and feeling rushed in between the ceremony and the reception is not the most fun!  TRUST ME.

[insert pictures-we-didn't-have-time-to-take here]

#5.  When they say DRINK AND BE MERRY - they mean drink a few.  Like two.  And then be done!  Do.  NOT.  Get.  Drunk.  On.  Your.  Wedding.  Night.  That is one night that you will want to be coherent and not a sloppy puking mess all night.  The same goes for your hubby/wife.  You don't want to spend the first night as husband and wife as a babysitter.  TRUST ME!
 
#6.  When things go a bit awry - because they WILL - remember again that the thing that matters above all else is the fact that you are marrying the person of your dreams.  The rest is just fluff!  You start your period unexpectedly the morning of your wedding?  Your flowers show up and they are all wrong?  You didn't get all the pictures taken that you would have liked?  Your cake fell apart before being cut?  There aren't enough chairs set out at the reception?  Ask yourself:  what can I really do to change what has just happened?  If there is something that can be done to fix those issues, you will find that the people who love you will probably have taken care of those issues before you even know they happened!  If not?  Give it some time and it will probably be a funny story a year from now!  TRUST ME.


#7.  Make sure you choose reputable people for things like photography, video, food/wedding cake, and the music for your reception.  You will be so happy you did!  There will be some areas you will want to scale back and save money - but I implore you, make sure you trust the people who are serving you in those areas (unless those aren't important things for you).  People will remember the quality of your hired help throughout the day!  And aside from the amazing memories you make from your wedding day (which may fade over time), if you had a great photographer and/or videographer, you will be able to cherish little and big pieces of that day for a long time thereafter.  No one is going to remember something like the table cloths you used - feel free to scale back in that area, but trust me, you will all remember something like rude or unprofessional personnel throughout your special day!  You don't want something or someone that is supposed to add to the awesomeness of your wedding day to end up taking away some of that awesomeness.  TRUST ME.

See our table clothes?  Definitely saved a ton of money by using disposable table clothes versus expensive linen table clothes.  We bought black & red plastic table clothes - you can find them for $1 at the Dollar Tree!  Oh, and they make clean up VERY easy!
#8.  Make a pact with your soon-to-be spouse to stick together throughout the reception.  Might sound silly, but you will get separated frequently and very easily.  There are so many people you will want to celebrate with, but the #1 person will be your hubby (or wife)... TRUST ME.

#9.  You might find that you won't be very hungry or that maybe you don't want to waste any time sitting down to eat... but at least take a bite of the food you serve at your wedding AND taste your cake!  If nothing else, have someone who isn't busy make you two a to-go box to enjoy later in the evening.  You will regret it a smidge if you miss out on it.  TRUST ME.

#10.  MAKE THE TIME TO DANCE AT YOUR RECEPTION!  One of my absolute FAVORITE things was that Tony and I really tore up the dance floor with our friends and family throughout the night.  It was seriously the icing on the cake for us!  (I realize for some of you in order to follow this rule you will feel tempted to break rule #5 and have more than two drinks, but just know that YOU are the guest of honor - no one is judging you for your dance moves!  You have that "I just got married!" magic... use that to whip up some dance moves!)  So, when you get the choice to sit it out or dance... dance the night away!  TRUST ME.


#11.  Make sure to personalize pieces of your wedding day.  It could be choreographing a special entrance dance into the reception with your wedding party, or it could be pulling a prank on your best man and maid of honor... but setting your special day apart in a unique way will not only be awesome for you & your husband, but it will likely be memorable for all those attending your wedding!  We still have people (occasionally) who talk about pranking our best man/maid of honor by shoving the cake in THEIR face.  Hilarious, and totally worth it.  TRUST ME.


 #12.  Whatever you do, don't fake it!  You will probably feel a variety of emotions throughout the day - ranging from weepy to elated - don't stop yourself from feeling or showing them!!!  One of my regrets from our wedding day is trying to put on some kind of "professional" face while we were on the alter.  I was feeling so nervous and so excited and instead of just allowing myself to experience those emotions, I tried to fake a more "put together" face.  Well, it ended up looking really stupid in pictures and video, especially during our vows!  It's daunting to let yourself be vulnerable in front of many spying eyes, but why fake it?  If you've followed my advice from #1 then you will be surrounded by only your best friends and family who love you for who you really are, so please, don't fake it.  TRUST ME.
 
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Overall, when I think back to the day I married the man of my dreams, I smile.  I laugh at the things that went a little wacky and I can't help but feel overjoyed at the things that went just absolutely, perfectly right.  Like most of you already know, the important part of that day wasn't the amount of alcohol we did or did not consume and it wasn't about the preparations for the big day, the most special moments happened without any amount of planning.  Hearing those vows from Tony and returning them to him - no matter what stupid face I was doing - made everything else seem insignificant.  Because truly, that's what the day was all about for me.


What would you add to this list?  Did any of the things I included happen to you on your special day as well?  If you could do a few things differently, would you? 

Comments

  1. I will keep these things in mind for sure!

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    1. I can't believe you've got ONE WEEK left! AHHHH! :)

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  2. I'm nowhere near getting married any time soon, but this list is really good! I'm saving it (for when I'll need it later ;) ), and am forwarding this to friends who will get married later this year! Thank you!

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    1. Thanks a bunch for stopping by, Vivienne! :) I hope when it comes time for your wedding day that you won't have ANYTHING to wish you had done differently! xo

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  3. I agree with everything you posted!! Although, I can't comment on #5 because I didn't drink at all. lol. But it sounds like a good rule to me!

    I do have one thing to add. When it comes to your honeymoon, don't feel like it MUST be somewhere expensive, exotic, etc. We went to Charleston, SC and had a BLAST. We loved it! We had a regular room, and Chris didn't plan anything for our trip except the dates we were there and a haunted tour of the city one night. On our way there (we drove!) we got some tourist info and books and spent the last couple of hours picking out some things we wanted to do. It was so much fun and we still talk about it.

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    1. Good for you for not drinking at all! That was totally my plan but then people were buying shots and I just couldn't refuse ;)

      And your honeymoon sounds amazing - and totally agree your honeymoon is wherever YOU make it!!! My sister & her hubby went to either North or South Carolina much like you did - the road tripped and stopped along the way and had a blast!!! I'd love to do that someday :)

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  4. I absolutely love this Ali!! Thanks for posting this :)

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    1. So glad you liked it, Erica!!! :)

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  5. What a great post! Really wish I could go back and tell myself all of these tips before I got married too. I'd SOOO cute down on the number of people there.... and the makeup. :)

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    1. Man. I wish all the time that I could go back and warn myself :) Have a blessed day! :)

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  6. Hey Ali!
    I saw you were going to link with us for Mommy & Baby Blog Hop, but couldn't find the link button. Katie is fixing it on her site, but if you want to link with us, the link button is available on my site. everydayelsey.blogspot.com. Cute blog :)

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