Getting married two days after getting engaged, eloping in Spain, and having a local Florida reception taught me a lot of tips and insight that I share with my couples. I decided to share this list of 5 things I regret not having at my wedding because our day was magical and memorable, but these few changes would have made it the most special and stress-free day of our lives.
Gifts for my parents and in-laws
Gifts for parents and in-laws seem like a silly obligation that you have to scrounge for on Etsy. But remember, this is a special day for your parents or people who raised you as well. I wish I had commemorated it somehow for them with something they could hang on to after wedding day. If it’s too late for you to snag a parent gift, do what we did! We ordered parent photo albums for each of our families. Parent photo albums are a discounted but quality album that looks like yours. It’s the perfect heirloom piece to gift to your family.
Day-of on-site coordination
Being a wedding vendor myself, I KNEW I needed a coordinator. I THOUGHT I could handle the day-of on-site coordination without my coordinator, Chloe with Supposey Co. She went through all details with my vendors to ensure they arrived on time and set up at their designated space. She prepared timelines and vendor layouts for everyone, and I assumed all vendors would know what to do. I was not prepared to go outside in half-done hair and make-up to set out napkins, place cards, and coordinate where the cake would go.
Ensure your coordination team is there, or hire someone to execute your design and the coordinator’s vision so you can relax and enjoy your day.
Hiring a caterer sounds simple enough: they show up, they make the food, they serve the food, they clean up. We hired the coolest on-site paella company to prepare tapas and a massive paella that reminded us of Spain elopement. After reviewing our month-of coordinator’s timeline for vendors, it appeared the catering staff would stay and clean up the plates after dinner. By the time we were done with dinner, they had packed up and left!
This miscommunication caused my parents and guests to have to scrape plates into the trash and pile them up for our coordinator to pick up the next morning. Super inconvenient while we are trying to party! Read your agreements carefully and ensure your coordinator has made it clear to each vendor their duties the day of.
A live performer
Another thing I regret not having at my wedding is a live performer. I dreamt of having a classical guitarist play music during cocktail hour and play our special dances before the DJ got the party going. It was actually super hard to find a guitarist who was available for events. By the time our wedding month rolled around, it was too late for me to lock in entertainment. I created a playlist for cocktail hour for my DJ to share, but the vibe of the night would have been much more elegant with a live entertainer setting the mood and tying the story together: Spanish food, Spanish guitar, memories of our Spain elopement. What I ended up having was an “acoustic version ” of our first dance song, that was covered by a youtuber instead of the actual artist 😅.
It’s all good though! After everyone left, my husband took me out to the water and played a totally different song that was perfect for us. I now consider that our song and have artwork with the lyrics in our home.
No matter how old I get, it’s still uncomfortable when someone points me out and shares praises or celebrates me. *insert awkward wave here* So I shot down the idea of letting our parents say a few words. What I didn’t consider, was how special that moment may have been for them. They may have dreamt of giving a speech at their child’s wedding, and I took that away. On top of taking that away, we didn’t have a traditional walk down the aisle since we eloped. After I said no, I felt pretty guilty not letting them be more involved.
If you’re like me and would rather skip speeches, consider writing each parent or special person a thank you note. Something sweet and sentimental that could have been shared in front of all of our guests during dinner, but delivered privately on paper so they could save it for years to come.
No matter how many things I wish I could change about our wedding day, it was still perfect with all its quirks: being an unexpectedly cold day in Florida with a heater that wouldn’t fire, dancing to music that was on my do-not-play list, half the place cards not arriving in time, and my candles refusing to stay lit on this windy day on the bay.
Your vendor team is there to ensure you are unaware of plans pivoting around you on wedding day. So stay in the moment, enjoy any toasts, cries, laughs, and spills, and as Pam Halpert’s aunt would say- “take mental pictures of the high points”.