Prepare yourselves, friends, because this post might get real sappy. I don’t know if there’s another feeling in the world quite like waking up on your wedding day. It’s a moment you have potentially imagined your entire life, and the mix of emotions, butterflies, nerves, excitement and giddiness is second to none.
One of my absolute favorite parts of our wedding day was getting ready with all of my best gals. The mimosas were flowing, the music was pumping, the sun was shining, and when I looked around, all I saw was my very best friends from every stage of my life coming together in one serendipitous moment. Childhood friends, college friends, post-college friends, soon-to-be sisters, my wonderful family, all of who came together in this place to stand by my side. They had traveled from all over the country, and world, to be there. How dang lucky did that make me feel? If it was possible to hug a feeling, seal it up, and take it out whenever you want, I would do that to the feeling I had this morning. My worlds were colliding in the absolute best way possible. I wanted to just stop the hands of time for a minute to savor this incredibly unique moment.
It’s true what they say, this day will absolutely fly by in the blink of an eye (even faster than that, if it’s possible) and you’ll want to remember every single minute, and have it be as stress-free and joyous as possible. Following my Wedding Planning Season series, I’m sharing my tricks of the trade with you to make sure your special day is truly the most magical it can possibly be.
1. Take a Moment for Yourself
I remember the night before our wedding, post epic rehearsal dinner dance party (more on this in a later post), we came back to the beautiful Estate we were staying in and I had a moment of realization. I’M GETTING MARRIED TOMORROW. It was very surreal. I needed a moment just to have a second of “me” time. So I went to the beautiful room I was staying in that night and began to transcribe my vows. This may seem like a complete “last minute” thing to do (it was, if you’re wondering) but I wanted it to be that way. I have found that I work best under a bit of pressure. Over the recent months, I had started an email chain to myself where I began to write my vows. Every time Zach did something sweet I wanted to remember, or I thought of something that was just so “us” it had to be recorded, I would write it in the email and just continually send it to myself. This made me remember moments, and things I may not have otherwise. So the night before the wedding, I began to put that months-long email chain into a solid coherent thought. It was a wonderful way to just reflect on this new journey I was embarking on.
In the morning, I woke up to gorgeous sunshine, and a very gentle breeze (which is INCREDIBLE knowing where we got married, I believe we had some angels watching over us this day) and I had a perma-grin on my face I couldn’t get rid of. I brewed some coffee, grabbed my partially written vows, and headed out to the balcony. I gazed out into the vineyard below, finished writing my vows, sipped my coffee, and reflected in this moment of peace.
As the warmth of the sunshine shone on my face, I closed my eyes, I thought of my parents, and how the desire to have them there was indescribable. I took a moment to miss them more than I could ever express in words in this time of solitude. I talked to them, said a prayer, and asked them to watch over Zach & I today, and everyday to come. I told them what I would give to have them here with me today. I thanked them for giving me everything possible to create the life I was now leading. I took a deep breath, allowed myself to shed a tear, and opened my eyes. I stuffed my bridesmaids gifts, and I was wrapping that up (ha!) my girls started waking up and came out to join me on the balcony. I hugged each of them so tightly, took one last glance up at the sky, winked at my guardian angels, and was ready to get the day I’d dreamt about my entire life started. This was such a vital moment for me personally. Remember to take a moment for you, to just be you.
My vows, technically written the day before we said I Do
My guardian angels, standing by me every step of the way
2. Prepare an Epic Getting Ready Playlist
This one you can do ahead of time. This was something I put together the week before the wedding when my brain was going a million miles a minute thinking of things I might have forgotten. In those moments, it’s nice to have a happy distraction. Is there anything happier than imaging you and your ladies dancing together while getting pampered? If you can think of something, let me know. We put our playlists together on Spotify, and just made tons of different themed playlists for various parts of the wedding weekend. Feeling musically challenged at the moment? Not to fear, my dear! I’ve listed my favorite getting ready jams below, which are guaranteed to get the party started on your big day.
My typical dance face, even in a wedding dress (just can’t help myself)
My bridesmaid and beautiful friend Libby, having a terrible time 😉
3. Pop that Champagne, Girl!
Yeah, you hear me?! POP THOSE BUBBLES, BABY! It’s your wedding day! This one really needs no explanation. The pop of a champagne cork is potentially one of the most glorious sounds one can ever hear. Add that to the fact that the champagne popping sound you’re hearing is on your wedding day, and girl you’ve got it made. My amazing bridesmaid, Leslie, captured me popping the first bottle of bubbles off the balcony where I had just finished writing my vows (all caught on our custom Snapchat filter!)
You will have friends, family, and your bridal party asking you in the weeks leading up to your wedding what they can do to help. I finally relinquished some duties, and this was a very easy (and fun!) thing for your team to help with. I asked that the bridesmaids bring a bottle of bubbles or juice of their choice for mimosas for the morning of the wedding, if they wanted to indulge. We definitely brought some as well, but you’ll go through a lot during the weekend of your wedding. It’s the celebration of celebrations, after all. CHEERS, Baby baby!
On cloud nine, poppin’ champagne from the balcony. Snapchat guru Leslie, capturing it all on camera!
CHEERS! X 1,000,000
4. Remember to Eat Something…(No, really)
This seems like a no-brainer, but remember how we talked about this day flying by? It does, and after you’ve had a mimosa or two, you need to remember to soak it up and give yourself some energy. I told myself this ahead of time, and everyone who had been down this road gave me that piece of advice. In my head I was like,“Duh, of course I’m not going to forget to eat, I’m a grown adult I can feed myself!”
Yeah, think again. With all of the magical chaos happening around me, eating was the last thing on my mind.
My bridesmaid, and lifelong friend Kelsey (who’s the beautiful mother of our sweet ring-bearer) literally force fed me a bagel that day. I know, I know..a bagel?! Carbs?! On your wedding day?! Yep, and it was the best thing I could have done. I’ll just say this: eat it. You need energy. You have a long day ahead of you, and you will be so grateful you had it later in the day. Speaking of eating, please remember to hydrate, especially if your wedding is outside in the summertime. Your potential hangover the next day will also thank you for staying so on top of your H2O game.
Shoutout to Kelsey (seen below, being the most adorable mother of all time) for taking care of me that day, you’re the real MVP!
5. Remember to Have a Timeline
Having a day of wedding timeline is one of the most important things you can do (if you haven’t caught on, this day whizzes by). One minute you’re casually reflecting on the day ahead on the balcony, and the next you’re walking out the door to get married. Where did the hours in between go?! Having a timeline, specifically for your photographer, is so, so important. Make sure you give your hair, makeup, and photography team enough time to work the magic you partnered up with them for.
Have a large bridal party? Add some wiggle room to the hair and makeup time. Are you especially keen on detail shots prior to the wedding? Make sure your photographer has enough time to capture everything you want caught on film from your special day. Is the Groom Team (aka the Groomsmen) staying in another location? Build in time to get snaps of them too!
If you want something very specific, make sure you mention it to your photographer. They’re not mind readers, and it’s so much better to convey what you hope to have sealed forever in film rather than crossing your fingers and hoping they’ll catch it. I’ve raved about our photographer Jenna, because she is truly a gem and insanely talented. I mentioned to her that I really wanted a snap of all my girls on the bed in our matching bridesmaids robes, along with some detail shots (including the ones of my parents above, in the locket I carried on my bouquet). She absolutely nailed it!
Share the day of timeline with all of your vendors (photographer, florist, makeup/hair squad, caterer..etc). Make sure they all have a copy and you’ll be golden! We were able to capture some of my favorite snaps from the morning of the wedding because we allotted time in our day-of-timeline. Including my two maids-of-honor helping me into my wedding dress. The three of us have helped each other into so many dresses over the years, but having them by my side in this moment, nothing quite compares. It was an emotionally charged moment for all of us, filled with tears, laughter, and joy.
The day of timeline is a national treasure. Nicolas Cage likely found one when he finally found all the gold in the end of the movie (kind of want to watch National Treasure now…)
The best MOH duo of all time, helping me when I need them most
Tears, laughter, holding hands…sounds about right
Finishing touches, captured by the incredible Jenna Bechtholt
6. Last But Not Least, Don’t Stress
If you remember one thing from this list, remember this one. Don’t stress, my sweet. It’s your wedding day. It’s your special day. It’s your soon to be husbands special day. That timeline we chatted about above? If you can, have a family member, bridesmaid, day of coordinator, or someone else you trust make sure you’re trying to stick to it. This is your time to relax, and enjoy. Remember that at this point, what’s done is done. There will be things that happen that are outside of your control (want to know a secret? If something goes wrong, I promise no one will even notice) You won’t remember if anything went wrong, after, either. All you will remember is the unforgettable day you spent with your beloved, your dear friends, and your family.
So don’t sweat the small stuff. If people offer to help, let them. Follow a few of these tips, and I can promise you you’ll be cool as a cucumber on your big day.
Now…time for you to go get married! Have any other tips that helped you accomplish a wedding day full of smooth sailing? Share them with me in the comments, or over on Instagram (@thelyonbadger) by using #CurateThatMoment!
Venue: The Estate at Destiny Ridge
Photography: Jenna Bechtholt
Hair & Makeup: Hair by Ceann
Vow Book: Etsy
Bridesmaid Robes: Mod Party