Our Wedding Recap: Photos, Tips & What We Learned
Good morning loves! I am sure many of you are sick of hearing about the wedding by now (totally get it!), but I wanted to share a blog post about what we learned on the day of the wedding, throughout the planning process, and things we’d do differently if we could do it over again.
For those of you who don’t know, Yale and I got married on October 20th, 2018 at the Elkridge Club in Baltimore. To be honest, we only considered two wedding venues when we were looking, because I pretty much had a vision in mind when we began our search in November 2017. Upon visiting Elkridge, we knew we wanted an all-in-one ceremony and reception venue, that could have several different “sites”. I.e.: an outdoor reception site that was different from the cocktail hour site, that was different from our reception site! Since we wanted to get married in Baltimore county, that left us with a few options, and having been to a gorgeous wedding at Elkridge the month before we got engaged, it really stuck out to us.
I was SO excited about our venue, and our team at Elkridge (shout out to Tina & Kelley!), we selected our venue before even selecting our wedding planners, that’s how eager we were. A quick tip to brides planning a wedding in under a year (we were engaged for about a year, but you get it), select your venue and vendors as EARLY as POSSIBLE! Especially if you’re getting married in the peak season (May-October). We were surprised by the number of photographers,etc. that weren’t available when I started doing my search in November. Definitely jump on those vendors sooner rather than later!
The day of the wedding was completely surreal. The entire weekend was surreal, but the actual wedding day flew by in a blink. I was so thankful my wedding planners, Lisa and Lindsey from Union3 Events created an entire day-of timeline for us to follow. I feel like it’s so easy to lose track without a useful guide like this. Honestly, I don’t really know how people get married without wedding planners, but more power to you if you didn’t!
Our timeline was SO SPECIFIC. It had everything from what time each vendor was arriving, to the times my bridesmaids were getting their hair and makeup done, all the way down to the time I needed to have my dress on. I was so impressed by my planners with this, and we stuck to it almost to a tee. If you’re using wedding planners, I’d suggest asking for a detailed day-of timeline, if they aren’t already planning on providing one.
As you can imagine, I was TOTALLY nervous the day of the wedding, but did a few things to alleviate my anxiety. One of those things was getting ready at my parents house (which happened to be very close to our wedding venue). I understand this is not an option for all brides, but getting ready in a familiar, comfortable location really helped calm my nerves. My next tip for anxious brides is lean on your bridesmaids for support. Your maids are there celebrating you for a reason, they are your besties!! I was so grateful to have 6 bridesmaids who understood how nervous I was, and did everything they could to calm my nerves. My maid of honor Maggie literally followed me around all night with water (I hardly drank alcohol the day of the wedding). Sally forced me to eat a big lunch, and carried a soda for me to sip on until it was time to walk down the aisle. Their kindness that day sticks out to me more than many other details. The third thing I did to calm my nerves was use essential oils. I keep an essential oil roller ball on me at all times, but on the day of the wedding it was in my car (which was not with me). I had Yale bring the oil roller to the venue, pass it off to my wedding planners, who gave it to me. Quite an elaborate path for some essential oils, but breathing them in always calms my nerves. I like a diluted mix of peppermint, lavender and frankincense.
I think so many brides worry about what would go wrong on the day of the wedding (I was PANICKED about the weather…it was supposed to rain on our day!). I believe there were only 3-4 things that didn’t go as planned on the day, but half of them I didn’t find out until after…that’s how unimportant some of those details are once the day comes around! The biggest issue was the fact that our expensive wedding programs were never handed out, which we obviously knew, but our guests did not. That was the only thing that really bummed me out, since I spent so much time working on them and wording them. Other than that, we opted against a bouquet toss during the reception, didn’t announce the cake cutting as planned, and some of the decor for the ceremony had to be removed due to wind. At the end of the day, those details are not what I remember and aren’t important in the grand scheme of things!
The day flew by in a FLASH, and looking back, it was the best, most stressful day of my life! Naturally, I was a nervous wreck, but that was to be expected. I had butterflies in my stomach all day, and by the time 3 o’clock rolled around, I was just ready to walk down the aisle to my husband! Looking back, I don’t think I would’ve changed anything about the morning of the wedding. I was surrounded by my best friends and it was so nice to get ready at a leisurely pace.
Just like every ceremony, ours went by in a blink, and I hardly remember any of it. I am so glad we had a videographer to capture the ceremony. We got the raw footage of this which allows us to watch the entire ceremony in full, rather than just the clips from the wedding video.
Yale and I ate dinner in a private room (since we did a station dinner, and no assigned seating), which gave us time to be alone and recap what just happened, as well as make our rounds and try and talk to as many guests as we could while they were eating. Something I want to stress to future brides out there: YOU WON’T be able to talk to everyone at your wedding (unless it’s really small…ours was not, we had 250 guests). I worried so much about seeming rude and not talking to all of our guests, but it was absolutely impossible to both talk to everyone, AND enjoy yourself at your own wedding. Yale and I did our best to say hi to as many people as possible, before hitting the dance floor and enjoying our wedding.
Something that I wished I had listened to when my friends told me was to EAT! I ate what I could, but I completely lose my appetite when I am nervous, and my adrenaline was basically on high the entire evening. I ate what I could, but think my evening would’ve been better if my stomach hadn’t been hurting so badly. Eat what you can, but don’t force it if you really aren’t hungry. I relied on soft drinks to keep my stomach settled and to keep my blood sugar high (not great advice, I know). My friend Sally warned me that she had a horrible stomach ache her entire wedding reception, and the same happened to me. Adrenaline mixed with not eating is a recipe for disaster, which I wish I knew before. While my stomach was bothering me, I just bit my tongue and forced myself out on the dance floor, which ended up being the perfect distraction and was so fun!
Start your vendor search early! Lock down your photographer, hair & makeup artist, band, videographer (if you’re doing one), and venue as soon as you possibly can.
Ask your local married friends who they used for their weddings. I didn’t find one of our vendors on our own. I used my friend Caroline’s photographer and hair and makeup artist, the videographer from the wedding we went to in September, and the wedding planners that MULTIPLE people recommended. That was massively helpful and made our decisions so much easier (and faster).
Rely on your bridesmaids to help calm your nerves throughout the day. I was especially nervous to be the center of attention, and my bridesmaids did everything they could to make me feel more comfortable.
EAT! At least try. If all else fails drink a Coke.
If you’re prone to anxiety, have some anxiety-relieving tricks on hand. I kept my essential oil roller ball in my purse, had TUMS and Pepcid (sensitive stomach probs), and took full advantage of our private room to decompress when I started to feel overwhelmed.
Enjoy and observe. The best advice we received was to take a second during your ceremony to look out at the crowd and see how loved you are. Your wedding is the only time all of your favorite people will be in one place, so it was so cool to see all of our guests watching us during our ceremony.
And now for the fun part, the pictures! Thank you to our wonderful photographer, Tara Liebeck for being there for us on our big day. I will cherish these photos for the rest of my life. You captured the day perfectly.
Wedding Planners: Union3 Events
Photographer: Tara Liebeck Photography
Videographer: Mwendo Weddings
Hair & Makeup: Stacie Snyder
Decor & Lighting: Revolution Events
Ceremony Music: Chesapeake Strings
Band: JumpStreet Band
Venue: Elkridge Club
Florals: Simply Beautiful Flowers
Dress: WToo by Watters
Bridesmaid Dresses: Lulus
Jewelry: Martin Katz & Radcliffe Jewelers