I have a few spare seconds before we close on our first home on TUESDAY! So I thought I'd come and share some photos and my thoughts on my wedding day with you all! We got a sneak peek of about 100 of our pictures this week so I figured I'd knock this out now with what I have before I forget any more about that day. Like everyone else who has come before me has said: it is a blur.
I'll start with my vendors: all in the central/northern NJ area and I totally recommend them all. Every single one received a five-star review from me. It is one area of my wedding where I feel I really knocked it out of the park, because my vendors were never something I was worried about. They made this process EASY for me, as they should. And they killed it that day.
Venue: The Ryland Inn
Photographer: Peach Photography by Alicia Savoly
Videographer: Kress Productions
Florist/Rentals: Peonies to Paint Chips
DJ: SCE Event Group (Tony Tee Neto)
Hair/Makeup: The Pin Up Girl
Officiant: Rev. Michael Whalen
Caricature Artist: Caricatures By Ruy
Dress: Seng Couture
Transportation: First Class Transportation
I had about 15 months to plan my wedding. I experienced the most planning stress from about 100 days out to about 7 days out. And after that, I was easy breezy. Those last 100 days are no joke and go by so fast, so for anyone DIY-ing, I'd have them done before that timeframe if you can.
On the morning of, I was excited and a little nervous but completely stress-free. After I posted here, I headed off to the venue to meet my girls and hair and makeup. We had breakfast waiting for us, and not long after, hair and makeup arrived. I gave them their gifts the morning of the wedding, so if they wanted to wear the bracelet I got them or use any of the makeup I got them, they wouldn't run the risk of forgetting it at the hotel. It was really just hanging out and alternating getting ourselves dolled up until everyone else arrived (photographer and videographer). When they came, everything started to speed up quite a bit.
I did a mini boudoir shoot before I got into my dress that my photographer didn't charge me extra for. It was actually pretty fun, and like everyone else has said that has had it done, really empowering. I'll include one picture here that doesn't show very much
We did do a first look, and while we were doing that and taking our couple's portraits, our bridal party was briefly running through a ceremony rehearsal. Just to make sure everyone knew who they were walking with and everything (my bridal party was a tiny bit unconventional). To anyone who is on the fence about a first look: there are no negatives about doing one, seriously. I was one of those girls who heard everyone saying "it doesn't take away from your aisle moment" and thought Ehhh.....LISTEN TO THEM! We did our first look, both cried, got a ton of pictures done, and then I really didn't leave his side until we were lining up to walk into our ceremony. So I saw him up until probably ~5 minutes before I walked down the aisle and guess what, it took nothing away, and we both cried again. There is nothing like that moment, walking toward the rest of your life. Nothing could take away from it.
Our ceremony was beautiful. The rain held out for our first look and outside pictures, and then it started for our ceremony. I wanted an outdoor ceremony so bad but it didn't hurt that it ended up being inside. In fact, I feel like I got the best of both worlds: all outside portraits, and the beautiful interior of my venue for the ceremony. It only rained for the ceremony, and afterwards our guests could go outside and enjoy the patio. The temperature was perfect that night.
We didn't write our own vows but our officiant provided many options for us to choose from, and I really felt like what we picked suited us very well. I wrote the vows I had already jotted down to my husband before we decided to go a different route in a card that we exchanged before our first look, so he still got those intimate words from me. I also strongly suggest doing this, exchanging cards the morning of separately. I literally read my name at the top of the card he wrote me and started crying.
The ceremony was short and sweet and before I knew it we were married. I can't wait to get our video back to see it from a different perspective.
Afterwards, we retreated to a suite upstairs where we got our marriage license signed and then enjoyed our cocktail hour food in private, just the two of us. It was nice to have some of everything, and some alone time. We popped into our cocktail hour briefly, but didn't spend too much time.
We chose not to shorten our first dance song, and I'm glad we didn't. Even though I was nervous about 3+ minutes of dancing with all eyes on us, everyone melted away when that music started and those were the fastest 3 minutes of my life. We did shorten the parent dance songs, and I'm glad we did, because for me and my dad it was just 60-90 seconds of crying and swaying.
The way our venue had helped us space everything, we had more than enough time to sit and eat every course we received, and also say hello to all 12 tables.
For some strange reason I was in no mood for alcohol that day, so I had a few sips of one of our signature cocktails but mainly enjoyed water after water and was super hydrated.
The night was full of lots of dancing, lots of mingling, and our guests really loved our caricature artist. I was sort of nervous they would have preferred a photo booth but I really think they enjoyed having something different. Ours only cost us $500 ($100 an hour), which is cheaper than most photo booths around here. If it's in the budget it's something I definitely suggest.
One thing people mention is to take time to sit back and look around and enjoy. And I made plenty of time for this as a result of that advice. I stepped off the dance floor a few times to walk around our ballroom, listen to the music, look at the lights, my flowers up close, take note of all those little details I worked for 15 months to perfect. It was honestly the most incredible, beautiful day of my life and I'm glad I took the time to drink it all in. I loved looking at my guests enjoying themselves, there for no other reason but me and my husband.
I feel like I blinked and we were boarding the shuttles to head back to the hotel. After such a long day, FH and I did not seal the deal that night but we did spend some time with close friends in someone else's hotel room before bed, and it was just really nice to enjoy everyone's company.
The next morning, we woke up and had breakfast with everyone staying in our room block, and then headed off for our honeymoon cruise!
And now for everyone's favorite part: the pictures! Will post in the comments because this isn't working