Saturday, August 18, 2007

How to Have a Successful Wedding, Part I

Susan and I finally did it! We tied the knot August 12, 2007 (last Sunday). This, and two weeks of vacation before that, might help to explain our almost complete lack of blogging for quite some time, sorry about that. To make up, here are pictures of our wedding.

While we weren't blogging we had an amazing time. We said our vows, exchanged our rings, listened to some special music, cried, laughed, and had a great time. And that was just the ceremony. So let me share with you what we did to have such a successful wedding, in several parts. Susan did about ten times the amount of work on all of this than I did, so maybe we can persuade her (please comment!) to blog about her experience too. God knows I have little sway over her these days. ;)

I should add that I am going to be referring you to our various vendors here. I think they were all really wonderful. It would not have been such a successful event without each and every one of them.

Planning Is Everything?

This is the conventional wisdom. I'm not going to contradict that per se, but I will say that it's easy to overdo it. We planned the following about seven months in advance and I think it was a good thing we did so:

  • The Ceremony and Reception Site. Don't be discouraged by the picture or their website. Monte Villa was awesome. Their staff was great from our first meeting all the way to keeping our glasses filled between crazy dancing. Lots of guests commented that having the ceremony and reception at the same site was really wonderful, so you might want to think about that when you're planning to bus your guests 30 minutes away to eat.
  • The Catering. Monte Villa exclusively uses Alexa's Catering as their caterer. This made planning and logistics much easier. It was nice to work with a staff that knew everything about the food and the site. The last thing you want to do is be freaking out because your caterer doesn't know where the kitchen is! I should note that a couple people mentioned that having the site and caterer in one might have meant we paid a little bit more. I can neither confirm nor deny this, though.
  • The Photographer. Libbie Mistretta was amazing. She was hip (which is important to Susan and me), she was nice (also very important), and she was really understanding (critical when everyone in your family wants twice as many formal photos as you do). You should check out her work and her blog.
  • The DJ. DJ Dan was the most surprisingly helpful. Not that he wasn't helpful to begin with (because he really was), but I wasn't expecting him to drive the reception as much as he did. But man, is it a good thing he did. You see, we had the whole ceremony planned out and then after cocktails we figured the thing would take care of itself (meaning first dance, toasts, cake, etc.). Thanks to DJ Dan, it did.
  • Guests! One of the most consistent pieces of...advice(?) I got was that "the wedding isn't for you, it's for us." That's really nice to hear as you plan to create a sacred union with your life partner, isn't it? But guests are important, and (of course) you'd better invite them early. We did invitations ourself from a kit we got at a certain large chain store. Use your imagination, I'm sure you can find one. And no, they were not super helpful, so they get no referral.

There was some other stuff we did in advance too, but the above is what I think we really had to do up front.

Hope this helps to (a) get a view into our planning experience, (b) validate your own wedding planning activities (if you're planning a wedding!), and (c) gives you some ideas.

See also: How to Have a Successful Wedding Part II, Part III, Part IV

1 comment:

Susan said...

Huzzah! Good vendors made everything awesome. +1 to what Nick said.

We also had a delicious and beautiful cake by Kristi (rollergirl in training, baby!); a very modest amount of flowers from Redmond Floral; and I got a very reasonably-priced dress (well, "reasonable" in relation to wedding gowns) from Amanda's Bridal Boutique, who I highly recommend if you can deal with a slightly incoherent timeline of when your dress will actually be available for pickup.