My husband and I are celebrating our second wedding anniversary this weekend, which naturally has gotten me thinking about weddings and specifically my own wedding. I absolutely loved my wedding and honestly, every bride/groom should love their own wedding. It's a celebration tailored to you and your significant other with all of your nearest and dearest gathered to help you celebrate this special time in your life.
At a high level, my husband and I got married in the mountains of North Carolina two years ago. I had grown up going to the mountains every summer since I was a few weeks old, so it has always been a very special place to me. I had always envisioned having an elegant rustic chic wedding that was not too big in size, but rather intimate, detail oriented and would leave all of my guests with memories of a special and fun weekend. It ended up being a perfect wedding filled with an outpouring of love from everyone and a day that I will always remember.
Having had some time to reflect on the whole wedding experience, I can tell you that there were some valuable pieces of information I picked up along the way that really helped me to get the most out of the entire wedding experience. Below I have compiled a list of my best pieces of advice that I hope anyone with a wedding in their future will read and take into consideration when it comes time to plan their own wedding.
Having a destination wedding definitely presented an additional series of challenges when it came to planning. I only had a set number of times where I was able to travel to North Carolina during the planning process, so not only did I need to make sure I maximized my time while I was there, but I also had to get creative with how to stay productive throughout the duration of the planning process while away from the venue. One planning vehicle that I found to be extremely helpful was Pinterest. Especially when working with my florist and consulting with my hair and makeup stylist. I would simply pin all of my flower and hair ideas to my Rustic Chic Pinterest Board and both my florist and stylist could easily access my ideas. Pinterest is a free tool that allows you to gather and organize all of your ideas and images into a collected space. It was a total lifesaver for me and something I highly recommend considering for your own planning purposes.
Thank You Notes
Handwritten thank you notes are a non-negotiable for me. I personally believe that if someone has taken the time and spent the money on a gift for you, you need to thank them properly, with a heartfelt written note and in a timely manner. From the moment I began the planning process, I immediately ordered personalized stationery for thank you notes. Every place we registered offered a thank you note tracking tool, which supplied the name of the gift giver, address, gift item and date of purchase. I would check the lists almost daily and as soon as I would see a new gift purchased, I would write the thank you note and put it in the mail. By the actual day of our wedding I only had a handful of notes to write. The thank you note process became infinitely easier primarily because I kept up with them from the start. The last thing you want is to have a million thank you notes hanging over your head after you get married. Get them done ASAP!
My Favorite Wedding Planning Tools
In addition to Pinterest, there were a few other planning/organization tools that I found to be extremely helpful during the wedding planning process.
- Martha Stewart Keepsake Wedding Planner- This binder came with dividers for all of the different wedding categories, pocket protectors for vendor business cards and even a zipped pouch for special keepsakes like the heirloom handkerchief my my mom gave me at my bridal shower to have attached to my bouquet on the day of my wedding (something old). This planner is inexpensive and a great repository for storing all wedding related documents that you can't file online.
- Wedding Planning Websites- The Knot and Wedding Wire were both great tools for not only locating vendors in the area, but they both provided great wedding prep checklists that served as comprehensive guides and checklists for the to-dos that needed to be accomplished in preparation for the big day. My one word of caution here is- don't treat these checklists like everything listed is an absolute essential must-do item. They are comprehensive almost to a fault in that regard because not every item is necessary. Treat the lists as helpful guides, but don't feel bound to them.
The 2-Day Rule
My favorite piece of advice, came from my mom on the Thursday before my wedding. She told me that day that we have done all we can do to prepare and now it was time to enjoy. She then followed it up by telling me that she would be really disappointed in me if I didn't enjoy my own wedding. She was so wise to say that because honestly it's really easy to get caught up in the details and miss the big picture. The truth is that there will be things that go wrong or not according to plan on your wedding day. It happens to everyone and there is no way to plan for it other than to mentally prepare yourself for the inevitable and be OK with it.
I am so beyond grateful for her words of wisdom that day. Because of her, I was able to look past the little mishaps and focus on my marriage to my husband and all of the close friends and family who had traveled long distances to help us celebrate this major milestone.
While there was plenty of planning, work and stress along the way it was all totally worth it because marrying my husband was the best day of my life. Having gone through the process, I can say that these are my definitely my best tips, but I have plenty of helpful hints, advice and lessons learned that I plan on sharing with you all in the future. If you have any specific wedding questions not covered in today's post or would like to hear more about a particular topic, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo Credit for this Post- Jonathan Burton Photography