April 22, 2017

How to have the perfect wedding

The forecast in Knoxville today was dark and rainy. We woke up to cloudy skies, which aren't that unusual for a Saturday in late April. The fourth Saturday in April is significant for me because two years ago on a Saturday just like today, my southern beau and I said our wedding vows in front of a crowd of our nearest and dearest people.

Weddings are special no matter who it is, but for us, after dating as long as we did (eleven years!), it felt like something we'd been waiting to happen for so long.

Just like today, on that fourth Saturday in April two years ago, we also woke up to cloudy skies and even some serious storm warnings. I know you can't control the weather, but nobody dreams of a dreary, stormy day for her wedding. I was already feeling those wedding day jitters. It wasn't cold feet, just a bit of anxiety because there were so many unknowns. It's not like we could really anticipate every little thing and even though we'd rehearsed the night before, there were still so many moving parts to the event.

I haven't written much about our wedding here on the blog, which was kind of a surprise I guess, even to me. I figured that the wedding festivities would give me lots of good material. Perhaps I just got caught up in all of it and wasn't able to process everything that was happening at the time. Two years later, I'm more able to look back on it.

I know it sounds trite and is the worst of all cliches, but my wedding was perfect. Seriously. I mean sure there are a few small things I wish had been different. But not many.

I wish my closest college friend Christina had been able to attend, but she was unable to travel because of complications with her pregnancy. Thankfully she's now the mom of a beautiful little boy so it all worked out, but she was so missed. I wish my paternal grandparents had been there. Health issues and some other complicated things kept them from attending, but ultimately I understood the situation. And I wish my husband and I had taken one good photo with the gorgeous 1958 Rolls Royce my parents got for us to leave the church in, but alas that was not meant to be.

I'm sure there were other tiny hiccups I can't remember. But there were so many wonderful things about it, it was sort of like a dream. I don't know what I did to deserve such a truly special, incredible day.

So maybe you're planning a wedding of your own. Or helping someone you love plan theirs. I can't make any promises, but here are my best tips to make it practically perfect.

Choose a venue that has significance for you, not because it's the fanciest or the most popular. Our ceremony was held at a beautiful old church, rich with history and nestled into the countryside. Our reception took place at an amazing venue nearby and it just so happens to be operated by dear friends. They took care of every detail, down to the absolutely perfect flowers and made from scratch tomato sandwiches.

Don't make your bridesmaids/groomsmen wear ridiculous clothing. We've all been in a wedding where we were forced to wear something that was just awful. Don't be that person. Nobody really cares what those people are wearing. Let them be comfortable in a style that flatters them.

When it comes to cake, buttercream is the name of the game. I know, I know, fondant is beautiful. But don't you want your guests to enjoy the cake too? I'm something of a cake snob and I am convinced that not only is buttercream more delicious but it's actually prettier too. My cake was perfect. Beautiful and delicious. My design inspiration? This cake. I mean, go big or go home, right?

Don't waste time and money on wedding favors that people will end up throwing away. When my maternal grandparents got married in 1957, they didn't have a reception but ended up stopping on the way to their honeymoon for a dinner of Dr. Pepper and fried pies. In honor of them, we gave our guests homemade fried pies as favors. They went fast and I didn't hear anything except rave reviews.

Surround yourself with people you love, who love you. I think part of what made my wedding feel so wonderful is that it was truly a celebration of all the people who have loved me in my life. Who have supported me and cheered me on through so many stages. And my husband too. Don't feel compelled to invite a bunch of people because you feel like you should. 

Spring for the wedding video. Yes, if you get a fancy videographer, it's expensive. This isn't an option for everybody. I get that. But no matter what your budget is, find some way to document your day on video. You will love your photos forever, but there's just something about having footage of the day that I promise you will treasure. I wasn't going to do it until I saw a wedding video for a friend of mine from elementary school. In just a few short minutes, her video captured the essence of the day and was a beautiful memento, especially for those folks who weren't able to attend.

Marry the right person. As I type these words, it's storming in Knoxville. Unlike my perfect day two years, the sky today has not turned blue, sunny and cloudless. But tucked safely in our little house, while I sit here typing on the computer, my husband and our two dogs are napping nearby.

Unlike our wedding day, these past two years have been far from perfect. I don't even think we've had one perfect day out of these past 730, although the second year of marriage has been better than the first. Hopefully each year after will be better than the last. It helps me enjoy the present and look forward to the future.

But we're in it to win it. True blue, stuck like glue. Better than enything (I know it's misspelled...it's an inside joke). This is a decision we both made and that's that. It has nothing to do with our wedding. That was just the buttercream icing on the giant cake.

*All photos courtesy Zach & Sarah Photography - an awesome couple who helped capture our day. *