My phone has been blowing up with text messages of congratulations, well wishes and questions since our wedding on Saturday and I am just so grateful for the outpouring of love and support that Kyle and I have received. We are sinking back into the normal swing of things and I wanted to run down the list of frequently asked questions regarding our wedding day! I am really, really, really looking forward to seeing our gallery once the wonderful Melania is finished with it so hang in there with me because this post is mostly text. I'll be sharing all of those images as soon as I get them!
Was your hair real?
This question... oh my... it was number one. All day during the wedding and now. All of the hair was mine, yes! There was a small foam donut inside the bun to form the base and provide stability. Below are some images from my last hair trial to show how the steps! There were no hot tools involved (no curling iron, curlers, straightener, etc.) and the size was created by a lot of teasing! My hair, which I lovingly called The Cinnamon Bun, was inspired by Adele's hair for her Live in NYC concert at Radio City Music Hall! My stylist is Tanya OBrien and no, sorry girls, she does not do weddings. I had to con her into doing mine!
What was your bar menu?
We opted to not serve liquor just simply due to cost and instead chose three wines, two beers and a cider.
Who is your dress by?
I wore a silk fluted mermaid dress by Nicole Miller paired with a gold and crystal sash by Sabina KW Designs. My veil (which I wore for portraits and the ceremony) was hand created in the Netherlands by Honey Pie Bridal and the silk fascinator that I wore for the reception was created by Aino Bridal in Finland. I absolutely loved my dress but it was a huge source of stress. It is work. You can't touch it without washing your hands, it wrinkles almost instantly and it shows every little bump, line, seam and fat roll. It took a lot of soul-searching and confidence building to wear it.
Old, new, borrowed and blue?
I didn't take this super seriously but it ended up working out well!
Old: Jewelry from three of my great-grandmothers
New: My veil, dress and shoes
Borrowed: Jewelry from three of my great-grandmothers
Blue: My monogrammed bouquet ribbon
I also had a sixpence in my shoe thanks to my dear friend and client, Virginia, who stopped by on Friday to gift me one. It was so darling and very appreciated.
Did your wedding day jewelry have any significance?
Yes, actually! I opted not to wear a necklace just because of the neckline of my dress but I wore jewelry from three of my great-grandmothers. I wore my great-grandma Elma's ("Ma-B") ring on my right hand, my great-grandma Alyce's ("A") gold monogrammed cuff on my right wrist and my great-grandma Hilda's (Grams) diamond stud earrings in my second holes. My other earrings were ones I found on Etsy here that I chose because they detached! Yep. I'm a little extra. I wore them with the drops for the ceremony and then detached the drops and just wore the top studs for the reception! Those were my only piece of costume jewelry, the rest were real heirloom pieces.
Did you do a photoshoot before your wedding?
YES! I DID! I met up with my wedding photographer, Melania, at Longwood Gardens in late March and did bridal portraits. I actually wrote a blog post about it that you can find here. Bridal portraits are a southern tradition and they are meant to be displayed at the reception and then gifted to the parents of the bride. I printed three large portraits and displayed them at the entrance to our reception.
What are the ribbons and things on your bouquet?
My bouquet was wrapped in a doily that my great-grandma, Dot, made. Then Amanda, my wonderful florist, wrapped a blue silk ribbon around it as well. The blue grosgrain monogrammed ribbon is by Oatmeal Lace Design and the small picture frame (which I filled with a picture of my brother) was made by WhichGoose.
Who was the handsome "minister"?
LOL. Our handsome minister was my very dear and long-time friend, Jared. He has known us for the entirety of our relationship and it was an honor to have him officiate our ceremony. We of course loved celebrating with his girlfriend and parents too - we consider them a part of our family!
What was your favorite moment of the day?
I don't think I can choose just one but my top four would be:
- The first few seconds after our first look. I just took time to breathe, hug Kyle and pretend there weren't two photographers standing right there.
- When our baby girl, Butters, came into the bridal suite before I got into my dress and I got to snuggle her and just smell all of her stinky hound goodness.
- Watching guests arrive out of the bridal suite windows. I chose a few to startle by knocking on the window and waving frantically.
- Recessing back down the aisle. We basically ran (sorry, Melania) because it was just so relieving to get that part over with! It's very stressful to have 160 people staring at you silently.
What was your biggest stressor?
Our venue. Hands down. The property itself is stunning. The rest of it was a massive, ongoing source of stress and frustration for about the last 5 months leading up to the wedding and on the wedding day itself. There were so many small issues that I can't even begin to detail all of them nor am I comfortable doing so here but just to give you one example - I was followed around, stopped and interrupted more than three different times during our reception so that the owner could show me the radar and tell me that it was going to storm. It's one of my biggest regrets of planning but at the same time, I know that it was perfect for most of our guests and everything was beautiful. I'll leave it at that.
As a photographer, how did you handle being on the other side of the camera? Did you let her run with it or were there some moments you knew you wanted shot a specific way? Were there any shots that you did take/considered taking yourself?
Well, I learned that I hate it! It's a mix of self consciousness and lack of control but it's extremely difficult for me. I trust our photographer so that's about the only thing that made it tolerable! I'm much more cut out for being the photographer, not the bride. My camera was at home and I only took 4 cell phone pictures during set-up!
Is there anything you would have changed?
I wish we had more portrait time for just Kyle and I - but at the same time, I really just wanted to dance!
Is there anything you were stressing about that turned out not to be a big deal?
The venue made me incredibly paranoid about set-up. I knew in my head that I could get it done perfectly with the help of our families and that it would be completed in the allotted time but after my month-out meeting I started to freak out and consider that it was too complicated. I DIY'd almost all of the decor with the exception of our florals. I should have trusted my instincts because everything was completed extremely quickly and easily! Honestly, it felt amazing to power through and get the entire barn set up in less than the anticipated amount of time.
What did being a photographer really prepared you for and what didn't it prepare you for?
My job really prepared me for the importance of all of the vendors working together, being on the same page and understanding my vision. It did not prepare me for the inability to talk to and enjoy all of our guests! The evening goes by so fast and it's just impossible to enjoy yourself, dance, have a wonderful time with friends and talk to everyone. That was a little bit of a bummer.
What surprised you most during the day?
I am not an outwardly emotional person in the moment. I cry at news stories, TV shows, etc. but when it comes to being emotional in a moment that is personally affecting me - hell no. I shut that shit off. I didn't think I would cry at all during our wedding day but I cried when I saw a picture on the back of Melania's camera of me and Butters (we very clearly love our little girl) and then I also cried during the ceremony a little bit. Those were tears of relief. We did it. Our family and friends made it. We were finished. It was time to party.
How awesome was the pretzel truck?!?
Uhm. I want them to park that thing permanently in my back yard. We hired Dutch Country Hand Rolled Soft Pretzels to bring their truck and serve hot, fresh soft pretzels to our guests as an evening snack! It was definitely one of the highlights of the day. These pretzels are incredible.
Did people still use there phones and cameras even though you requested them not to? Advice to future brides too!
I really don't think so! I had a hard time looking up as I walked down the aisle just because of nerves but I didn't see any phones at all! In the evening, there were lots of cell phone pictures of groups in the courtyard but that was great and unobtrusive! Plus, I noticed that everyone waited until I shared photos before they posted theirs. I love our friends and family. Everyone was very understanding and courteous. Even on the dance floor at night there were only a small handful of phones and they were using our Snapchat geofilter!
In order for guests to follow this request completely, I think you need to incorporate all four of these things (one or two just isn't enough):
- Put it on your invitations. If you want the exact wording of what we used, reach out! I'll happily share it.
- Put it right on the front of your wedding website too. Make it clear that you're not even remotely kidding.
- There should be a sign at your ceremony space that is impossible to ignore.
- Finally, and most importantly, your officiant needs to make a statement/reminder before the processional begins.
Was there anything you planned/spent money on that you wish you hadn't?
All of it? hahahaha kidding, kidding. Kind of. Weddings are expensive and to a degree, I have champagne taste and a self-employed small business owner beer budget. However, I don't think there was any unnecessary excess!
Was there anything you felt was missing?
Beyond our family members and friends who have passed away or couldn't make it? No, I don't think so!
Are you selling any of your decor?
Yes! I'm going to be offering it up to my clients first and then I'll share on Facebook. Anything that doesn't sell will make its way to The Jedediah Thomas Smith Foundation yard sale next June. I did decide to keep some of it to repurpose as house decor but that means I am ditching some of our current decor and that will go to the yard sale! Great news is, the yard sale is for charity and all proceeds benefit children with cancer and their families.
When and where are you honeymooning?
We are going to Tulum, Cozumel and Playa del Carmen from November 25 - December 5. Big thanks to Samantha Longworth at Aquamarine Travel who took planning this completely off of my plate. We can't wait!
Phew, I think that's it! More to come though!
Early next week I'll be sharing why, when and how we got married before our wedding!