Advice from a Bride

There are many tips and tricks I would like to pass on. I’m pretty type A, so organization was key to my feeling of calm.

  • Use vendors you know and trust (when possible). I have known our officiant for many years (my Matron-of-Honor’s Dad). He was so touched to be asked to officiate and it made the day more special. I’d highly recommend all of my vendors.
  • Day-of-Coordinator: Our venue had one included. Unless it’s a very small wedding, hire someone. Asking your mother or best friend to do it gives them work on your day when they should be enjoying it as much as you (or almost as much as you). If the venue includes a coordinator, make sure you have someone else that can oversee the decorations set up – the coordinator will be worrying about people and schedule not your design vision.
  • Use an all-inclusive venue. Obviously, this isn’t everyone’s style. Our venue included all the tables, chairs, basic linens, plates, serving help, and cleanup. I wasn’t going to worry about coordinating all of those things, but I didn’t want my family and friends to be worrying about that either.
  • Choose a venue that is already pretty. This reduces the amount of effort and money you have to spend decorating.
  • Have your ceremony and reception at the same place. Once again, this isn’t going to work for everyone. But it reduces transportation time and effort.
  • Do a First Look (aka see each other right before the ceremony). This is only if both the bride and groom are comfortable doing this, but it can save some time after the ceremony. We didn’t (Andrew wanted that look down the aisle) but since I was organized (see below) it worked out ok.
  • Organization, organization, organization.
  1. Have a specific list of all the family photo configurations, bridal party configurations, and details you want photographed and print many copies. Send this to your photographer in advance. Designate someone to direct traffic (so your photographer can focus on taking photos). Organize the family photo time (as it is probably limited) by taking the extended family photo first and moving as many people as quickly as possible into the reception.
  2. Document the order you want your family & bridal party walking down the aisle and back. Print some copies and give to your day-of coordinator. This will reduce confusion during the rehearsal (and you can get out in 20 minutes like us)
  3. Determine all the special songs used throughout your day and send the list to your DJ/band ahead of time. This includes all processional songs, recessional song(s), first dance song (we created our own mashup), Father-daughter dance, Mother-son dance, and any other special songs.
  4. If you created your own decorations and don’t have a florist or event designer setting up but a friend, make detailed lists and instructions. You want to be getting dressed and enjoying your day, not being asked questions about the decor.
  1. It included a Wedding Website, but the guest organization tool was the most handy. I was able to enter email addresses for all the guests, they receive a link and enter their mailing address for the invitation. When the invitation is sent, they go to the wedding website to RSVP. This automatically updates the database and you have an automated tally of acceptances and declines. I was then able to follow-up via email with those who had not responded yet.
  2. Wedding Wire also had a handy gift tracker to input any gifts received, the sender, the date received, and if the thank-you note is sent.
  3. I could also take my main guest database and create sub-events (Bachelorette Party, Shower, Rehearsal Dinner). This way, I can track who is invited to the individual events and pull a spreadsheet with contact information to send to the host of said event.
  • Revise Expectations. One big “change” was having a daytime wedding vs. evening. We were able to meet our budget but still have access to a beautiful venue. Don’t do something just because you think you are “supposed” to do it. Do things that help you meet your priorities. Remember, you need each other and an officiant to get married (your ultimate goal). Everything else is just extra (but wonderful).
  • Guest List. The guest list and/or budget will most likely cause the most drama between you and your parents and family. Who is paying for the wedding or portions of it? What is the overall budget? What is the capability of the venue(s)? These should be the limiting factors in deciding how many and who. Our goal in forming the guest list was either one or both of us personally knowing every invited guest.
  • Twogether in Texas. Check out this website (if you are in Texas). If you take one of the approved Marriage counseling programs/sessions, you can earn $60 off your marriage license. We used the HoustonMarriageProject. They had a 1 day course on a Saturday which was FREE and really helpful.
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Other Special Touches

Some other details I loved: First Dance We made a semi-choreographed “Evolution of Love Songs” mashup for our First Dance. The Sendoff! I had a daytime wedding, so sparklers would not work. Bubbles are overdone. What else is there? My initial … Continue reading

Posted in DIY

Guest (Book) Puzzle

This was one of my most exciting projects. I had seen the idea on Pinterest and found you could buy them on Etsy.

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Photo by Lynsey Creative

Luckily, I have a coworker (Ken) who does woodworking on the side and he was willing to help me. I found this tool and sent it to him, told him the dimensions, and he was able to create it (honestly, I don’t know what type of machine he used or exactly how he did it).

Thankfully, he etched this on the back – otherwise it would have taken FOR-EV-ER to put it back together.

His contact info: SawDust (ken.serdar@gmail.com) – he’s based near The Woodlands.

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On the other side, I spray painted purple (I used the same purple spray paint from Lowes for a number of projects). Once that had dried, I mixed all the pieces together and placed them in a basket providing Silver Sharpies.

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Miracle of Miracles, it all came together. I assembled the puzzle and was missing a piece (luckily I found it when sorting through the remaining wedding supplies). The finishing touches – a custom frame from Michael’s.

Altogether, it was a fairly cheap project but hopefully a memorable one. Ken gifted the wood and labor (not sure the cost otherwise), I had 1 can of spray paint and sharpies. The frame was a little more expensive because it was custom, but this is a keepsake for us to remember our wedding day forever.

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Posted in DIY

Paper Goods

The invitations, programs, escort cards, and signage were all fairly uniform.

Supplies used:

  • Border Punch (I actually went through 2 of these)
  • white cardstock
  • purple cardstock
  • envelopes (I found envelopes that would fit a quarter-sized sheet (folded or not)
  • scrapbook sticky tabs
  • paper trimmer
  • score board
  • alphabet rubber stamps and ink

Invitations

  • Cut purple cardstock into quarter-sized sections
  • Border punch and trimmed both edges (leaving the top and bottom straight)
  • Print the invitation on the white cardstock with purple ink and trim the edges
  • use the scrapbook sticky tabs to attach the white cardstock to the purple trimmed (leaving a section at the top of the card)
  • use the initials stamps and silver ink to create the “A&A”
  • place in envelope, add address, send address, and stamp

Programs

  • cut the purple cardstock into half-sized sections (long ways)
  • Border punch and trimmed both edges (leaving the top and bottom straight)
  • Print the program on the white cardstock with purple ink and trim the edges
  • use the scrapbook sticky tabs to attach the white cardstock to the purple trimmed (leaving a section at the top of the card)
  • use the initials stamps and silver ink to create the “A&A”
  • I even added a personalized word search on the back of the program to give the guests something to do while they waited for the ceremony to start. You can find tons of those programs, but I used this one.

Place Cards

  • cut the purple cardstock into 1/6 sized sections
  • Border punch and trimmed one of the long edges
  • Use the scoreboard to score the card in half
  • Print the names onto white mailing labels
  • attach the mailing labels onto the front side of the card (with the decorative edge frontwards)
  • use the number stamps and stamp the table numbers
Posted in DIY

The Dress – FINALE

I didn’t share much about my dress earlier, but it is a secret no longer!

I knew I wanted tea length (think 50s style skirt). I love lace too. I had seen a friend get married in a Justin Alexander tea length and loved it (of course, I couldn’t get the same dress). Then after some Google searches, I found this Justin Alexander. With that as my ideal, I was looking for lace on top (not strapless) with a tulle skirt. After shopping, I quickly determined I would have to alter anything I found to fit my wishes. I found this Alfred Angelo and almost immediately knew it had the potential to be “the dress”. It was difficult deciding when I could only imagine the end product. I ordered the dress about a year before the actual wedding (we hadn’t even set the date yet) and choose eggplant for the sash.

The alterations were sort of funny…the lady asked if I had shoes. I said, “no, I want it cut tea length”. “oh, are you sure?”. Oh yes, I was sure.

And this is the end result!

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Photo by Lynsey Creative

It’s Over!

The day is done. On Saturday, it will be 6 weeks since the wedding. How time flies!

We had a fantastic honeymoon, finished out our registry, and are now settling into married life. Marriage is good – you have one person you can fully trust with all your thoughts and frustrations, but also hard because of all your thoughts and frustrations.

It took 4 weeks for our Marriage License to be returned so I have been slowly transitioning to Strickland. It’s weird signing with a new signature!

My next task is to write up all my DIY projects. You may even see some of it on Pinterest soon.

1 Week to Go!

With only 1 week to go, you would think I would be almost there in the planning. You would be correct! I had an extremely productive January & February and now the big day is almost here! Some highlights from the last few months:

  • food tasting – yummy
  • Shower
  • Bachelor/Bachelorette Parties
  • working on my DIY touches – more details on these AFTER the wedding
  • invitations, RSVPs, following up on RSVPs etc.
  • Bridal portraits
  • wedding gifts started arriving
  • pre & post-wedding events booked (Bridesmaid’s Luncheon, Rehearsal, Rehearsal Dinner, After Party)
  • and more!

I’m almost at the point where I don’t know what to do with my time…Post-Honeymoon, we’ll be on to new adventures!