(Closed) Hindsight: Lessons Learned

posted 9 years ago in Beehive
Post # 3
Member
613 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2009

i hate to focus on the negative, because I had a beautiful wedding and am lucky to have the support and love of so many people. That being said, I do have a few tips for brides in the planning stages:

1. if you plan to get ready with your BMs, have a separate room. I had all the girls (9), moms (2), grandma, my favorite and a few random cousins hanging out in my room. Plus the make up artist, photographers, bags, clothes, food, etc.  NIGHTMARE.  I left.  After my make up was finished, I packed up my dress, etc, and left with just a few people and the photographer.  It was just too much.  Definitely plan for a few moments (few meaning at least 30 minutes) to be the hell alone.

2.  DONT HAVE A HUGE WEDDING PARTY.  HUH!!!!  so.much.stress dealing with all the people.  The girls were fine.  But getting 9 GMs, 2 fathers, and the groom to follow the timeline for our 8:00 pm ceremony was difficult.  Someone kept wandering off…

3.  Over order on the food if you are doing anything besides a plated dinner.  I had a cocktail reception: open bar, displayed hors dueves and passed hor duerves (spelling?).  I had 4 large displays (quoted as each being enough to feed 75-100 people) and planned for 10 passed hor duerves per person for our 3 hours reception (9 pm – midnight).  All the food was gone by the time we finished our pictures.  Luckily, the staff put aside a plate for us.  But who expected people to be starving?  I told everyone in person, on the invite, and on the website that dinner would not be served.

4.  Slurge only on the things that YOU care about.  I didnt give a hoot about escort cards, programs, favors, etc.  During the planning process, friends kept asking about them.  They day of the wedding, no one even realized that we had skipped them.

5.  Splurge on photography.  Looking over the pictures is like re-living the day.  The whole day is such a blur!  I dont remember seeing some of the guests but have beautiful pictures with them.

6.  I wish I had budgeted for videography.  I thought it was such a waste during eth whole planning process and now I was I had a DVD on the day with people sending well wishes, etc.

Post # 5
Member
445 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2007

Great post! I’ll add a few of my own:

1. Book a great photographer. He/She doesn’t have to be expensive, just good. The only thing you have left from your wedding day is your photos. My SIL skimped on this and totally regrets her decision after she saw my photos. You can’t go wrong with a great photographer.

2. Take a few minutes for yourself. My mom stressed me out the ENTIRE day of my wedding. My only peace was 30 seconds in the limo when I wanted to collect myself to go into the church, when I was standing next to my husband getting married, and our first dance.

3. Step back and survey your reception. EVERYONE is there because of you! It’s an amazing feeling to stop and take a look around. People are laughing and having a GREAT time while celebrating YOU!

Post # 6
Member
342 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2009

Things that worked well:

  1. We only had floral centerpieces on 1/2 of the tables.  (The other half were inexpensive candle holders I DIYed)  With the money we saved, I was able to buy table overlays and table runners online.  The linens had a much bigger impact on the overall look of the reception than the floral centerpieces would have had.
  2. This goes against what previous posters have said, but we did not hire a videographer, and I’m glad!  Instead, my (very talented) cousin and his gf filmed our wedding day.  They filmed the ceremony from two different angles, had a camera going the entire time during the reception, and even set up a separate camera during the reception so that guests could leave us video messages.  I know that not everybody has friends/family they can recruit for things like this, but it doesn’t hurt to ask around.  We saved well over $1000, my cousin had a great time filming/editing, and I’m 100% happy with the video they are putting together.
  3. My husband and I ate our dinner in a separate area while our guests were enjoying the cocktail hour.  We literally only spent 10-15 minutes eating (I was too excited to eat much anyway), but having that alone time made a huge difference.

Why I wish I had a time machine…

  1. I started DIYing items and buying things before I had a crystal clear vision of the wedding.  I spent tons of money and time buying supplies and working on projects that I never used.  ๐Ÿ™
  2. I didn’t realize you could have paper cut at Office Max/Office Depot until AFTER I had cut all the paper for our DIY invitations.  Doh!
  3. I shouldn’t have paid our florist to make a toss bouquet.  The toss bouquet was misplaced sometime during the reception, so I just used a bridesmaid’s bouquet.  The bridesmaid didn’t care, so we could have saved some $ by planning to do that all along.
  4. We didn’t do a receiving line because we thought we could visit all of the guests’ tables during dinner.  Well, we lost track of time and didn’t have a chance to make it all the way around.  Then, after dinner I got caught up in dancing, and before I knew it, the reception was over!  I feel like a HUGE jerk because I didn’t have a chance to speak to all of our guests during the reception.  For me, this is the biggest regret!

Post # 7
Member
2365 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: October 2009

Wow. Great post. I love this. My wedding is October 24th, 2009 – so I want all the help I can get on here. 

So far, I have the photographer and videographer (in the process of booking) down. I’m having a saturday evening wedding in the fall- everyone who hears my fall wedding date goes nuts over it and says fall is the best time ever … maybe they also do that to the other brides in other seasons? Lol. I am so happy we’re being married in the fall though.

FutureMrsMorgan: I totally agree with having a small wedding party, which is why I chose to have only my sister stand and he is having a best man, we have a flower girl and a ring bearer and that’s it! Also, I am only splurging on what is most important to me: one of those is my cake … so happy now that the cake is ordered I’m very relaxed and feellike everything is all set. 

Post # 8
Member
1246 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2009

1. We brought in our own liquor and I’m so glad that we did. We had a lot left over, but we (and our friends) are big drinkers and will definitely go through it. We saved so much money and were able to offer a wide variety of drinks to our guests.

2.  Like ATank, I wish our venue rental had been longer. We only had 6.5 hours, which included vendor set-up and clean-up, so our reception was really short. I think guests enjoyed it because it forced us to be punctual and didn’t force them to hang around for too long, but the night felt way too short to me. 

3. We got a shuttle bus for guests which was a great decision, because they really took advantage of the open bar! Most of our guests stayed at the same hotel, so we got a giant bus that fit all 60 of them. They came together and left together and we didn’t worry about anybody hitting a tree on the way back. 

4. Continuing along the transportation lines, we were really glad we didn’t drive ourselves away from the wedding. We were utterly exhausted and a little bit tipsy and just very out of it, so having a town car take us to our hotel was a huge help.

5. We hired a DOC and don’t know what we would have done without her and her partner. We weren’t going to get one (I was super-organized, planning for 18 months in advance) but realized that we didn’t want to worry about where presents went, or who got the leftover food, or what would happen to gifts people brought, or something as simple as what time it was. The DOC took care of everything and let us enjoy our party. I really, really, really, really recommend getting one, especially one that is familiar with your venue. 

6. If you have an evening wedding like me, schedule something to do that morning. I found myself stuck in my hotel room and got pretty bored and anxious and a little upset, running through all the things that might go wrong in my head. We went to do hair and makeup around noon, but it would have been nice to have done a brunch that morning just with close friends to distract me. 

7.  Definitely eat at your reception. We had a sweetheart table which was a great idea. It prevented anyone from feeling jealous about not being able to sit at our table, and it allowed us a precious 10 minutes to scarf down some food. Even with the sweetheart table, I found myself getting up and talking to people until my groom forced me to sit (and gave me an excuse — "Sorry, can’t stand up, Groom will yell at me if I don’t clean my plate!") People just came to us. If I hadn’t eaten I don’t think I would have made it through the night. 

8. Thank people. A lot. Guests, vendors, family. It’s easy to get caught up in how a small detail isn’t exactly what you wanted and forget to have a sense of humor and gratitude. Leading up to those days, if you’re stressed and in a bad mood, it’s totally ok to say it. I found that people were really understanding if I made an effort to meet them half way by saying something as simple as, "I’m sorry, I have a lot on my mind and I’m not feeling very patient right now, but you are being really helpful and I really appreciate it even if it might not seem like it."

9. Do plenty of trial runs. I initially booked a hair and makeup person who did such a bad job that I cried after the second trial because I felt like I was stuck with her. Then I made a change and was so, so happy. I went to an established salon that really caters to bridal parties and did two trials, one just to try the stylist out and one for my bridal portraits. By the time the wedding day rolled around, I wasn’t worried in the slightest about my hair or makeup and I felt like the stylist and I had good communication. 

10. If it’s in your budget, take bridal portraits. It was kind of a pain to set up (getting the dress, having it cleaned, traveling home to do it since I was planning from afar), but it gave me practice in my dress (and I broke the clasp by bending forward – oops!), shoes, makeup, etc., and let me see what I would look like on the big day. It also gave me a chance to get to know my photographer, so I was a lot more relaxed the day-of. I also got a sample bouquet from the florist, which eased my mind about flowers, too.

11. Speaking of flowers, I worried a lot about my centerpieces leading up to that day and then didn’t even look at them during the reception. I barely noticed them and honestly had to check photos to even see what they looked like because I was so busy greeting people and enjoying the party. The flowers were gorgeous, but I’m glad I didn’t spend a ton of money on them. 

12. If you can’t hire a videographer, see if a friend can do it. We had a friend do this as a wedding gift to us and we just saw our teaser highlight video last night. It is so wonderful to be able to see all these things that we missed. The night will go by in a blur and even if you only watch the video once, you’ll really enjoy seeing all of your guests in action. 

13. We put cocktail tables around the dance floor and the guests really seemed to love them. Once the brief buffet dinner was over, guests got up and leaned with their drinks around the dance floor, which I think encouraged people to dance when a song came on that they liked. 

14. TRY TUXES ON EARLY! We had several problems with ours from Men’s Wearhouse. 

15. Like others have said, take a few minutes after the ceremony just to be alone together. This allowed me and my groom to just catch our breaths, cool off in the A/C, have a glass of wine, and pause to try to appreciate everything that was going on around us. We saw each other before the ceremony for photos, too, which was also a great decision for us. It allowed us to enjoy every minute of our reception and really calmed us down pre-ceremony. 

16. If it’s in your personality, I’d recommend getting "Mr." and "Mrs." t-shirts to wear when you travel to your honeymoon destination, or something that says "Just Married." We got a few free things along the way (mostly champagne!) but I had to kind of awkwardly let people know we were honeymooning. It would have been nice just to have it advertised. ๐Ÿ™‚

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