Real newlyweds give wedding planning tips based on their experience.
Nicole and Alejandro Diaz’s wedding took place on Sept. 21, 2018, at Vue Columbus.
If you could do anything about your wedding differently, what would you change and why?
I would have given myself more time to really research and gather recommendations for a DJ and ultimately go with someone who fit our needs best, even if it meant spending more.
What are you happy you spent money on?
My dress! It wasn’t just a dress; it was my dress. I couldn’t have imagined myself in anything else.
Also, we had the most amazing photographer, Carmen Hall. She was amazing to work with on so many levels. She really kept the day on schedule and was there to capture every moment. She never missed a beat and is also hilarious, which really helped me feel more comfortable in front of the camera. I was able to really live in the moment of the day, greatly in part to her!
Our florist, Petals & Leaves, was also so worth it. Everything looked beautiful, and they handled the setup and teardown of the arrangements.
Our venue and caterer, Vue Columbus and Metro Cuisine, were the perfect choice for us, and I’m so happy we chose to have our wedding there. We also had Mikey’s Late Night Slice delivered at the end of the night. That was a big hit!
What do you think you could have done without?
We did a small wedding cake for us to cut into and then a big dessert table for guests. I’m glad we did it this way instead of doing a huge wedding cake, but we still had tons of leftover dessert! So I think we could have ordered less and been just fine.
What was your biggest surprise when planning your wedding?
Every vendor wants to know how many guests, what your budget is, and what the timeline is for the day. All these things sound totally reasonable, right? But at the time, it was all so overwhelming for me because I literally had no idea. “How do I know how many guests if I haven’t sent out invitations yet?” “How much is this supposed to cost? I’ve never shopped for this before.” Do your research, and ask your recently married friends! Guess what—it all worked out in the end.
What do you wish you’d known before you started planning?
Make a separate email account just for wedding planning! You will have So. Many. Emails. Keep everyone’s address on your computer; you will be using them a lot! Also, be proactive on your communication with all parties involved.
Did you experience any wedding-day snafus?
There was some miscommunication on timing with our DJ, so some cues/ timing were off, but things just kept rolling. It was really the most magical day, so something like a DJ cue is really so small in the big picture, and I was too happy to notice at the time. Just live in the moment and those little details don’t really matter.
Also, I didn’t even think to let the front desk of our hotel know that I was going to have a million different people come up to my room to get ready that morning—hair, makeup, photographer, etc. —so by just letting the hotel know and providing names, a few phone calls could have been avoided.
Did you and your fiancé get into any silly arguments?
The guest list was really the only major thing that caused arguments. I wanted a smaller, more intimate guest list, but with the excitement of our engagement and all the genuine “congratulations” being thrown our way, he wanted everyone to be a part of our day. Going in with an attitude of “if it’s important to you, it’s important to me” really helped us understand where the other one was coming from.
Any dress-shopping advice?
It really is just like in the movies: when you try on your dress, you just know! I had an idea of the kind of dress I wanted, thanks to Pinterest, but once I started trying on dresses, I realized that wasn’t what I wanted at all. I had my mom, sister, and mother-in-law with me, and they were honest and supportive. They made the whole experience so special. I also knew that comfort was super important to me, so I chose a dress that I could dance the night away in.
Do you have any general advice for couples currently planning their weddings?
Identify what are the most important points for you, and then plan everything else around that. For example, we really just wanted our wedding to be a big party with our family and friends, so our ceremony was short and sweet—like maybe 10 minutes long—and we did a lot of our photos before the ceremony—definitely recommend doing a “first look” —so we could get to party time!
Also, my mantra during the whole planning process was, “At the end of the day, we will still be married.” Meaning that no matter what detail I was stressing over at the time, in the end, they really are just details. You will still be married, regardless of what flavor your cake was, the font on your invitations, or what songs you danced to.
Do you have any general marriage advice, as a newlywed?
You get what you put in! We had been together several years before getting married. So many times I heard, “being married basically feels the same,” but I disagree. Being able to be jump into a new chapter together and find excitement in the journey is key.