Wednesday, March 2, 2022

Wedding Wednesday

This is part II (see part I here) of a post I wrote back in August 2021 based on Q's I received from all of you! A warning: it's another wordy one! 

Bridal Party
I think this might have been one of the most asked questions via my Instagram Q+A. So many of you who are brides-to-be were considering just having a maid of honor but many of you were hesitant because you were worried about regretting it or how others would view your decision since it's non-traditional. 

I am SO GLAD I didn't have a bridal party and got ready with my parents and sister. In hindsight, I really couldn't imagine it any other way. It was special and it was not hectic. I did not feel like I missed out on a bridal party. If I had to do it all again, I'd do it all the same without a second thought. I think you just have to know yourself and what you want. Again, I feel like this is a more personal wedding decision. I can share my experience, but you ultimately have to decide for yourself. I am someone who needs calmness and as much as I love my friends and cousins and family, a bridal party is not my idea of calm. Don't get me wrong, I love being a bridesmaid in a bridal party!

Just knowing myself and my personality, I also think that with a bridal party, I would have felt like I needed to make sure everyone was being taken care of and had everything they needed and all of that. It's just how I am wired and feeling like I needed to be playing hostess would have hindered me from being able to really focus on the day.

I think the best thing about not having a bridal party is that I was afforded the time and ability to focus to really savor it all and was able to really focus on every moment happening. 

I was also surprised to hear from so many of you who got married and said that you had wished you had not had such a big bridal party or not had one at all! I will say, I 100% needed my mom, dad, and sister. Getting around in the dress was tough when the train was down and the veil was on. It was also a whole thing to go to the bathroom. I'm thankful for my cousin, Paige, who also assisted in my bathroom trips, ha!! It was a lot and their help was totally necessary. I don't think I could have done it with fewer people. So if you are considering not doing a bridal party I still definitely recommend having at least a few people with you in the morning for help! The house didn’t feel so quiet, either, we had a photographer, videographer, makeup, and hair people there and then my sister’s husband came over for a bit so even with just the 4 of us, the house still felt very alive! 

My sister is having 4 people in her bridal party. I'm the maid of honor and then a cousin, a friend from high school, and a family friend but she still invited more girlfriends to her bachelorette party and that kind of thing. I think it just depends on what you want! 

Getting Ready 
So I know it’s more traditional to get ready at your parent’s house or a hotel or the venue, but I was always dead set on getting ready at my house. Again, I needed to feel calm and the familiarity of my home really helped with that. I also wanted to be with Henry for as long as possible. I am SO glad I made that choice. My husband got ready at The Duquesne Club (our reception venue that also has hotel rooms), which was perfect for him since his family/best man were all from out of town so it worked out well (and the DC did not allow dogs)! We were both able to get our family photos in before the ceremony so we didn’t have to do many of those after the ceremony which helped with timing.

Less Is More
I took a less is more approach when it came to signage and our band MC'ing. I basically told the band to do as little speaking as possible and to not really announce anything. We did not do any type of bridal party entrance like my MOH and Best Man or parents or flower girl/ring bearer. We were the only ones that walked in separately from anyone else. I also had very little signage. I’ve mentioned this before, but I wanted it to feel like an intimate dinner party and at a dinner party there is obviously no MC or signage. With a small-ish guest list, I didn't feel like much signage was needed anyway. 

Hair and Makeup
I've mentioned this before but for the longest time, I truly was not going to hire hair or makeup and just do my own. I'm very particular and in the past, I haven’t loved my hair or makeup when professionally done. But, I am beyond glad I did. It made me feel way more relaxed. I also think there's something to be said about a makeup artist and how they're able to do makeup that will truly last all day and all night. If you are on the fence like I was, I'd say do it! It really did make it feel much more like a special day rather than every day when I usually do my own makeup and hair! I'm also so glad I had my hair switched. I was able to get the best of both worlds with the switch. You can see a full list of vendors, here

Cocktail Hour
We originally wanted to go to our cocktail hour, but we ended up not going to it. It was an hour-long. Before our wedding, I kept feeling like if we didn't go to cocktail hour, we'd be 'missing out', but we were able to take a breather, spend time together, and freshen up. They had champagne and hors d'oeuvres brought in for us and we were able to go down to the ballroom and see it before everyone else and then look down from above on our cocktail hour and everyone cheered us on. It gave us time to take it all in and I don't feel that we 'missed out' like I was worried about! Our family and friends sent us tons of photos and videos from their perspective, too, so I was really glad! Zero regrets on this. 

Guest Count
We ended up with just under 100 people. We invited 112. I am beyond grateful I stuck to my wishes and kept our guest list tight. We were able to comfortably see and talk to all of our guests without even having to go from table to table. I heard from so many brides who said they didn't get a chance to sit down all night and we truly were able to sit down, enjoy our meal, enjoy time together, and were still able to have fun and be with all of our guests! I think the after party was key, too, in that we were able to spend even more time with friends and family there! I would highly recommend an after-party, it was so much fun! The number of people just felt totally manageable not only during the planning process but also during the actual wedding day. Also, in hindsight, I'm glad our number was small compared to the capacity of our church and venue for pandemic restrictions. There were no restrictions on our wedding date, but we always knew that could be a possibility so I am glad we didn't max out capacity in any way... not that we would have ever, in a million years, guessed that a pandemic would have interrupted our plans when we got engaged! 

Wedding Advice 
In the Q+A I just did I was surprised to see so many asked for wedding advice! I feel silly saying this because it is sooooo cliché to say, but it's true: don't sweat the small stuff!! You might be so worried about a small detail or even a big detail, but if things go awry, you and your guests likely won't even notice or it won't be as big of a deal as you think it will be. We honestly had nothing go wrong, phew! But truly there is so much love on that day, things just don't matter as much as they might have when you were planning. I was also just so thrilled that our day was actually happening, there was not much that could have upset me! 

Also, one other thing is to consider a sweetheart table. We had quite a few people try to talk us out of this but oh my gosh, I am SO happy I stuck to my gut on this one. We were able to enjoy each other's company, really enjoy our full meal, and just soak it all in. Also superficially, I like the photos from the sweetheart table vs. if we had been sitting at a table with others. 

Was It Worth the Wait?
I got a ton of DM's from brides after our wedding who also had to postpone but hadn't yet had their date. Heck, my sister still hasn't had hers yet!! I've also been asked by many who are newly engaged but couldn't reserve a date until late 2023. Many have asked me if the wait was worth it and I will tell you from my experience, it was 110% worth the wait. Would I recommend an almost three-year engagement? Absolutely not. In hindsight, I personally think a year engaged is probably the 'sweet spot'. However, our hands were tied in our situation. But, it was the most special thing to be able to have all of those family and friends with us that we hold so dear. I cried walking down the aisle because as I was walking, I looked at people's faces and it was incredibly overwhelming in the best way to see everyone together after the absolutely awful year that was 2020. It still gives me chills when I think about it.

Flip Flops
I ended up forgetting to pack flat shoes! My Manolo Blahnik shoes were actually pretty comfortable but after 10ish hours, I was ready for flats. I had a basket of Old Navy flip-flops on the edge of the dance floor for guests if they wanted to ditch their shoes so they would be comfortable to dance. Not only were they almost all used by our guests (I really didn't think they'd be as popular as they were, I just kind of did it more as a formality), but I was glad to have a pair to wear myself, ha!

Champagne in Limo
I wanted a limo (and believe me, I made sure it had tan interior, iykyk, ha!) because it felt old school like something my parents did and not many people really do anymore. I really wanted a vintage car, but the only thing I could find for rent were vintage Rolls Royces which was not my vibe. But anyway, I loved the limo and they provided champagne/a stocked drink situation, which is a nice perk, but I knew to bring our own champagne since usually, 'free champagne' is almost always champagne on the sweeter side (which is not my thing). I was right, too. I thought this was worth mentioning because I'm not sure many people know to do this if they like a specific drink! I did not want cans like beers/high noons or plastic cups. It just didn't feel elegant enough for our wedding day so I was thrilled that the limo had flutes (I made sure to ask. If they had said they had plastic, I would have brought a set of glass flutes, dead serious). 

We ended up not doing photos together with Henry. I really wanted to make it happen but logistically it just wasn't going to work out. Our neighbors were amazing and watched Henry for us but it was nice for me to be able to get ready with him and get some cute photos with him. I will say I was bummed not to have a photo of the three of us for our Christmas card photo, but we made it work with a photo of just him on the back! In hindsight, I still would have done it this way. 

Thursday Night
We had a really fun night with the out-of-town family on Thursday night before our wedding and that was SO much fun. That's when I put my out-of-office e-mail on and was able to really let loose and really feel like it was our wedding weekend. We went to the Le Mont for cocktails and then went to dinner at Cioppino (they were able to easily accommodate a large group). So fun to see everyone and be able to spend more time with them. I would definitely suggest doing something like this! 
We had brunch the next morning after our wedding. There was a continental breakfast at The Duquesne Club for guests but we also did brunch at Eleven. We were so exhausted and were leaving the next morning for The Greenbrier and had to get so much stuff into our cars. It was just a lot. I don't necessarily regret it, but in hindsight, I would not have done brunch at Eleven. It just was unnecessary. 

After Party 
Beyond glad we had an after-party. People were tying one on and you could tell we had all been stuck in our houses for the past year and a half, haha! No one, including us, wanted the party to end. I was also so glad we did late-night food, that was a hit! We did it at The Industrialist hotel. They have a second-floor lounge and it's really pretty- a totally different vibe than our reception so that was fun! 


Kelly C said...

This is beyond valuable information. Thank you for so kindly sharing! Would you be able to share your timeline, or a fake timeline if you don't want to disclose details?

Mel M said...

This was a lovely post-how I wish I had read this before my own wedding 5 years ago! I can totally relate to feeling you had to ‘host’ the bridal party…which is basically what I ended up doing. Really admire your mature outlook on all of this, thank you for sharing x


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