Sound check… sound check… 1, 2,3… It’s been a minute… is this thing still on? It’s been quite a while since my last post. Just a couple of life updates, ya know–an ongoing global pandemic, starting an online design shop, and oh–getting married 😉. I’m glad to have enough free time again to do a bit more writing.
I’m going to try something new! Instead of talking just about designing objects (although, I certainly will dive into it), I’m going to be writing about a much more complex and rewarding process–the design of my wedding. I’ll be frank here–I love weddings in general, and especially loved all the planning and execution that went into ours (maybe atypical for grooms?). I may be biased, but I believe Tiff and I work exceptionally well together. While our experience may not be directly applicable or repeatable for every couple in every relationship in every location (heck–I can’t even guarantee all of my thoughts align exactly with Tiff’s perspective…), it isn’t my goal to give a bunch of generic/useless advice (or any advice at all really). I could talk for days about everything that we did for our wedding, but I’ll do my best to distill my thoughts as well as I can. That being said, this is going to be my most ambitious blog writing project–so big that it comes in an unknown number of installments.
Part 1 will be an overall summary of the day itself, through quick highlights of what I felt were the biggest successes, things I would do differently if I had a time machine, things that had a bigger impact than I anticipated, and things that didn’t matter as much as I originally thought they would.
In a single word, the day was sublime. I loved every moment of our wedding day. I have never felt so much love emanating from everyone, everywhere all around, all at once. I thoroughly enjoyed the process of designing and planning for the wedding in and of itself, so it was an incredible and surreal feeling to watch everything come together. Despite minor behind the scenes hiccups, I felt the day was a huge success overall. It was the best day of my life so far, and I know I’ll look back on it fondly forever.
The biggest successes:
- All of the speeches. Our officiant Jason’s. Our vows to each other. The toasts at dinner–all fantastic. They each triggered my allergies to some extent.
- Overall, all of our vendors were fantastic to work with. We had a snafu where we misplaced all of our final payments and gratuity envelopes. I was able to apologize profusely and arrange alternative payment methods in today’s age of Venmo. Luckily, we found everything at the very end of the night, but this wasn’t until after some of our vendors had already departed.
- No drama at all! Browsing through various wedding planning forums, I see a ton of horror stories involving overbearing in-laws, incompetent/non-responsive vendors, irresponsible friends, unruly guests, etc. I’m so glad we had zero issues people-wise. Everybody had a good time, and stayed safe!
- When issues came up, those around us were empowered to just take care of things. Our coordinator Melissa from Mellie Bee, and Nick, my best man especially. I was very proud of the planning spreadsheet we put together. It included everything from photos of what each piece of decoration looked like to where we wanted it to go and clean up/packing instructions, full layouts for both ceremony and reception areas, the full schedule and also our seating chart. We gave everybody in our wedding party access to it in case questions came up (they did).
- DIY Decorations. It would have been extremely embarrassing for me as an artist and engineer if the centerpieces we spent so much time on turned out badly. Tiff and I are so lucky that both of our fathers were able to contribute as well. My dad’s portrait was a showstopper, and I think the table numbers Tiff’s dad helped us cut have the potential to be a successful product.
- This is gonna be a bit cliché, but honestly, just seeing everybody was truly the biggest treat for me.
Things that had a bigger impact than anticipated:
- Photo booth. The photo booth was something we saw as optional/on the chopping block if we couldn’t find one that met our budget. It was actually a bit difficult to find a company willing to quote due to how far our venue was. Luckily our DJ’s company had one they worked with often. The booth was used widely, and was a great outlet for those who didn’t want to be on the dance floor.
- Coordinator. At the outset of the planning process, I didn’t really want to have one. Thankfully our venue required us to hire one, and the one we hired was spectacular. She was able to help take care of our decor setup and takedown, while helping us manage all the little things that came up. It was such a blessing to know that we didn’t really have to worry too much about anything on the day of.
- Our photos. This is not technically something that made an impact on the day of… but I can’t believe our amazing photographer Elyana (IG: elyanaivette), turned around over a hundred (!!!) sneak peak photos in less than a week. They are all so much better than I hoped and I can’t wait to see the rest! Along the same lines, the shared google photos album we set up worked better than I expected.
- One thing that took me by surprise was I also didn’t expect how easy it was to get swept up in the moment. The time just flew by so quickly.
Things I would do differently with a time machine:
- Communication with our venue
- Despite all of our detailed planning, there were still a few miscommunications with our venue. The biggest one was how the timing of food service would impact our vendor break. It was an unfortunate oversight, which forced us to cut out photos with each of our tables.
- We should have been more explicit about where exactly we wanted our dinner tables to be–we expected a bit more space to move the portrait to the deck area after cocktail hour.
- Planning more special photos ahead of time
- The biggest photo I regret not taking was with the portrait my dad drew.
- Looking back at some of our night time photos, I wish we took more. Our venue looked like something straight out of a fairy tale when it was all lit up.
- Spend more time talking with people
- Basic and generic, but true. The dance floor was fantastic, and it’s my favorite thing at all weddings, don’t get me wrong, but in hindsight, maybe a bit more balance would have been nice.
- Practiced our first dance
- Even though we spent so much time practicing our first dance, I wish we had taken a few minutes to run through our first dance one last time. We missed a few steps during the execution, and I got caught in Tiff’s dress. Whoops! Adding 5 minutes into our timeline to sneak away would have paid dividends >.<
- Lack of official hotel block & shuttles. I felt really bad about not being able to arrange an official hotel block for our guests to take advantage of. At the time we were searching, none of the hotels we talked to were able to accommodate without committing to a hard number and minimum number of nights for each guest :(. Since we didn’t know where exactly everybody was staying, trying to arrange an official shuttle likewise didn’t make sense. I’m glad that this didn’t seem to make as big of an impact for our guests though.
Things that had a smaller impact than I anticipated:
- The weather. Throughout the few weeks before the wedding, the weather was fluctuating between very hot and very cold. Given our wedding was mostly outdoors, it was a big concern for us. While our venue had an option to add heat lamps, I never feel they are that effective. To help combat this, we sent out multiple reminders and told our guests to bring layers. Luckily, the weather turned out to be a non-factor since it wasn’t too cold, and those who were could keep warm by either drinking or going on the dance floor 🙂
- Nerves. I was surprised at how easy and natural the day was for me. I didn’t really feel too worried or anxious at all. I think it’s just a testament to the excellent support group of friends and family.
- Not being able to eat. I’ve heard stories that brides and grooms don’t usually get a chance to eat at their own wedding. This was not the case for us, but it may have been due to our confusion with the vendor break. Also, our coordinator made sure to save us some of the desserts and appetizers :).
- Length of toasts. All of the toasts at dinner went a bit long, but they were all extremely heartfelt and none of them seemed out of place at all.
- Alcohol. I was a bit nervous that the pressure to drink a lot would be pretty high. It was. I definitely did not get drunk at all though, despite the numerous shots I took :O. Thank goodness for adrenaline!
Thanks for sticking through this rambling post, I hope it is at least semi-coherent! As I mentioned, this will be a multi-part series… no guarantees on timing, but I promise the next one will come out eventually. I plan on delving deeper into the planning process, and yes, closer to my normal project updates, I promise I’ll get into the design of all the DIY decor as well ;).