I have had so many people ask me to share a bit more about my wedding and the planning process on instagram. It took a year but I finally pulled it all together. I am by no means an expert on the subject but hopefully any brides to be out there will be able to pull an idea or two from this.
I have also included a link to our full wedding day timeline and all of our vendors at the end of the post to help you in your wedding planning process.
So let’s get started!!
*Sidenote: The photos are all in light boxes so you can open up each picture and scroll through to see more!
I was NOT the bride that had been planning her wedding since childhood so there was a lot to figure out when it came to the wedding planning. The one thing I knew for sure was that I wanted an outdoor ceremony and reception. To pick the venue Cody and I made a pretty extensive spreadsheet which organized about 75 local venues by location, venue type, price, isle setting/arch type, perks/amenities, and cons. We narrowed it down to our top 8 and went to visit them all in one weekend. We landed on Lorimar Vineyards which was absolutely gorgeous, but TBH wasn’t the most accommodating venue. We definitely had our battles with the manager throughout the planning process, but the place was so beautiful we knew it was meant to be. Plus, the name Lorimar came from the owners named Lori and Mark which just happens to be my parents names AND cody’s parents names are Lori and Marty so we knew it was meant to be.
Obviously there was tons to consider when it came to choosing the venue but I think the two biggest things you need to nail down before you get too invested are the type of venue you want (i.e beach vs. church vs. vineyard) and if you want it to be all inclusive. Some venues provide the food, drink, tables, chairs, getting ready space, and wait staff whereas others you will have to find all those things on your own. Initially I wanted to do it all on my own, but it is sooo much extra work so in the end it was easier to pick the venue that did it all for us. In addition, having it all included made us less likely to go over budget because we knew exactly how much we had left to spend on all the extras. I did the math for our second choice venue and it would have ended up costing about 20% more for us to book each vendor individually.
I am not sure if I could get in trouble for putting this out on the internet but here it goes. I purchased about 80% of the non-flower decor at TJ Maxx the week before the wedding and then returned it the week after. I figured it was only being used for one night and no damage was done so it was a no harm no foul kinda situation. I also did a few DIY projects that made the space much more personal. You can see the seat assignment wine bottles, name cards, table numbers, and wine bottle guest book DIY photos below. If you would like a more in depth post on choosing the decor and how to make any of these DIY’s let me know!
Other than the TJ maxx decor and the crafts we rented a giant marquee LOVE sign, and purchased a welcome sign. I also had white fur rugs lining the isle. Everyone told me I was crazy when I decided to lay out rugs but I think that it turned out so well, it was totally unique and spiced up an otherwise boring concrete isle.
The dinner was provided by the venue and was actually pretty good, but the star of the show was definitely the dessert bar which my mom helped me orchestrate. The cake was made by The Sweet Apron. The bottom layer was banana cake with peanut butter buttercream and the top later was carrot cake with cream cheese frosting. That drizzle you see over the top? Caramel. I’ll wait while you clean up the drool. The rest of the desserts were actually made by my friends and family and ohh my gosh you guys this was the smartest wedding decision we made by far. Everyone loved all the homemade treats and EVERY SINGLE THING on this table was eaten! We only had 70 guests at the wedding so you know people were going back for seconds.
I got my dress from D’Angelo Couture Bridal in San Diego. The designer worked with me to customize the color, the sleeves, and the neckline and held my hand through quite a few breakdowns so I have nothing but wonderful things to say about her. As for the bridesmaids dresses, I let them pick their own and went for mismatched look. I LOVE how it turned out, but it was definitely more stressful than just telling them what to wear so if you want to go for the mismatched look, I might consider adding a bit more structure to the decision making process. As for the guys, we went for different shades of grey for Cody and the groomsmen. It turned out nice and the matching shoes and ties helped pull everything together. Cody actually ended up getting his suit from Zara which was a complete surprise so don’t be afraid to go a little out of the box on your wardrobe search.
The ceremony was 100% the highlight of the day. There were so many personal touches that made the experience special.
First off, my dad was the officiant and he crushed it. Anyone that knows me knows I am a huge daddy’s girl so having him up there made it that much more special. Plus my dad is a great writer, so he was able to infuse some of his personality and humor into the ceremony.
Cody and I also wrote our own vows. It was so special. I 100% recommend that you write your own vows, sharing the vows was THE BEST MOMENT of the whole day. You can see us cracking up and crying in the pictures, those are the memories that will last forever.
A few other special touches? Well, our golden retriever Paisley was the flower girl, and she did a great job walking down the isle without distraction. We also walked down the isle to Disney acoustics. Cody and the bridal party walked down to Alladin’s A Whole New World and I walked down to a piano version of the theme from Beauty and The Beast. Cody and I have had hundreds of Disneyland dates so it gave us all the warm and fuzzy feelings.
One other important ceremony detail? Request that people do not have their phones out during the ceremony. Nothing grinds my gears more than people taking iphone pics during a wedding ceremony. Plus, do you really want all the professional photos of the ceremony to have 20 phones towering above heads? I didn’t think so. To combat this whole phone fiasco we had the coordinator make an announcement before the music started to all the guests.
It would be a bit much to outline the whole reception, but I will share a few things that we did that I think went well and I would recommend. I will also attach a copy of our timeline here. I believe our schedule went smoothly few reasons. First, we did our cake cutting relatively early in the night. This gave the guests time to get desserts prior to the speeches and shoe game so everyone had time to eat before the dancing began. Most of the weddings I have been to people never have a structured time to get dessert then all those treats end up going to waste! As a foodie you know I was not going to let that happen at my wedding.
It is also important to limit the time of the cocktail hour and the speeches. If the cocktail hour is too long people will be drunk before the reception even begins, and believe me, no one wants to sit through 30 minutes of speeches coming from your great aunt Carol. Pick two or three people and give them a time limit! A speech should NOT go longer than 3-4 minutes.
One other idea that worked out well was given to us by our DJ (who I couldn’t recommend more) to help get everyone started on the dance floor. He recommended starting a song everyone would love, then bringing couples onto the dance floor by how long they had been together. So, for example, first invite out couples that have been together for 50 years, then 25, then 10, and so on until you were down to the single folks, then invite them to pair up and come join the group. This got every able bodied guest on the dance floor and helped to get things rolling.
Wedding planning can be so stressful and I want to help make the process as easy as it can be, so if you have any questions or requests for future posts don’t be afraid to leave a comment or send me a message.