July 13, 2008

Advice from a recent bride...

Photos courtesy of Claire Cocheme Photography

Paula, you had a clear vision of what you wanted for your wedding day and your modern and elegant “winter romance” wedding was beautiful. As someone who has “been there and done that” our readers could benefit from your wisdom.

What was your best decision?
I was not afraid to plan early, I planned and made lists. We had an 18 month engagement; I really started planning with one year to go. Each month I had goals set. Once I accomplished what was on my list I moved on to the next month. As the wedding came closer I made my monthly lists in advance as I knew I had to do certain things by a certain time. Also, I really involved my fiancée and put him to work. He was happy to help, but really let me take the reins. I think it’s important to not put all the planning on one person. We had a large, somewhat elaborate wedding, we needed help! My favorite time was the last week leading up to the wedding, from Saturday to Saturday I knew each day exactly what needed to be done, it was busy but not stressful at all. I also made sure we had free time to visit with our out of town guests, friends and family, that was extremely important to us. My bridesmaid from Nova Scotia came in one week early and she worked with me every day, really helped keep me on track!

What was your favourite moment on your wedding day?
Can I have two?
Seeing my groom at the end of the aisle! I really didn’t see much else; I just needed to get to him. I was very nervous up until the day of the wedding. Then I had a calming sense come over me. It also helped that my brother was our minister, which made it much more relaxing and special.
And our first dance! We worked so hard from September to January in dance classes to learn our choreographed funky Rumba. We danced to “Lovely Day” by Bill Withers. My Father/Daughter dance was also choreographed so that was very special as well!

What would you do differently?
Probably not wait so long. 18 months was a long time! We had a deal though, Jeff wanted a large formal wedding and I've wanted a winter wedding for as long as I can remember. So we compromised. We go engaged in July 2006, the following winter we probably could have pulled it off, but we waited a year till the next winter.

What was the most unexpected part of the planning process?
The unexpected part of planning is exactly how much there is to do! It really helps when you have people who will support you and help you out. I had several vendors, an event planner /décor person and I still felt there was so much to do! We could not have pulled off our day without our vendors seeing our vision!

What was the most difficult part of the wedding planning process?
The waiting! A lot of planning our wedding was “hurry up and wait.” Some vendors want to be paid so close to the date, I would have preferred to do that early and get them off our plate. Instead I had to schedule them all in during the last week.

What advice would you offer to brides currently planning their big day?
Slow down and think. What really matters to you on your wedding day? You are marrying the man of your dreams!! When it comes to the planning itself, don’t be afraid to ask for help!

Looking back, what purchases would you do without?
I probably didn’t need 4 pairs of shoes. I just couldn’t decide! But seriously nothing major really, we budgeted and thought about what we wanted for the day. Purchasing while planning can easily get out if hand. Be careful!

Details were very important to you for your wedding day. You thought of everything and made sure that your guests were swept away. What difference did this make?
I think it helped set a tone and a feel for the day. At the end of it all, most people will remember they were at Paula and Jeff’s wedding. But while they were there, they were a part of our special vision. It really was exactly as I had hoped for, “winter romance.” Jeff and I will remember it that way; it was the happiest day for both of us, and just how we envisioned.

What is the most important thing for couples to consider when interviewing vendors?
I think you need to consider the city we live in (Calgary). Its boomtown. With so many young people, vendors are not really struggling for business. So, consider this, does your vendor care about your vision? Do they believe they can help make it or make it better? Do they email or call you back in a timely fashion?
I think when you hire any vendor they need to show you they are giving 100% for you.

Anything else you want to share with our readers?
Relax; enjoy your day and Smile! All eyes are on you! The best advice I got was to take a few minutes during our reception, stand back with my groom, and drink it all in. Look at your celebration no matter how big or small and remember that moment you had together.

Thanks for stopping by and sharing some of your wisdom with us Paula! Congratulations again on a beautiful wedding.

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