how to make your wedding day the best ever

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How to make your wedding the best day ever Our wedding

First of all, you must note that the kudos for the photography featured does not belong to Selah. Thanks to Adonye Jaja, Mitch Arnett, and Nathan Salley (photo booth and time lapse) we not only have an incredible set of wedding photographs but a greater understanding of how important wedding photography is.

I've been telling you all to "check back soon" for months now as I've promised to update the blog with our wedding story. Now that we are rolling on over our five month anniversary and I've wrapped up the 2012 wedding season I'm ready to share and recollect. Having been to well over a hundred weddings and now being a veteran bride, I have a whole new perspective on the experience.

Though our wedding was simpler than most, I still feel like I put much of my free thoughts and energy in to planning and idea making. I am sure that today, with the craft and detailed approach to weddings, most brides do the same. I often wonder that despite the amount of money and time spent on weddings if couples are really enjoying their day as much as they should. The stress of tyng hundreds of bows and collecting every perfect detail ends up placing couples in a task oriented mindset rather than allowing themselves to experience what should be "the best day ever."

Tips on how to make the most out of your wedding experience.

1. If it's not fun, don't do it You do not need to make favors for your guests. If you hate cake, don't have cake. Does decorating make you crazy? Pick a venue that you don't need to decorate. ...but you have to do it? Then find a unique and simple solution. E-mail "green" e-invites instead of addressing hundreds of envelopes.

2. Delegate Responsibilities Anything that requires any bit of responsibility from you on your wedding day (and the few days prior to it) must be outsourced. Simple tasks such as picking up flowers and steaming dresses can cause a lot of unnecessary stress. Remember that your emotions will be high and if you're like me in times of great emotion, little bumps can be very distracting.

3. Give your phone away Give all of your vendors and major players the phone number of a personal attendant. Hand off your phone and enjoy the present. You would be shocked at how many people text you, the bride, and ask questions such as "what time is the reception again?"

4. Rehearsal Dinner We didn't want a typical rehearsal dinner. We saw it as another opportunity for hosting a great party and connecting our closest friends and family. Matt and I are known for hating games but knew that we wanted our family to connect quickly during our rehearsal dinner. To kick off the party, we played a scavenger huntesque game titled the "amicable meal ticket." Every person at the party was listed on small piece of paper by a trait they were known by such as "lived overseas," "was valedictorian," "wore Jackie's troll mask," etc. Every guest had to fill out their card before they could eat. Our meal? A favorite food truck of ours. Guests ordered from the truck and came back inside to eat as we shared our slideshow story (below) and had our parent and wedding party toasts. We believe that few people really want to watch and listen to either of those and it often breaks up the reception. Toasts end up being an uncomfortable thing for most people to give so we thought that if we made the pressure less, it would be more meaningful and it was.

5. Slideshow At one of our recent weddings, we sat through a 20 minute slideshow featuring photographs of the couples smiling in red shirts, smiling in blue shirts, smiling in front of the capitol building, smiling in front of the picture of them smiling. Often couples will add in a special surprise and sneak in a photograph of them getting married towards the end of the photo. After some eye rolling, we brainstormed are a few of our favorites.




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6. Bachelorette Party Again, I am not a game player and just cringe at the thought of wearing a tiara and playing drinking games downtown. My friends and I held the bachelorette party at two of my favorite places. We started off with tea at one of my favorite tea places, the House of Commons and followed that up by making flower bouquets for disabled people at a care home. It was so meaningful...and so me.

7. Borrow things I am very anti-waste. I didn't want to buy a bunch of things that I would never use again. I frequented a local thrift store to find a collection of beautiful vases and unique bats of cloth to use for our centerpieces and table decor. Our flags that we used were borrowed from another friend's wedding. The area we got married at was very natural and filled with pine cones. Prior to our wedding, a friend and I collected trash bags full of pine cones to borrow and decorate with...but pine cones are for winter, right? Who cares? Be unique.

9. Hire a wedding planner If someone else isn't doing or your mom will be. How much do chair rentals cost? You could research for hours or ask someone who knows all the chair rental places in your city. If someone isn't picking up the chairs, your bridesmaids will be. If there isn't someone pointed towards asking will be answering the questions. Thanks to some good friends and Cielle of Storyteller Events our day was flawless.

10. Prioritize your memories Your actual wedding day will be really full and emotionally intoxicating. How will you remember everything? Obviously, photographs and video should be your top priority but also, think of things that you will be able to keep and pass on. We had our processional cross made and use it as a art piece in our home. We had an artist come and paint a picture of the wedding during the ceremony. I chose lavender for our bouquets so that the sent would always be a trigger for me and have jars of the buds saved in our wedding memory box.

11. Experience what is going there for the love. To culminate all of these tips make sure that you remember what is the most important thing. To us, it was the fact that all of the people we love most in the world were in the same place...they had come to celebrate us and we wanted to be there for the love. If that means you don't finish that final decoration or don't have the time to pick out your perfect shoes...remember that no one will notice. If your last minutes before the wedding are focused on things that don't breath, then you're missing out one of the most incredible experiences of your life. Prioritize being there for the love.

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Images Nathan Salley

Photos by Adoneye Jaja, Mitch Arnett and Nathan Salley.