I’m back! AND I AM MARRIED!
The whole day was a whirlwind. A lovely, wonderful whirlwind. But now that I’ve had some time to decompress and relax and think about everything, I’ve put together my list of ten tips for throwing a kick-ass wedding. The pictures below are a mix of sneak peeks from our photographer and family photos.
1. Decide what you give a fuck about (and what you don’t give a fuck about)
Shortly after getting engaged, BC and I sat down and made two lists: things we give a fuck about and things we don’t give a fuck about. Some of our lists overlapped, some didn’t. For instance, BC picked the colors because I really just didn’t care (and he did a wonderful job).
Knowing what I gave a fuck about and what I didn’t, helped so much along the way because I didn’t have to spend mental bandwidth worrying about shit I literally did not care about. But that also meant that when something came up that I did give a fuck about, I had the space in my brain to focus.
Rehearsal Dinner: Butcher and the Brewer
Venue (ceremony & reception): Music Box Supper Club
Hotel: Aloft Cleveland Downtown
Dress: David’s Bridal
Hair: Anna Lee Roth
Makeup: Lady Bon Vivant
Tuxedo: Men’s Warehouse
Cake: KB Confections
Food truck: Swensons
DJ: Hats Off Entertainment
Photobooth: First Choice Photography
String Quartet: Bellflower String Quartet
Photography: J. Palsa Photography
Invitations & place cards: Shutterfly (designed by me)
2. Pick your battles
Along with those lists, know what you are willing to fight for and what you aren’t but make sure what you do fight for is worth it. When we were touring rehearsal dinner locations, I was not at all a fan of the spot that was picked but BC really wanted it and it honestly just wasn’t worth it to fight him on it. I’m glad I didn’t, because it ended up being a really, really lovely event and the spot was perfect.
3. Personalize it as much as possible
Our reading was A Lovely Love Story by Edward Monkton. It tells the story of two dinosaurs who fall in love and it’s just so fucking adorable I can’t even. But we decided to personalize it slightly by swapping in interests that speak to us. We also went all in on the library theme of our wedding (two librarians, yo) and I decided to design all of the paper portion, including the entire wedding invitation suite and I received so many compliments, it was well worth the time and effort. (Also, naturally we went to the stunning Cleveland Public Library for photos.)
4. Make it easy for your bridal party
I told my bridesmaids they just had to show up in black dresses and silver shoes. I think two of them bought new black dresses, but one just wore a dress she already owned which is exactly what I was going for. I’ve been a bridesmaid multiple times. The dress and shoes situation is the worst part. As someone who struggles with body image and weight, I hate spending so much money on a dress that a) I know I will never wear again, b) is a terrible color and c) is not flattering, but is what the bride wants so I just STFU and wear it. These are the women in my life who mean the most to me, why would I want to make them shell out $$$ for some dress they’ll probably never wear again?
5. Provide late night snacks
The second thing we booked after the venue was a Swenson’s food truck, which is a local burger chair here in NE Ohio and LeBron approved. Lemme tell ya, the food at our venue was fantastic but our guests were so excited for some late night burgers and shakes. (Of course, after spending almost 10 hours in one of those torso length strapless bras, I had no room for burgers so I just got a shake. The next morning, my brother-in-law mentioned getting a Galleyboy to go for way later that night and I was so mad at myself for not thinking of that!)
6. Sneak in a few surprises
One of the things we gave a fuck about was music. We knew that we wanted a lot of yacht rock, so when one of my bridesmaids came over during dinner and said “Your DJ hasn’t played a single song from this decade and I am loving it” I knew we had made the right choice.
But, the one thing I really, really gave a fuck about was my entrance song. Up until about 30 minutes before, only two people knew what I had chosen: BC and one of my bridesmaids. Then, as we were waiting in the green room, the quartet started warming up and one of the groomsmen jokingly asked, “Are we walking into The Imperial March?”
I grinned. “No, but I am.”
That’s right. This bride walked into the Imperial March aka Darth Vader’s song from Star Wars AND I KEPT IT A SECRET AND IT WAS EVERYTHING I HAD HOPED FOR AND MORE.
If I can give you one piece of marital advice, it’s this: marry someone who encourages and supports your dream to walk down the aisle to the Imperial March.
7. Get yourself a goddamn gorgeous outfit
Y’all know that my dress stressed me out to no end but, turned out I had nothing to worry about. As a fat woman, I never thought I’d ever find love and get to wear a big white dress and get married. I said yes to the dress almost a year ago and wearing it that day, I really did feel like a princess. It was so much fun walking along the Cuyahoga and having strangers shout Congratulations from their boats.
8. Have a photobooth
Spoiler alert: I’m an introvert who doesn’t really like people. LOL. Most times I go to weddings, I find my pocket of friends or family and just pretty much hang out with them all evening. Of course, when you’re the couple getting married you have to be all social, and instead of talking to a select group for 5 hours, you get, like, 5 minutes with everyone. One of my favorite things has been looking through the pictures from our photobooth and seeing all of our friends and family being silly.
9. Know that things will go wrong
No wedding is perfect so if you just accept that early on, you’ll be fine. The day before, one of my bridesmaids told me that a last minute hiccup meant she’d have to bring her dog with her (it was a pet-friendly hotel), so that meant she’d have to pop out a couple times during the weekend to take him out. If having her dog there meant she could be there, that was fine with me. The unity candle apparently also almost set my sister on fire (lol), but these things happen (whatever, she’s fine).
10. Remember that no matter what happens, you’ll still be married!
The closer we got to the wedding, the more I kept reminding myself that all we really needed was each other, the officiant, and the marriage license. Everything else was window dressing. That mentality helped me keep things in perspective, especially when I was feeling stressed or things weren’t working out like I had hoped.
Bonus: If at all possible, surprise even yourself
So, BC and I officially started dating in April of 2014 but we had gone out a couple of times about a year and a half prior to that, it just wasn’t the right time for us. But, technically speaking, our very first first date was disc golfing at a park in our hometown way back in 2012. After remembering I had blogged about it, I went back into my archives to find the post.
Y’all. It was Labor Day Weekend. Like. What?
The blog post didn’t indicate which day we went disc golfing, but I remembered that one of the photos in the post was one I had posted on Instagram so I went back through my IG archives to find it.
Turns out, we got married the same day as our first date. Completely unintentionally. Neither of us had any idea. It was an accident.
If that’s not some magical rom-com shit, I don’t know what is.