As some of you might know, I am divorced…and I have been wanting to write this post for such a long time! As crazy/psycho/weird as it might sound, I am so grateful to have learned from my first wedding what works, what doesn’t, what’s important & what isn’t…and I am here to share all of these details, which I am also noting for my upcoming wedding (date is TBD).

I am very opinionated and had a very clear vision of what I wanted my wedding to be like (non-basic) and I did pull it off quite well. However, there are always things that slip through the cracks or don’t go as planned. So, a recap of my biggest takeaways for you to learn from my successes and failures.

Personalize: First things first, the above photo is a photo of my (first) wedding cake. I did not want my wedding to be basic in any sense. I wanted to personalize everything, and not in a cheapy, overdone monogrammed way, but in a way that really reflected who the bride and groom were. Everything should also be cohesive. The same fonts were used for just about everything from the invitations to the place cards, menus, and napkins. The cake was made to replicate the look of my dress and it included the {personalized} wedding vows on the first and third tier. I am still pretty proud of myself that all of this was conceptualized sans-Pinterest…because it didn’t exist then. Overall, DO YOU. Try not to be swayed by Pinterest or bridal magazines. 

Music: There is nothing worse than a wedding with shitty music. Think Y.M.C.A., The Chicken Dance, The Macarena…the list goes on. Hire a DJ or a band that you trust and ask to view some video footage of weddings they have done. The DJ I worked with had some really amazing ideas to personalize the entire wedding from cocktail hour to the bridal party introductions, to the reception. There were curated playlists every part of the wedding. For example, I said NO WAY to the bridal march and walked down the aisle to an acoustic version of Tiny Dancer, and the recessional was an acoustic version of a Metallica song.  It’s also important to have a DO NOT PLAY THESE SONGS OR ELSE THE BRIDE WILL SHANK YOU list. For me, this included anything by Maroon 5, anything from the ’90’s, Nickelback, James Blunt…you get the idea. The music was one of the most special aspects of the wedding, as it should be!

The Flowers: This was something I was VERY passionate about. I wanted the tallest vases that I could possibly find with HUGE white roses arranged on top with crystals hanging down from each centerpiece. I am aware this reveals my OCD when it comes to details. Also included were white calla lilies and white hydrangeas throughout the wedding from the bouquets to the bridal party table to the Chuppah (Jewish wedding). To hire a florist to do this, it would’ve cost a 867004968 million dollars, so I decided this was one task I was willing to DIY. And it was worth it. I was SO nervous beforehand, but I would do it all over again. Here’s what I did: I ordered the tallest cylinder vases that I could find wholesale. Most websites consider 6 or more vases wholesale and I ordered 12. Costco was my flower savior. Did you know that they sell flowers at wholesale prices? I ordered about 2,000 flowers and they were all sitting in my living room for two days. I have never taken care of anything so well in my life. With white flowers, it is SO important not to touch the petals as they can brown from the oils on your skin. My biggest tip if you DIY your florals: ASK FOR HELP. My bridal party was amazing, and they helped me achieve the look that I wanted. I thanked them with food and booze. Doing this saved about $3,000.

The dress: This tip is especially for larger busted ladies: make sure that the dress you buy has a built in corset or bra OR is very structured. Also, buy the dress of your dreams (within reason). I had my eye on a dress that I had seen in a magazine, but I didn’t buy it initially. I shopped around and ended up buying a dress that I found during a sample sale. There was no structure to it at all, and when I inquired about adding a corset, it was going to cost just about what I paid for the dress! I wasn’t totally in love with it, either…I had planned to add custom beading to it as well. So I went and I tried on that dress that I had seen in the magazine, LOVED it, and that is what I wore. Dress #1 is still hanging in my closet. I cannot get rid of it…I’ve tried ebay, Pre-Owned Wedding Dresses, Craigslist…nada. So, if you are thinking of selling your dress after your big day, keep in mind that little-known designer dresses are incredibly difficult to sell. 

Hair & Makeup: Stay true to who you are and what you look like. I wore (makeup) colors that I wore/wear on an everyday basis with an added boost of thicker eyeliner and BIG lashes. Hair and makeup is such a personal choice, but if you can, try to keep your hair out of your face. That doesn’t mean an updo, but maybe a Kim K. tuck-back (behind the ears), or half up/half down, which is what I did. Even if just one side is back behind your ear (think old Hollywood glam), it will avoid a sweaty mess once you hit the dance floor. Don’t wear your hair in a chignon if that’s not your everyday look. For my upcoming wedding, I’m thinking a combo of old Hollywood glam and the tuck-back. 

Spend time with your partner: Unfortunately this was a big fail for me. There were 120ish guests at my wedding, and managing the time speaking to everyone would have been ideal. I kept ‘losing’ my new husband and looking back now, we probably spent about an hour together, including the ceremony during a 7 hour event. Make it a point to stick together as much as you can – it’s YOUR day to share together.

Let me know if you have any wedding tips! Share in the comments below!

xo, Lynn