I was the "always the bridesmaid never the bride" kind of gal. When our wedding day rolled around, I had been in 14 weddings. (Since then, it's 16...I digress.) Needless to say, I could plan a wedding with my eyes closed and hands tied behind my back. Not long after we got engaged, I knew that I wanted to be a well-planned, well-organized bride. If I could plan ahead and work ahead, then come wedding week, there would be little stress involved.
And you know what, it worked! (P.S. if you helped set up and disagree with my sentiments, just let me reminisce in oblivion....but I think it was a fairly easy event.)
We also knew early in the process we would have a HUGE wedding party and a HUGE guest list...even more reason to jump the gun and plan ahead. The amount of people involved alone would provide the stress; no need to add unnecessary stress.
My overall goal was to ENJOY the experience. Too many times, I've witnessed dear friends not enjoy wedding week because they were consumed with to-do lists of things that could've been done months and weeks in advance. I've wiped many tears away reassuring friends that "it'll all come together." Too many times I've heard my friends say, "I just want it to be over with" the closer it got to their wedding day because they were stressed out. I don't know how many people I told, "I don't want it to ever get to that point where I'm saying, 'I just want it to be over' because that means you're done with it all and have had enough...this is our wedding!! It's an enjoyable time...I'm not going to let any stress ruin this experience for us." Not to toot my own horn, but I really feel like keeping that attitude from November to September was the key to keeping stress away and focusing on the happiness that was surrounding us.
The plan was to decorate the church and reception area on Thursday and NOT the day before the wedding. This was probably the BEST thing we could've done! We worked our hineys off on Thursday and then on Friday, literally all I had to do was get my nails done. Friday was such an easy day.
My friend and bridesmaid, Angela, her daughter, Anna was one of my flower girls. At the time we weren't sure if she'd make the walk down the aisle so we opted to use her little red wagon and add some wedding flair to it!
A month or so before the wedding, we measured and made a game plan for the reception area decor. We've attended MANY weddings at this church, so I wanted to do something different and that was "me". Our friend Chuck, who is exactly the kind of guy you want to have around came up with a plan on how to hang our lights and pennants. (Which were my two "must haves" on the decor list.)
My cousin Sarah's husband Robert worked ALL day with us. Literally ALL day. He's also a jack-of-all trades and was such a huge help! (And there's Stephen supervising both. HAHA)
My third "must have" was navy table cloths. I priced rental vs. purchasing and purchasing won out. (And then, I turned around after the wedding and sold them to the church we were married at! Those suckers have been used SO many times in two years!! GREAT investment.)
I think we set almost 50 tables when it was all said and done...from the guest tables, to the food tables, to the other random tables we had around.
We are SO very blessed with the best friends and family!! We had so many people volunteer to help us do whatever we needed. Several even took day(s) off work to help us. Everyone was just as excited as we were for our special day! I am beyond thankful for these people and all the hours they spent helping us!!
I knew I had ordered extra pennants, and honestly had no plan for them. Enter Emilee....she and Katey took extra strands and started working on the wall behind our cake tables. It ended up looking AMAZING and was a great decision they made!
More friends came by as they got off work to help out. Pennants for days!!
Katey's job was our "send-off". I knew from the get-go I didn't want to do birdseed, rose petals or bubbles. There would be too much daylight to do sparklers. SO I started searching Etsy for ideas and came across paper airplanes! I fell in LOVE with this idea IMMEDIATELY! I showed Katey and she figured up exactly what size paper to use and how to print them off perfectly so the wording was exactly as we had seen on the wings.
All that was left to do was fold 300 (or something like that) mini paper airplanes. (I can say that because I didn't fold a single one! ha...it's good to be the bride sometimes.)
My friend Sarah and her parents came early in the evening to set up the backdrop for the ceremony that they had made. Gosh I LOVE how this turned out!! Again, I knew I wanted something a little different and when I saw this at a shower they hosted for another friend, I pretty much stalked them down begging to use it at my wedding. They graciously brought it over, changed out the colors to match our colors, set it up and took it back down after it was over.
Clean up on aisle 2!! We had a few bulb fatalities during set up and take down as the glass was SUPER thin and poor Robert...the only broom we could find was a short one.
And then.....we started getting punchy. Everyone was starting to get tired and hungry. We tried out various photo booth props....
Played hide & seek in the floral arrangements we made... (I have to acknowledge my friend and green thumb extraordinaire Amy. She planted all the greens in her garden at home in the spring and kept everything alive and thriving all summer for us to use at the wedding. Everything green you will see was specifically planted and grown for our wedding! And then they were distributed to whoever wanted to take them home after the wedding.)
I'm not sure what they're doing...like I said, everyone was getting punchy. It was probably 9pm or so by this point.
Our friend Patrick stopped by for kicks and giggles and immediately broke the cart we had been using all day. Don't worry we fixed it...I think. I can't remember.
Everything was set up, decorated, working and it's place ready for a wedding two days later. But the two of us, we were done with each other for the day. (keeping it real.)
Can you tell these are fake and forced smiles? Secretly I was PUMPED that we got it all done and had all of Friday to do whatever I wanted.
It was all worth it though, because we were WEDDING READY!! It was a loonnnng day, but now two years later, I can honestly say it was a FUN day. Seeing my vision come together perfectly and spending the day with friends and family chatting and laughing AND working. All worth it...but I'm not planning on quitting my day job.
If you've missed any wedding posts up to this one, you can find them below:
Nursing Girls Shower - here
Church Family Shower - here
Stafford Family Shower - here
Flatt Family Shower - here
Girls Night Little Black Dress Party - here