I'm so PUMPED to share about wedding planning with you! I've had a number of people ask questions about how we did it so fast, what vendors we used and how we incorporated unique, special moments throughout our day that kept our wedding God-centered.
Here we go! Here are the questions I'll answer:
My opinion on first looks.
This one is a little controversial, I know. It's a huge decision and, for us, it was a no-brainer. We wanted to see each other before I walked down the aisle for many reasons:
1. It's a special moment that we both will never forget. We read each other the vows we had written to the other for the first time during that moment as well.
2. It makes the day less stressful not having to "hide". It makes your photographer's job A LOT easier!
3. It gives you more time together on your big day and, believe me, it goes by SO FAST!
Writing Our Own Vows
Dustin and I both have a deep love of words. We decided pretty quickly that we wanted to write our own vows instead of saying traditional ones. We didn't read them to one another until a few hours before the wedding at our first look. We wrote them in vow books I got on Amazon. As an example, here were my vows to Dustin:
I choose you, Dustin, to be the husband of my days, my partner in sanctification, my companion in ministry and the best friend of my life. I vow to love you unconditionally, without hesitation, like Jesus loves me. I will honor the man that you are and cheer on the man that you are becoming. I promise to encourage, listen to and learn from you as you become more of who God created you to be. I promise to show up every day and try, no matter what. I will celebrate your triumphs and mourn your losses as if they were my own. I will treasure you as the greatest gift of grace I have ever been given from God outside of salvation. I will do whatever necessary to help you become more like Jesus tomorrow than you were yesterday.
Our Unity Ceremony
I wanted us to do something really creative for this element of our ceremony. I love all the different ways people choose to express the union of two families and I found this idea on Pinterest. You place a canvas on an easel and jars filled with paint the colors of your wedding. Then, one at a time, you have both sets of parents and then the couple come forward and drip the paint across the canvas. The rest of the ceremony, it drips down the canvas and makes a beautiful painting to hang in your home!
Let me just say it...wedding favors can be EXPENSIVE. When I thought about what we might do for a favor, I wanted it to be memorable but not totally break our budget. Favors are cute but it's rare that they're very memorable (to anyone other than the bride and groom) so I wanted to do something unique!
We made an old-fashioned candy bar full of our favorite candies like soft peppermints, Runts, orange slices, candy sticks, etc. We ordered small brown paper bags and used a cute stamp handmade on Easy to stamp them with our names and wedding date. Our guests came by on the way out of our reception and made their own bag! It was a hit and we ordered all our candies off Amazon!
Wedding Party Size
Here's the deal: choosing your wedding party is one of the hardest decisions you'll make. I thought so much about different women in my life that I would love to have standing beside me and worried about their feelings getting hurt and wondering how many was too many.
For me, I didn't want a huge wedding party (and not because I didn't have enough best, best friends to accommodate a large party). I didn't want my wedding photos to feel cluttered with SO many people that even my ceremony looked "busy".
So instead of asking as many people to be bridesmaids, we incorporated many other people into a special time of prayer during our ceremony (talked about later in this post). It's definitely possible to recognize everyone who has played a critical role in your life + relationship, not just solely based off if they're in your wedding party or not!
Wedding Ceremony VEndors
This is one of the larger (and often most pricey) decisions you'll make when planning your wedding! Here are a few things to consider:
We got married at the Waterstone Venue in Gray, Tennessee. Check out their social media feeds to see more venue specific photos. It's set in an old rock quarry they've converted into a venue. It's absolutely GORGEOUS!
WEDDING BUDGET TIPS
Here are some things to think about in terms of a wedding budget:
Tips to save $$$
Last but definitely not least, here are some shoutouts to our amazing vendors!
Taylor Meo, I just don't even have enough words to convey how amazing you did capturing our day!
Taylor did our engagement and wedding photos and we will treasure them for the rest of our lives. She planned out our day really well in terms of how to get the most out of our time with her. She's very efficient and good at rounding up people and staying on task. She cues really well when it's just you and your groom and has such an eye for amazing spots for photographs.
She even thought of things like waiting until after your first dance to have your guests form a food line - that way they are not eating in all of your photos. I would not have thought of that!
Also, she prayed over Dustin and I at our reception and that was a memory I will never forget. I loved that we were so like-minded and she was so encouraging throughout the entire day!
Wedding photography is such an investment but it is worth it. Often its the only and/or best documentation you have of your big day, so choose your photographer wisely!
I went to high school with Hannah. We shared a love for acapella choir class and I've always just loved her! She was the first person I reached out to when we got engaged. I had seen her do another girl's makeup we went to high school with and she looked incredible.
I did a trial with her which really helped us talk about my skin and what I wanted on my wedding day in terms of coverage of foundation, lip color, false eyelashes/not (in case you're wondering, I did end up wearing them but we didn't go overboard - they looked very natural).
Again, makeup is an investment, but having someone who actually knows what they're doing do your makeup on your big day will make a big difference. She helped me:
You guys. Our flowers were breathtaking! Like I said earlier, we went in with a budget and Potter's Shed did an amazing job staying within our guidelines. They did all of our bouquets, corsages, boutonnieres AND a beautiful arbor at our ceremony site.
I wanted neutrals and greens that would compliment the girls' dresses (and mine) and they did a fabulous job!
Dustin and I are both huge BBQ fans so we decided that's what we wanted for our meal! They did a great job setting up + serving and the food was great (as always!).
I tried to capture as much as I could of our big day but please email me if you have specific questions I didn't cover. I'm happy to add to this post over time.
I hope this helps you along planning your big day! Keep in mind, you will never get married again. Enjoy the process and take the stress with a grain of salt. The day is really about you and your future spouse so make decisions about creative elements that most clearly reflect your personalities and desires.
For us, my main priority was that people leave our wedding having seen the Lord. I wanted Him to get the honor and the glory in each element of our day. My prayer is that to our guests, that was evident!
Cheering for you,
Rebecca Dotson George