Happy belated 2016 readers! What better way to start off the new year than to introduce our newest team member and blogger, Kimberly! Kimmy hails from sunny South Florida where she spent several years exploring the hustle and bustle of Miami’s ever-emerging event industry. We are so thrilled that her journey has led her to Lakeland with her new hubby and fresh perspective on all things fabulous. Welcome aboard, Kimmy! Continue on to read all about her experience as a recent bride.
Surely, it would be presumptuous for me to speak for all event planners by declaring that when it comes time to plan our own weddings, it’s simply smooth sailing because, after all, isn’t this what we do on a day to day basis for other people? While this is completely true, I personally felt that anything I thought I knew might as well have been a pile of mush in the center of my brain where all of my great light bulb ideas had once come to be. For some strange reason, planning my own wedding started off as one of the most difficult journeys I had ever encountered because instead of presenting choices and simply suggesting ideas to a client, I had to now make decisions and design the most important day of MY life.
The silver lining of all of this is that I now have such an incredible perspective on what my brides go through. I now know what it’s like to feel the pressure of making every single perfect decision knowing that it will live on through photos and videos for the rest of my life. The sooner I was able to let my unrealistic expectations and reputation go is when I really started to enjoy the process. I knew that all that mattered at the end of the wedding day was that I was marrying my best friend, and that’s really the most important and magical detail of all.
NOW FOR THE GOOD STUFF! The first thing I did to start the planning process was to get myself organized. Organization is key! There are some incredible wedding planning binders and books out there that serve very useful; however, simply preparing your own binder and spreadsheets work just as well. Something else to strongly consider is hiring an event planner/designer. Not only will this alleviate a lot of the stress that you are about to bestow upon yourself, but they will give you a professional opinion based on experience, keep you on budget (BUDGET, BUDGET, BUDGET), and will be able to fine tune all of your ideas that might otherwise be muddled by years of pinterest-ing and mental picturing.
When it comes time to “shop around” for all of your venues/vendors, make sure you’re keeping yourselves as a couple in mind. Of course, this is a day of extravagance! However, you want to stay true to your personalities. You want your guests to feel like they’re stepping inside your dream wedding, and you want everything to make sense. To be practical. An example, my husband and I felt that food was at the top of our list of importance. When it came time to pick a venue, we wanted to choose a place where food was just as important to them as it was to us.
CATERING: Oxford Exchange
Another key element when dreaming up this enchanting event is to stick with a theme. Some of us who have been planning our dream weddings since childhood tend to want to take all of our ideas out on this one day (GUILTY!). My suggestion is to create a design board that captures a couple of your favorite colors, flowers, textures, and aesthetics. Choosing just a couple of key items will allow flexibility into the planning process and might even broaden your possibilities for new ideas. Be flexible, be patient, be simple.
To stem from the organization branch that was mentioned earlier on, scheduling is crucial to the entire planning process. I found that staying ahead of schedule kept me the most sane and at ease. I had set timelines and deadlines for myself and found that the more I accomplished things ahead of time and beat my deadlines, the more I was able to relax and enjoy the fun things, such as registering, tastings, dress shopping, etc. Also, make sure to enjoy every single moment. The saying “time flies” definitely applies to this short period in your life and you don’t want to take any of it for granted. I often tried to plan date nights with my then fiancé to communicate and reflect on everything that was currently going on and those are the moments I cherish and remember now.
"THE BIG DAY!" "IT’S HERE!" "IT’S HAPPENING!" "AHHHHHHH!" These are just some of the thoughts that went through my mind on that dreamy Saturday in November. Beforehand, I had created a day-of timeline consisting of: hair and makeup, having lunch sent to the room (DON’T FORGET TO EAT!), and vendor arrival times. I tried to leave as much time for delay as possible because there will always be delays and set backs. The sooner you know that, the better. When the big day arrives, make sure to hand over all responsibility to someone else. You should be spared of all stress and worry the day of. Whether your venue comes with a planner or one is outsourced, let them worry about everything because it’s their (our) job and it’s what they (we) do. All you should be doing that day is soaking up all of that delicious wedding love potion that’s looming in the air!
My final and most cherished tip is to take the time to look around at some point during the day/night. For me, while everyone was sitting down for dinner, I was able to stop and look around the entire room and capture all of my family and friends laughing and smiling and it filled my heart so full of love and warmth. I also wanted to make sure that at some point I was admiring the beautiful floral designs, the abundant dessert bar that spread from one side of the room to the other, and the memoriam table photos that will soon be hanging in my home.
PHOTOGRAPHER:Paul Rivera VENUE/CATERING:Oxford Exchange FLORAL DESIGN:Andrea Layne Floral Design DRESS:Hayley Paige-Calvet Couture Bridal SUIT:Jos. A. Bank DESSERT BAR:Chocolate Pi
Enjoy this day, because it’s once in a lifetime. I look forward to capturing and sharing the elements of wedding magnificence with all of you!