Long post alert. I wanted to share my wedding photos with you guys. I thought it could offer some inspiration to all the brides-to-be out there. Enjoy!
When I first started the wedding planning process, I imagined having a large extravagant affair. But reality soon set in once we started putting all of the pieces together. We had a limited budget and limited time. Three months to be exact. Because of my husband’s unpredictable military schedule, finding a date proved to be a daunting task. So when we chose a date we soon realized that prioritizing was key. Coming to a decision of what really mattered and sticking to it was the only way we would remain sane throughout the wedding planning process.
We planned everything around one major thing. Budget. Which made it easy to decide to have an intimate ceremony and reception. We only had 45 of our closest friends and family. The wedding party was only my sister and my husband’s brother-in-law. This was one of the best decisions that I made. Having a small wedding party eliminates the stress of dealing with multiple personalities, picking dresses, planning logistics, and making bouquets. Plus being on a strict budget.
Any corners we could cut we made sure we did. Having our wedding on a winter morning, having a brunch reception, having a small wedding party and guest list. We did it all. Also, I took on a number of DIYs. I personally created everything from stationery to the wedding flowers. Even though everything turned out beautifully, I would not recommend taking on so many tasks at once. I felt stressed daily, worrying if everything would get done in time. Maybe if I was more organized I wouldn’t have felt stressed but needless to say, taking on so many tasks felt like a job and I had little time to enjoy being a bride-to-be.
The next phase after figuring out what was important was to pick a theme. we just kept it simple. Very modern and minimal with a tropical twist. My husband is from Jamaica so it was only natural to incorporate some tropical details here and there. My colors were green, pink, black, with copper accents.
As for the ceremony, it was held at my childhood church where my pastor was the officiant. I was a ball of nerves. I didn’t know where to look, I was shaking and stuttering. When I look back I don’t know why I was so nervous. The entire ceremony lasted no more than 30 min. We played it by the book and did everything pretty generic. Before the ceremony, we decided to do a first look. I loved seeing his face when I walked in all dolled up. I thought it was important for us to share a moment together before the ceremony. If you are considering doing a first look, go for it! You won’t regret it. Especially if you have a great photographer that catches his reaction.
Pro Tip: Usually photography is a major cost factor when planning a wedding. If there is a specific photographer you would like to work with, look into if they provide intimate or elopement packages. These are usually relativly cheaper and can range in the number of hours that they provide. I was able to secure my photographer for six hours for under $1200 by doing an intimate ceremony and reception. Also look into photographers who are just starting out, usually their rate tends to be lower than very experienced photographers. Just ask, I promise its not as scary as it seems.
After the ceremony, I just wanted to relax and whine down and the reception was exactly that. It was very layback and casual. Almost like having a family dinner. Everyone sat family-style around a long table with my husband and I at the head. Since we don’t drink and were both not partiers a brunch reception worked out perfectly. It was as simple as it gets. You come, celebrate, talk and eat some good food. The menu consisted of chicken and waffles, veggie burgers, and pulled pork sweet potato hash. It was amazing. I was so glad I didn’t listen to outside opinions regarding food and chose what I liked. Believe it or not, it was one of the things I was extremely proud of because I didn’t stick to the status quo ( e.g bland chicken, steak, and potatoes).
The reception venue was one of the best parts. It was we held in a really swanky hotel restaurant in DC. The hotel had a separate restaurant attached and we rented the private dining room for a few hours for a fraction of what it would have cost to have the wedding at the hotel itself. After eating, we took advantage of the beautiful hotel architecture and took our portraits around the hotel. So many guests told me how they loved the location and how nice it was. That was pleasing to hear especially since there was a little bit of a wait before the private dining room was ready. This gave guest time to explore the hotel, take selfies, and check out the glass-enclosed bar that the restaurant had to offer.
Pro tip: if you plan to have a wedding downtown or where parking is limited see if any parking garages nearby provide validation tickets. If they do you simply pay for a certain number of tickets hand them to your guests and their parking is validated as they go out. Many hotels charge an arm and a leg for parking so when I discovered this I thought I hit the gold mine.
In all my wedding was everything I dreamed of. No, everything did not go as planned and yes some people didn’t show up. But who cares. The whole day I was focused on the fact that I was marrying my best friend. After the reception, we relaxed in our hotel room for a while and later that night went out to explore DC. We walked to a local movie theater and caught a movie. Something we always loved to do.
My advice would be to prioritize. Figure out what is important to you and stick with a small list of no more than three to four things.
Simply enjoy the process and don’t let anyone or anything stress you out. I spent a lot of time stressing out about the small details and frankly no one even cared. That very moment you begin to feel stressed or overwhelmed delegate delegate delegate. You are about to marry the person of your dreams keeps that in mind. If any of you have any questions or tips, leave them below. I would love to hear!