Don't worry, I won't bore you with all the details of our wedding. But I will share some advice. I think I've earned that right with all the weddings I have planned, been a part of, and now being the bride.
First, put aside expectations. This was especially difficult for me. I am a people pleaser! I struggled with it right up until the moment I walked down the aisle. We were 30 minutes late starting the ceremony, but that was only because so many people came to love us that the shuttle to the destination had to make an extra trip! (I hate being late, so that bothered me.) Anyways, put aside expectations - of your family, of what is proper, of what people might say. Toss it out the window. Plan a day of celebration (in our case, a whole weekend!) that reflects BOTH of you.
That leads me to my second point: Plan a wedding that incorporates the bride AND the groom. So many women forget this little tidbit! For example, we planned a wedding that was outdoors, in the mountains, was simple, small, and organic. This reflected both of our personalities: we love nature, I have a family place in the mountains, and we wanted the marriage and our friends to be the focus - not decorations, flowers, or expensive details. Another example, my husband wore Chaco sandals with his suit.
He was more comfortable in a suit than a tux, and the sandals reflect his hippie, laid-back personality. Some women scoffed at this and couldn't believe I "allowed" it, but I loved it! I loved that he was so comfortable and authentic at our wedding! I chose not to wear a veil, but instead chose a simple gardenia for my hair. I was comfortable, smelled great, my groom loved it, and it was so easy to get ready!
Third, we had a theme. The theme was so subtle, I doubt people picked up on it... as it should be. Our theme was one of trees. We picked a tree because we talked a lot beforehand about our "roots." What kept us rooted in love, for example. We reflected this in our invitations, our "Blessing Tree" for a guest book, and even our cupcake stand!
Fourth, don't sweat the details. As a graduate student, I had to choose between graduating or planning a wedding. I chose graduating! In effect, I chose a wedding location that would do all of the decorating, set-up, and clean-up for me. The location was small, so that also helped me hack away at the guest list. However, I completely trusted the owner and coordinator; she didn't disappoint! I refused to stress about table settings, centerpieces, or the menu. I chose to focus on other things and gave her my vision. She made it come to life! I asked for lots of candles and rocks from the river in which I learned to swim:
I also bucked tradition by not having programs for the ceremony. Instead, I wanted to save trees (get the theme??) and had the ceremony outlined on a chalkboard:
It was the same with my cupcake baker. I told her my vision and it was better than I could have imagined! Even down to the tree branches iced onto the top tier:
The same was also true of our flowers. I simply showed our floral designer a picture of what I was envisioning, then trusted her professional opinion and skill to make it come to life with what was in season:
What I noticed during the planning was that I had picked ALL local, small business owners, who were also all single women! As a child of a single mother, I guess I have a proclivity to support single women in their business ventures.
The details that we cared about were all taken care of: we had UT orange and white scattered throughout the wedding day (but hardly noticeable so we wouldn't be overwhelmed), our tree theme, an unconventional location surrounded by God's beauty, the most amazing rehearsal dinner and celebration thrown by his parents, and a super fun and sweet choreographed First Dance.
I have much more advice on wedding planning, but I'll keep that to myself unless you're curious. My thoughts are mostly about making the wedding personal, affordable, and comfortable - for you, your groom, your family, and your guests. We had a traditional wedding with a few new ideas thrown in. It was a great mix for us! I guess I did alright because my husband is still talking about how "perfect" our wedding was and how perfectly it reflected us as individuals and as couple.
The most important part of the entire process and wedding day was that we were married. At the end of the night, shouldn't that be all that matters?
Marrying my Coastie was the best decision I ever made. Happy Anniversary wherever you are, Mr. Preston!