It's been two months since I tied the knot with my sweet husband, Chris (and I'm not just saying "sweet" because I married him - he really has such a gentle heart and I'm realizing this more every day.) I can honestly say not a day goes by where I don't miss our wedding and wish we could do it all over again. I've even tried dreaming up reasons to hold a similar occasion again - I could hire a DJ and event planner and put on the most amazing Christmas party, right? And send out fancy invitations and beg my long-distance family to come back to Nashville so soon? Probably not...
But that's okay. It truly was, in every way, a once in a lifetime event. Never again will Chris and I have the blessing of all those friends and family in the same place together. I can only describe what that was like as unmatched, pure joy. If you are newly engaged and reading this, just think, you have THAT to look forward to! :)
Right after the wedding, I kept saying I wouldn't change a thing. I've been lucky to shoot enough weddings for other brides that I knew exactly what I wanted and didn't want at my own. But now that I'm two months removed from the happiest day of my life, as all brides do, I do have a couple tiny regrets. This seems to be a popular topic that brides-to-be research, so, here's what I might do differently if I could do it all over again:
Choose the guests before the venue.
Okay, I know this is a rookie mistake. I fell in love with a beautiful, charming resort in the woods before... well, even before I was engaged. And then when Chris proposed there, I just had to get married there. We paid a deposit before I consulted with my mom about a guest list. Turns out, we had a much longer list than I anticipated which meant not all of our guests would fit in the same room at this venue. Which leads me to...
Consider booking a venue where all the guests can sit in the same room.
I've shot a fair amount of weddings in very cool event centers where the guests are spread out throughout the venue, sometimes even in different rooms. It allows you to choose a more unique space to host your wedding reception. I never thought this could be a problem, until I created my own seating chart. I had to split up my guests in three different areas: the main hall (80 seats), a separate dining room (30 seats), and an outdoor porch (25 seats). Obviously we wanted our family in the main hall with us, and in our case, that used nearly all 80 seats. And even though the people sitting out on the porch or in the other dining room said they had a wonderful time, I regret not being able to have everyone together. Some of my friends in another room ended up missing the speeches because the loudspeaker wasn't working in their dining room, so they didn't hear the DJ announce it.
Ask the videographer to capture the wedding party's entrance to the reception.
I know what you're thinking: you're a videographer! You didn't think of this before? All I can say is I've learned so much from going through my own wedding. Sure, I'd shot the reception entrance for other brides. But I was really lax with my videographers since they were my own friends, and I wanted to make sure they weren't in "work mode" at every moment. I told them to just enjoy the cocktail hour and the first thing to shoot at the reception was the first dance. Well, I'm really bummed now that I don't have the reception entrance on video. The maid of honor and the best man pulled a last-minute outfit switch. He put her dress on and she wore his tux. It was by far the most hilarious moment of the night... and it only exists in my memory.
Don't be the last to eat.
We had what I thought was a brilliant plan to greet all of our guests. We'd thank them for coming as they lined up in the buffet line. Someone fixed our plates ahead of opening the buffet to ensure we'd have meals waiting for us at the head table, but (of course!) when we sat down, the food was cold. The food was totally amazing anyway, but, it would have been nice to try the risotto hot.
Thoroughly go over the seating chart with the venue.
I am Miss Organized. I thought I had made an exceptionally clear seating chart (which I poured over for hours in the months leading up to the wedding), complete with a visual floor plan and matching notes, with all of the names listed alphabetically, and how many seats were to be at each table number. However, two of the table numbers somehow got switched which meant there were too many seats at one table and not enough at another. This led to an embarrassing situation when one of our guests thought he was to be seated at a table without enough seats for him. Embarrassing for him, and for the guests seated at that table who couldn't exactly give up a chair.
Keep the dance floor open late!
I read somewhere that you only want dancing to last between 2 - 3 hours, because you want the party to end with a full dance floor. That way people would walk away saying, wow, I could've danced all night! What a fun wedding! However, my friends and I really did think we could have danced quite a bit longer. No one was ready for the dancing to be over. Here was my timeline:
- 8:15PM Cake cutting
- 8:35PM First dance
- 8:40PM Mother/Son dance
- 8:45PM Dance floor opens
- 9:00PM Anniversary dance
- 11:25PM Last dance
When you take away the dances designated for the first, mother/son, and anniversary, that leaves 2 and 1/2 hours of open dance floor. This totally flew by, and if I had to do it again I would have opted to keep it open an extra 30 minutes, until midnight.
Of course, these "regrets" don't overshadow the total awesome-ness of the day. Chris and I were so thrilled with how our wedding turned out, and family members have commented on how easy the day flowed without any stress. Check back soon for a future blog on my tips on how to have a stress-free wedding!