Hello! My name is Chelsea. I’m with the events staff here at The Hermitage. I absolutely love working on the weddings here and am so honored I get to be a part of so many. On April 2nd I reversed my usual role and got to be the one walking down the aisle! I had the wedding of my dreams, and I wanted to share my wedding planning experience as a bride with you!
Hardest/Easiest Part of Planning
- Deciding on a general direction- Let’s be honest, there are SO many cool ideas out there. You should have seen my Pinterest board. It was a hodgepodge of beautiful randomness. I didn’t know if I wanted a rustic, boho, or a woodland feel. It just gets overwhelming. I say this to encourage you to sit down with your fiancé and decide on what kind of wedding you want. What kind of feel do you both want? What is representative of you two? Decide on a theme--a point in time, a painting, a movie, something. Find photos for inspiration, get creative, and then run with it.
- Keeping up with all of the details- Lists will become your best friend. They’ll be on legal pads, post-it notes, voice memos, and the occasional text to yourself. The minor details seem never ending. How do you want your napkins folded? What will you be using for a send-off? Where are guest favors to be placed? The list goes on and on. However, as your big day gets closer the list will get shorter and shorter… I promise!
- Seeing the big picture- Sometimes it’s difficult to see how everything is going to flow or look together. No matter how many times you layout all of your décor on your living room floor it is still difficult to envision how your guest sign-in table is going to look with linens, flowers, candles, and all. Just relax and trust your planner to have it all come together!
- Having a planner do the big stuff- A planner will save you so much time and more importantly, stress! They will make hotel blocks for your out-of-town guests, create all of the floor plans, and will organize the ever so frantic bridal party to make sure everyone walks down the aisle at the right time (That’s some sort of magic if you ask me!). They will also set-up and tear-down all of the décor that you brought. They’re there so you can enjoy your wedding day with your loved ones and not have to run around worrying about the little things. This is the time to focus on yourself and the next step you and your fiancé are about to take, not on how many seconds should pass between each bridesmaid walking down the aisle.
- Vendor meetings- No need to stress! These are so much fun! Whether you’re trying food, playing with table settings, or talking with a photographer or DJ, this is your time to reveal to them what the wedding of your dreams looks like. Have any questions or possibly odd requests? Do NOT be afraid to ask. You’d be surprised what certain vendors are able to tailor. Let them know what is important to YOU because each bride likes to emphasize different aspects of their wedding.
- Budgeting (can be stressful, but it is easy when you’re on top of it!)- Don’t be afraid to shop around for vendors and get quotes. Plus, you’ll be able to see who fits your wedding style the best. If I could only give one piece of advice it would be to decide on your top 3 most important parts of your wedding and splurge on those. If you are dreaming of pretty flowers and greens, then do it! There are corners that can be cut in just about every category. And when spending keep everything logged, keep every receipt, and don’t impulse buy. Little things add up quickly and you don’t want to be left with a bunch of unneeded items.
Mistakes I think I made during planning
- Time management- Do not, I repeat, DO NOT wait until right before the wedding to get “small stuff” done. If I could go back I would have had everything done at least 3- 4 weeks out. But of course I was still making my guest favors the night before…oops! Granted, I didn’t have the help I needed until everyone was in town to help me out, but I did think that I had a lot more done that I actually did. I guess I bit off a little bit more than I could chew. Thankfully, I had some amazing people to help me get everything together without being crazy stressed!
- Choosing vendors that I really didn’t trust- The bottom line is don’t choose to work with someone if you don’t trust them completely. You will waste time worrying and trying to micromanage what they do. Know that it’s okay NOT to book after a vendor meeting. And don’t just book because they are a family friend or gave you a good deal. You want to trust your vendors in full to provide the best service for your big day!
Favorite aspects of your wedding
- The guests- After plus ones we only had 85 guests and it was PERFECT. Originally we made a long list that included long lost family and friends to people we got to know at our gym. The both of us then sat down and decided that our criteria was that we will not invite anyone that we wouldn’t take out for coffee. Sure, we ended up running into some people that we marked off of our list, but we still had no regrets. It made our wedding intimate, loads of fun, and not to mention cheaper!
- Make it personal- Do not be afraid to do something different! We started off our ceremony with a “warming of the rings” where our rings were placed inside a wooden box and were passed around for our guests to see and to put their wishes, blessings, and prayers over. I’ve had people continuously commenting how unique and sweet of a gesture it was. And now looking back my fiancé and I are so happy to have been able to involve our loved ones in our ceremony.
What I wish I would have known
- Some little things just don’t matter- At the end of the day it’s about you and your husband. No one is going to remember every little detail. For example, last minute we decided to not drape the doorways at our cocktail hour to save some money. And you know what? I never caught a glimpse of my cocktail hour! And the while planning the whole time I was very adamant on draping those doorways that I would have never seen. If I knew this little thing wasn’t such a big deal I would have never been so hung up on the drapes (see what I did there). But seriously, focus on the bigger things that you find truly important.
- How fast it goes by- Oh my, your wedding day is over in a blink of an eye. My final advice would be to enjoy every moment of it and please, please, please if you’re going to splurge on anything, splurge on an amazing photographer! You will have these photos for you to remember this quick, but special day for the rest of your life. Make sure that it is captured in the best way possible. It makes all of the difference.