Wedding Wednesday: 10 Things That Made Our Wedding

Welcome to my first installation of Wedding Wednesday! Now that our wedding is a year behind us, I thought I'd take a second to reflect on the things that made the day such a success. Hopefully, this post will provide some insight to anyone who is currently in the planning phase, or rapidly approaching their wedding date. Congrats if that's you!

1. Hiring a wedding coordinator. Call me biased because I now work for the woman who coordinated our wedding (or maybe see that as a testament to how much I love her!), but our wedding literally would not have happened without Brooke. Although Alex and I planned most of our wedding ourselves, as we got closer to the date, we realized that we would need some help out on the day of.  (Note: a wedding planner, and a day of coordinator are two different things. If you want someone to design your wedding and pick the vendors, etc, that's a planner. A day of coordinator will handle the timeline and set up/tear down, etc on your wedding day so that you don't have to.) After all, what bride and groom can be expected to set up the space, make sure vendors are arriving, get the ceremony started on time, and take care of all the details in between? Having someone there to think for me when I couldn't was such a stress relief and helped me enjoy the day. (I mean, look at this room. It's perfect and I didn't have to lift a finger to make it that way!)

2. Learning to let go. I made myself a promise on the morning of the wedding: I was not going to be stressed out. I swore that no matter what might go wrong (and believe me, things did), I would not cry, get angry, or become anxious. We had so much support, that even when half of our wedding guests were stranded at the hotel due to a no-show bus, which caused our pre-sunset ceremony to be pushed to post-, I gladly let someone else deal with it. Danielle from Orange Blossom yelled at the bus company and got the guests to the venue by cabs; we decided to have a mini-ceremony upstairs and sign the wedding license before sundown, and all was fine. I could have let this hiccup ruin my night, but I decided to let go and enjoy the day anyway.

3. Trusting my wedding vendors. This one goes hand-in-hand with letting go, but I feel it necessary to mention this specifically. Your wedding vendors are professionals, and they will take care of you. I'm not exactly sure how this amazing dessert table with Cakes by Rumy came to life. It was as though little elves had set it up while I wasn't looking. I probably could have been uber-controlling about how it was going to look, or worried about a hundred other things that day, but handing over a box of candy, cake plates, and decorations, believing that the cakes would arrive on time, and just letting the vendors do their thang worked out absolutely perfectly. Trust me, they've got it.

4. Doing a First Look. The choice to do a first look is very personal, and it may not be for everyone. Perhaps you're more traditional, and you want to save that magic moment for when you're walking down the aisle. But I loved the first look for many reasons. First of all, check out this picture. I'm not sure that I would have made this expression as I was walking down the aisle, much less that it could be captured so perfectly by Heidi. Secondly, even though Alex and I spent the night before separately and didn't see each other until the first look, it was really nice being able to spend time with him before the ceremony. It totally calmed my nerves, and also allowed us to tie up some loose strings (like paying the rabbi -- oops!). Overall, I would highly recommend doing a first look and then kicking back and relaxing.

5. Realizing it's not all about me. As a bride, you might be under the impression that your wedding day is just for you. And much as you'll hear, "it's your special day!" and "it's the most important day of your life!" try to realize that it's just one day out of your life... And that a wedding isn't just for the bride and groom, but it's also for those loved ones who will attend. Even if your parents are paying for the wedding, consider the day as a gift back to them and take their wishes into consideration. For example, as a young girl (who was not raised Jewish) I never imagined having a rabbi officiate my wedding. It wasn't even on my radar until it was expressed by my in-laws that it was important that we be married by one. Realizing that it was not particularly important to me who officiated, I obliged. It ended up being a wonderful and incredibly meaningful element to our wedding. I'm so glad that I listened to those around me and took their input into consideration.

6. Having a sweetheart table. I really enjoyed sitting with my groom alone for many reasons. First of all, it gave us a chance to actually eat. I heard so many times over the course of my engagement that we wouldn't get a chance to eat on our wedding day and since the Tres LA catering was so good, it was important to me that we got a bite in. It also gave us some (sort of) private time to talk about the ceremony, bask in that just-married feeling, and look out at all of our friends and family. In order to greet all of our guests, we did a quick spin around the room during dinner and thanked each table for being there with us. (Side note: we still didn't get enough to eat, so we had the caterers pack us a to-go box which we ate at one AM in the hotel room.)

7. Choosing what's most important. There is so much pressure these days for weddings to be "perfect"!!! Alex and I knew that no matter how hard we tried, the big day wasn't going to be that way, so we decided to pick just a few things that were really important to us. For me, as a fashion designer, the wedding dress and bridesmaid dresses took precedent. That's why I made them myself. (More on that at another time.)  For Alex, music was a big deal. We ended up booking both a band and a DJ to get the most out of our reception. We hired Dustbowl Revival, and even the most skeptical members of our families remarked that they really got the wedding swinging. RedShoe played the absolute most amazing mix of disco, motown, and pop hits that literally kept me dancing all night. To this day, when "Party in the USA" comes on the radio, I get a little teary thinking about dancing to it on my wedding night.

8. Letting my freak flag fly. I'm not sure what the heck is going on in these photos, but I know I was having the time of my life. If there is ever a day in your life when you have license to act a damn fool and get away with it, your wedding day is it. Allow yourself to get swept away in the moment and forget what anyone thinks -- after all, you're with the people you love... They'll let your craziness slide for one day. So, live it up, and enjoy every moment.

9. Bringing a change of shoes. I was hell-bent on dancing all night, and while my gold glitter Miu Mius were totally adorable, they were not dance-friendly. I wore them through the entire band set, but when the DJ took over, I changed into an equally cute but way more comfortable pair of Keds. I'm so glad I did. No blisters, and I didn't miss even one song.

10. Taking it all in. I can't tell you how many times people told me "your wedding day is going to fly by!" It got really annoying hearing that, but it turned out to be oh-so-true. Stop to take a moment to breathe. The most special and memorable part of the day for me was right at the beginning of our ceremony. Our rabbi told us to take a second to look around the room and appreciate all the people we love who came out to support us. It was an incredibly grounding and moving moment. I was very touched by all the love we were surrounded with. I'm so glad I had that time to really revel in the gravity of the moment and be thankful.

The most important thing to remember is that no matter what happens, at the end of the day, you'll be married and that's all that should matter. Anyone else have some wedding tips to throw in the mix?

All photos by Heidi Ryder Photography.