This is a post written by Lourdes with guest contributors: William of William Innes Photography, Jabari of Jabari Warfield Entertainment, and Liz from Pop-Fizz-Clink Consulting & Events.
"It's been 84 years and I can still smell the fresh paint. The china..." (record scratching) Oops... not my flashback.
So it hasn't been 84 years since my wedding, and there was no smell of fresh paint in the air. To be honest, I can't remember what it smelled like that day! What I do remember from before the wedding day was the stress. Lots of it! Why? Because 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). Let the record also show I only had one "Bridezilla" moment! Anyhow, with my fifth anniversary coming up, I'm going down the wedding planning memory lane. Plus, I'm also bringing in some guest contributors to give their advice on photography, wedding planning, and entertainment.
My Experience Planning a Wedding Out of State
The year before my wedding was busy! As a recent college graduate, worked two jobs. I worked full-time at Bloomingdales and part-time as a seamstress/design assistant at a nearby bridal boutique. I worked those jobs to not only repay student loans, but also to pay for the wedding. With my income secured, it was one less thing I had to worry about during the planning process. However, planning a wedding in Texas from California was a whole new set of stress-inducing challenges. Whatever time I didn't spend at work I dedicated to wedding planning.
Deciding on the venue took looking at 5 different options. My husband and I chose 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. Rentals and catering came with the venue. Venue, caterer, rentals... check, check, and check!
Finding our photographer was also a piece of cake! 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. All I had to make sure was that 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.
The vendors I still needed: a DJ/Emcee, a florist, minister, videographer, and baker. In those searches, I became a spreadsheet master! I had to stay organized or I would have gone crazy. With each spreadsheet I made, I had the vendor-specific categories to help me make my decision. 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! After spreadsheet making, I did a lot... A LOT of internet research to fill in my sheets for each vendor 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. Remember how I said I made my own wedding dress? I had to make time for that as well. Even if I was sewing until 1 am after getting off of a 8 hour shift. My dress wasn't the only thing I made either. I also made the invitations and anything else I could handle.
The most stressful time was the month before the wedding. I had to quit my jobs, finalize details, fly to Austin for final meetings with vendors, and then road trip with my family to the wedding. In retrospect, I should've asked for more help and/or hired a wedding planner. Oh well! You live and you learn.
I always ask myself: would I do it over again? Absolutely! Afterall, why not have a chance to wear another fabulous wedding dress and make it an even bigger party than last time!!! Would I do things differently? Some things, not all. So, in the hopes that I can help couples in the planning process, I've asked some wedding pros for advice.
Wedding Planning Advice from the Pros: Photographer Tips from William of William Innes Photography
Wedding Planning Advice from the Pros: DJ/Entertainment Tips from Jabari of Jabari Warfield Entertainment
Wedding Planning Advice from the Pros: Wedding Planner Tips from Liz of Pop-Fizz-Clink Consulting & Events
Advice to the newly engaged on IF and WHO to hire as your wedding planner.
Brides Needing a Wedding Planner
The biggest questions brides face is knowing if a Wedding Planner is right for them? Though most Brides can benefit from the help of a planner, these situations call for one more-so than others:
Finding the Right Wedding Planner
Once you’ve realized you need a planner and chosen the one right for you the fun part begins. Have fun while working with your planner. You’ll be amazed at what all great ideas you’ll bounce off one another and create the wedding of your dreams! Happy planning!
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