Every girl dreams about this day. The day she gets to look like a princess and have all eyes on her in a big white dress. As a former bride, and many, many times a bridesmaid, I have had an incredible amount of insight into weddings. Here is my short list of the top 3 things that I believe are essential to ensuring that you have an unforgettable and beautiful day.
1. Invitations are important!
Make sure you allocate part of your wedding budget to your invitations. Your wedding invitation is the first glimpse into what the big day will be like for your guests. Those envelopes will be shredded as your invitees excitedly get to your (hopefully) beautiful invitation. I have seen some absolutely incredible invitations, and I have seen some absolutely horrendous ones. When in doubt, KISS (Keep It Simple, Sweetie). A little bit of bling is okay, but going all out with sequins, sparkles and rhinestones is incredibly tacky and reminiscent of something from “My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding”. Unless that is the look you’re going for, do NOT do it. And to answer your question, yes, I have seen invitations like that.
Second, make sure your invitations have at least some weight to the paper so it doesn’t look like you printed it out on your home printer. And speaking of printers, DO NOT PRINT IT OUT YOURSELF. Unless you are a planner and have a special printer, your ink will smear! Please girls, leave your invitations to the professionals. I cannot tell you how awful it would be for your family and friends to get your invitations and accidentally smearing all your ink because you tried to take the “cheap” way out. And again, I have seen this numerous times and it’s just awful.
On your invitation you should include the actual time of the ceremony, wedding date, location of the ceremony and attire. If your ceremony and reception are in different locations or your wedding is a destination wedding, always include enclosure cards with information such as driving directions, local hotel accommodations, reception location/time.
Lastly, and I cannot stress this point enough, PROOF READ YOUR INVITATIONS. Make sure your parent(s) name(s) are spelled correctly, as well as the last name of your groom.
2. Picking A Photographer!
After the party has winded down, your dress has come off and you’re enjoying your newly wedded bliss in the honeymoon suite, the only thing you will have that captured the beauty and excitement of that day will be your photos. Picking a photographer is arguably one of the most nerve-wracking and important parts of your big day. Your wedding pictures will last a lifetime and you will want to put them up all around your home, not to mention show them off on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.
When researching, make sure you read everything (blog posts, customer reviews, etc.) you can about the photographer- do not just book the cheapest option on Groupon, ladies, because there is probably a reason that they are offering 75% off their services. When you finally decide on one, see about planning a 30 minute pre-wedding consultation or meeting in person before the big day. That way you will feel more comfortable around him/her on your wedding day, plus this will give you the opportunity to discuss angles or things that you might be a little insecure about.
In my case, I told my photographer, Rya, that I can’t stand looking at my arms (despite having a strapless dress) and that the bump in my nose gives me heartache (it was broken in the fourth grade by a stupid boy). Getting those things off my chest allowed Rya to make sure that we planned which side I would stand in pictures, tips for posing and practicing how to arch my back so that I looked tall(er) and slender(er). Yes, this conversation was awkward, I mean who wants to complain about the way they look, but I am SO grateful that I expressed my insecurities to her because she was able to make me look like a million bucks on my wedding day and I cannot thank her enough.
3. Hair and Makeup!
Unless your best friend is a professional makeup artist and hair stylist for the rich and famous, do yourself a favor and dish out the dough for a professional to come and “glam” you up the morning of your wedding. You will want to spend the day drinking mimosas, giggling with your best girl friends and not having to worry if you forgot your foundation brush or your curling iron just imploded. Even if your close friend wants to help you out on your big day, it can be awkward if she goes a little heavy on the eye makeup or if your up-do looks more frizzy than beachy waves.
With a professional, you can explain exactly what you want and there’s no pressure if you tell them that you want something fixed or changed. Whereas with a friend, it can be hard to say that. Now that being said, I also want to stress that you absolutely MUST have a pre-wedding day trial run of exactly how you want your hair and makeup done. I thank my lucky stars that I did because the girl who was originally booked to do my hair and makeup came for a run through and when she was “finished” with me, I was literally in tears when I looked in the mirror. My makeup looked awful and my hair was frizzy from her curling iron.
I was heartbroken, but luckily our family friend who lives in Paris called her hair stylist (in Paris) and she was able to do an “emergency session”. She artfully arranged my hair in a curled up do for my ceremony (my mantel piece was too heavy to wear my hair down) and on our way to take photos, I quickly ripped out all the bobby pins so I could have soft big curls in my photos in front of the Eiffel Tower.
Oh and for my makeup? I literally walked to the nearest Sephora, found the prettiest girl with classic makeup on and told her I needed a makeover and that I was getting married in 4 hours (no pressure, haha). She ended up doing a fabulous job, and I definitely recommend wearing fake lashes because it really makes your eyes pop in pictures. 💋