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.
Emily and Jimmy Anthony’s wedding took place on July 3, 2016, at the Grand Barn at the Mohicans. See their Real Wedding Wednesday post here.
In hindsight, is there anything you would have done differently in your wedding, and why?
Emily: Not a thing. To us, our wedding was absolutely perfect. I think what really helped us feel confident that we were making the right decisions and creating the wedding we dreamed of was the fact that we stood our ground when people chimed in on how things were usually done. We told our parents from the very beginning that we weren't planning to have a traditional wedding, and we never let anyone pressure us into doing something we weren't comfortable with.
What are you happy you spent money on?
E: The photographer was our biggest splurge, but I knew Garrett and I knew his work, and I was set on booking him the second I started planning the wedding. I even remember telling my dad that, budget-wise, the photographer was more important to me than my dress—if I had to spend less on a dress to book the best photographer, I was willing to make that sacrifice. He captured our day in such a beautiful way and we had so much fun working with him. Even our guests commented on how cool our photographers were as they joined us on the dance floor at the end of the night!
When I see my wedding photos, I see “us,” and that's what was most important to me. I wanted a photographer who would understand the quirky nature of our relationship and was able to show that in our photos. Garrett nailed it.
What do you think you could have done without?
E: Jimmy and I are big fans of minimalism, so we tried to channel that into our wedding as much as possible. When it came to the décor, the invitations, the flowers, we tried to keep it as simple as possible. I will say that we decided to go sans favors because we couldn't come up with anything we liked and it was more budget-friendly to skip them. Instead, we grabbed some s'mores supplies and put them out by the fire pit. It fit our theme perfectly and gave guests a little something extra to enjoy.
What was your biggest surprise when planning your wedding?
E: When we started talking about a venue, we decided we wanted to have an outdoor, woodsy type wedding. I had found The Grand Barn … and completely fell in love with it, but I was convinced it was going to be out of our price range so I tried looking for similar places a little closer to home. We ended up visiting five other venues, and we just weren't in love with them. On a whim, I decided to call The Grand Barn to get their pricing info, and could not believe it when I found out they actually came in under our budget. We never thought we would be able to have our wedding in such a beautiful place! It was definitely a surprise, but a very, very good one.
Any dress shopping advice for fellow brides?
E: Be prepared for the emotional pressure! Once your mom sees you in a dress and loves it, it can be very hard to say no to that dress. I almost bought a dress just because of how much my mom loved it. She was crying and couldn't stop fawning over me in it. I liked it, but I wasn't getting that “this is the one!” feeling and wasn't sure I was going to at the rate I was at. I decided to go to one more boutique, just in case, and I found my dress within 15 minutes.
What about for menswear?
Jimmy: Emily had an idea in her head about the ties, so she was worried about sending all the guys out to get their own. We ended up just buying all of the ties ourselves and handing them out the day of the wedding. It made it a lot easier for the guys since it took something off their plate and ensured Emily got the look she had pictured. Plus, she had really good taste.
What do you wish you'd known before you started planning your wedding?
E: Just how much has to be planned. There were small details that we never would have thought of. For example, the napkins. There was a whole discussion on what type of fold we wanted for them, and we were just sitting there thinking, “they're napkins; who cares?” But apparently we were supposed to.
Do you have any general advice for couples currently planning their weddings?
E: If your family or bridesmaids offer to help, let them! I took on a lot of the planning process myself and kept telling everyone who offered help that I was fine and not to worry about it, but looking back there were probably things I could have had them do that would have taken some stress off me. I had a couple of breakdowns when things were starting to get really get going, and all I could think is “Oh my gosh, I'm doing so much and I just can't handle it.” But then I wouldn't let anyone help me. Instead, I'd just go home and stress-cry. Learn from my stress-tears and accept help when it's offered. And if they're not offering, just ask! I'm sure any of the ladies in your circle would be happy to help if you reached out to them.
J: There were a few time when one of us would start to feel overwhelmed and we would argue or get frustrated with the other person. It sucked all the fun out of it and just left us feeling drained. In the end, it wasn't worth the bickering. So take a step back and breathe every once in a while, and if you're feeling like you're about to explode, just walk away and come back to it when you're more level-headed. Honestly, if you can make it through the wedding planning process, you'll make it through the marriage.