As mentioned in my previous post, this second part to my introduction will focus on our wedding (which you can see even more of here) and the planning that went into it. Looking back on that time I can say with certainty that everything I learned (both good and bad) was the foundation to starting a career in wedding planning and design. After all, my experience will certainly benefit anyone who hires me!
Eric proposed two days before Christmas in 2011 and it was a surprise in every sense of the word. Despite my discovery of Pinterest at that point I really did not have too many ideas for a wedding. The only thing we knew we wanted was to be married outdoors and in a nontraditional location. So after a couple months of simply just soaking in the moment, he and I asked permission from his grandparents to host our wedding in the middle of a field on their dairy farm. We decided to give ourselves a comfortable amount of time to plan the wedding and enjoy our engagement, so we committed to the following spring. Once we had the date and location picked I got to work carefully selecting vendors and honing in on our vision.
It was often difficult to explain my ideas to potential vendors – some immediately understood what I was going for, others probably thought I was crazy. While we were getting married on a farm I did not want guests to feel like they were on a farm. I was hesitant to use the word “rustic” to describe anything, but I did want some rustic touches here and there. Confusing, right? My goal was to keep things simple and elegant while still paying homage to the farm’s aesthetic and our location.
I quickly learned the logistical challenges of getting married in the middle of a field. I also learned the importance of prioritizing your desires while staying in line with your budget. Aside from things looking nice and people having a memorable time, our main priorities were hiring our dream photographer, our invitation suite, and our reception table design.
We wanted our memories to last with awesome photographs, and they surely did not disappoint thanks to Kimberly Jarman and her team. We wanted our invitations to give guests a good first impression of our event and communicate that while this wedding was to be held on a farm, it was not going to be overly casual. So we opted for simple yet classic letterpress save the dates and invitations that I LOVED (but still kick myself for forgetting to bring day-of to get some detailed shots of). And lastly, we wanted our reception tables to have elegant linens, place settings, and chairs juxtaposed against the more casual dinner we were serving. In our minds it was part of the fun of bringing two different worlds together.
I really wanted to work with a full-service wedding planner from the start but never ended up hiring one – something I regret to this day. Between balancing my first year of teaching to ultimately not wanting to give up control I just didn’t make it happen. Towards the end of planning I became extremely burnt out trying to manage everything myself, and many things which were once important to me were left out or simply forgotten. I did hire a coordinator to help me in the last month leading up to our wedding, but there were so many details I lost sight of towards the end that my vision did not come together 100%. To top it off there were let-downs from a few of our vendors. Some design plans did not coming through how I had imagined and a handful of contracts were not fulfilled correctly; there were plenty of issues I didn't have the time to troubleshoot day-of or the foresight to be prepared for in the first place. While I have a lot of fond memories of our wedding day, I still look back with some regret because of how difficult it was to manage everything on my own.
Overall, our day was amazing, the weather working in our favor, everyone had a blast and we still have people complement us to this day (something I am extremely grateful for), but in the back of my mind I know things were not executed the way I had envisioned and I really have no one to blame but myself. However, I do know that while I still wish I had hired a planner from the very beginning, I now have so much knowledge and experience from our wedding that I can apply to any event I work on…especially ones with some, um, challenges.