Real newlyweds give wedding planning tips based on their experience.
Each issue of our magazine features an advice column of sorts; it’s a Q&A with the newlyweds whose photos appear in the issue. They share tips and advice based on what they learn while planning their own events. Because we can’t possibly share all the great counsel they share in the pages of the magazine, we started this weekly series to pass their wisdom on to you.
Erin and Nathan Branfield’s wedding took place on July 16, 2016, at St. Joseph Cathedral.
In hindsight, is there anything you would have done differently in your wedding, and why?
Erin: I would have given myself more time for photos in between the ceremony and our reception. We felt slightly rushed and felt bad for keeping our guests waiting.
Nathan: I wouldn't have changed a thing. The day was perfect.
What are you happy you spent money on?
E: I loved our photographer, Hillary Ferguson. She was literally there with us all day—13 hours to be exact. A lot of the other photographers I looked at only had packages for four to five hours. I was able to get great photos of us getting ready all the way up to the end of the night. I am so glad we spent money on such a great photographer to catch moments on our special day.
Secondly, I am so happy I spent money on flowers and our centerpieces. MOD Interiors did such a great job on [them]. I would recommend them to anyone I know. We got so many compliments throughout the night from our wedding guests, including the reception staff.
Lastly I am so happy I paid extra to have a trumpeter play live in the cathedral as I walked down the aisle. It was much better than just recorded music and sounded much better as well.
N: I'm glad I spent money on a good photographer, Hillary Ferguson. She was with us all day, from the time we got up to the end of the night.
What was your biggest surprise when planning your wedding?
E: How many little details went into making your big day.
N: How many actual small details there are that one has to put into one’s wedding, which we overlooked in the beginning.
Did you experience any wedding-day snafus, and how did you handle them?
E: I don't believe anything crazy happened prior to the wedding. And if they did, no one told me!
N: Our ring bearer didn't have his shoes the day of the wedding, [and] one of the groomsmen’s shirts was the wrong color. My sister-in-law drove to the rental place to swap things out and get shoes. (Don't tell my wife!)
Any dress shopping advice?
E: Follow your instincts, and make sure you give yourself plenty of time not only for shopping but alterations as well.
What about the menswear?
N: Make sure everything fits the way it's supposed to a few days prior to the wedding. That way, if [it doesn’t], you’re not rushing around to get things done last-minute. Also, put the whole suit on to make sure nothing is missing—buttons, zippers etc.
What do you wish you'd known before you started planning your wedding?
E: The amount of time it actually took to plan every single minute of the day.
N: That wedding planning literally becomes a second full-time job. There is so much extra work that goes into finding the right photographer, DJ, etc.
Do you have any general advice for couples currently planning their weddings?
E: Keep yourself organized (I kept a wedding binder with a timeline on when things needed to be done by) and shop around when looking for DJs, florists, etc. Sometimes the first one you come across won't be a good fit for what you are wanting. Lastly, don't sweat the small stuff. Everything will work out in the end.
N: Stay organized and don't stress the small stuff.