TEN TRUTHS ABOUT WEDDING PLANNING

I had a friend that was getting married a few weeks before me say, "Your engagement was magical (this is true....see here), and you look like you're both having so much fun planning the wedding."

OH MY GOSH.

I about fell over because little did she know, in a five month engagement, I had just had three major surgeries including a double knee surgery and two months later, a deviated septum repair (AKA breaking my face so I could breath...leaving me with black eyes for weeks). All three of them left me worse off. I had a follow up septum surgery planned the day after my honeymoon (not convenient) because I only had 50% breathability at the wedding and I had to get three different rounds of painful steroid shots in my knees and then a fourth heavy duty, NFL worthy round, the week of our wedding so that I could walk down the aisle. Did I mention the month long side effects I had to the anesthesia? You don't wanna know. 

Just being real here...

Just being real here...

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All that happened on top of my fiancé touring most of the time, dress complications, signing my life away on our house the week of the wedding and packing/moving literally right before the rehearsal. This was all while meeting my soon to be relatives that flew in from Australia. They probably didn't meet my best side.

So, all that to say...we had a bit of a stressful engagement. I would say we maybe even had an extreme case. Ha.

 

NORMAL BRIDE STRESS.

Besides all that craziness...I still had normal bride stress. The thing is...I didn't have anyone say to me, "You're normal". I thought I was the only bride to feel out of control and stressed at times. So, what happens when that feeling sets in? Shame. What a killer of joy during a once in a lifetime process.

After talking to a few former brides, I realized we ran into similar issues during the engagement and had no warning nor did anyone talk about it afterwards. Shame. I came up with a list of things that we wish we would've been told to avoid the shame or shock that a bride can experience. Not all of them will be true for every bride...but it's here more so for all brides to say "Me too! Thank God!" or for the friends and family of a bride to help them out.

If you have any more things to add to the list...please comment below or email me!

1. I'D RATHER EAT SOAP THAN MAKE ANOTHER INVITE LIST.

Narrowing down the invite list is the worst! There will always be people that you want to invite that you aren't able to invite. Jared and I created a rule of thumb that if they weren't family, they had to know both of us well and be involved in our lives in some shape or form. We set a number of people we could invite according to our budget. I wish I had an endless budget because it would've looked very different, but that just wasn't possible. Set up your own parameters to remain sane.

Our RSVP's.

Our RSVP's.

2. NOT EVERYONE WILL RSVP. NOT EVERYONE WILL SHOW UP THAT RSVP'D "YES". GIVE THEM GRACE.

The sad part about this point is the people that do this don't understand that they took up a spot that could've been someone else's spot. It's easy to translate this action as a form of disrespect, but try not to take it personal. 

The redeeming part is that you will (or should) probably get a "Sorry I couldn't come wedding gift". Or you may receive, like we did, a sweet card or gift from the thoughtful people that you wanted to invite but weren't able to add to the list. I did notice the older generations were extremely thoughtful when it came to rsvp's, presents, making a commitment, etc. Just so you know.

 

 

3. OTHERS WILL WANT TO HELP. LET GO OF YOUR PRIDE AND PERFECTION.

Some brides are shocked by who doesn't offer to help. For me, what I was more shocked by was who offered to help. I had a handful of people that I could not have pulled off the wedding without. I had to constantly let go of my pride and creative perfection and know that I could not do this thing on my own. It takes an army.

Wedding planner. Worth the investment! With all that we had on our plate, we could not have done it without our wedding planner, Leigh. She kept me sane, organized all of our vendors, and was my rock the day of. Skip out on the extras that no one will remember and pay a professional to help you. That way,  you, your family & friends can relax a bit more.

4. ELOPING OR DESTINATION WEDDING WILL CROSS YOUR MIND MANY TIMES.

These wouldn't have been bad choices looking back. We would've saved a lot of money and brain power....yet, we found it really important to not only have the day about us, but to have our loved ones experience what the day represented. You have to decide what's important for you. 

5. YOU WILL HAVE A BREAKDOWN. THERE WILL BE TEARS.

Jared and I are two of the most laid back people on the face of this earth. So, when I heard of brides getting "slightly" stressed, I didn't think twice about it. That wasn't me. It was fine for the majority of the time until the last month...really the last two weeks. Then, it was all over.

What happens is you work like crazy to get everything done on time. When the last two weeks arrive, it's crunch time. It's different for everyone, but here are a few triggers: In laws come to town, final decisions and numbers need to be turned in, weather issues, & all the last minute things to be done are suddenly an emergency. The worst thing is that only you and your fiancé can really do them so you become business partners. Just know, you will get through these two weeks. 

6. YOUR PINTEREST BOARD MAY NOT FULLY COME ALIVE.

So for the most part, I've learned that most brides have encountered major stressors if they have married within the last couple of years versus 7+ years ago. Why? I blame Pinterest, Instagram, and other social media for setting a creative standard that keeps raising. I had to let go of some outrageous ideas that included life size flowers since it was fall (what was I thinking?!), a 6' x 6' watercolor backdrop, a cascading bubble chandelier, whimsical drapery, etc .

Inspiration from Anthropologie.

Inspiration from Anthropologie.

7. YOU WILL RECEIVE A LOT OF ATTENTION AT WEDDING SHOWERS.

I mean, they are all there for you! I thought I would love this part of the engagement since I had waited so long to get married. It was my time to shine. 

Yet, when it came down to it, I was a bit uncomfortable at times. I don't know if it was the repetition of telling people how the wedding planning was going and realizing I had so much more to do or all the eyes on me at one time. Ha! Overall, our showers were out of this world gorgeous and thoughtful. There isn't much personal interaction at the wedding so this was a great time for one on one convos. Just relax and sit back and soak in as much as possible because they are such a good break from the planning!

8. THIS ONE IS FOR GUYS: GIVE ADVICE. 

Depending on their personality, some girls like the idea of planning and others will need help making decisions. One thing I've heard from girls is how they needed help, and the fiancé would answer "Either way is fine. I'll be happy with your decision". NO!!! Wrong answer. While that's lovely and I'm sure it's thoughtful from your perspective, it actually puts one more thing in the bride's court that she has to make a decision on. 

Even if you don't care guys, give your gut answer. It may help her make her decision easier if she agrees, or she may realize she actually likes the other option better once she hears your opinion. Either way, it may help her.

9. THE HONEYMOON MAKES EVERYTHING WORTH IT. 

I felt like once the wedding day actually came, I was absolutely fine. Something could've gone wrong, I wouldn't have cared. Why? Because I was marrying the man of my dreams, throwing a big party with all my loved ones and then heading to St.Lucia with my new hubs. Best feeling ever. All the months of planning are suddenly worth it.

10. THIS DAY REVOLVES AROUND YOU, BUT IT DOESN'T, AT THE SAME TIME.

This time is a transition for everyone. You, your fiancé, the families, etc. I didn't necessarily have this issue, but many of the brides I talked to mentioned the friction with their future in-laws or own family. What helps? Realizing that everyone is letting something go and gaining something else. You both are losing single-hood but also gaining a spouse. A mom is losing the thought of being the only girl in his life, but she gains a daughter-in-law. Be patient and understanding all around.

 

MY BEST ADVICE. TAKE 'EM OR LEAVE 'EM.

- LET LAUGHTER BE YOUR FIRST RESPONSE!

Our premarital counselors said that early on their marriage, they decided laughter would be their go to. We thought, why wait until we're married? So, did things go wrong throughout the planning process? Yes! Did things go wrong during the wedding? Very minor...but yes. Did things go wrong after the wedding? Oh yeah. But, when you decide to not let them get to you and to laugh at life, it makes things seem not quite so bad.

- THOSE LAST TWO WEEKS...TAKE CARE OF YOURSELVES.

Don't overbook yourself outside of the wedding, stay focused on you and your fiancé and even take a night to grab a last "dating" dinner.

- DIY SOME PARTS OF THE WEDDING, BUT DELEGATE AND HIRE FOR THE BIGGIES.

I absolutely knew that I could do the flowers, Yet, when it came down to it, I didn't have one extra second right before the wedding. So, hiring someone may have cost me more money, but it was worth it. I just kept it reasonable by not going overboard and I got a great price because of this.

- I RECOMMEND A SHORTER ENGAGEMENT.

Some people would recommend a longer engagement to stretch out the responsibilities. My advice is the longer the engagement, the more time you have to think, stress, change your mind, and find more to do. Just shove it into a few months and get on with the fun part!

- DON'T HAVE FOUR SURGERIES, BUY A HOUSE, DESIGN YOUR DRESS, GO IN DIY OVERLOAD ALL IN A FIVE MONTH ENGAGEMENT PERIOD WITHOUT EXPECTING SIDE EFFECTS. :)

 
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WW: What to Wear for Engagement Photos

 

Wedding Wednesdays are back again. Now that I showed you my dream NYC proposal (if you didn't catch it, click here), let's have a chat about how to dress for engagement photos. Once you get a chance to breeze through our pics, be sure to scroll down to the bottom of the page to catch the interview with our wedding photographers on what to wear.

NEW YORK ENGAGEMENT PICS

Most couples have the luxury to shop and pick out coordinating outfits for a few weeks. Yet, on the day of the proposal, Jared surprised me with a next day engagement shoot with the same wonderful photographer, Kelly Christine. That may sound like enough time, but since I didn't even know that I was getting proposed to just a few hours earlier, my mind was...well...still swirling. 

Jared and I blasted through Soho the next morning for our outfits. Talk about a woman on a mission. We visited Top Shop, Zara, and a number of other stores. I wanted a city outfit - sleek and current. Jared wanted to "twirl me", as he said, so he pushed for a skirt. My new fiancé won. I couldn't deny those dimples!

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Location was a big deal to us since, after all, we were in New York City. So we ventured from Central Park to the Meat Packing District for a non-touristy, city feel. The photos truly captured how special that week was for the two of us. 

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For more pictures and our feature on Green Wedding Shoes,  click here .

For more pictures and our feature on Green Wedding Shoes, click here.

WORDS FROM TEALE PHOTOGRAPHY:

We're actually going to do another shoot with our wedding photographers, Teale and Justin from Teale Photography, in the coming months. Now that we have time to plan for our shoot, I asked them for a few words of advice about what to wear. I know how to style on a creative set for an artist, but I wasn't sure how similar it was to style for a lovebird shoot, especially when I was one of the two lovebirds. 

1. When are engagement shoots usually shot?

Save the dates are usually sent out 6 months or so before the wedding and invites are 2-3 months before the wedding so they book their engagement session accordingly. If a couple wants pictures in their save the dates, they will plan their engagement session prior to sending out the save the dates. If they don't want pics in their save the dates they will book me closer to the wedding. 

2. Are there certain colors that look better on camera? Are there any colors to stay away from?

Vibrant colors look best on camera. But, it really depends on the photographers edit and the clients preference. I love bold colors. Some love naturals and neutrals. It's more about what looks good on the client's skin.

3. Does it help for the couple to bring a few ideas they have to the table?

- Yes, as busy photographers, we don't personally want to come up with everything the client wears or props they bring. We can help them with ideas if they give us an idea of their vision.

4. How matchy, in your opinion, should the couple be?

Again, this is preference on the client's end. Every photographer is going to like a different style. I think the themes of clothes should match, but not the colors. I love different patterns and color schemes. Again, it must be flattering to the couple. I would always avoid making them look identical. That's like a family shoot and not an engagement session. We want to see the femininity in her and the masculinity in him.

5. Last bit of advice you have for couples getting photos taken: 

Dress to move around and act like 'lovers'. There will be lots of PDA! Dress your style times 10. Don't be afraid of bold color.

WORDS FROM ME

My last bit of personal advice is to pay attention to the surroundings and make sure to pick something that is complimentary. For example, if you are in a field, wear a color other than green so you don't blend in. A complimentary color, like red, will pop. A purple/blue hue will compliment, but in a subdued way. (See Central Park photos above)

Also, if you change locations like we did, don't be afraid to change your outfits to fit the surroundings. Just be aware of time because the change usually counts towards the allotted time for the session. 

When it comes down to it, wear something that screams you, but remember, the photo is supposed to scream your love more than anything. Have fun with them!

Hope this information helped! Remember, even in your engagement photos, be the best you! 

Brooklyn: Food, Fashion & a Familiar Accent, pt. 1

 

ST. BALMAIN

Last week I posted about my dream proposal in NYC. I mentioned that Jared and I went to Brooklyn the morning of the big day. You might remember how much I love Brooklyn from the post I had written this last Spring, Inspiration in a New York Minute. I love Brooklyn for the food, architecture, graffiti, shopping, and culture. I'm doing a two part series to show you our last escapade. Hint: A common (accent) thread ran through each place we visited.

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Jared and I started the day off early on the back porch of St.Balmain, a fabulous Aussie run restaurant. He actually knows of the owners, being Aussie himself, so it was only fitting.

We went "splitsies" on Brooke’s Brekky Bowl and Avocado Toast with coffee. Did you know that Australians shorten everything?! One of my favs is breakfast = brekky. The brekky bowl was heaven. Pure heaven. Any time you combine an organic fried egg, cured bacon, fontina cheese, and crispy kale on a pretzel bun...you can’t go wrong! The most outrageous gem at St.Balmain is the syringe & cream doughnuts. Customers pick between chocolate, vanilla creme and strawberry jam and then fill up the doughnut themselves. Heaven again? I think so. 

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As I was fighting Jared for the last bites of fontina cheese, I noticed the cutest belle in an epic skirt sitting at another picnic table. I had to talk to her. And this is Jenn, the Brooklyn photographer in a cute skirt.

Tulled skirt: JOA via Piperlime; Tee: Everlane (love them)

Tulled skirt: JOA via Piperlime; Tee: Everlane (love them)

Shoes: JCrew; Necklace is Verameat (a camera of course); Sunglasses: a little shop on Bedford 

Shoes: JCrew; Necklace is Verameat (a camera of course); Sunglasses: a little shop on Bedford 

If Jenn had that cute of a skirt...she must have some great insight on Brooklyn to do's: 

- How long have you been a photographer? 

On and off since college but I've been really focused on it since moving to NYC 6+ years ago.(People check her out at www.jennhixrosen.com!)

- What kind of photography do you specialize in? 

I've done a lot of fashion and e-commerce, and I enjoy working with new and upcoming fashion designers. I'm currently working on creating a dog (and pet) photography business, and I'm beginning a project about New Yorkers and their dogs. (I love this idea because I have a theory that all dogs look like their owners!) We have a special relationship with our pets here in the city, and I want to document people at home with their pups.

- Do you live in Brooklyn? 

Yes, I've been in Williamsburg just over two years.

- What are some of your fav things to do in Williamsburg? Fav shops?

Well eating and drinking is definitely a favorite pass time around here. There's no shortage of great restaurants and bars, and there's always something new popping up. I love to ride my bike around the neighborhood or over the Williamsburg Bridge, and there's also lots of great studios like Soul Cycle and Pure Barre plus yoga popping up here (which helps even out all the eating and drinking). Taking my dog to the park is also fun (and a little less uptight than the parks in the city). 

Fav shops... Verameat is great as are Catbird and Norbu. I often just walk along Bedford and pop my head into all the shops, there's always something cute. Artists and Fleas is fun on the weekends.

Thanks for reading! I can't wait to tell you about the next stop I found. Oh my goodness, the best vintage store I've ever found! See you next week!