"It's been 84 years and I can still smell the fresh paint. The china..." (record scratching) Oh, wait!!! That's not my flashback.
So it hasn't been 84 years since my wedding, and there was no smell of fresh paint in the air. Only love! In fact, this week is my 5-year anniversary!!! (Hence the title of this post.) It's only been 5 years, but prior to my wedding while there was still love in the air, there was also stress. Lots of it! Why? I was that crazy bride that said, "I can do this planning all by myself!" (and work two jobs and make my dress and deal with whatever life threw at me). Thank you genes for not letting me sprout grey hairs from the stress. Let the record also show I only had one "Bridezilla" moment!
While I know that there are lots of blogs and websites out there dedicated to planning your wedding, I figure I'd write a quick post about my experience. Though I think at this point, anything traumatic that did happen, has already been forgotten or at least blocked from memory. And for those brides/couples just starting your wedding planning adventure, keep reading to get some advice from some awesome guest contributors (aka industry professionals) on how to find your perfect vendor.
As I've now mentioned, the year before my wedding was full of planning. I had also just graduated from college which meant I needed income to not only help fund my wedding, but also start the repayment of those pesky student loans. Luckily, I was able to find a full-time job at Bloomingdales and a part-time job as a seamstress/design assistant at a bridal boutique nearby. Income was then one less thing I had to worry about. But planning a wedding in Texas while I was in California, well now, that's a whole new set of stress-inducing challenges.
My husband and I decided on Villa Antonia in the hills overlooking Lake Travis in Austin, TX for our venue because we simply fell in love with the view... and I wanted to be near water. We did look at a total of 4-5 venues all together, but in comparing them all, Villa Antonia won hands down. Luckily for us, selecting a rental and catering company was easy because our venue only allowed us to work with the company they had a contract with. Venue, caterer, rentals... check, check, and check!
Finding my photographer was also a piece of cake! A pricier, but totally worth it piece of cake! And I didn't really have to find him since I'd met my photographer, William Innes, a couple of years before when I still worked at a Cruz's Bridal in Santa Clarita. I loved his photos from the get-go and had no doubt I wanted him as my photographer since having met him. My biggest worries were making sure he wasn't already booked, and that he was willing to fly from California to Texas. I emailed him, and he was a go! Another vendor checked off.
When it came time to look for a DJ/Emcee, a florist, minister, videographer, and baker, I became a spreadsheet master! I had to stay organized or I would have gone crazy. With each vendor spreadsheet I made, I made sure I had the vendor-specific categories to help me make my decision (besides the obvious price and reviews/recommendations). For example, my "DJ/Entertainment" spreadsheet looked at play hours, kind of equipment used, variety in music, and personnel. Sometimes elimination was easy... they never called me back. BYE! (Lucky for my DJ, Jabari Warfield, I got a call back!) After spreadsheet making, I did a lot... A LOT of internet research to fill in my sheets as much as possible. Emails back and forth with questions also helped narrow down the choices in the end.
I know this sounds like my wedding planning was a breeze, but it wasn't. Amongst all this planning, I still somehow managed to find time to make my own wedding gown (even if I was sewing until 1 am after getting off of a 8 hour shift). Plus, I also made the invitations and anything else I thought I could handle making instead of outsourcing. The most stressful time was the month just before: I had to quit my jobs, get the final details set, fly to Austin for final meetings with vendors, and then road trip with my family for the wedding. In retrospect, I should've asked for more help and/or hired a wedding planner. Oh well! What can I do about that now?! ...Maybe throw another wedding! I mean, it's a chance to wear another beautiful gown and have an even bigger party... YES!!! And, maybe the next time I'll be able to afford some never-been-used china!
TIPS FROM THE PROS: