Everyone says wedding planning is hard. It was. It was probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done. But was it worth it? Absolutely. As I said, David and I bonded over our love of formal events, and our wedding was going to be a reflection of us, big and very traditional.
I had already planned it on Pinterest. Royal blue was the color. Very southern: lots of hydrangeas and magnolias. The wedding would be at St. Michael’s Church and the reception at Hibernian Hall. It would be blacktie, of course. We would have a band. We would do everything we could to make sure everyone had fun while still keeping it formal. In the end, through a lot of hard work, I got my dream wedding, a wedding people still talk about today.
First things were first though, booking the venues. In the middle of June 2016, I came down to Charleston to look at apartments. Well, I also came down to view a few reception venues. If you’re paying attention, you’ll realize this was roughly a month and a half before I got engaged.
As I said repeatedly yesterday, I knew the proposal was coming. My mother wasn’t so convinced (not that she didn’t have faith in David, she just didn’t want to put down a deposit until it was a sure thing). Even after she gave him my grandmothers ring, she was still skeptical. She repeatedly asked me, are you sure he’s going to propose?
But I also knew Charleston was a very popular location for weddings, and I needed to book everything quickly if I wanted everything I wanted. So off I went without a ring on my finger to book the reception venue.
But what about the date? About three months after we began dating, David turned to me at dinner one evening and asked me when I wanted to get married. I assumed he was actually asking about dates, so I told him a June wedding, and I picked out June 24, knowing this was up in the air based on venue availability. He said that sounded like a fine date. He revealed to me about a year later that he meant to find out if I intended to get married during football season, but he went along with the whole choosing an actual date thing just to be a good sport.
Hibernian Hall was already book for a wedding in mid June (a year away), but June 24 was available so I decided to keep our proposed wedding day.
In July we came down again to try to find an apartment, but I also booked an appointment with St. Michael’s Church. I had a feeling Hibernian Hall would understand (the woman who helped me was really sweet, but let’s be honest, they cared more about the money). The church, however, was interested in our marriage, and walking in without a ring may have sent up red flags. So I needed David to propose before that meeting.
As I said in yesterday’s post, we stayed at Mills House, and all weekend I was reminding David of the appointment saying, “I need a ring on my finger for that meeting!” Fortunately, he proposed the afternoon before our meeting with St. Michael’s, and I was able to walk in as a proper bride-to-be.
Aside from having dozens of balls to juggle, wedding planning was actually pretty easy because I knew exactly what I wanted.
I also had a phenomenal wedding planner named Blythe Hill with Yoj Events who could tell I knew what I wanted, even if I got overwhelmed very easily. She guided me through every step, and felt comfortable giving me many options, helped me narrow them down, and was confident that in the end I knew what I wanted.
David even came to some meetings with me (revealing later that he thought it was the norm, he has set a pretty high standard for his friends). He came to one of the first meetings with Blythe, my second meeting with the florist, Frampton’s Flowers, and of course the meeting to pick out food, cake, and cocktails with Mills House and ABCD Cakes.
I have several pieces of advice for brides-to-be:
- Life will keep happening, so be prepared. While I was planning my wedding, we moved across the state, I continued working on a Master’s thesis, my father was diagnosed with cancer (which he is still fighting but very well), and our ceiling fell in our new apartment. Be prepared because you will not only have to deal with the wedding, but also everything else life throws at you. The year from proposal to marriage was probably one of the hardest of my life, but with David by my side I got through it.
- The attention to detail are what make the wedding seamless, but no one will notice them, so don’t put all of your effort into making sure every detail is perfect. Nearly everything was taken care of before the wedding day so I was able to relax while I got ready. For the wedding itself, we had our custom monogram done by Emily McCarthy Shoppe and we put it everywhere. Guests loved it, but I’m sure no one (not even me) could tell you every place it was.
- Make it representative of you. We had a big traditional wedding because it is what represents us, but that isn’t for everyone. If eloping at city hall is better suited for you, then do that! If a destination wedding and a party when you get home is your ideal, then go for it! But don’t make it too trendy. As women who got married in the 1980s how they feel about their wedding dresses. But first and foremost make sure it is the right fit for you!
- Enjoy it. Hopefully you only get married once (although I am excited about renewing our vows in the future). Planning a wedding is going to be one of the most exciting and hardest things you have ever done (children are one of the only things that top it and if you already have children then you already know). It is incredibly difficult to please everyone, and incredibly easy to become a bridezilla. Take regular breaks and try to go on a small vacation right before the wedding. We went to my parents lake house the weekend before, but even just a day trip to remind yourself why you are marrying this person is incredibly helpful.
Below is some of my wedding inspiration. Check back tomorrow to see how my wedding actually turned out!