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.
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.
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 :)
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!
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 ;)
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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