What is your favorite wedding day memory?
I would say for me it was listening to everyone’s speeches. We had one of our closest friends officiate our wedding and we couldn’t have chosen a better person. We gave him complete control and had zero idea what he was going to say and it was perfect. I loved listening to the stories our friends shared and their true feelings and emotions about us as individuals and as a couple. It was an honor hearing how invested others our in our happiness and success and it’s truly humbling and touching.
The second favorite part was actually a song we dedicated to friends of ours. My husband wanted our first song to be Eric Clapton’s “You Look Wonderful Tonight” and I adore Clapton, but something about it didn’t feel right. My dear friend actually came with us when I picked out my wedding dress and at dinner she asked me and my best friend (also getting married) what our first dance songs were going to be. I told her what my husband wanted and she perked up and said that was her and her husband’s first dance song. I knew then that’s why it didn’t sit right with me, it was her song. Less than a month later, we were at her brother’s birthday (our officiant) and she sat me down and told me she was just diagnosed with terminal cancer. So during our wedding, I got on the microphone and thanked everyone for coming and being part of our lives and told the story of how we came to NOT choosing that song; but that we were dedicating it to her and her husband and asked them and everyone that knew and loved them to come up and dance with us. I didn’t say anything about her being sick, so most people looked around confused as to why we were doing this, but it was my gift to her. She had become a dear friend over the years and was a huge part of our lives the year before in helping my buy my first home.
What did you DIY for your wedding?
Lots! We DIY’d the bridal and bridesmaid jewelry and hair accessories. My husband’s cufflinks with glass images of the moon on special nights to the individual (ex: husbands were of what the moon looked like on the night we met and what it would look like on the night we wed!). All of the florals: my bouquet, the boutonnieres, the floral rings for the bridesmaids, hanging floral rings at the altar, the bud vases as part of the tablescapes, and the large galvanized metal vases along the aisle. I used a mix of fresh, artificial and dried flowers for everything. We had a completely outdoor wedding on one of the hottest weekends of every year. I didn’t want to take a chance that by the time our 2pm wedding started the flowers would be wilted. Plus, it gave new life and meaning to what were considered “dead”! We supplied the aisle rugs, sandalwood fans, moss for the tablescapes, as well as the vintage license plate “table numbers” (my husband collects them). I made all of the signage including the window pane entrance sign, customized our guest book and sign, labels for the card box and make a wish donation box, crystal and gemstone favor signs, reserved and name signs, and my leather jacket. Lastly, my husband built the s’mores box and the card box. The card box was built from live edge red cedar harvested from the Appalachian Mountains. It was excess wood from when he built our dining room table and mantle.
I also collect gemstones and minerals (and make jewelry) and my husband and I chose to incorporate them into our wedding. As favors we had raw gemstones for our guests to chose from and take in a velvet bag. We had Moroccan Quartz geodes scattered on the tables as part of the tablescape and large specimens from our personal collection placed in different places throughout the venue. Lastly, one of my favorite (and largest) projects was the large window pane “program”. I loved how I was able to personalize it with my Cricut, each square dedicated to something different.
Did you have a something old, new, borrowed and blue?
Yes! My engagement ring was my grandmothers and was my something old. My something new were my dress, shoes and wedding band. My something blue was my raw labradorite earrings and bracelet and lastly, my something borrowed was my lipstick! I wasn’t planning on really following the tradition, but come the day of the wedding, I liked my friend’s lipstick better than what I had and she told me to wear it!
Any advice for brides currently in the planning process?
Research, research, research! If possible, use referrals from those you know and trust! I used a couple vendors I didn’t personally know or didn’t come as referrals, and even though they had ALL 5 stars and were great in the preparation stages, come the day of the event their service was NOT up to par. Every vendor I knew or was referred to 100% killed it!
Choose people to be in your wedding party that YOU want there. Don’t ask people out of pity or obligation. We made it a point to include only our closest circle in our wedding party and it made for wonderfully memorable (and drama free) wedding festivities.
Once you make your decisions on each area of your wedding (florals, signage, etc) GET OFF PINTEREST! Delete old boards or pins that cover the same areas. Seeing new options after you’ve made up your mind will only confuse you and either lead you to second guess yourself or spend more money to redo things.
When the day of the wedding comes, let everything go. If something is going to go wrong, there’s nothing you can do about it at this point. The things that go wrong are the things that everyone remembers and laughs about later, and if you can have a sense of humor about it no one else will notice. (My planner set up the venue completely wrong after being at the rehearsal/having diagrams/arial photos/etc; then decided at the end she was tired and wasn’t going to tear down the venue, so we had to…the DJ played the wrong song for me to walk down the aisle to, not to mention multiple other blunders), but we laugh at them all now!
Get a second photographer, you’ll end up with so many great photos one person could never get alone; it’s usually a small fraction of the cost to add a second person with packages…and budget for a videographer! For months I said I wasn’t going to spend the money on one, but many of my friends said hiring one was the best last minute decision they ever made. We got quotes ranging from $1,500-10,000, and actually ended up on the lower end with a referral. It was the best decision. I also got all of the raw video footage, so I’m actually putting my own movie together of the hilarious moments that you wouldn’t normally see in a traditional wedding video.
Lastly, DIY isn’t always cheaper. For those that already have the necessary supplies/experience in certain areas it can be, but for those trying to learn how do a certain craft or project, your wedding probably isn’t the event to experiment with. Don’t overextend yourself with DIY projects. Time catches up to you REAL fast when all of your spare time is spent on wedding projects. Prioritize your DIY projects and make it a point to do the most important ones FIRST. That way when it gets down to crunch time, it’s little stuff you can decide either to leave out, buy, or pay someone else to make; and you don’t feel like you didn’t get what you wanted. -Jen, the Bride
Photography: Chris P. Zero Photography // Venue: The Riverbed Farm // Invitations: Minted // Videography: Today's the Day Wedding & Film // Catering: Miranda's Tacos // Flowers + Favors: Haus of Noel // Wedding Band: Bridal Diamond Palace // Bride's Attire: Tadashi Shoji // Bride's Shoes: BaliELF // Hair: Adam Bohac // Make-up: Facklam // Groom + Groomsmen's Attire: Men's Warehouse // Groom's Shoes: Aldo