This will probably be forever one of my favorite blog posts to write. Thinking about this day constantly puts the biggest smile on my face. Not only because it was truly the most beautiful and special day of my life, but because it officially confirms I get to spend the rest of my life with the man of my dreams. He is truly my other half, my best friend, and my favorite person. Don't know how I got this lucky!
Okay done with the lovey-dovey, I promise! What I really want to talk about are tips for you brides-to-be, all my Chicago vendors, and of course some beautiful wedding photos!
My Top 5 Tips for Brides-to-Be:
I learned so many things while planning a wedding, but I've narrowed it down to my top five tips!
1. Spend a lot of time researching and saving wedding dresses online before going shopping in store
Wedding dress shopping is one of the most fun parts of wedding planning! But it can also be one of the most stressful if you don't do some prep before heading out to the store. Stores have SO many different types of dresses and it's so much easier if you walk into a store with a general idea of what you're looking for so the stylist can bring you dresses that fit your style. While I would also encourage trying on dresses that are a little outside your typical style, it's smart to have somewhere to start.
It's also helpful if you do some research to understand the terminology for all the different fits - A-line, ballgown, empire, sheath... know what each of these mean before you get to the store so you can speak their lingo!
2. Out of all your vendors, do not skimp on your photographer/videographer
Your photographer and videographer are arguably your most important vendor. Their work is the one thing from that day that you'll definitely have with you for the rest of your life. Two important things to consider before hiring your photographer/videographer. First, you want to make sure that their work matches the style of your wedding day. For example, if the theme of your wedding is bright and romantic, you probably don't want to pick a photographer that does edgy, darker photos (even if they are beautiful photos!). Find someone who matches your style! Second, it's also super important to consider how well you get along with your photographer. Think about it - this person(s) will be someone you spend the majority of your most important day with. Make sure you like them! I highly recommend going out to eat or grab coffee with your potential photographer before hiring him/her to make sure your personalities go well together.
3. Get a videographer!
We haven't even received our video back yet and I'm already so thankful that we decided to hire a videographer. While this day is truly one of the most amazing days of your life, it's also one of the fastest days. I remember everyone telling us in the months leading up to our wedding that the day will fly by. I trusted that would be the case and they were indeed right. However, the key point that no one really mentioned was that not only would the day fly by, but even more so, it would be so difficult to process every single emotion-filled moment throughout the day. I remember trying SO hard to take in every single second, but it's almost impossible to engrave every second into your brain while you're also being pulled in a million directions. Video allows you to re-live that amazing day and try again to engrave every memory into your mind forever. And while photos are great for that, video captures emotions and sound that a photo simply can't.
4. Know how much your time & energy are worth
This one is something that most people don't consider, but it's honestly how we kept sane during the wedding planning process. Everyone's budget is different, and sometimes you need to do some DIY stuff in order to fit something you really want into your budget. However, my advice here is to know how much your time/energy is worth. In other words, think hard about each part of your budget and if it's possible to pay for someone else to do something that would otherwise cause you hours or days of stress and exhaustion, then pay someone! I am not very good at DIY stuff so I took the approach of (1) not doing a lot of the extra creative stuff to start and (2) for the more creative extras I did add to my wedding, I turned to Etsy. Sure Etsy is more expensive than making it yourself, but I knew it just wasn't worth extra stress on my side. Value your time and pick and choose what you want to tackle yourself vs what you should just get out your checkbook for!
5. Embrace the fact that this time is truly about celebrating you and your future husband/wife
Be selfish! Not in a bad or ungrateful way. It's just that you only get married once. Your family and friends truly want to help make this time special and all about you, so let them! Don't shy away from the attention. Instead, embrace it and be so grateful that you have so many people that love you and want to celebrate your love for one another. From the engagement bliss to the bridal shower to the bachelor/bachelorette parties all the way to the big day, there's going to be countless times where you should take a step back and take in all the love that's being sent your way. You are deserving of every bit of love being sent to you and you should enjoy it with your soon-to-be husband/wife.
My Chicago Vendors:
I highly recommend all my vendors! They all did such an amazing job making our day perfect. Email with me any specific questions!
Photographer & Videographer: Dana Ann Photography
Ceremony & Reception Venue: Wyndham Grand Chicago Riverfront
Rehearsal Dinner Venue: Gino's East
Groom & Groomsmen Tuxes: The Black Tux & The Tie Bar
Bride Dress: Willowby by Waters "Arie" gown @ Bijou Bridal
Bridesmaid Dresses: Brideside
Bride & Bridesmaids Hair/Makeup: Diem Angie Hair & Makeup
Flowers & Decor: Trablume
DJ: Cage & Aquarium