After the Wedding: What I Wouldn’t Change

Happy New Year, hive! It’s a new year and I’m guessing we have some newly engaged readers here at Weddingbee. I was married on May 26, 2013, and I wanted to share my wedding-planning advice for those of you who might just be getting started. I’ve had a lot of time to stop and reflect on our wedding, including what I loved and what I would change if given a second chance. Here are some decisions that we made during the planning process that I still feel good about.

Skip the Bouquet & Garter Toss

I’m so glad we skipped these two wedding traditions. At 30 (and being the youngest in my family) and 36, we don’t have too many single friends or family left these days, at least not ones we wanted to publicly humiliate by forcing them to stand in a group while I toss a bouquet at them. I’ve always been really embarrassed when I have been forced into a ring of younger women who are ready and willing to fight for the chance to be the next to get married. The garter toss didn’t fit the vibe of our wedding either, nor does it really suit our personalities. I think these traditions are starting to lose popularity over the years, but they are probably a lot more fun if you are getting married young or have lots of younger family members who would be excited to join in. Go with your gut on this one, and don’t let friends or family members talk you into having anything at your wedding that doesn’t suit your style or personalities! Besides, who would want to toss this bouquet?

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Skip the Out-of-Town Bags:

As much as I would have loved to pamper and impress our out-of-town guests, I am so glad that we skipped the out-of-town bags. It would be have been a huge extra cost for us (when things were already over budget), and it would have been very stressful to gather these items and assemble them at the last minute, not to mention getting them to the hotels and into the hands of specific guests. A lot of bee bloggers have made them and you see them a lot online, but please, please, please do not feel obligated or pressured to provide out-of-town bags to your guests. I don’t think any guest arrives to a destination wedding expecting anything other than witnessing a wedding ceremony. Yes, it’s a very special touch, but it’s a luxury, not a necessity. When I thought about all the money I was practically hemorrhaging those final weeks leading to the wedding, I came to the realization that it was just an unnecessary expense.

Skip the Bathroom Basket

This falls under the same category as the out-of-town bags. It’s an unnecessary expense. I’ve seen women spend easily $50–100 on bathroom baskets. It’s a very generous final touch, but guys—you are at a wedding for maybe five or six hours. I don’t think guests need an entire basket of conveniences for such a short period of time. This whole idea of being the gracious and generous hostess who anticipates the needs of her every guest is getting out of hand. If you have the money, go for it. Otherwise, skip the bathroom basket. No one will notice and you will save yourself time and money.

Be Yourselves!

I love that we incorporated some fun, silly photos into our wedding-day portrait session, like the one below of us “Vadering.” We aren’t the most serious of couples, so this allowed some of our personalities to shine through on our big day. Don’t be afraid to ask you photographer to incorporate some fun or goofy photos like these!

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Have the Sunday Wedding

We decided to hold our wedding on the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend. When negotiating with vendors, I did not mention it was a holiday weekend; I only mentioned that it was a Sunday. We ended up with a significant discount from our photographer! This meant we were able to afford a venue and caterer that otherwise would have been out of our budget. Don’t be shy about the Sunday wedding, especially if you can get it to line up with a day most people will have off anyway!

Book the New Venue

I know it’s not always possible, but we took a chance on a brand new wedding venue and really lucked out. A Divine Event had just bought the property that would become Cloverleaf Farms when Mr. C and I stopped by to have a look. There was still a lot of work to be done, but the event coordinator who showed us the property was able to help us see their vision, and I loved what I heard. We were on board immediately and took a chance booking a venue that was still a work in progress. As such, we received a significant discount as one of their first pre-advertising bookings.

Rent the Cafe Lights

We spent a lot of money on rented cafe lights. Yes, it’s crazy. I realize it’s crazy. But they turned out so magically beautiful. If I was a bit more industrious I would have found some way to purchase and hang my own cafe lights, but that was unrealistic considering the time crunch we were under as the wedding approached. But if you need to rent some ambient lights for your reception space—go for it! It makes a huge impact. Originally, we were going to hold the reception inside the house, but since the venue coordinator suggested it, we decided to move all the tables outside and we needed to have lighting. We definitely wanted something more than the garish flood lights already attached to the house. Beauty and function! So for that, I say it was money well spent. But maybe see if you can buy your own and put them up the night before!

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Get Edible Favors

Do you ever keep knick-knacks around because you feel guilty throwing them away or donating them? You keep them in a box in your closet or in the junk drawer, taking up space but simultaneously making you feel too guilty to toss them? That’s me! That’s why I’m glad we chose edible favors (French macarons) so our guests wouldn’t be stuck with some random object they felt obligated to take home and keep. Not only were they practical, but they were beautiful and delicious as well. We had some on display on our dessert table and others were individually wrapped and passed out to guests with hand-stamped thank you tags. So many of our friends and family had never tried French macarons before, and everyone was so delighted by the amazing flavor and texture of these fancy little French cookies. It made me happy to share one of my small joys with our guests.

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Sorta DIY the Flowers

Originally we were going to go total DIY for our flowers. The plan was to order flowers in bulk from fiftyflowers.com and then spend the Saturday before our Sunday wedding arranging the flowers into my collection of milk glass vessels. This all sounded feasible during the dreamlike “anything is possible” first six or seven months of wedding planning. And then reality sank in. I didn’t want to spend the day before my wedding frantically cutting and arranging flowers, transporting them to and from the venue, all the while asking my mom, family, and bridesmaids to sacrifice their time to help out. In the end, we went the semi-DIY route. This decision was also inspired by the floral quote I received. The compromise was that the florist would handle my bouquet, the groom’s boutonniere, and the table decor while we DIY’ed the bridesmaid bouquets, aisle baskets, and groomsmen boutonnieres. We bought baby’s breath in bulk, and my mom made the arrangements in an hour or so two days before the wedding. They were fine sitting in water until the big day. In an ideal world I would have loved to have something a little more colorful for the bridesmaids, but I’m still happy with the end result. Plus, it saved us a ton of money, and we had plenty of baby’s breath leftover to fill our aisle baskets too.

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Keep the Seating Chart

If you are having a seated buffet, people will tell you that you do not need to have assigned seating. I had several people try to convince me that it was unnecessary. Others told me that guests would not want to stay at their tables. I beg to differ. First of all, as you might recall, I have some serious drama in my family, and I wanted to ensure that each family member was sitting with the appropriate people. Secondly, as a guest, I hate having to save a seat for myself and my partner only to realize I’m sitting with a group of people I don’t know. Maybe some people enjoy the element of surprise, but personally I hate small talk with a passion. With these things in mind, I made sure to seat all of our guests with friends and relatives. If you feel like having a seating chart fits the vibe of your guests, go for it. Again, listen to your instinct and don’t let anyone talk you out of it.

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Wear What Makes You Happy

I struggled with my decision to wear a blue sash on our wedding day. On one hand, I loved the look of the dress without the sash. On the other hand, I was kind of obsessed with the idea of the sash. I even waited until the last minute to ask my mother to make one because I just wasn’t sure it was what I really wanted. I was terrified that I would regret the decision. Thankfully, I love the final look and I can’t imagine our wedding day without it. No one ever tried to dissuade me from wearing it, but it would have been tough to ignore the comments of my friends and family. Even so, stick to your guns and wear what makes you happy! It’s your wedding day, after all, not theirs.

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Did you make any tough decisions that you are still glad you stuck with, even months or years after the wedding?

C

BLOGGER

Mrs. Camel

Location:
Athens, GA
Wedding Date:
May 2013

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  1. Guest Icon Guest
    Ashley, Guest @ 1:13 pm

    I am glad you went with the sash- it’s lovely! On a related note, what material is it? Silk? I’m wearing a sash, too (but in black), and I can’t decide what material to use- a velvet or grosgrain ribbon, sew it out of silk or satin, or what! I love the drape of yours, though, and would love to replicate it.

  2. Member
    dli 213 posts, Helper bee @ 1:26 pm

    we are in the same age group as you and i totally didnt do the bouquet toss/garter thing. once i realized most of my guest list were couples i nixed the idea right away!

    those cafe lights really made your venue shine!

    i really wanted to do macaron favors too!! but i was pretty sure they would disintegrate or go stale. i am really glad however that i went w/ white wayfarer sunglasses as the favor. i had a twinge of doubt when i read on here about how most guests dont like favors that have your name and wedding date, but ive seen our sunglasses worn all over fb way after our wedding. personally i don’t usually like printed favors either but i made a really small cute design on ours so it wasn’t super in your face. i’m so glad i had them printed because we have some left and they’ll always remind us of our day!

  3. Member
    Mrs. Clover 123 posts, Blushing bee @ 1:51 pm

    I love this post. I think I’ll be skipping all the things you did, so its nice to hear thats a good plan! And I totally agree on the seating chart. I hate it when people don’t have them. I feel lost, and have ended up sitting with strangers more than once–no fun.

  4. Member
    msfilly 827 posts, Busy bee @ 2:32 pm

    Great suggestions! I loved your macaron favors … omgggg, looking at those pictures is making me so hungry, haha.

  5. Member
    wellies 1425 posts, Bumble bee @ 4:48 pm

    Such a great list! :)

  6. Member
    gondola 1046 posts, Bumble bee @ 12:16 am

    Great post! I love the Darth Vader photo.

  7. Member
    ms_purple 2635 posts, Sugar bee @ 5:47 am

    Great list and some good points. Thanks for sharing! We almost had our wedding the Sunday before Memorial Day this coming year hoping to score some discounts but all the vendors in town seemed one step ahead and already had it in the fine print that Sundays of a holiday weekend would never be discounted. It’s great you were able to still get some deals and smart not to mention that it was “Memorial Day Weekend” or a holiday weekend.

  8. Member
    msbicycle 718 posts, Busy bee @ 6:11 am

    I agree with everything! We skipped OOT bags and although I regretted it for a little, I don’t even think twice about it now. And I can’t imagine your wedding without that sash, either!

  9. Member
    mspalmtree 1122 posts, Bumble bee @ 10:50 am

    I could read about/look at pictures from your wedding forever, girl.

    In other news: I love this post, both the tips and how the general message is to do what feels right for you and your spouse.

  10. Guest Icon Guest
    MS, Guest @ 5:08 pm

    I love your sash! I’m sure someone’s already said it, but it makes me think of Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music– ‘girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes’ are one of her favorite things!

  11. Member
    fauxpas2012 3028 posts, Sugar bee @ 6:27 pm

    I remember the saga of that blue belt, I love it! And those flowers, –they are perfection. It’s a REALLY good idea to combine some pro flowers and some not-pro.

    As for the OOT bags, I think they are stupid. What, you don’t think I am capable of looking on the web to find a place to stay and things to do in your town? Doh, I’m a world traveler. Those bags are insulting. And the bathroom baskets are downright stupid.

  12. Member
    haker4 230 posts, Helper bee @ 11:33 am

    Absolutely gorgeous!! So glad you went with the sash too. I’m OBSESSED WITH BOWS.

    SO….two questions:

    Did you end up ordering the baby’s breathe from fiftyflowers? I have a florist in the process of quoting me for bulk baby’s breathe and need a comparison.

    Secondly, how wide is your sash? I’m going to be ordering mine from etsy but want a wide enough sash to make a great bow like the one you have (no tiny flimsy bow will do!).

    Again, gorgeous wedding! And thank you for all the advice! I’m skipping the bathroom basket now and may even skip the hotel bags. Would you believe our hotel charges $1.50 to hand each out??!!!

  13. Member
    s0inl0v3 64 posts, Worker bee @ 12:39 pm

    I love your bouquet and the blue cameo…gorgeous.

  14. Guest Icon Guest
    Sarah, Guest @ 12:53 pm

    Great advice overall, but as a venue manager that works with a lot of DIY couples, from my decades of experience, I have to say there are two specific points that worked out great for your wedding, but are not universally going to work out for every couple.

    1. Holiday weekends – it depends on where you live. In large cities they are the most popular dates actually, so discounts are often not offered and in some cases you may even pay more for services on holidays. I don’t know where your wedding took place, but getting a discount on Memorial Day weekend (the new venue eager to get bookings was probably the primary reason) was an exception to what is typically a very high-demand wedding weekend. Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends are the biggest wedding weekends, they always get fully booked Friday, Saturday, Sunday.

    2. A new venue typically will have lower rates, but be careful. Especially with new restaurants there is a high percentage that will not make it as a business and will cut their losses and close within 1 – 3 years if they are not doing well. Every year our venue helps couples looking for a last minute replacement because their hot new venue suddenly went bust and cancelled all of their contracts. This is no joke, and we see this happen EVERY year in a large city where there will be several that suddenly close. Also, a lot of new multipurpose venues that primarily do business as something other than an event venue will often offer rental to increase their revenue, but do not have anyone experienced with events or weddings working there. They basically have someone to make sales and unlock the doors, but will do little else or wont be able to answer any planning or logistic questions. Be sure to do your homework when shopping non-traditional venues. If they just have someone to sell you the venue, but they don’t seem willing or knowledgeable to even be able answer typical event questions when you meet with them, that would be a red flag. That is a pretty good indication they will not be involved with executing the event at all, so you’ll want to know upfront if you need to hire a day-of coordinator or heavily rely on family and friends for set-up, clean-up or event planning/management leading up to your wedding day.

  15. Member
    camel 703 posts, Busy bee @ 4:31 pm

    @Ashley: Thank you for the sweet comments! To be honest, I’m not really sure about the material, but I think it might be satin. I purchased the fabric at Jo-Ann’s Fabrics based mostly on the color. Originally I wanted this cornflower blue raw silk but I had a lot of trouble finding it. Plus I needed over six yards of fabric and it would have been rather expensive. This worked out well though!

    @haker4: Thank you so much! :) Yes, the baby’s breath was from FiftyFlowers.com and it arrived in time and as advertised! I recommend them! Secondly, the sash was 3.5″ thick! Good luck with your sash. It totally made my wedding day look!

  16. Guest Icon Guest
    Courtney, Guest @ 5:40 pm

    What a pretty bouquet!

  17. Member
    pyramid 98 posts, Worker bee @ 9:39 am

    Great advice, Mrs. C. Your wedding was perfectly beautiful and very personalized!

  18. Member
    wrenkelly 1 posts, Wannabee @ 2:26 pm

    You’re wedding was so beautiful! I’m hoping mine will have exactly this sort of vibe ^_^

    I’m planning to go the same route with flowers. How much baby’s breath did you end up ordering? I have 5 bridesmaids, and am hoping to do exactly as you did – baby’s breath for their bouquets and then extra for random decoration.

    That, and I still have to track down some cafe lights!

  19. Guest Icon Guest
    sherry, Guest @ 8:51 pm

    What great ways to make the day unique and special to the bride and groom. Isn’t that what it is all about. It is your day after all.

  20. Member
    mswaterfall 1403 posts, Bumble bee @ 4:23 am

    I will never get tired of your wedding. Ever. Great tips! I like what you said about doing what’s right for the couple. In our case, we did do Bathroom Baskets and the tosses, and I’m really glad we did both!

  21. Guest Icon Guest
    elizabeth, Guest @ 10:24 am

    I agree with the bouquet toss& garter sort of. We were in our late 30s for our wedding. Instead of the traditional toss/garter we did something our DJ gave us the idea for. I had a special bouquet made for my niece (5yo) who was the flower girl. It had pink & white ribbons along with beautiful flowers that she would like. I wrote a poem just for her that I put on a purple magnet board designed with butterflies. I had the DJ play” when you wish upon a star” while I brought her up to the center of the dancefloor with me, I read her the poem and presented her with her special bouquet. She absolutely loved it.
    As for the garter the DJ called all the married men to the floor. He then weeded them down to gentleman that was married the longest, which was my uncle of 60+ years. He was then presented with the garter. Everyone loved it. It was perfect!! Everyone loved it and no one felt uncomfortable about it. if I can figure out how to add pictures to this I will post pictures of both

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