Real Bride Blogger Jessica: After The Big Day

Now that everything is over and done with, I can look back and smile. The Big Day was all I dreamed of and more. I honestly cannot believe the little things I spent time worrying about that didn’t even matter and then there were some things I didn’t even think about at all until later. Fortunately, I was in good hands but for those of you who don’t have a coordinator as a good bye, I’ve put together a little list of things I learned looking back on the planning and the Big Day.

  • Make sure and eat. I cannot stress enough how important it is to eat on our wedding day. Don’t worry about if you’re going to bloat or if you have time. Make time to sit down and eat. You are going to need your energy.
  • Wear comfortable shoes. Or at least change into comfortable shoes for the reception portion of the wedding. I’m so glad I ended up wearing my Tom’s wedges. I was able to dance all night and I never stumbled. You don’t want to spend your whole day worrying about if you are going to trip or putting bandages on blisters. Stay true to who you are. If you are comfortable wearing stilettos, then I say go for it. If not, wear what feels right. 
  • Make arrangements for your dress and bouquet. At the end of the night, you won’t feel like tracking down your bouquet or you might not even remember it. Put someone in charge of taking it home for you or getting it preserved. Also, if you plan on changing dresses like I did, make sure you put it back in your garment bag and have someone in charge of grabbing it. Mine did not get left, but could easily see how this happens!
  • Take a piece of cake to go. During the festivities, you might not have a chance to sit and enjoy a slice of your wedding cake. Have your caterer or planners wrap you up a piece to take with you to your hotel. Trust me, you will be hungry later and that cake will taste so good late at night or even for breakfast the next day. So glad I got to enjoy our delicious red velvet cake even after the wedding was over : )
  • You can repurpose your wedding décor. I incorporated my wedding décor through our house. It’s a great reminder of the Big Day, plus you get to reuse lots of things you spent a chunk of money on. We have our arch banner hanging over our backboard to our bed. The glass bottles we used as vases are arranged on our dinning room table. 
  • Hire a planner. Trust me, it makes everything come together seamlessly and cohesively. Having a planner helped me find vendors that matched my style and tastes. We had a wedding that perfectly matched our personalities from the flowers to the escort cards. Yes, I’m lucky to have a sister who is a wedding planner. But, she was also my maid of honor- so it was great to have Ellen there on the day of to keep things flowing properly and deal with the vendors. I didn’t have to worry about a single thing all night. 
  • Don’t worry about things you can’t control. Ok, this one is easier said then done. But looking back, I spent way to much time and energy worrying about the weather (seriously, it hadn’t rained in 116 days and it was raining). It was out of my control the whole time anyway. Your energy is better spent living in the moment and focusing on things you can control. Plus, this is why you hire a planner to worry about those kinds of things!

I hope you lovely readers learned something from me along the way or at least had fun reading my posts. I’ve enjoyed chronicling my wedding adventures along the way and am going to miss posting here. If you’re worried about having Jessica withdrawls- good new for you, I’ve started my own blog where you can follow my adventures of married life and maybe catch a few sneaks of my wedding and honeymoon photos at Float On Blog. Hopefully, Kate and Ellen will have me back to guest post again soon!

{All photos captured by Sunday Romance}

Real Bride Blogger Jessica: Seafoam, Celedon, and Mint Oh My!

Hi, I’m Jessica and I’m a people pleaser. Finding bridesmaid dresses, aka, one of the most dreaded tasks for a bride like myself, almost lead me to a full on wedding meltdown. Lucky for me, I have such amazing bridesmaids, that as soon as I started to panic they stepped in and reassured me that I should be focusing on what I want, and told me to pick the outfits I had always envisioned for the wedding. My girls are so accommodating and flexible, they definitely turned this daunting search into a joyous one.  I would love to share how my bridal party came about being out-fitted in this post!

I knew from the beginning I wanted my girls to wear floor-length, flowing bridesmaid dresses to compliment my lace gown; that was the starting point. I also wanted the dresses to match the beachy vibe of the wedding. Nothing too fussy, just effortless chic. Long & airy dresses to capture the perfect balance of casual, yet put-together for our fall wedding night at the beach.

{Via Peppermint Bliss & People }

I played around with putting all the girls in the same dress, but ultimately my heart was set on the mismatched look. Browsing through Pinterest, I was able to find pictures of my vision. Different dresses but overall cohesiveness was the final choice. I think the key to the mismatched dresses is to make sure they have a unifying element such as the same fabric, color, or shape. The dresses really need to look interrelated and not competing to work together, in my opinion.

{via Ruffled & Annette Gomez }

I also love that the mismatched look means each girl is able to pick out her own dress that matches her body type and personal style. Let’s be honest it’s hard to find a dress that looks good on everyone. Plus, bridesmaid dresses can be expensive, so why not let your besties pick something they want? I really felt it was important that my girls each selected something they loved- because I really want them to feel beautiful and special on the Big Day. Honestly, I can’t stress how important it is to have happy bridesmaids that adore their dresses- I want my girls to feel great and be dancing the night away, not hiding from embarrassment in the corner!

{via Swell. ASOS. Nordstrom}

The dresses above were all contenders. Then, I discovered that Dessy offers a huge selection of bridesmaid dresses in every style and shade under the rainbow. At first I thought of doing the girls in different shades for an ombre effect. We played around with the  Spa, Celadon, and Meadow colors. Since there are only three girls, we decided to stick with one shade to make it more consistent. We chose Meadow, as the perfect shade of blue/green that will also go great with the guys’ grey suits.

I told my girls to pick any Dessy or After Six dress they liked in Meadow in a long chiffon style. I think the combo they came up with looks amazing, see the winning dresses above. All the dresses go together but each girl’s style will be able to shine. See Kate’s inspiration board below for how she’s envisioning the look coming together. I can’t wait for us all to get dressed up together on the Big Day. We are going to be one sexy bridal party!

Click board above to see larger! {necklace.dress. nails. hair. shoes}

Real Bride Blogger Jessica: Pump up the Jam!

Since it’s Music Monday and because I haven’t updated everyone in awhile, I’m going to share my experiences on selecting a DJ and picking music for the big day. I think the importance of picking a DJ is an often over-looked process. A DJ actually can play an integral part in the wedding. The DJ has to make sure to play the right songs at the right time (how awkward would it be if they played the wrong father/daughter song? or worse first dance song!?) and of course they have to be an excellent MC. Don’t want someone droning on in the background the whole night!

At first, I tried to go the bargain route (definitely learned you get what you pay for!) on DJs and met a couple of duds before I found the perfect one. My first DJ meeting the guy didn’t even show up. Hmm- can’t hire someone that can’t even make it to the meeting. What if he doesn’t show up on the Big Day?! The second DJ was just not my style- too corny and not really enthusiastic about playing songs I want to hear. He actually said- “Yeah, you can, like, pick a couple songs you want me to play.” Are you kidding me? I want the music at our wedding to reflect us, not just a couple random songs thrown in.

{Can’t go wrong with The Flashdance!}

When we met Chad from Injoy Entertainment, I knew we would be in good hands. He showed me a couple videos of him DJing at different weddings. He talked about how he would handle certain situations, such as cutting off too many people from toasting and getting the crowd to watch the cake cutting. I also love that Injoy has an interactive web portal set up where you can update your music and put in must play songs for the ceremony, cocktail hour, dinner time, and dancing. Now I know all our songs will be played- not just a couple!

Now on to the playlist! Music selection is a huge part of our wedding; it’s not only going to set the mood for the whole occasion, but also really resonates with us as a couple. Honestly, picking the music has been one of our favorite parts of the wedding process!

Selecting the ceremony music has been the easiest so far. I knew right away what song I wanted to walk down the aisle to and was certain of our recessional song too. I want to leave some of the songs a surprise for everyone. But here’s one of the processional songs- Band of Horses- “On My Way Back Home”

Picking a first dance song was a little tricky, since I feel like we have so many songs that are “our” songs. Again, I’m not going to tell which song we picked but here’s some that we had a hard time deciding between:

Brad Paisley – She’s Everything

Garret Hedlund & Leighton Meester- Give into Me

Jeffrey Gaines- Your Eyes

Picking a father/daughter song has been rough too. Sorry Dad, but we both know you’re not the greatest dancer and I’m dancing with you to Bruce Springsteen’s Dancing in the Dark or Rocky’s Eye of the Tiger. Definitely don’t want to go the corny route either (think Butterfly Kisses by Bob Carlise or I Loved Her First by Heartland).  But I do think I’ve finally decided on the perfect song that will easily transition to a nice mother/son dance as well. Sorry keeping it a secret for now!

I’m really looking forward to cocktail hour and dinnertime music selections. We aren’t huge dancers so most of our favorite songs are more upbeat mellow music. Guests are going to be playing cornhole and sipping signature drinks to the sounds of Red Hot Chili Peppers, Pearl Jam, Sublime, Tom Petty, and Alan Jackson. Dinner music will include songs form Radiohead, Modest Mouse, Mumford & Sons, Bob Marley, & the Eagles. Our music is definitely a mix of old school songs, country, rock, and indie.

 I’ve also nailed the perfect cake cutting song, in my opinion! Everyone told me that it has to do with sweets or sugar, So I’ve decided on “Pour Some Sugar on Me” by Def Leppard. And yes, I think Grandma will love it!

For dance music, we are actually taking requests! We have a song request line on our RSVP cards, because we really want to make sure that guests are grooving to their favorite jams (please no Call Me, Maybe). Nothing is worse than a bunch of people just milling around at the edge of the dance floor (not that Chad would ever let that happen!). Not going to lie, I expect to see some great moves to “Low” by Flo Rida- as much as the boys sing this song ( you know who you are).

I leave you with a couple more songs that will be in the big day somewhere. Enjoy!

“This is How We Do It”- Montell Jordan

“Forever Young”- Youth Group

“Gravity Rides Everything”- Modest Mouse



A Few Notes from B &A: As much fun as it is to select all of the specialty songs (cake cutting, father/daughter, first dance, etc.) it is also really important to discuss with your DJ songs that you do not want played during the wedding. Some couples “Call Me Maybe”, could be another couple’s “Macarena!” If certain songs irk you, don’t assume your DJ will know this- make a list of DO NOT PLAY songs and pass it over to your DJ a couple of weeks before the wedding to ensure a non-stop perfect playlist! Don’t forget to also find out what attire your DJ plans on donning and if it will fit with your vibe. You can give them some guidelines so don’t feel bad for double checking!

Real Bride Blogger Jessica: Making the List & Checking it Twice

Woooo-hooo! I’m engaged. I honestly jumped up and down for over an hour. I could not sit still. I don’t think I even slept that night I was so happy. And the next day, all I could do was stare at my ring. I barely got any work done.

And then it hit me- now I have to start planning one of the most important days of our lives together. Seriously, I recommend taking a week or two to just enjoy being engaged. Don’t make any decisions- just relax, because pretty soon all you are going to think about is your wedding and everyone is going to be asking you a million wedding questions. After giving myself time to simply bask in the newly engaged bliss, I decided to get down to business. Right off the bat, we both knew we wanted to tie the knot in October. October in Southern California is just beautiful- perfect weather and no crowds. It’s pretty much summer with no tourists.

Next came the hard part, deciding what kind of wedding we wanted. I poured over pictures on Pinterest and all the standard wedding blogs- SMP, GWS, Ruffled….However, looking at all the different wedding styles only confused me. One day I was sure I wanted a rustic barn wedding, but the next day my heart would be set on backyard soiree.

Luckily, Kate & Ellen gave me a solid little piece of advice– make your guest list and everything else will follow. Smart, but I still tried to avoid making the guest list right away because it seemed like a daunting task. Who wants to sit down and determine which friends and family  make the cut!?

I’m not going to lie, it was hectic and emotional narrowing down the people who matter most to us. We knew all along we wanted a smallish wedding with our close friends and family, but sitting down and selecting names was rough. Our conversations went something like this:

Me: If you invite so-and-so then you have to invite his girlfriend too, you know.

Him: What?! No, I don’t.

Me: Um, yes you do.

Him: We should invite what’s-his-name. He would be funny.

Me: You’d rather invite him than your <insert family member>.

Him: Well, he’s a good dancer.

Me: Um, don’t you think that would cause problems with your family. And how long has it been since you talked to him?

Him: Uhhh I don’t remember. A long time.

Frankly, there is no secret way to get the guest list done, except for sitting down and talking it out. We created a couple different lists and then asked ourselves these questions: Would we regret not inviting this person? Has this person played a role in our lives? Do we see them remaining close with us? After a few solid hours of work, we finally decided on seventy-five people we knew had to be part of our special day. Stay tuned for my venue selection post next week…

From B & A: It seems easy to blow off the guest list, but guest count really does play the central part in your budget. With additional guests- you have to budget more food, alcohol, tables- which then affects linens, centerpieces, chairs, etc. Likewise, the guest list can really help to determine the venue. Fifty people would look silly in most ballrooms and two hundred and fifty people are not going to fit at the cute little beach look-out.

As Jess mentioned, a ton of brides want to figure out every detail (favors, bridesmaid shoes, signature cocktail) of their wedding within the first couple weeks of being engaged. In order to stay sane and make sure the important things get tackled first we recommend strarting from a priority list and locking in important vendors before thinking about all the small things. And of course, first and foremost the guest list!

Meet our Real Bride Blogger: Jess & Nick

We always love hearing insight from real brides, whether it be looking back at their wedding or while they’re still going through the planning process. We thought it would be exciting to have a real bride guest post once a week about her planning experiences and adventures. My sister Jessica voluntered and we thought she would be the perfect candidate, because not only is she a great writer but she is hot off the presses engaged –Nov. 2 to be exact!

We’ve already checked off some big items in the planning department; locked in a venue, caterer, and the dress, but there is much more to be done! I can’t tell who is more excited she or I? Although it sounds like it’s came easy there has definitely been some lessons Jess has learned so far into her planning journey and we’re so excited for her to share them with you here! Since we don’t want to spoil any of Jess’s posts we’ll instead give you a little background on the couple.

{Far left middle row: Sunday Romance}

“When the moon hits your eye like a big-a pizza pie, that’s amore!” Not sure if it was love at first sight when Jess + Nick met at the Italian restaurant they both worked at, since they were seeing other people, but by New Year’s Eve they were officially an item. Six months later they were already traveling together-their first trip as a couple was to Austrailia! Nick planned on staying a couple months, but had a change of heart once Jess headed back to school. They moved in together shortly after she graduated and by Christmas they had their first kid- Murphy (a puggle). Although they had only been dating two years, it was clear to the family this was the real deal.

They put a couple surf trips to Nicaraugua under their belt, lots of friends’ weddings, 4 more years of dating, a move from LA to SD, and another addition to the family (Mack– a mini Aussie) before officially getting engaged. In true Jess and Nick fashion, Nick proposed on a perfect day at the beach! But that is all just the beginning; check back often to see how the wedding planning unfolds…