I haven’t blogged in a long time, so I decided to get some help in writing this blog post. I asked some of my past wedding clients to offer their wedding planning advice for new wedding couples.
There’s a ton of advice out there when it comes to planning a wedding. Between blogs, magazines, social media and family/friends it’s almost impossible to know where to start. I hope this post and the down-to-earth opinions in it help you start your planning on the right foot.
Taylor and Kyle, Earth to Table: The Farm
Everyone will tell you that the day flies by, and it totally does. Make sure to carve out time to really connect with your new husband/wife throughout the day and night, even if it means building it into your itinerary. We took a few minutes to be by ourselves right after the ceremony and it’s a moment in the day that felt like it was truly just ours. It’s so easy to be pulled in different directions throughout the day by friends, family, and vendors needing your attention, so be intentional about spending your night together.
Venue: Earth to Table: The Farm
Dress: Hayley Paige
Flowers: Lush Florals
Ciara and Allister, Evermore Weddings & Events
Since I was little, my mom always told me to have the wedding I wanted to have, no matter what everyone else thought. Weddings bring with them a lot of opinions – invited or not – and it is up to you and your partner to have the day that you both envision. Everyone else has had or will have their own wedding day, but this is your time to make it yours. That advice guided all of our decision making, and honestly, made us so happy to look around and see everything we wanted brought to life.
We were told the day goes by in a flash, and it is true. It is surreal – seeing so many of your friends and family from not only your life, but your partners life, come together to celebrate you. Take some time for yourselves just to be together alone and soak in the moment before you give yourself over to the joyous crowd. Jenny was amazing at helping us capture all of those memories, even the ones we were not there to see!
As with any big event, there are so many things to think about when starting the planning process! When looking at what vendors we wanted to work with, we looked around at who our friends had used and been happy with, while also exploring Instagram portfolios to get a feel for each vendor we considered. We wanted something different than the cookie cutter package, so we chose smaller/independent vendors who we could form relationships with and who could provide a much more personalized service. We are actually friends with several of our vendors who helped us make our dream wedding a reality. Jenny is defiantly one of those special people who we continue to connect with long after the final hoorah of our wedding day was done. It makes everything so much easier if you like the people you are working with, especially on your wedding day! You are going to talk to them – a lot.
I loved the process, I loved picking and choosing all of the pieces that made the whole. Not everything will go to plan, and that is okay. No matter how much planning and preparation we did, there were a few things that did not go the way they were supposed to on our day, but we didn’t care. So it didn’t matter. We were getting married, and we were happy. Perfectly imperfect.
Venue: Evermore Weddings & Events
Dress: Truvelle Bridal
Megan and Belva, Family Cottage
I married my high school sweetheart at my family cottage in Bancroft, Ontario! We had a two year engagement, and in all honestly spent a minimal amount of time stressing and worrying about our wedding day. From the very beginning we discussed our priorities: family, vegan food, to be as eco-friendly as possible and most importantly, to not lose sight of what the day was really about. We had been told by many of our close friends and family, that it was so easy to get caught up in what colour napkins would be on the table, what flowers will look best in the bouquet or what invitations to send.
Belva and I didn’t want to get swept away by all of that, and tried our best to focus our attention on things we actually deeply valued. I highly recommend sitting down with your partner, every couple months as you plan your wedding, to make sure that every decision you are making is truly a reflection of your priorities and values as a couple. It is so easy to be swept away in the strong opinions of close loved ones, we dealt with our fair share of this, but try your hardest to be firm; most of them had their day, now it’s your turn!
Most importantly, have fun and be flexible! Was our wedding day perfect? To some looking in, probably not, but to us, absolutely! And it’s all because we made sure that our day truly reflected us. Not having a fancy rehearsal and simply going to a pub the night before to laugh and celebrate with our loved ones. Spending the night together before the wedding. Having a 4 pm ceremony so that we could spend the entire morning taking it slow, soaking up every moment with our friends and family. Kissing my soon-to-be husband as soon as I made it down the aisle because I couldn’t contain my excitement. Allowing people to stand up whenever they wanted to shower us with kind words and loving speeches. It was freezing, and our wedding was entirely outdoors but instead of stressing, the night ended with everyone dancing on our outdoor dance floor in track pants or pajamas–including myself–singing Sweet Caroline and it was the absolute best! My fondest memories come from those moments that required openness and flexibility. Nothing is the end of the world, although it might feel like it sometimes. Just go with the flow because at the end of it all, you get to marry the person you love…and that’s what it’s all about!
Venue: Family Cottage
Dress: Bride’s Project
Catering: BE Catering
Flowers: Posies Flowers & Gifts
To see more of Megan and Belva’s wedding, click here!
Katherine and Jake, Roseville Estate
Looking back on our wedding day (over two years ago now), I have a very different outlook!
If I could change anything it would be to try not to get caught up in all of the tiny little details. I think I was the only one that actually noticed them, so if it’s not absolutely necessary, or extremely important to you, skip it!
Something that I would do again, and recommend every couple do, is take a moment over the course of the evening to break away from everyone and spend some time just the two of you together. It’s such a great way to check in with each other and digest all of the excitement of the day.
Lastly, if I were to do it all over again, these would be my top 5 priorities: (in no specific order):
-My dress: Don’t settle. That doesn’t mean you have to splurge- a bargain or re-loved dress can be absolutely beautiful— just make sure it’s perfect for you!
-An amazing photographer: someone who’s work you are fond of, but also someone that you click well with, because you are going to be with them for most of the day! (Bonus: someone that can take charge of scattered families and the photo schedule, to make sure all your most important moments are captured) We look back on our photos often and are still so happy with their quality and all of the special moments!!
-A Day-of Coordinator: This was crucial for us because our venue didn’t have a designated staff. It was so helpful to have someone make sure everything went off without a hitch and take care of all the little details like lighting candles, moving chairs/signs etc.
-Good Food: We wanted something different and fun, so we had different stations set up with a variety of dishes that people could choose from.
-Venue: A place that felt like home to us; as if we were hosting a big party in our backyard. It was absolutely perfect!
Venue: Roseville Estate
Dress: Essence of Australia
Coordinator: Maeck Weddings
Flowers: From the Potting Shed
Marina and Alex, The Warehouse Venue
We loved having a day-of planner. She took care of set-up and take down, and kept us organized and on track all day. We could relax and enjoy our day without worrying about logistics, and we also didn’t have to task our friends and family with this responsibility.
Aside from “day-of” responsibilities, we did all our wedding planning ourselves. One thing we forgot to think about until the last minute was transportation of our DIY décor and various other items to and from the venue. Venues will often have events happening before and after your wedding day, so you may not be able to store things there overnight. We ended up renting a cube van, filling it with our stuff, and leaving it in the venue’s parking lot. This simple last minute solution saved us a lot of hassle.
We wanted our wedding to be a really fun party. We made sure to pick a professional and entertaining DJ and emcee team. We both stayed on the dance floor all night, and we found that this really got people dancing and participating. The open bar helped too!
Venue: The Warehouse Venue
Dress: Becker’s Bridal
Wedding Planner: P.S. Eventful
DJ/Music: Party Crew
Hair/Makeup: All Dolled Up
Becky and Clark, Ancaster Mill
Our wedding day was unimaginably perfect. And when I say unimaginable I truly mean I could never have imagined our day the way it played out. There were many little things that I can thank for this, but one stands out in particular.
Like most brides I tried to plan for the most cost effective, least bridezilla inducing ways to have a memorable day. The main focus always being that everyone would find a piece of the day to hold in their heart long after the vows are exchanged. The truth about wedding planning is that once the garland is ordered and the final seating chart planned, there will always be many things that feel like untapped opportunities. These days Instagram weddings and Pinterest boards make your wallet feel like the main barrier to a wedding that will truly express how unique you are as a couple. What I hadn’t thought of was how much the things you can’t plan would be the real memories that made our wedding naturally our own.
One of the best “mistakes” I made planning our wedding was in asking my husband to do a quick favour the day before the wedding. We had just finished up our reheasal and were heading back to the hotels to get ready for celebratory dinner and drinks. I knew I had a lot to do that evening and the only thing on Clark’s list was hanging out with his groomsmen. I just needed all of the songs we weren’t using for the wedding to be deleted off my ipod so that only the songs for the ceremony were available to be played. Easy, No Problem. He had this. It was simple and also – why should I take on all the tasks? There was no written rule that says the bride has to do it all. (believe it or not!!)
Time flew by from dinner to the time we were standing hand in hand at the chapel exchanging our vows through bigs smiles, and words of affirmation. We kissed and turned to face our family, in the form of relatives and friends as the final song came on to lead us down the aisle. I waited for Tears of Heaven by Coldplay to trickle in with it’s charming instrumental intro. Instead to my surprise my ipod started shouting “You be anythin you want” followed with a bunch of explicit lyrics in the song “Medicated” by Wiz Kalifa. Clark and I looked at each other shocked and burst into laughter. Our wedding party joined us, followed by our guest who I later found out had no idea it was a mistake at all. After a shrug and a full on belly laugh we took our first steps as man and wife and basked in the power of surprise, and a good rap song.
So for those stressing about planning the perfect day, I have two pieces of advice:
1. The best moments won’t be the ones you put the pricetag on.
2. In the end, the things that you don’t tie up perfectly with a pretty bow could be the things that make your day. (Although Clark will never live it down – He Had One Job!)
Venue: Ancaster Mill
Flowers: Something Blue Floral Design
Hair/Makeup: Florencia Taylor Makeup
Alison and Tyler, Belcroft Estate
The whole wedding experience for me was quite different than the stories you often hear! Right off the bat then fiancé (now HUSBAND), took on many of the tasks of wedding planning, which made the work of planning a wedding much more fun.
In no particular order, here are my top five points of advice for all future brides and grooms!
-Work as a team with your fiancé. You’re in this together! The best thing, my fiancé and I did before we started wedding planning was, make individual lists of the most important parts of the day to each of us. We then compared our lists. This is how we decided to itemize, break-out and fairly distribute our budget. You might end up with the same top three like we did! Also, remember to take a break and talk decisions out. There was not one decision or one aspect of our day, that we did not decide together. This made a huge difference in us both equally feeling amazing about the day.
-Something will go wrong, but no one will know. Whether it is the tables having shorter tablecloths than you picked or the florist not making enough boutonnieres for the groomsmen, it will get sorted out and the day will still be absolutely perfect. Asking someone in the bridal party or family to make fast decisions if needed, is a great idea to help keep everything running smoothly.
-Treat your vendors as apart of the team. Most vendors you will work with have worked with many couples in the past and have lots of couples they are also working with that wedding season. Trusting them, their experience and asking lots of questions and being friendly in all interactions, will help everyone involved get the job done and feel good about the end result.
-Remember to eat during the day (not just brides, you too grooms)! You absolutely have heard this before, but truly remember to eat. You will be full of excitement and nerves and making sure to eat something will help you stay calm and give you energy for dancing! Ask a family member to organize food to nibble on during the day – lots of fruits and veggies and your favourite snacks.
-Take a moment to yourself and take a big breath. A wedding is full of magic but also will be over before you know it! Take a moment and choose to remember everything happening at that time. It can be in the morning when you first wake up, or while you’re first seeing all your friends and family. Taking that breath will freeze the moment, helping create an extra special memory of the day.
Venue: Belcroft Estate
Hair/Makeup: Katie Lynne Hair & Makeup
Flowers: Scrim’s Florist
Dress: Essence of Australia
Do you have any wedding advice? Leave it in a comment below!