If you missed part one of my wedding planning lessons learned, not to worry, click here to go back and check it out! It’s also got a link to our wedding highlights video 🙂
Let’s just pickup right where we left off and get into some of the day of planning details!
Organizing Family Photos
One thing that I did right was make a list of all the family photos I wanted taken. I put a lot of thought into it before hand to make sure I wouldn’t have any regrets that I missed a shot after the fact. The thing that I should have done was put a family member in charge of this list to make sure that each shot was taken and checked off the list.
Instead, I had my planner in charge of this list, someone who didn’t know who anyone of our family members were. That was my mistake. Get someone who knows the people on that list to be in charge so they know who they are looking for.
I also took group family photos. One with each of our extended families individually, and one large group shot with both sides of our extended families. This is my favorite picture from our wedding. All the people we love in one photo. If you were on the fence about taking a picture like this, do it. You will treasure it.
Who to Include in Family Photos
The next hard decision about family photos is who should be included. For example, both of our sisters were dating people at the time of our wedding, but were not yet engaged. My sister and her boyfriend were dating for almost 10 years (and are now engaged), Kyle’s sister and her boyfriend had been dating 2 years (and are now married). There were other family members who were also bringing people they were dating, both short and long term relationships.
Kyle and I decided if you weren’t married, your significant other wasn’t going to be in the family photos. We felt like making this decision was best in an attempt not to hurt any feelings. We didn’t want to tell one person their significant other could be in the photos but no to someone else as if we felt their relationship was less important or serious than the other.
When you start to pick and choose who you want to include and who you don’t, that’s when you can hurt a lot of feelings. But by making a blanket statement, we hoped that everyone would be understanding.
And while someone’s significant other may not have been included in the formal family photos, that doesn’t mean you can’t grab a picture with them at the reception!
At the end of the day, it is up to you and your fiancé to decide what is best for you and who you want included in the wedding photos you’ll have forever.
Wedding Speeches – Give a Time Limit
Another thing I failed to do was provide those who were giving speeches at our wedding a suggested length of time that we would like for their speeches to be. This is important because you are paying your band or DJ for a certain number of hours. If the speeches run over, this can eat up time that you are paying your band for.
Both Kyle’s Best Man and my Maid of Honor had awesome speeches that made us laugh, made us cry… but before I knew it, their combine speeches took up like 17 minutes. Oops!
But can you blame them? I didn’t tell them how long we were expecting speeches to last, so how were they supposed to know!
Make sure to tell whoever plans to give a speech at your wedding (father of the bride, mother of the groom, WHOEVER) how long you expect their speech to take so that you can keep the night on schedule.
Wedding Party Gifts
Don’t give out items personalized with the name/initials/monogram of the bride and groom to your wedding party. As cute of an idea as you think it is now, your wedding party will never use it. Instead, get them something that they will use to show your appreciation for them taking the time (and let’s face it, spending the money) to be part of your wedding.
If you feel strongly that your bridesmaids wear a specific type of earring for example, why not purchase a pair for them, and give it to them as a gift rather than asking them to purchase it on their own.
I tried to think of something it give my bridesmaids something that I loved myself. I was gifted a monogramed jewelry box years ago from Pottery Barn that I love. So I gave each bridesmaid a personalize jewelry box with earrings inside for them to wear for the wedding. I also gave each of them a floral robe that I wanted them to wear for the getting ready pictures. I didn’t get them a robe that said something like “Bride Tribe” on it because I wanted it to be something they would be able to use again.
The two questions I tried to answer when picking out gifts for both the bridesmaids and the groomsmen were:
1. Will they like it?
2. Would they use or wear this/could they use it again after the wedding
I have a lot of thoughts on wedding favors. I think they’re dumb and we should just do away with them all together. First you host a giant party for all of your friends and family, feed them, provide them with entertainment and then you have to give them a favor?! Not to mention that half the guests forget to bring them home. But since foregoing the wedding favor hasn’t appeared to happen yet, here are my thoughts on what to do.
In my personal opinion, no one needs a shot glass, beer mug, or anything else really with the bride and grooms name and wedding date. While I do have some of those, I’m more likely to throw them out/forget to take them all together, than take them out and look at them while reminiscing of your wedding. Sorry if you gave these out at your wedding, or were thinking about it 🙂
I think your best bet is food. Something edible that guests can enjoy later that night or the next day and not have sitting around their house for years to come. Kyle and I gave out muffins as our wedding favor for everyone to enjoy for breakfast the following morning. This was something that was significant to us because the day we got engaged, we went to a restaurant that gave out muffins to everyone who dined with them. I thought that was such a great idea, why not do it for our wedding!
Other favors that I’ve seen and enjoyed are personalized M&M’s. Some sort of desert to take home like chocolate covered strawberries, cookies, etc. or a candy bar where you can fill up a bag of candy to bring home.
If you’re having a destination wedding, think about giving out something local. Maybe a baked food from a local bakery, or something like locally made honey or a local beer that you could put a customized label on.
Don’t be afraid to get creative and think outside the box!
On your Wedding Day, Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff
You will notice things at your wedding that went wrong, things that should have been done that weren’t. While you notice these things, your guests won’t. They won’t notice that tea lights should have been placed on your cocktail tables, or whatever detail it is, so try not to stress over it.
When larger things happen, like rain or your wedding bands go missing, try not to overreact. How you handle these situations will be what your guests remember.
For example, when we couldn’t find our rings, I very easily could have had a complete meltdown. But what people remember about that moment are the jokes that Kyle and I made, standing up there in of our 200 guests in the pouring rain about how we would find them and get married eventually! If I had let it get to me and had that meltdown, it would not be the fond memory that it is today.
No matter how much planning you put into your wedding something will go wrong. I remember someone telling me that and I laughed thinking “not my wedding”. So when something doesn’t turn out just perfect, let it go and continue to enjoy your day!
Kyle and I took about 10 dance lessons to prep for our first dance. While 10 was probably overkill, I do think that this was helpful, rather than standing there swaying back and forth, we were actually kind of entertaining! LOL
You might want to look into alternatives to a wedding cake. I feel like not all guests even eat the cake. So you pay for this giant cake to feed everyone and half of it goes to waste. You might think about doing a smaller cake so you can do the traditional cake cutting photo, but something else for the guests. Maybe something like cupcakes and provide boxes for people to take them home if they don’t eat it!
The Dress Fitting
Make sure to bring someone you trust with you to the fitting who can let you know if something doesn’t look right. It’s hard to see the whole dress when you are standing in it, so make sure to bring someone who will speak up if something looks off. For example, I went to my girlfriends fitting, and when they bustled her dress, I noticed the buttons for the bustle weren’t straight. It was hard for her to see the back, so she didn’t notice. That’s why it’s important to have an extra set (or two 🙂 ) of eyes!
Things to Have on Hand
A sewing kit!! Believe it or not, right before our ceremony, I took a deep breath and the hook and eye on the back of my dress popped! Luckily, my planner had a sewing kit and was able to sew it back together.
Oil absorbing pads. I was an oily wreck. I had these in my purse but totally forgot about them. I wish someone had looked at me and been like “girl, you need those oil pads”!! – note to future bridesmaids, be on the lookout for this for your bride.
Lip color that stays. I used Super Stay 24 Color by Maybelline. This stuff stays on all night long!! I even had to use make up remover to get it off, so there was no need to reapply throughout the night.
Thank You Cards
Get these out ASAP. The longer you wait, the harder it is to get around to doing these. I cranked these out the week after we got married and was SO relieved to have these off my plate. I wrote the ones for my friends and family and Kyle did his. It was so helpful not to have to do them all myself. I wrote up a little template that we could use and then plug in the gift that the person gave us, this made it super easy to get them all done!
Need some honeymoon ideas?!
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