As Joe and I approach our 3 month wedding anniversary, I am still in complete awe of what was the most incredible weekend of our lives. After almost a year of planning, it lived up to every expectation we had and more. I am so eternally grateful to both of our families for making it possible, our friends who left it all on the dance floor, and the team that put it all together. Most importantly, I am grateful that I found my person at the ripe age of 16 who I proclaimed I was going to marry. For the last 11 years, Joe has been my support system, my best friend, my number one cheerleader, my source of laughter, and the person who continuously challenges me. I cannot wait to see what the remaining chapters of our story are filled with as we continue to grow together.
Reflecting on our wedding, I think back to the many pieces of advice I was given and either took note of or totally disregarded. I understand that once you announce you are a bride-to-be, everyone unloads their advice and opinions on you. Simultaneously, I realize I am doing just that. But, you’re actively choosing to read this post so that makes it better, right!? Either way, these are the tips I either knew beforehand that helped me have the best wedding experience possible, or ones I wish I had known prior. Follow them, ignore them, laugh at them, you do whatever you want – its your day, you’re the bride!
My Top Ten Tips for the Bride
- The bride sets the tone. You decide how the night is going to go. Sure, this is a wedding for two people, and your partner is just as important, but the bride is the real star of the show (we’re all thinking it, I’m just saying it. Love you, Joe). With that, you set the tone of the night. If you are stressed and worried about something, the guests will feel those emotions and therefore feel the same way too. If you decide that, no matter what, you are going to have fun, your wedding will be the party that everyone compares future weddings to. Before my wedding, a friend gave me this piece of advice with the perfect example: the AC of her venue broke the weekend of her wedding and it was an insanely hot 90 degree summer day. The venue was hot, there was no getting around it. People were in nice dresses and suits and were sweating without even moving. She could have been hell bent about the fact that it was too hot in the room and avoided the dance floor for fear of sweating off her makeup (a path I believe a lot of brides would have unfortunately taken) and therefore found herself with a pretty empty dance floor. OR, she could have (and did, because she freaking rules) realized that is doesn’t matter at all, the party relies on her decision, and danced her heart out. Was everyone sweaty and a mess by the end of the party? You bet ya. But did everyone have the time of their life and not really give a damn? Ding ding ding. You are responsible for setting the tone, so make sure it is a fun one!
- Take the time to step back with your partner and really take it all in. Everyone tells you “it goes by in a flash, enjoy it!” and they mean it. First thing you’re walking down the aisle and the next thing you know the band is announcing that it’s the last song of the night. There is so much to fit in in such a small amount of time, and you’ll feel like you are constantly grasping for more moments or memories. Make a conscious effort to find your partner, step back, and really acknowledge all that is going on around you. Discuss this ahead of time and really stick to that plan of finding special times within all parts of the process to have a few minutes. Joe and I talked about this before the weekend and, since I married Mr. Literal, he stuck to the plan to make sure every hour or so we were doing just that. It sounds cliché, but I am so incredibly grateful for these special moments.
- There will be mess ups and mistakes and not everything will be perfect. You are the only person that will notice. Turns out, it doesn’t matter. I get it; you spend an insanely long time planning an event that is most of the time just 5 hours of your life. It is insane when you really think about it. So much goes into this process that it pains you to think “what if something goes wrong?” Unfortunately, most of the time, something will go wrong. One flower arrangement won’t match the other, someone’s table assignment will be incorrect, or the band will miss the cue for your entrance. No matter the mistake, it is not the end of the world. The funny thing is, you are probably the only one who notices. Everyone else is too focused on the thing that is the real star of the wedding: the love you share with your partner. Plus, they weren’t involved in the planning, so they actually have no idea if everything goes according to what you always imagined!
- You cannot control the weather. Accept that fact right now. Have a back-up plan, make a decision, and move on. Do not kill yourself persistently checking the weather. I don’t care how close you are with the man upstairs, you can’t control the outcome. Obviously I wished for a beautifully warm yet crisp fall weekend that allowed our guests to play sports all day and swim in the lake on our venue location, but deep down I knew it was going to rain. Hell, it has rained on just about every important day of my life. So, we had a backup plan and I announced that there would be no weather checking or discussing leading up to the wedding. Only was it to be mentioned when it was really time to make the decision regarding a tent for the ceremony. Sure, it poured the day before our field day, but it actually made it all that much better; do you know how much more fun it is to play kickball when the grass is wet and everyone is sliding all over the place? And you guessed it, it was cold and rainy the day of our wedding, but I never once let it get to me because I believed it would either clear up, or people would deal with it and enjoy the 15 minute ceremony outdoors – umbrellas were invented for a reason after all! Turns out the cold weather forced me to wear a fur jacket that became one of the favorite parts of our wedding photographs, something I would have never included in my look otherwise. And, fortunately for us, and because I believe good things happen to people who don’t stress over them, the rain cleared just in time for the big shebang.
- Weddings bring up a lot of different emotions for people and make them act certain ways. Unfortunately, they are not all great. Accept that this is the case, brush it off, and move on. Obviously we would like to all imagine this doesn’t happen, but weddings sometimes cause others more pain than happiness. These people may be your close friends, wedding guests, family, people who are upset they were not included, or just acquaintances who are watching from afar. Some not so nice things may be said or done, either to you or behind your back. Don’t let it get to you or ruin your day. Weddings are affecting in many ways and emotions are high. Focus on those that are there to support and celebrate your love – because there are a whole lot of them. Move on, enjoy your day, and, if need be, address it after the fact.
- Try not to lose your partner in the madness of it all. I can’t imagine what being a celebrity is like, but if being the bride at a wedding is the closest glimpse I’ll ever have, it’s overwhelming as hell. As the star of the show, everyone wants a few minutes with you and/or your partner. The second you separate, it is tough to find each other and reconnect. Each person there will want to hug you both, share their love, grab a photo (to which I constantly responded, “find me on the dance floor”), and recap the night thus far. You obviously want to spend this time with your guests, but sharing this night with your partner is the most important. Make an effort to speak to all of your guests, but try not to leave each other’s side. Sounds insane, but trust me, it is hard to find him or her once you separate.
- Be grateful and gracious. There is a lot of hard work done by a lot of people that goes into planning a wedding. Whether you have a planner or florist or band or DJ or people serving your meals or whoever, be grateful. Thank them. Say please. Just because you are the bride does not mean you get to be rude. They are spending time of their own lives to help you and without them this day may not be possible.
- Eat the god damn food. I am always shocked by how many brides I overhear saying, “I heard the food was good but I wouldn’t know, I never tried it!”. I recently proclaimed that my favorite meal of the year was the dinner served at our wedding reception. Sitting at our wedding table with our bridesmaids and groomsmen, looking out our gorgeous wedding decor, and having everyone we love under one roof. It truly felt like a dream. Plus, the food in and of itself was to die for. If your wedding has a sit-down dinner, take the time to enjoy it. I’m not saying you have to sit there for the entire meal. Yes you can get up and go mingle with all the tables, but eating a meal can sometimes take only 15 minutes. Enjoy it! Plus, you definitely don’t want to be partying all night on an empty stomach. And, if avoiding this meal is for the sake of looking good in your dress, shut that voice up real fast.
- Know your tolerance and have a conversation with yourself, and/or your partner, about your plan for alcohol consumption for the night. I was someone who knew I wanted to drink during the wedding and get that perfect happy/medium tipsy, but would be devastated if I got too drunk and forgot parts of the night the next day. Knowing that, I stuck to the tools I knew that worked for me: staying with limited types of alcohol (tequila throughout the night and then beer), made sure I was constantly drinking water in-between, and was so focused on dancing that I honestly never had a full drink in my hand. I absolutely let loose and enjoyed myself, but I am so glad that I woke up remembering all the important details.
- Have fun. You will never get this night back. This is the one time in your life where everyone you love is in the same place and they are all there for you. It’s truly crazy to think about; don’t take it for granted. Worry less about what your up-do looks like, and more about enjoying the time with your friends and family. Spend time on the dance floor. Scream your favorite song at the top of your lungs. Let your hair down. Be the last person to leave the after party. You will crave more and more of these moments when you are reflecting on the wedding once it is over, so eat them all up.
The wedding of our dreams was all thanks to the following incredible, hard-working, kind, and downright amazing team.
Venue: Cedar Lakes Estate (we love you Stephanie, Lisa, and the entire team)
Wedding planner: Amanda Savory
Design & Flowers: Julie at Rye Workshop
Videographer: Cloudless Films
Stylist: Julie Sabatino
Band: 45 Riots
Rehearsal Jumpsuit: Jay Godfrey
Wedding Dress: Romona Keveza
Rehearsal & Wedding shoes: Gianvito Rossi
Wedding jewelry: necklace by Stephanie Gottlieb, earnings & bracelet rentals
Wedding fur jacket: Saks Fifth Avenue
Wedding after party dress: custom made
Wedding sneakers: Axel Arigato
Wedding jean jacket: Topshop and then embroidered in NYC
Joe’s tux: Hiltons
Bridesmaids dresses: Katie May from Bella Bridesmaids
Bridesmaids pajamas: Etsy
Groomsmen tuxes: The Black Tux