the wedding chronicles | decision #8

THE PAPER

of all the things that i’ve somehow been mostly undecided on, the “paper” aspect of our wedding is the most unexpected.  when i talk paper, i mean save-the-dates, invitations, programs, menus, the works.  it’s interesting because when it came to the venue, the dress, and other things, i (and where applicable, “we” with phillip) have been able to make a decision and move on to the next item on the lengthy to-do list.  however, this one has tripped me up somehow and it kind of cracks me up!

let’s take the dress, for example.  after picking out my wedding dress, i came back to the condo and threw away all my magazine tear-outs that were wedding dress related.  i didn’t want to see something different than what i picked and then start to second guess my choice.  wouldn’t that just be the worst?  why yes, it would be!  so, why can’t we pick an invitation?  well, i’m thinking it might be because we kind of worked backwards in the process, but i’m betting we’ll get it sorted out soon enough.  so, do you want the whole story?  okay, here’s the whole story.

after picking the sites for our ceremony and reception, an easy thing to start doing was looking at invitation designs.  although i would have loved to give a local artist our business, it’s just so darn easy to go online and browse through hundreds of designs and colors.  for phillip and me, minted.com is where we landed to start perusing our options.  it ended up actually being a lot of fun at the start because we got to order free samples of some of our favorites so that we could check them out in person.  when we unfortunately weren’t in love with any of our first 10 free samples, we ordered 10 more.  it’s hard to resist when they make it so easy with those promo codes!  with 20 different samples on our hands, we took them to the venue and, after much deliberation, settled on a design that would work well with the theme of our big day.

that should be it, right?  wrong!  well, we then needed to pick out something for the save-the-dates, which had to be going out soon (six months ahead of the wedding date to be exact per all the magazine articles i have read).  i didn’t want the save-the-dates to be too matchy-matchy with the invitations (i write this as if someone would actually care), so we went with something that was simple but still formally styled for our guests.  i liked it, phillip liked it, so we ordered 100 of them!  they shipped in quick fashion, we addressed each and every one of them and ended up actually putting them in the mail today.  also a good thing, right!  mostly yes.  i say mostly yes because in looking at the save-the-date designs my eyes wandered and were caught by all the new invitation designs i hadn’t previously seen.  heaven forbid we go with the one we already selected!  however, phillip humored me and let me order another group of 10 samples that i just cannot wait to see.  the best part about it all is that we now have the save-the-date design that we can put side-by-side with the invitation to see which ones really suit each other.  perfect!

now, i don’t doubt at all that someone reading this is thinking “really, kelsey?  aren’t you overthinking this whole situation?”  you are precisely correct that i absolutely am!  like many aspects of a wedding day, some of the finer details you spend your energy on likely go unnoticed by the masses.  however, here is the catch:  things that are cheaply done (or done without much thought) are noticed (and usually not in a good way) while things that are nicely done but not typically memorable (like the design of your save-the-dates and invitations) aren’t usually commented on at all.  interesting situation, yes?  i couldn’t agree more!  now, i’m not at all advising you drown your life savings to get the most expensive invitations you can find, and everyone has their own style and budget that will determine what they can and cannot do.  it really should be simple in that you should do what feels right to you and choose something that represents you and your fiance and your wedding day vision.  for me?  i fully admit the pickle i am in over our invitation design is purely one of my own making.  however, you wanted the truth about this whole “planning a wedding thing”, and this is my verison of it.  🙂

the wedding chronicles | decision #6 and decision #7

THE COLORS & THE BRIDESMAID DRESSES

about a month ago my mom and i took my bridesmaids kari, jamie, and sarah out to go shopping for their dresses here in atlanta.  we fueled up with an energizing breakfast at the local flying biscuit and then headed to the salon to see if we’d have any luck.  i was certainly hoping that would be the case considering that sarah was moving back to california and that football season would easily get in the way of scheduling more appointments that worked for everyone.  i’ll spoil things right now and tell you that with a group of supportive girls around me, we made easy work of finding looks that flattered everyone.

tiaras for everyone!

now, before i get into all the juicy details about the bridesmaid dresses themselves, let’s talk about another wedding decision that oftentimes goes hand-in-hand with them:  the wedding colors.  if i’m being honest, my ideas about the colors for our wedding have changed nearly a countless number of times.  first it was oxblood and sage (inspired by a wedding magazine article), then it was pretty yellow roses that caught my eye at church, and then a pale pale green i thought was certainly the way to go.  this was all fine and well until kari, jamie, and sarah all started trying on dresses for me and i realized my color vision was a little off.  although the pale and dusty green i picked out was pretty in my mind, in person it didn’t quite match what i was picturing.

thankfully the salon had rows full of dresses and i was grateful the girls didn’t mind trying on dress after dress.  sometimes that’s what you have to do to figure out what you like and what you don’t like.  plus, seeing a dress on your body can be much different (and sometimes much better) than how it looks on the hanger.  i mean, you might as well try on as much as you can while you’re there and make the most of your time!

when shopping with your bridesmaids for their dresses, here are a few bits of advice.  if you and your girls are anything like me and mine, many of them (if not all of them) have different body shapes.  what this means is that a single style might not work best for everyone.  now, if your vision is for all the girls to wear the same dress, just know you might hit some snags in this regard.  and, if that is the case, it’s extremely common these days for girls to wear different style dresses that complement one another and oftentimes also the bride’s dress (such as the neckline or cut or fabric).  this can help your bridesmaids feel their most beautiful because they’re in a dress that makes them feel comfortable and confident.

next, unless you want everything uniform, maybe entertain the idea of putting the girls in different shades of the same color or even different colors altogether that go with your overall theme and vision for your wedding day.  this one is totally personal preference and all i’ll say about my girls is that they look like perfect angels in gorgeous shades of blush.  🙂

and finally, as mentioned in previous posts of the wedding chronicles, remember that the decision is ultimately yours as the bride.  it is extremely kind to be sensitive to your girls’ preferences and opinions (and i’ve always appreciated when i’ve been treated this way as a bridesmaid), but it is your wedding day after all and that’s what is most important.

the wedding chronicles | decision #5

THE WEDDING PARTY

although a necessary decision to make, choosing who will stand next to you and your fiance on your big day might not be easy.  now, phillip and i are lucky in that we were sure pretty early on who we wanted up there at the altar on our wedding day – the people most important to us!  however, i feel like i can safely say the same is likely not the case for most couples.

when it comes to the wedding party, most often family is involved to some degree, and even though family should be supportive to whatever the bride’s and groom’s wishes are, usually feelings and emotions drive actions rather than logic.  it’s a very fine line because the people closest to you have helped mold you as an individual and, quite possibly, mold you as a couple as well.  so, it makes sense that you may want their opinion.  however, where do you draw the line?  do you ask a certain person to be in the party because a family member says it would be a nice gesture?  or do you pick, maybe, a college friend because that person has been like a brother/sister to you?  if any of you reading this have already had your wedding, i’m sure you’ve encountered a situation similar to what i have described.  and for those of you yet to cross this bridge, i will give you this advice and leave it at this:  i encourage you to do what you feel is right as far as who and how many people are in your wedding party.  after all, it is your day and the vision you have as a couple should be what comes to be.  however, i also advise you to tread lightly, respectfully, and maturely when you are asked why you have made the choices you have.  be prepared for the fact that everyone might not be on board or in favor of what you have decided.  feelings may be hurt and you might get pressure from folks to change your mind.  at the end of the day, though, all that matters is that you are happy, and that should be enough reason for anyone to understand and support you both on your big day.  on this decision, i wish you the most luck i can.  🙂

the wedding chronicles | decision #4

THE PHOTOGRAPHER

as many former brides have told me and will likely tell you, the photographer is one of the most important decisions you will make for your wedding day.  they all have said, “your pictures are the only thing you have to remember the day by afterwards, so you have to make a good choice.”  if you think about it, it is quite true.  in addition to being reminded of this truth, you’ll get the name of every photographer who has photographed any wedding you have ever been to and even those you never attended.  while a great starting point for ideas and inspiration, be sure you pick the photographer right for you and your big day.  how do you do that, you ask?  like this.

first, like the starting point for many other wedding choices, determine what your budget is.  although you might want the celebrity photographer in town, they might be out of your price point.  and, something else to be said here is that the photographer is likely going to cost more than you expect.  one night i was churning through photography sites on my computer to try and narrow down some options but was derailed when it felt like each one was more expensive than the last!  i understand you don’t necessarily want to skimp in regards to the photographer, but a “starting at” price of $4500 seems high.  but hey, what do i know; it’s not like i’ve ever planned a wedding before.

second, figure out if you want just a photographer or if a videographer is also part of your needs.  the reason i encourage you to figure this out is because the more you want, the more you have to pay, and even though a videographer might sound like an awesome add-on, it also comes at a price.  if you’ve got the budget or wiggle room elsewhere in your wedding, go for it!  i think videographers capture a special essence of the day and create a great keepsake for the future.

third, while flipping through galleries of potential photographers, try to discern what their style is and what they tend to focus on in their pictures and if what they produce matches up with what you and your fiance want.  are they capturing a lot of detail of the day?  are the family portraits high quality?  is the level of professionalism apparent?  now, with this being said let me let you in on a little secret:  after a while all of the pictures are going to look the same.  or almost the same.  what i’m trying to say is that you’re going to get tired of looking through these pictures, and that’s okay.  you have to stop looking at some point, so decide on your top two or three prospects and go from there.

fourth, while trying to pick out some favorite contenders, i encourage you to include your significant other, especially if it’s a man and especially if you think he might not care.  the reason i say this is because the pictures you will have after your wedding day are both of yours, and sometimes a fiance can help you make that tough choice by having a preference of their own.  hopefully it will work out nicely for you and yours like it did for phillip and me.  🙂  we worked particularly well together as a team on this decision.

fifth, once you have a few photographers in mind, meet them in person if possible!  although their site might be informative and the pictures breathtaking, nothing replaces a personal connection, something you can really only gauge by meeting face-to-face.  for phillip and me, we had two finalists that we met for coffee (separately, of course).  the first finalist was nice enough and quite laid back but was almost too laid back for our liking.  our second finalist was extremely professional, asked us questions about ourselves, paid for phillip’s coffee (excellent move if i do say so myself), and even started offering some ideas, not knowing if we were going to go with them or not.  sometimes it might “just be a feeling” you have on whether or not you like a particular photographer, but that’s okay.  this is your day, after all, and you should feel confident about each decision you make, especially such a big one.

sixth, ask questions.  how many hours do you get?  how many photographers will be there?  is an engagement session included?  if your photographer has to travel, are there any fees incurred?  so on and so forth.  just google “questions to ask a wedding photographer” and you’ll get yourself a nice big list of questions with which to pepper your professional.  the photographers we encountered were very open to answering our numerous inquiries, which was not only nice but also the right thing to do.

seventh, if possible, see if you can get an engagement session included.  i think for each photographer we interviewed this was the case, which is a great thing.  why?  well, i initially wasn’t interested in doing an engagement shoot, but then everyone said it was a good opportunity for you and your fiance to get to know your photographer and vice versa.  i mean, it does seem like a good way to get comfortable not only with your photographer but also with getting your picture taken, A LOT.  plus, it’s a good excuse to buy a new outfit and get all dressed up, which is fine by me.

so!  in the end, who did we choose?  we chose a pair of photographers by katie snyder photography.  their reputation, genuine joy, and industry knowledge were among the deciding factors, and what’s even better is that they were flexible with us and are in budget – sign us up!