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Been There Done That: Lessons From a Former Bride

By Next Big Bridal Blogger finalist, Kristen of The Chronicles of Dutch

Perfect Schmerfect. No wedding is perfect, right? Something is bound to happen. A bridesmaid is going to puke in the buffet line; the ring bearer is going to rip the hem out of your $10,000 Vera Wang, or your father-in-law is going to take an eye out during the Chicken Dance (which you expressly told the DJ NOT to play). These are things that you will look back on and laugh about with your honey (except that eye thing. Stop being insensitive).

Mishaps make a wedding unique, but there are some key elements that really do matter. There are a couple fundamentals that I kick myself for not paying attention to when I walked down the aisle, and one that I’m exceedingly proud of. If I can help one happy couple navigate the trickier aspects of wedding planning then we all win. So let's get into it, shall we?

PHOTOGRAPHY  I have exactly one photo of our wedding day in our house. I can’t bear to look at the others. They aren’t horrible exactly but they aren’t nearly what I hoped for. My parents wanted to pay for the photographer but they didn’t have a big budget in addition to other wedding costs. They found a family friend’s son who had JUST started in the business. After making so many important decisions I was decision-ed out. Against my better judgment I went with this family friend and have been disappointed with our photos ever since.

Lesson: Don’t make a decision you feel pressured into and don’t settle because you’re afraid of making waves. You’ll be making lots of waves in the form of big crocodile tears after you get back sub-par photos. Believe me. I cried for days. I’m also dramatic, so there’s that. 

Action Plan: Do your research. We live with the internet. Since you found me on OneWed, this is the perfect opportunity to find your inspiration. How do you want your day to be immortalized? Do you want a vintage feel? Do you like posed or candid photos? Is budget an issue? Well, duh, of course it is! Lovely wedding photography can be found at any budget, truly. It just requires leg work. OneWed has the perfect search tool to help you narrow down vendor options in your area with reviews from past brides. Read the reviews! You won’t be able to find honest critiques from the photographer’s website.

FLOWERS  We didn’t have a huge flower budget because you know those things die, right? But that didn’t mean we didn’t want some lovely flowers to accompany us down the aisle. Again, there was a family friend (where do we come up with these friends?) who had done approximately 4 weddings in the past.  And by “in the past” I mean the 70’s. And his price just happened to fit squarely within our budget. Cut to me and my ‘maids walking down the aisle holding weird tiny bouquets with just a hint of ribbon encircling the stems, one grandma without a corsage, and miniature sized boutonnieres. One bridesmaid actually cut herself on a stem! Don’t let there be blood on your wedding day!

Lesson: Think long and hard about hiring family friends who don’t have professional credentials. If they have only ever made wildflower bouquets from their backyard and you want six feet tall orchid centerpieces with a hint of whimsy then maybe you should look elsewhere or rethink your design. 

Action Plan: Know what you want and what your budget is. OneWed has tons of options to help you choose the perfect wedding flowers. You can search by style – classic, tropical, modern, vintage – by season or by color.

Side note: We love our family and friends and we want them to be a part of our day. So include as many as possible in roles of…hmmm… less responsibility. There are plenty of jobs to go around - train straightener, lipstick-on-teeth patrol, alcohol consumption referee for the groomsmen, cell phone cop, etc. This ensures that no feelings are hurt and everyone feels useful. Plus, you make sure your plum-berry lipstick is securely on your lips and not on your pretty white chompers!

THE RECEPTION  I’m happy to report this was one area of our wedding that we did right! We wanted a big, lively party with lots of dancing, great food, plenty of booze, and everyone that meant something to us in one room for one night. And we succeeded. It was the best party we’ve ever thrown and maybe ever will (I think I just dared myself into hosting a party now. Hmmm).

Lesson: What is important to you and your honey? Will bologna sandwiches suffice if the music is stellar? Do you want a small, swanky reception but your guests are more of the beer guzzling, sports watching variety? Know yourself, know your significant other and know your guests!

Action Plan: Sit down with the love of your life and come up with a general idea of what you both visualize happening at your reception. OneWed has great ideas on how to make your vision come to life. Want to incorporate your love of basketball or hockey? Want to know the 25 best first dance songs? OneWed covers it all! So what are you waiting for? I command you to start searching. Oops…sorry, my inner bridezilla just popped out!

It’s so easy to get overwhelmed in the wedding planning process, causing you to make a hasty choice you’ll regret. My important elements may not be your important elements, but be sure there are features of your big day - whether it’s the food or the band or the flowers - that will require thoughtful attention. You know, so you aren’t begging your husband to re-do your wedding four years later. Trust me on this one.


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