for the engaged, from the newlyweds

for my 2014 couples, enjoy some feedback and advice from three unique bcp brides! still have questions? feel free to leave a comment below or on the facebook post and we will get it answered for you!

* During your entire planning experience, what was the best decision you and your fiance made together?
Sarah (6 of 6)
Other than finding a phenomenal photographer, the best decision we made together during our planning experience was to really include everyone in on the plans. From family to close friends, we were able to all work together, with the ones we love, to create things, go thrift shopping for décor, and plan ways to make our guests feel the most comfortable for the big day.

It was also helpful that we chose a venue that included all the main needs, cake, linens, catering, etc. This took a lot of the stress away immediately. If you have specific vendors you want to use then I wouldn’t go this route. But for the couple looking for an all in one shot, find a venue that will meet your needs and be supportive. The staff there was very helpful, and made the day run smoothly without any bumps in the road.
Rachel (1 of 7)
The best decision we made was hiring a wedding planner. To have someone that has done this more than once and who knew what questions to ask vendors, staff etc was worth every penny. She aided with directing venue set up, day of planning and helped make the week before our wedding stress free. She also kept us organized and directed us in terms of the specifics regarding all of the paperwork and legal aspects of getting married that you would never have had experience with before. She advised us to get the tent for our outdoor reception as well 🙂

Courtney (2 of 6)
The venue, hands down. We almost didn’t even bother checking it out because when we first heard about it, it was a Saturday morning, we were feeling lazy and didn’t feel like driving somewhere 45 mins away. Thank God our wedding coordinator pushed us to go (I recall her saying, “Please check it out, do it for me. I think this place will be worth it”) because within seconds of walking onto the site, we knew it was truly something special, unique and most importantly, it felt like us and we could truly envision ourselves getting married there. Keep in mind that so many venues look like crap online, but are stunning in person. And vise versa. When in doubt, go check it out, even if it means getting your bootie out of bed on a Saturday morning.

* What was your number one stress in planning your wedding? Looking back, do you wish you would have stressed out about this? Or do you wish you had handled it differently?

Rachel (7 of 7)
Our biggest stress was making our wedding budget friendly with a large guest list. If we could have not stressed about this, we wouldn’t have. Initially it can be easy to see barriers that eat up your budget. However, Brendan and I discussed what was important to us and what we could “budge” on. This helped us not get too stressed and helped us see the big picture of our day as a whole rather than just one aspect of it. A large guest list was important, so to accommodate that we decided to go with the most budget friendly menu selection. Our food was fabulous and no one would have known that Tri-tip was an option except us. A large wedding cake was also not super important to us; especially with a large guest list the price can sky rocket. Therefore, we decided to do a dessert table and have close family and friends make the desserts to add a personal touch. We also figured most of our guests would enjoy this more than traditional cake.

Courtney (4 of 6)
Finding a venue was the hardest part and most stressful because we felt like we couldn’t do anything else until we found a venue. We looked at around 20 venues all over northern California. Wine country, the coast, Lake Tahoe, you name it. It definitely got discouraging and we almost settled on a venue before found the place we ultimately chose. Also, the guest list. We wanted to keep the wedding as small as we could muster so we could spend more time with each person and really wanted it to feel intimate (like the opposite of a Kardashian wedding). In the end, 5 more people is not worth stressing about. You won’t notice the difference. If and when you feel stressed, talk to out with your fiancé, family member or best bud. For me, at times it’s was really nice to get an outside perspective so I often times called up my mom to vent about dumb stuff. She was my own personal therapist throughout the process and was wonderful at making me see the positive and to focus on the important things.
Sarah (5 of 6)
The number one stress during the wedding process was simply bringing it all together. Was it all going to flow? Were the vendors going to be on time? Would the flowers be just how I wanted them? WHAT IF I TRIP DOWN THE AISLE? All of these were just silly worries. Looking back it was no reason to stress, at all. Those little details were taken care of on the big day, and I didn’t trip down the aisle after all.

* Did your wedding go as you planned? In what ways did it go or not go as planned?

Courtney (6 of 6)
Everything went pretty darn smoothly (as far as we knew). We hired people we trusted and our family went above and beyond in helping out as well (cue my dad and uncle hammering the DJ stand together first thing in the morning). The only flub was that our second shuttle was running 30 mins late. It wasn’t a big deal, the only downside of that was that I had more time to get nervous before the ceremony. Nothing that a glass of champagne and holding my mom’s hand can’t solve (yup, that happened)!

Rachel (4 of 7)

During our planning process; approximately half of our plans fell through. This not only happened 1 year out but as close as less than 1 month out. It also down poured on our wedding day. All of this aside, our day turned out exactly as planned despite the rain. The groomsmen and family helped set up in the rain the morning of. Family friends helped run errands, plant the garden in the grooms parents backyard and helped with brunch the morning after.

Sarah (2 of 6)

I had just put my dress on, my momma placed the veil on my head, and my maid of honor misted me with a last spray of perfume. The limo however…was running late. I could have gotten upset but I quickly remembered that the wedding could not start without me there. Luckily we had allotted some extra time in our schedule. The limo made its way there, and I headed off to the church, about 40 minutes later, not bad! After we said “I do” we both found ourselves in a daze. The day went smooth, and even if there were a couple of set backs in our schedule, WE DIDN’T NOTICE. The people around us did such a great job at directing us onto the next destination or activity. We felt so blessed by all those that helped set up, cooked, served, and made our day so perfect.

* Best piece of advice/encouragement for 2014 brides not mentioned in the above answers?
Sarah (3 of 6)
During the wedding planning process, go on dates still. Make time for your fiancé. Talk about the details you love and what you are so excited about. Be over the top, because you don’t get married every day. Love each other even when you are stressed, and be supportive of one another.
On the wedding day? Give too many kisses, and dance till your feet are sore. Celebrate with the ones you love, and enjoy every minute of it. Get a killer getaway car, and drive off with his arm around you. Don’t worry about the schedule, and if you need to hire a “day of” wedding planner, then do that if it means you won’t have to worry about a thing.
Courtney (5 of 6)
Try to stay as calm and relaxed as you can throughout the process and especially the day of the wedding. Whether you’re chilly will will or stressed, it rubs off on people and they take your cue.

Try to enjoy bits of the wedding planning process. I love planning events, but I definitely didn’t love every part of the process. There are fun parts for sure, but it’s a LOT of work. So my advice is take your time and get organized sooner than later. We found that creating a Google Doc (with a bajillion tabs) was hugely helpful in keeping organized.

Hire people you trust! You want to feel good about the vendors you’re working with. Also, if you can, definitely hire a wedding coordinator (at the very least, a day of coordinator). It’s worth spending a little extra cashmoney to have the piece of mind of knowing your wedding is in good hands.

Lastly, I’d have to go with the best advice several people told us. Make sure to “take a moment” during your wedding to step aside, just the two of you, away from everyone to simply take everything in. It was so nice to take a small break from all the wedding “hubbub” to just be and appreciate everything going on around you, for you. You will no doubt have a huge grin on your face.
Rachel (3 of 7)
Your wedding day will go by so quickly. You have to remember that it is one day; and some of the things you worry about only consume 1 total minute of that day. My advice is to keep things in perspective but also remember it is your day, no one else’s.

* What was best part of your wedding day?
Courtney (1 of 6)
Mamma mia, that’s a tough one! Can I have a top 4? 1- The ceremony. Seeing all our loved ones together in this gorgeous redwood cathedral, feeling so happy to be marrying Steve. 2- The Harlem Shake. Our friends surprised us on the dance floor dressed in costumes such as a frog and green man dancing like crazy people to The Harlem Shake. 3- The speeches. They were incredibly sweet, touching and “what the devil just happened?” hilarious. 4- The Food. Jessica and Erin knocked our socks off- they can do no wrong in our eyes.
Rachel (5 of 7)
Not only marrying my best friend, but doing so in the presence of family and friends. We had countless numbers of people express their gratitude for being invited and involved in our big day. Another highlight was taking a step back during the reception and seeing everyone having a blast together.

Sarah (1 of 6)
Is it cliché or inappropriate to say the wedding night? I think so, but that’s okay. The best part of the wedding day was the love we felt. Not only between my new husband and me, but also from those celebrating with us. We wrote every guest at our wedding a personal letter. We wanted everyone present to know that in some special way they were apart of our story, our family, and apart of our love. At the end of the day, the wedding isn’t about the decorations, the food, and it’s not even about the venue. It’s about the love you’ve found and the love you will share.

* How’s marriage so far? 😉

Cuortney (1 of 1)
Even though we’ve lived together for 2 years and dated for almost 6 years, it feels different in the best of ways. We’re happier. It feels right. Not to mention, Steve is so stoked to finally get to wear his ring! He was jealous that I got to wear mine for a full year before him. ; )
Rachel (1 of 1)

Marriage is fantastic! Getting to hang out and spend every day with my best friend is the best!

Sarah (1 of 1)

Marriage so far is wonderful. It’s what we thought it would be, more dirty clothes, cooking together, and date nights galore. There’s no one I’d rather argue with, no one I’d rather kiss, and no one I’d rather live life right next to.