My Top Ten (More From My Own Wedding)

Yesterday’s post was so much fun, I figured, why not do it again?  Why not keep dispensing words of wisdom and sound advice to other eager brides?

Okay, okay.  I’m kidding.

But I’m about to start posting advice from other brides, and their recollections from their own weddings.  Right now, it’s my turn!  And yet again, without further ado and in no particular order, my top ten favorite memories/aspects of my wedding:

Our flower girl scattered petals saved from flowers Danny had given me. Photo by Mark Stevenson.

1.) We included plenty of personal touches.
From having the flower girl scatter rose petals I’d dried from all the bouquets my husband had brought me over the years to including notes in our program about how we’d met in the same room where we were married, we featured plenty of personal touches on our wedding day, and a bunch of our guests noticed. We received so many comments about how true-to-us the wedding was. It had been important to us to include those details — but it became even more special when we saw that our loved ones thought they were special, too.

2.) My bridesmaids chose their own gorgeous dresses.
I’ve written it before and, doubtlessly, I’ll write it at least twenty more times: I adore weddings that feature each bridesmaid in a different dress.  As I planned my wedding, I fell in love with each of the designers of JLM Couture.  Then I fell in love with their blackberry tissue taffeta.  Then my bridesmaids did, too (or at least, like wonderful friends, told me they did!).  We made a few trips to bridal shops in Orlando where they tried on a handful of styles, and each girl picked the dress that suited her best.  At the wedding, it looked like a fashion show as each girl catwalked her way down the aisle!  (And that’s them in the banner picture that decorates the top of this blog.)

3.) Our photographer made us comfortable — and delivered.
Having a photographer who makes you feel relaxed in front of a camera is key to getting natural looking shots.  That was why we were so happy that we had done our engagement session with Mark, too.  Plus, Mark’s pictures are so vividly color saturated and crisp that they pop out at us from our wedding album, our frames, and our computer screens.  They definitely keep the wonderful memories of that day vibrantly alive!

4.) We included the little ones who were important to us.
Since we were already surrounded by our closest friends in our wedding party, it made sense that we would have the kids who meant a lot to us involved, too.  Our flower girl, junior bridesmaid, ring bearer and Bible bearer were (a) the daughter of family friends and the flower girl in two of my friends’ weddings, and (b, c and d) children I had babysat — we’re talking several times per week — since the eldest was two and before the younger ones were born.  Our ushers were my two nephews and my husband’s cousin.  But not only did we have some important kids in our wedding party — we made sure they starred on the dance floor!  Watching them shimmying and falling down and dragging each other around the room was one of the highlights of the night.

5.) The weather was perfect!
True, we had no control over that.  Then again, it’s not entirely true.  We live in Florida, where it’s hot-hot from March (or sometimes February) till October (or sometimes Christmas).  It also happens to rain just about every afternoon from early April through mid-October.  And then there’s hurricane seasons, which spans June through October.  So we set our wedding for the first weekend of November — and were rewarded with a crisp, slightly breezy and dazzlingly sunny autumn day.  Scheduling according to weather patterns — and according to the sunlight; we planned our day so the reception would get beautiful views of the sunset over our venue’s lake — and you’re much more likely to end up with a glorious wedding day.

The front of the church looked like a little garden covered in coleus, my favorite plant. Photo by Mark Stevenson.

6.) We made my favorite plant the center of attention.
I was really young when I fell in love with coleus, a plant that has varigated leaves in all shades of green, red, maroon and pink.  So when it came time to plan wedding decorations, I knew coleus was just what I wanted.  We featured it on our invitations, snipped some into all the bouquets, and we had a wall of coleus at the front of the church that set a beautiful backdrops for our vows.

7.) Our friends and family were incredibly helpful.
We learned once again the importance of supportive friends and family!  Without their help, our wedding would surely have fallen flat.  They helped make custom chair covers, fashioned ivy wreaths, and, in the case of three of my bridesmaids, suddenly took it upon themselves to re-mulch the front of the church the day before the wedding so everything would be in tip-top shape.  In addition to their hands-on help, they were so generous with their time as we needed people to talk to about our ideas, our hopes, and our concerns.  Having them around us throughout the course of our engagement made us all the happier to celebrate with them at our wedding!

Our guestbook featured our engagement photos. Photo by Laura Yang.

8.) We made a keepsake guest book from our engagement photos.
While this isn’t exactly a novel idea, many of our guests had never seen a guest book like ours.  We designed it on Picaboo.com, laid out like a scrapbook, and had our guests write their well-wishes all around the pictures.  Now it’s on display on our coffee table, and I love looking through it regularly (and especially reading the hilarious greetings some of the kids left for us).

9.) We served wedding pies.
My husband is a pie fanatic.  Offer him a dozen desserts, and every day he’ll choose apple pie.  So we decided that for our fall wedding, pies — apple, lemon chess and pecan — would be the perfect alternative to the traditional wedding cake.  Our venue’s coordinator did a wonderful job setting up the pie table.  Let me tell you, we sure didn’t struggle to cut into a pie the way some couples have trouble digging into their giant cakes!

In place of the traditional wedding cake, we served a selection of pies. Photo by Mark Stevenson.

10.) The guests enjoyed themselves!
Of all the things we wanted for our wedding, this was definitely at the top.  We dreaded the thought of a wedding that screamed, “Look at us!” and instead wanted to shift the focus back to our guests having a good time once the ceremony ended.  I think it worked!  Just the other day, two friends from church brought up my wedding and lapsed into reliving that night, recalling how much fun the kids all had and how everything went off without a hitch (or so they thought — see my previous post for the real info on that!).  Knowing that the people I care about most enjoyed the biggest day of my life (almost) as much as I did means the world to me.  And if a wedding is all about celebrating, and celebrating is all about sharing a time with your loved ones, then weddings are really about those loved ones, too.

I hope you enjoy your wedding day as much as I did — and I’d love to hear your own top ten!

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