Hey hey! Check out my NEW last name y’all, woohoo! I married my partner in crime last month, and all I can say is: IT’S WORTH IT! We had a blast, and I have a new perspective on my job.
I’m taking my planner hat off, and this advice will be strictly what I learned from my role as The Bride. It will be random, and lean into the ‘unexpected’ things I didn’t see or feel coming.
Welcome drinks the night before: DO IT!
This was an afterthought for us, but we invited all of our guests (90% from out of town) to meet us at the bar for drinks after our rehearsal dinner, and we loved every second. Getting that huge hug from cousins, college buddies, and my best girlfriends helped me get out of ‘planner mode’ after our ceremony rehearsal.
Everyone at the bar was there for us, and I felt so loved and happy! It was very casual, and we just chatted with our people. It was a great way to ease into the weekend. There wasn’t as much pressure to ‘make the rounds’ at the wedding, because we saw almost everyone the night before!
Funny memory: A random guy sitting at the bar bought us a bottle of champagne because ‘the vibes of this group are good.’ Thanks, kind stranger!
Planning hack: Pick a reasonably priced bar as close to your hotel as possible! Don’t get too caught up in aesthetic. If it’s not affordable or easy to get to, no one will go.
Do something in the morning for YOU.
My fiance and I spent the night together at the hotel. The morning of, we woke up and drove to Bloomfield, our old neighborhood. We got Starbucks, and then walked Friendship Park for one last loop before getting married. As we walked, we reminded each other of our ‘goals’ for the day:
Stick together at the reception. We are social AF and tend to drift at parties.
Be kind to family. This sounds messed up, but in the moment on your wedding day, it’s really hard not to get snippy answering questions you’ve covered on your wedding website(!!!) When this happens, the Happy Couple comes off as the Cranky Couple, so we made sure to remember our patience.
Take a moment. Looking back, we took many moments in between the big events to soak it in together: Backstage before our entrance, on the dance floor during cocktails, and during our Last Dance, right before our guests tackled us with LOVE.
It was the best way for us to kick off the day. Whatever that is for you, do it!
Funny memory: Hearing ‘Two venti unsweetened black iced coffees for the BRIDE and GROOM!’ at the pick up counter got a LOUD cheer out of me.
Don’t rush the final touches.
Confession: I totally rushed the final touches! We were like 15 minutes behind schedule for our first look, and I wanted to get dressed as quickly as possible to make up the time. My photographer was having NONE. OF. IT. When you’re putting on shoes, earrings, veil, bow, etc. for the camera, it takes forever.
I did it, but my mindset was on my Google Docs. Pics came out great though, thanks Ryan!
Invite the people you love.
This may sound like a no-brainer, but I struggled a lot with inviting the dance team that I coach. They are such a huge part of my life (and why Pittsburgh is home to me), and I spend so. much. time. working with them at Duquesne. They’re literally my kids. I invited the entire team (no plus-ones), and made it clear no gifts were expected. They filled a table of 9, and seeing them having fun and making memories with each other was so great. It would not have felt complete without them there.
Trust in your vendors.
I only wanted to micromanage one thing on my wedding day: The music. Specifically the songs that our band played, and what order they played them in…basically just do their job for them.
When you hire one of the best bands in the city, do yourself a favor and trust them. I spent way too much time before my wedding day scouring over my set list, and here’s what I learned: If you have a good band, any song will sound good! They can read the room in the moment and choose the order in which to play to music. Go enjoy yourself. THANKS JASON KENDALL PRODUCTIONS I LOVE YOU 4EVER.
Funny memory: My best friends and I took the stage and danced to Footloose, followed by Everybody by BSB. I have no regrets.
Everything is optional.
LOUDER for the couples in the back!!! Every. Single. THING. on your wedding day is optional! If the reason you’re doing something is because ‘that’s how it’s always been done,’ or someone tells you ‘it’s not a real wedding without (fill in the blank)’ ditch it, or substitute it with something you love.
Every aspect of your wedding should make you and your partner smile uncontrollably. If it doesn’t spark joy, it has no room in your day. Here’s some shit I didn’t do or have because we didn’t want to.
Cake and cake cutting
Walk down an aisle
WEAR HEELS UGH NO THX
Do not be scared to showcase your personalities in lieu of ‘tradition’ or wedding stuff that doesn’t feel authentic to you. My favorite parts of weddings I’ve coordinated and attended as a guest are the unique things!
Last, but not least. *Drumroll* please…..
HIRE A DAY OF COORDINATOR!
Yes, such a plot twist I know: The professional day of coordinator hired a day of coordinator! I hired two AMAZING WOMEN (Katie + Jess yay!!!) who work for Day of Pgh to coordinate our wedding. If you take away any of my advice, let it be this: Do yourself a favor and hire a DOC. My husband and I didn’t worry about a damn thing, and they slayed it. It gave me so much peace of mind, and now I know *exactly* how my clients feel on their wedding day. It was so surreal having the roles reversed, and I value my services even more than I already did. Every couple deserves to be taken care of on their wedding day.
I could go on (and on and on) about what I’ve learned not just on my wedding day, but on all the weddings I’ve coordinated. One thing I know is true: It’s just one day. Make it count, make it unmistakably YOURS, and soak that shit IN!
Wedding photos by Ryan Zarichnak Photography.
Other photos by myself and Andy!