Wrapped Around Your Finger: What We’re Glad We Did

There are many things you hope will go “right” on your wedding day, and regrets you hope you’ll never have. In the end, if you have the right attitude, everything will have worked out swimmingly, even if it didn’t work out the way you’d expected it to. This was the case for us: The wedding was perfect. People are still raving about it. The love in those rooms was stunning, and nobody wanted to leave when the night was over.

However, there are a few shining choices that we are especially happy about. What are those things we’re glad we did?

1. Splurged on food. OK, nothing was really a “splurge” in the strictest sense of the word — our wedding budget, minus honeymoon and rings, came in at just over $12,000. But so often, I hear about people spending the heftiest chunk of their budget on photography, or entertainment, or the venue. We had a split that felt just right to us — about $5,500 of our budget was dedicated to the entire catering experience (25% of our total budget). This included a full open bar (which we are so glad we added at the last minute!), food, service, and rentals. Growing up Italian, food was a central part of all of our lives. We could have done pulled pork, or finger food, or a cake-and-punch reception in order to pay for expensive photographs or a first-class DJ. Not that there’s anything wrong with any of those choices — and not that we had a fancy 5-course fine dining sit-down meal, either. We had a buffet with chicken parm and pasta, potatoes and veggies. But when we saw full-blooded Italian Uncle Ladyfingers go up for seconds and heard potato enthusiast MOH Ginger rave about the mashed potatoes, we knew we’d hit the jackpot food-wise.

2. Decided against a photo booth, videographer, and any other number of fun wedding “add-ons.” I admit, I did some last-minute digging into photo booth and videographer prices. We had about $,1000 left after paying our obligations, so could I pull it off? OK, #1: I’m glad we didn’t, because a week later, before we were about to drive my car four hours to the port where we’d leave for our honeymoon cruise, I took it in for an oil change and walked out with a receipt for $900 worth of new brakes and new tires. And #2: I’m really not missing a video or photobooth shots or anything like that. I’m not stuck with a twinge every time I watch a video, like I was before the wedding. I’m totally cool with the fact that we don’t have those extras. Again — personal choice. Not right for everybody, but right for us.

3. Went low on our guest count. I panicked a few weeks before the wedding because we had a roughly 40% decline rate. I thought our friends hated us. I thought I didn’t have enough family or friends there. I wondered if perhaps we should have allowed children, or invited my dad’s two friends I’d never met, or opened the list up to a few more people. I thought it would look chintzy, only having 50 people there. Wow! I am so glad we stuck to our guns on that guest count. The room was so much airier without the two extra guest tables. We were able to move the buffet table into the room rather than risking it outside. We got to hang out with everybody. We got to have actual conversations with our guests. And while 80 is still a manageable number, and we would have had quality time even with a 100% acceptance rate… I’m so happy that we had 50 people at our wedding. For us, it truly was the perfect number.

4. Stayed at a hotel far from the rest. I read accounts of people hanging out with their guests back at the group hotel, or kicking it at an after-party. I thought, is it lame that we’re not doing that? Is it un-hospitable? But our friend had gotten us an oceanview room at the luxury hotel where she works, at her dirt-cheap employee rate. Because we had eaten dinner at 4:30 p.m. and it was now 10, we were starving. So we ordered room service and I peeled off my gown. I took a 45-minute shower where I rinsed all the hairspray out of my hair and used about 28 cottonballs full of makeup remove to de-gunk my face. I ate half my room service burger and promptly fell asleep. Did I wish we were hanging out until the wee hours of the night? No, man: I was exhausted. Oh — and it was nice to hang out with my new husband. Yeah, there’s that.

5. Chose to have flowers professionally done rather than DIY. I toyed with the idea of ordering and arranging all the flowers myself. A few months into planning, I chose instead to hire a professional florist to do the deed: another Grade-A decision. I barely had time to breathe, much less rush to the venue trying to keep flowers alive and arranging them amidst all the additional hustle and bustle. We arrived at the venue, and our bouquets were waiting in the bride’s room for us. Our coordinator took the bouts and wristlets to the dudes and moms, and handled that. Our centerpieces weren’t the biggest, lushest things in the world, but they went perfectly with the antique bottles and vases I’d collected throughout the year. With the garden setting, it was perfect — and I didn’t have to do a lick of it myself.

6. Chose a caterer who did all the decorating, setup, breakdown, and cleaning for us. See #5, above. Granted, it was less of a choice and more of a, “Holy crap, the first caterer we looked at has great food, great prices, and does all this? Sold.” So I guess I’m just glad we found them. Yay awesome caterers!

What about you — what went especially right on your big day?

We made final preparations, visited with family members, rehearsed, and ate a miniature Mr. Ladyfingers

The girls and I got gussied up and headed out to the venue

I got all verklempt, the people took their places, and I waited quietly, alone

We kinda got a little married

We stood for portraits

We twirled together as man and wife to the most perfect song there is

We ate, toasted, cut cake, and prepared to party

We had some musically heartfelt moments with our parents

We partied like it was 1999

Somebody caught my garter with their teeth

We exited to bells as our wedding day came to an end

I shared all our wedding day details


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