I've been ridiculously tentative about sharing any of my wedding planning all year long because
A.) I didn't want to hear anyone say "well, I wouldn't do it like that. If you did ___ it'd be better."
Even if you're right I didn't/I don't want to hear it. You can say I'm hardheaded but the fact is that for my wedding day I wanted to do what I wanted to do how I wanted to do it and hearing otherwise from people just filled my head with anxiety. Because I do have a bit of wishy washy-ness inside me and the last thing I want is to be tormented with more options. I have a hard enough time trying to pick out an entree at dinner time and that's a pretty inconsequential decision.
B.) I don't like the idea of someone snagging my ideas before I use them. Once I've used them you can feel free to give me credit for inspiring you, but I'd be ridiculous kinds of upset if someone outright stole an idea from me under my feet.
And it's not even that I think of myself as all that possessive, but I guess once it's yours you become very protective and almost like another person all together when it comes to your wedding. It's like your little pet, or your baby and the tiniest things will find a way to set you off that normally wouldn't. I didn't want to knowingly set myself up to become a bridezilla when the simple act of keeping my mouth shut would prevent it.
I did my own bouquets for all the girls. Daisies for the boys. Small hand bouquets for the mothers. Very easy if you pick a sturdy flower. Daisies were super sturdy and could take a bit of abuse... Roses were a bit more finicky but I think if you ordered yours a day before that they'd be fine; less pruning necessary. Just stock up with floral supplies and get your bridesmaids to give you a hand that morning and you'll be good. I have no clue about any other flowers since I am not a professional florist but I'm sure you could look it up. I'm allergic to pollen so I tend to stay away from flora.
I chose a monochromatic floral arrangement because I actually like it like that. Plus I have an usual disgust for baby's breath. I associate them with old ladies and cobwebs...I don't really know why. It's entirely random and weird. I think too much bouquet just ends up taking away from you as the bride anyway and you want your bouquet to enhance your appearance, not steal your thunder. It's nice to have an over the top floral arrangement on a table but not in your hands. Not when you want people to look at you being stunning in your amazing wedding gown. I half considered no bouquet at all but since I had a very simple dress I thought it'd be too plain. There's a thin line between classically elegant and plain and boring.
I chose, somewhat in the final hour, to hand dip pretzels. I know...I'm crazy. But I thought it'd be cute and I've been on a baking sabbatical since the wedding has edged closer so I really did enjoy spending some time in the kitchen dipping each of those little guys. Perhaps I would have selected slightly larger pretzels just so I wouldn't have to do like...400 of them. It was a good idea before I realized that I had to individual dip each one, shake off the excess, let it dry and then keep it contained in a cool place to avoid melting. I printed out the little labels. I cut the ribbons to equal sizes to tie up the little bundles to place inside the tiny cordial glasses. The Chinese take out boxes were a more practical decision because I figure they could actually be used as doggie bags for overfull guests but also a nice nod to some Asian roots. I tried to throw in a few Asian inspired things where I could without seeming too cliche. No giant dragons or incomprehendible Chinese symbols.
Giant martini glasses full of...fluff. They're like the filler people use in Easter baskets. I'll say it was a really hard project trying to find that stuff during any time of the year other than Easter because it so rarely has any purpose. We had glo sticks in there to make it all glo but with the lighting the the room shape it was hard to see. In any case people seemed to take a shine to them because they were all scooped up by the end of the night...though I'm sure I still have some bumping around my parents' garage because we had SO many.
I just thought it'd be nice. It wasn't a ton of hard work, but we just picked 4 drinks to correspond with Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, and Something Blue, I printed them and got some frames to display them in. I am a notoriously bad drink chooser so having a menu is always helpful to me in order to make up my mind.
We actually stumbled on this idea after watching "The Wedding Singer." During the movie, just before Adam Sandler got stood up at the altar they had a shot of the strings playing "Don't Stop Believing" by Journey. After I mentioned it Trevor seemed to want to run with it. After a few false starts with flakey sting groups we did eventually end up with one willing to do popular music in lieu of the standard classical stuff. Not like it was perfect, but I think that it was yet another personal touch that made our wedding feel more...organic. I had gone back and forth about it though because the cost was higher than say, a CD and I felt bad spending the money. But being able to walk in to a strings version of "Isn't she Lovely" and having the recessional to "Bittersweet Symphony" by The Verve were great and they're things that we'll remember many, many years from now.
I've known of Mill on The River for a long time, but after going to a few other halls further away realized that they were all ridiculously expensive for what they were offering us in services. As a small example, the MoTR included chair covers in the wedding package we picked so we wouldn't have to dish out an additional fee and they included the cake, wine service and a load of appetizers. Sadly, a lot of halls don't include anything other than the meal and you have to dish out more for all the other pieces...which I personally feel are nice. I know you don't need to have all the frills to be married and happy but it's nice to have an extra foody-full event. Blame it on my mother; she always stuffs everyone so full at all our family events that you want to keel over and die. I tend to believe that's normal behavior for any celebratory event in your life. If you aren't stuffed so full your sides hurt then you aren't really celebrating.
I know a lot of modern hip Bridal magazines will say you can cut your budget by doing just h'ors d'oevres and cake but my family would have a riot outside in the street if I attempted doing anything like that. They don't care so much about open bar, but just as a personal preference Trevor & I decided that we wanted one. I think everyone enjoys it a lot more when they don't have to dole out MORE money at a wedding after digging in and buying gifts, buying a new dress, getting their hair done and hotels. It is expensive being a wedding guest (if you're doing it right, that is, ha!).
They were all do-it-yourselves. All the paper and envelopes were purchased at our local craft store and my dear father and I bickered over the style and color inks to use for a few weeks. All in all they came out well even though half of them were pink and half of them were green but I figure I had the girls in green dresses with pink flowers so it all worked out to be consistent. I really like the combination of a light, celery like green with a fresh bright pink.
If you have more than 100 guests then it will probably be best to have a pro do it, but you should still remember that someone's got to put your guests' address on them. So either you do it or you hire a calligrapher. Or if you have a few bridesmaids with good penmanship you get them working on it.
Save the Dates:
We did magnets with our picture on them. You can go through a wedding specific site, but I am very anti-wedding specific vendors. I think they tend to spike up their prices for no other reason than that they know they can and someone will buy them because it's convenient. We used vistaprint.com. (They tend to promote their "free stuff" quite often but of course you pay for shipping and magnets aren't part of their freebie catalog.) It wasn't the greatest save-the-date I've ever seen in my life but it did it's job. I didn't even really want to do save-the-dates because I figure they were just added hassle, postage, address rummaging work to deal with.
I'm sure I'm forgetting tons of stuff, but I think all the personal touches and well thought out ideas really helped to make our wedding very personal and very...us. And although doing things myself was a bit stressful I don't know if I would have changed anything about it because those are the things people notice and those are the things that make it our wedding as opposed to any other couple's wedding. I haven't personally hit that point yet, but I know that a lot of guests at our wedding were guests at half a dozen or more other weddings this summer. And although it's great when it's your wedding I'm sure it's quite grating as a wedding guest to see the same stuff over and over again. The same entrees. The same favors. The same cakes. The same readings during mass...etc.
For the most part I think our guests had fun and it manifested itself in their outpouring of gifts. I'm amazed at the incredible generosity of some people. I'm also surprised at a few stingy folks, but the generosity way outweighed the freeloaders. And it's not even about getting stuff...it's about showing your love. It's about showing how much either I, Trevor or both of us mean to you. It's not as though this was a huge surprise that we got married and you had to rush out at the last minute to grab up whatever was left on the registry. In particular I have a few guests I'd like to hunt down and start trying to secretly shove $100s back into their pockets but suffice it to say that I will return the favor and then some with time. Everything is cyclical. Selfishness creates more selfishness. Generosity creates more generosity. And the weird thing about generosity is that it's exponential.
One single kind act can create a dozen acts of kindness.