Real newlyweds give wedding planning tips based on their experience.
Polly and Brent Carlson’s wedding took place on Nov. 3, 2018, at Boulevard Presbyterian Church.
If you could do anything about your wedding differently, what would you change and why?
I would have adjusted the time to begin earlier! Our reception venue required that we conclude by 10 p.m., and the night passed so quickly! I wish we had started everything an hour earlier so we could’ve enjoyed our reception longer.
What are you happy you spent money on?
Catering—we have attended too many weddings where the food was lackluster, so we wanted to ensure our wedding meal was memorable and delicious. Two Caterers [now rebranded as Together & Company] provided a delicious menu that our guests complimented and enjoyed.
What do you think you could have done without?
I tried to be very mindful of these things when planning, and I don’t feel like there was anything I would’ve done without. I tried to focus on the bigger visual elements that would make an impact, versus small little items.
What was your biggest surprise when planning your wedding?
No matter how early you begin planning, there is still a significant amount that can only be done in the immediate weeks leading up to the wedding because you’re receiving back your RSVPs, vendors need final details, etc. I didn’t realize how stressful those final weeks would be!
What do you wish you’d known before you started planning?
Planning a wedding is extremely time-consuming and often times feels like a second job! Try to devote a little bit of time each day to accomplishing another task on your list so that you don’t become (more) overwhelmed!
Did you experience any wedding-day snafus?
Somehow the reception table numbers became switched during set-up, so our families ended up in the back of the room away from the head table, toddlers were seated by the cake, and the heavier drinkers were farthest from the bar—completely opposite than what we had planned. There wasn’t much that could be done as guests were already seated at their tables, so we just had to accept it and explain the mix-up to our guests. It was unfortunate, but not the worst thing that could’ve happened in the grand scheme of things!
Any dress-shopping advice?
Brides, be willing to try on a style that you maybe weren’t originally envisioning. A dress will typically look very different on your body than on a model, so be open to trying on a variety of styles, as you might discover one that really suits you!
Do you have any general advice for couples currently planning their weddings?
It can be very easy to become wrapped up in the process and consumed with all the decisions that need made! Make sure to take time for yourselves and step away from the wedding planning from time to time.
Do you have any general marriage advice, as a newlywed?
Give yourselves time to adjust to your new status as a married couple, especially if you are living together for the first time. It sounds cliché, but communication and honesty are key.