It’s been 140 days since our very first Mrs. Monday! This week we get to feature yet another bride who shares her experiences and insights from planning her wedding day. Wedding planning can be fun, stressful, chaotic, easy, smooth, bumpy…pick an adjective! What I love reading is that week after week, our brides share that all of the above (1) happens, (2) it’s okay, and (3) you still get be married at the end of it all! This week meet Beth! Happy reading.
We had originally selected October 11, 2012 (10/11/12), and that date fell on a Thursday. While completely acceptable to us (helllloooo lower facility rental rates!), our families put up a stink about it and hey, we kinda wanted them to come, so we caved and moved the date to Saturday, October 13, 2012.
How did you and your husband meet?
Bryan and I met at church. I had just started attending around Summer of 2008 and he showed up a few months later, though I had started dating someone around the Fall of 2008 and he was healing from a divorce, so he kept his distance.
I was a budding audio/visual techie, and he got himself a spot on the praise team. It didn’t take long for my latest dating venture to come to an end and Bryan didn’t feel the need to keep his distance any longer. We both attended church on Sundays and Wednesdays – where we had plenty of time to talk before and after the services. I was about to ask him out when he finally beat me to it and asked me. We went on our first date (it was a walk around a local lake) in June 2009.
Length of engagement?
We were engaged four days shy of a year.
Favorite part of planning?
I LOVE planning events (I think I’m an event/party planning in my other life) so the idea of planning my own wedding totally appealed to me.
I left my fiance out of it pretty much entirely (he wasn’t into planning so he was okay with that) – except for the “important” details like cake flavors, what he would wear, what his groomsmen would wear, vows, etc.
My favorite part of planning was figuring out all of the little ways I/we could make the wedding show who we were.
Hardest part of planning?
My hardest part of planning was what should NOT have been the hardest part. One of my struggles in life is being a people-pleaser so I wanted everyone to be on board and happy with what I was choosing in the planning stages. To achieve such a lofty goal just wasn’t feasible and I made it harder on myself by trying to please everyone.
We chose Circle D Farm in Woodbine, Maryland. We chose it because it was very budget friendly and pretty much right in between both families so one “side” wouldn’t have to travel too much further than the other. Additionally, we could do both the ceremony and reception in the same location, which we were all over!
Our church organist served as our “keyboard player” for the ceremony. I honestly don’t even remember what I selected as our music for the walk down and then up the aisle. I’m pretty sure my processional song was Canon in D, but I think I left the recessional song up to the musician and it was beautiful – whatever it was!
Our “theme” verse was Ecclesiastes 4:12 – “Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”
We loved the power of this verse – how as long as we keep God as our Center, our cord will not be easily broken. In fact, we incorporated the braiding of a cord of three strands (one purple = Groom; one white = bride; one gold = God).
Click here for more information on where I ordered the cord and ceremony idea.
The ceremony went so quickly and was almost a blur, but I am pretty sure our Pastor also read and talked about Ephesians 5:22-33.
Same as the ceremony venue.
We both LOVE the fall season even though now it makes us sneeze rather profusely, so our wedding had a fall theme as well. Our theme was carried out from the colors (reds, oranges, yellows, golds, browns), to the decor (leaves, pumpkins, etc).
We stuck with fall colors – reds, oranges, yellows, browns, golds.
For the ceremony, we had large pots of mums at the beginning of the aisle, somewhere in the middle of the aisle, and on the altar. We were sans flowers for the reception.
My mom, in her DIY style, made my bouquet as well as my bridesmaids’. She wrapped tapestry-like fabric into rose-style shapes and blended them with artificial leaves and artistically cut lacey napkins to create a gorgeous (and non-perishable!) bridal bouquet. I LOVE it! It is currently a part of our dining room decor. She made mini versions for my bridesmaids.
Wedding party size?
I had chosen 5 ladies to stand with me but only 4 could be there that day. This number includes my mom who was my Matron of Honor.
My husband had chosen four of his boys to stand with him, but only 3 could be a part of the day – his Father and one of his good friends were groomsmen, his third choice was officiating!
Overall size of wedding?
I would consider the wedding to be on the small side, but relatively speaking, I guess you could consider it medium/small – it depends on your parameters. We had invited roughly 80 or so and about 60 came.
First dance song?
Neither of us are huge dancers and being an introvert, I didn’t want anyone staring at us for longer than they needed to – the ceremony was enough for me! In addition to that, we couldn’t agree on a first dance song so we decided it wasn’t that important to us and passed!
A song came on that my Dad loved (I’m pretty sure it was “Butterfly Kisses”) and grabbed me for a dance. Nothing formally announced though.
This dance wasn’t “official” either. I can’t remember what song it was, but I looked over and saw Bryan and his mom dancing.
What did you DIY?
I did the favor cards myself (what got tagged onto the homemade soaps that a friend made for the wedding). What was really fun was designing the activity place mats (like the ones kids get at restaurants).
Every guest got one and it gave them something to do while waiting for their food and chance to talk to the newlyweds. They had a crossword, a word find, drawing space, tips for the bride and groom, etc. We kept them and I run across them from time to time when I go on my cleaning sprees and it is nice to read through them. Those are the two items that are coming to mind.
What was a fun & personal touch you added to your day?
I actually really enjoyed the way I was walked down the aisle. My mom was my matron of honor, so I wanted both my dad and my brother to walk me, but I came up with an additional idea.
Since I didn’t particularly enjoy the idea of “giving me away” (in my opinion, I was almost 30 (a week shy), I was pretty much giving myself away!), I had my groom meet me, my dad, and my brother under the archway at the beginning of the aisle. My dad and brother walked me from another spot to the beginning of the aisle.
This was much more meaningful to us as we had made this decision to get married together so we walked up to the aisle together.
Any fun stories from planning?
I remember Mom and I having fun picking out details for the reception like table covers, decor, etc. Picking out the cake flavors was also fun.
Favorite part of your wedding day?
It really was a blur, an enjoyable one though! I think my favorite part was seeing a pair of birds fly over right during our vows! I know it seems like a small thing, but I’m all for God’s signs. That and eating our ice-cream wedding cake!
Any resources you loved to use?
Of course, I turned to Pinterest for inspiration as well as Etsy. The venue was helpful as well in providing some decor options I had not thought of. I also went to various “frugal bride” websites to see if I could pick up some tips.
Any ways you were able to save money?
- Having the ceremony and reception at the same place that had in-house catering I feel saved us some money. They had everything we needed there – even table and chair covers.
- Additionally, a lot of weddings left various decor items there and the venue offers those to use (things like vases, mirrors, baskets, archways, etc).
- Not having a professional DJ or photographer saved us money as well though we sacrificed the quality of entertainment and post wedding photo memories.
- My dress was on sale at David’s Bridal and I knew I didn’t want to go over $300 and I didn’t! I also sold my dress a few months after the wedding (I saw no reason to lug it around for 25-30 years or more).
- We sent out E-vites instead of paper invitations. I am rather eco-conscious and didn’t want to send something out that would just end up being thrown out. While there was a fee involved, I got a 6-month membership and that allowed me to track RSVPs as well as send out ‘thank you’s’.
- We bought the mums from a local nursery and didn’t bother with flowers for the reception – again, being eco-conscious, the idea of getting all of these beautiful flowers only to have them thrown out after the wedding bothered me.
- A friend of mine made the soaps for the favors. She did get paid for them but being a friend, she cut me a break on the price.
What advice would you share with a bride-to-be?
Don’t try to please EVERYONE because you can’t! This is your (well, you and your soon-to-be-hubby’s) day. Guests will find a way to get there if they can. If they can’t, it is okay! That is why there are cameras! If they don’t like other details of the wedding, well, that is okay too!
Even though there were a few good shots, I regret not getting a professional photographer to document the day. I thought I could get by with a friend of mine who owed me a favor (I shot his wedding for him) and a few people with nice cameras.
Don’t get me wrong, a wedding is NOT about the photos, but it would have been nice to have some professional ones. So, if you can afford it, spring for a professional photographer or at least tell your semi-pro photographer friend what shots you would specifically like him/her to get.
I also regret not getting an actual DJ – again a favor from a friend. I had this (slightly elaborate) plan to play “walk-up songs” as our bridal party entered the reception. He said he could do this, but didn’t succeed and I was disappointed. So, either go easy on your friend and just have him/her play a specific playlist (with prioritized songs) or hire a professional if you can afford it.
TAKE IN EVERY MOMENT. It seriously goes by so amazingly fast. One minute we were saying our “I do’s” at 6:30pm and the next, it was time for us to leave!
EAT…this is important. You will be doing a lot of meeting and talking but make sure you eat so you have energy! Also, drink lots of water in between that champagne!
Don’t be Pinterest obsessed! You will stress yourself out more than you need to. Definitely seek some ideas on there, there are A LOT of good ones, but it can get overwhelming very quickly. Pick a few reasonable DIYs you can feasibly do and that are important to you.
If you and your spouse have quite a nice build-up of stuff from your independent lives (kitchen appliances, furniture, etc), consider registering your honeymoon or portions of it, or asking for giftcards. Some members of our families grumbled a little when they found out we hadn’t registered at a “tangible” store, but its okay, they forgave us.
Anything else you would like to share?
Please, please, please, realize that you are planning for a LIFE together, not just a wedding. Don’t spend your life’s savings on this one day. Make it special, yes, but don’t go (further) into debt your first year of marriage because of the wedding cost. If you have been living apart from your spouse for your lives before ‘I do’, the first year will involve a lot of adjustments – it’s easier when you aren’t fighting about finances (as much).
Beth’s photographer information:
No professional photographers were harmed in the making of this wedding. 🙂