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I Got MARRIED! How I Made Sure My Wedding Didn’t Suck

How I Made Sure My Wedding Didn't Suck


Happy 2016! It’s almost a third of the way through February and I’m finally getting my shit together and getting a blog post out for you all. So far this year has been crazy overwhelming, but it’s all finally starting to settle down.

I think deciding to have a wedding at the beginning of the year was ultimately a great idea considering we are in Arizona and had a lot of family coming in from the East Coast (they all actually got to miss a huge blizzard while out here enjoying the 75 degree weather, so I’m sure that was nice) but it also has a tendency to make you think you have more time than you actually have until the wedding. All November and December I knew in the back of my mind that there was only a very, very short amount of time until wedding day, but at the forefront all I could think was “oh, the wedding isn’t until next year! It’s next year, I have time!”

And then suddenly its the Saturday before and you still have a thousand things to do and you feel like a chicken with it’s head cut off, running around frantically. Granted, this is probably the case with just about anyones wedding, no matter what time of year they get married.

How I Made Sure My Wedding Didn't Suck

Overall, our wedding was a huge, giant success. Honestly, you hear so many people telling you “things will go wrong, just go with it and have fun!” and while yes, there were definitely hiccups, (I think I had sent Paul a list of 5, then 6, then 8, possibly 10 things I had forgotten at home that I needed him to drop off at my Moms the morning of. I know my dad was driving in circles from their house to the venue at least 4 times bringing things we forgot, like my shoes, and then getting a call 5 minutes later that we needed something else) but overall it was an absolute blast, and I can’t tell you how many people have told me after the fact how much fun they had.

When I was planning everything, my number one goal above all else was to make sure that my guests were having fun, that they weren’t bored, and felt like they were a part of everything. In my book, nothing is worse than feeling like you’re at a wedding that’s going at a snails pace, cocktail hour that goes well over an hour, first dance followed by mother son followed by daddy daughter one after another and when the hell are we going to eat I’m starving on my god-

You get the picture.

How I Made Sure My Wedding Didn't Suck

The first thing I really wanted to do was take photos before the actual wedding. I wanted cocktail hour to be just that- an hour- and didn’t want to feel like I wasn’t getting all the photos I wanted because of that. I also wanted to take them beforehand because our ceremony was scheduled to start at 5, and since it was January that meant the sun would set before 6, and I didn’t want my photos taken in the dark :)

How I Made Sure My Wedding Didn't Suck

You know the whole saying “It’s bad luck to see the bride before the wedding”? That saying is based off of olden times when arranged marriages were a common thing. The saying is pretty much so the groom wouldn’t see the bride, think she wasn’t attractive, and back out before the wedding happened. Considering Paul and I live together and he was with me when I gave birth to Violet, I really wasn’t worried about any of that nonsense :)

Taking photos beforehand was the best thing we could have done. We got a ton of gorgeous shots, and everyone was able to actually ENJOY cocktail hour, instead of being totally non existent. If you have the option to do photos before hand, I say go for it!

How I Made Sure My Wedding Didn't Suck

For the ceremony, we had a really cool officiant that made everything super special. Paul and I are pretty non-traditional, and we wanted the ceremony to reflect that. When we first met with him, our officiant had us tell our story to him and give him a list of 10 memories each of us had that felt special, and he integrated that into the ceremony. One of the lines he had read was about how Paul did my makeup (for this video!) and how much fun he and and how he loved that memory (the officiant added “he won’t be working at the MAC counter any time soon!”) those little touches really made everything feel personal and special, and a lot less cookie cutter.

We also wrote our own vows, which I really wanted to do. It was a lot harder than I was expecting, I’ll be honest, but it was really nice and felt so much nicer than the officiant just telling us what to say. My thought on it was this is the person I want to spend my life with, I should know what to say to him! My vows talked about loving Paul even when he’s 40 and still playing video games late into the night.. as long as he isn’t keeping Violet up too late on a school night ;)

How I Made Sure My Wedding Didn't Suck

For the reception, the absolute best thing we did is bring in a DJ and a badass MC. The venue we used had a DJ included, but I was really hesitant because I didn’t know what his style was or had any examples of his work. He was at all the food tastings and open houses the venue had, but never gave us an idea of how the ceremony would go.

My brother happens to work as an MC for a wedding Dj company and told me that I should reach out to one of his coworkers for the wedding. I will say, this was an expensive add on considering the venue already had a DJ, but I am 100% sure that this was the best decision I made in all of my wedding planning. Think about it- your DJ or MC is basically the ring leader of your ceremony. He’s the one making sure everyone is having a good time, that things are going smoothly, that the vibe is perfect. I’ve been to quite a few weddings that had a DJ who seemed so bored, didn’t talk to the guests, didn’t engage, and it really felt stale. If a DJ is out of your budget, I highly recommend getting a fun, outgoing friend to take the reins and run the show!

How I Made Sure My Wedding Didn't Suck

Our MC (Gary) was so, so cool. He engaged the guests. We played “Name that Tune” in order for tables to be released to get their food (MUCH more fun than “Table one, get in line for the buffet. Table two- blah blah) We played the “Newly Weds” game, where Paul and I sat back to back holding one of our shoes and one of the others, and answered questions submitted by each table, like “Who wears the pants in the relationship?” and “Who is most likely to scream on the Tower of Terror?”. It was so much fun, and is something you don’t see very often.

How I Made Sure My Wedding Didn't Suck

I didn’t want to do a bouquet toss or garter toss, so instead we did something pretty unique- Gary found out who had been married the longest (41 years!), and I gave the toss bouquet to them, and they shared a dance together. I can tell you honestly- they LOVED this. No one there had seen this done before, and it really was special.  Halfway through the song, Gary asked who had been married 40 years, then 30, then 20, then 10, 5, 1, who’s single, etc until everyone was up on the dance floor. This was great because sometimes it can be difficult to initially get the party started, so to speak, and this worked awesomely to get everyone up!

After more dancing (including to Spice World and Bye Bye Bye, of course), games, and a smores bar outside (Come on, did you think I wouldn’t have a smores bar at my damn wedding?!) The night ended with everyone gathered in a circle around me and Paul while “The Time of My Life” (the dirty dancing song) played and we danced. It was really fun, and Gary had everyone doing different moves, hold hands, and walk in different directions while we danced.

How I Made Sure My Wedding Didn't Suck

After this, everyone went outside to get ready for our sparkler exit, and Paul and I shared one last dance while no one was in the room. One of Paul’s favorite bands is City and Colour, and I surprised him by picking out his favorite song- The Girl- to play while we shared a dance by ourselves. I really, really loved this- it was so special and a really nice moment to have just for ourselves.

How I Made Sure My Wedding Didn't Suck

I could easily go on and on and write a novel about everything that happened at the wedding, but I’ll spare you all (for now, mwahaha). We did get a videographer and I will absolutely be sharing that when I get it, but I know how overwhelming wedding planning can be and wanted to share when I think made our day extra special and a bit more unique :) Feel free to leave me a comment with any questions you have, and if you guys want I can write up a few more posts like this about the wedding planning experience and the actual day!



Check out Master These Makeup Tricks

by Melissa Flores at Mode

23 Responses
  • Kayleigh
    10 . 02 . 2016

    Thanks for the post Leesha! I’m currently in the beginning stages of wedding planning, so this is great for me. Our budget won’t allow the use of a DJ, but I think I will use some of these things your DJ did at my wedding! I’ll just pick one of our friends to MC and they can read out the questions etc.

    • Leesha
      10 . 02 . 2016

      Yes! If you cant afford a DJ, see if you can get an outgoing, energetic friend to be an MC for you and do some research on pinterest and the like for fun games to play and ways to engage your guests. It really makes a huge difference in how much fun everyone has! :)

    • Brynne
      10 . 02 . 2016

      I read the questions for the shoe game at my sister-in-law’s wedding, and it was a big hit.
      As a sneaky thing though, we gave them each one of their 9 month old daughter’s shoes, and the last question was “Who do you love more than anyone else in the whole world” and each of them held up the other’s shoe and a baby shoe. It made for a super sweet ‘aaawwe’ moment at the end.

  • Chelsea
    10 . 02 . 2016

    Congratulations to u both. You looked absolutely lovely & everything was beautiful. Glad you got to feel like a princess on your wedding day, as any woman should. Here come the Ritchie’s. Congratulations.

  • Bethan
    10 . 02 . 2016

    Congratulations! I have been looking forward to hearing about your wedding since before it even happened! Haha. I loved this post and I hope you do plenty more of these and videos that are ANYTHING wedding related :D

    I have only been with my boyfriend for just over a year so were not quite at this stage but I cannot wait to get married and use aspects of yours for inspiration! English weddings are always very very traditional and they all follow exactly the same format. I’ve only been to a few and they are lovely yes but very boring for the guests. It is of course about you as a couple but it is so thoughtful to want to entertain your guests and make sure they have a good time with the newly weds! Congrats again I’m so glad you had a great day. All my love and wishes for your long, healthy and happy future together xxx

  • Kyra
    10 . 02 . 2016

    Hi Leesha! Thank you so much for this post! I am getting married in August and there are so many decisions that I don’t know how to make. One of them was to do with whether or not to bring in a DJ, so I found this post really helpful! I’m interested to know how you chose your photographer, cake designer, and other vendors you may have brought in. I’d also like to know more about your favours, decorations, did you rent linens… so many questions! I love your style so I’d love to see more posts like this one! I’d also be interested in submitting questions if you wanted to do a Q&A type video about wedding planning.

    Best wishes for the future for you and your family! xoxo

  • Izzie
    10 . 02 . 2016

    Thanks for The share! I’m getting maried in May 2017. We Found The place, but every other questions is still jumping un my head. In France, (espiescally un my area) DJ aren’t so good. Every wedding we went to with a DJ was really…. Not in our taste. (I don’t know how to say It, but it sucked clearly). Anyway. I’m really interested for some advices so I am Totally Up for some more posts about your wedding! Congratulations again! You look so amazing in All The pictures!!!

    Love from France ❤️❤️

  • deb williams
    10 . 02 . 2016

    Congratulations!!! It looks beautiful.

  • Victoria
    10 . 02 . 2016

    Your wedding sounded amazing Leesha! Wish we could have a smores bar!
    I’ve 8 weeks to go and like you, I just want our guests to have a ball!
    I’m already worrying about forgetting to do things or have I remembered to book this or that! I’m so excited but I’m also dreading the day being over, so much planning and after one day there’s nothing to do! Haha

  • tirurit
    10 . 02 . 2016

    Sounds like you really had a fantastic day. Afterall, getting married is that, celebrating you as a couple ;)

    And I think your idea of getting the pics before the wedding is absolutely genius!

  • Rachel
    10 . 02 . 2016

    Sooo excited for you leesha!!!! This made my day!

  • Lyly
    10 . 02 . 2016

    Congratulations Leesha!
    You were a beautiful bride and I am so happy everything went smoothly for you both.
    I wish you many years of happiness.

  • Katie
    10 . 02 . 2016

    My sister did her photos before the wedding and they also were great. Fresh hair and makeup helps everyone look great! And we got a great one of the groom seeing her for the first time. Also got some candid shots of family during cocktail hour, but I am in total agreement about the photos!
    P.S. loved your dress!!!

  • da_lindchen
    10 . 02 . 2016

    Aww thank you for sharing! You look so pretty and happy on your wedding pictures, I’m sure it was a great day for you and all of your guests. :)

  • Sparklewolfie
    10 . 02 . 2016

    It sounds like you had a truly unique and meaningful wedding that got the guests involved! Very thoughtful of you two to make the experience enjoyable rather than stuffy for all involved :) Congrats!

  • goldberryfaery (Leora)
    11 . 02 . 2016

    Thanks for sharing your day with us!! It looks like it was wonderful!!! ♥

  • Megan
    15 . 02 . 2016

    Hi Leesha! I’m getting married in August and have a question about makeup. I’m getting my hair and makeup done professionally, so how do I keep it looking good by myself for the rest of the night? Its going to be a loooong day and I have to get through summer heat, tears, and lots of hugs. I asked if I could get some of the lip color to reapply, but how do I keep my face make up looking good and what if my eye makeup creases?!! You looked beautiful on your big day, congratulations!!!

  • Val
    16 . 02 . 2016

    I’ve been watching you since I was 18 and admiring and looking up to you. I’m glad you found true love. ❤️

  • Lisa
    19 . 02 . 2016

    Hi Leesha! I live in Scottsdale and I’m getting married in June. Do you have any recommendations for hair and makeup artists? Or perhaps if you do freelance I would really be interested in that too!

    • Lisa
      19 . 02 . 2016

      Sorry I typed the wrong email address. Hope to hear from you soon! :)

  • Cândida
    22 . 02 . 2016

    Hi leesha!
    I follow your blog for years, I think I saw all your make up tutorials. I’m a make up artist from Portugal and I really like to see you palying with make up, and I believe we like the same colours and the same things. I never let a comment because I like to see but I don’t really like to coment, but now I had to! After all this years I got married last year, in 24 october. My wedding was planed for people to relax and have fun, and it really was fun, for us and for our guests. I never felt I was there just to make smiles for the photos, we really had a nice time. After read this about your wedding it really made me remind mine! And the funniest thing is that our honneymoon was at disneyland! We went to Paris and then we went 3 days for disneyland.
    I’m at the other side of the world, but if you want we can change some photos and some funny things of the wedding and the honney moon!
    I wish you the best for your new life and happiness for years and years :)

  • Crystal
    13 . 06 . 2016

    Hi Leesha!! I love your videos. I was wondering who did the pictures for your wedding? My boyfriend and I have started looking toward our future and he got the ball rolling to ask my dad if he can ask me to marry him. It’s starting to hit me that this is happening…AHHH!!! Lol. I love the picture of when you and Paul first saw each other after getting into your dress and his tux (suit?), and of course Violet is adorable!!! Thanks

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