I’m so honored to be here today, when I got Santana’s email to guest post about wedding tips I was so excited to come and chat with all of you. I’ve been married to my best friend and love of my life for 3.5 years and every time someone asks “What would you change about your wedding??” I always reply “Everything but the Groom.” I’m Kristina,
I suppose I should probably give you a little background about us before I start giving you advice, right?! Ryan and I met through a mutual friend the summer of 2004 while I was visiting my grandparents, in the fall of 2005 we became extremely good friends over myspace (<– remember those days?!) while I was in Kansas and he was on a culinary internship in the Bahamas. In March of 2006 I came out to Colorado to spend some time with him and go on our first date. That June he came to see me in Kansas. That August I came to see him again.We did the long distance travel back and forth of 10 months until I packed up my entire life into a horse trailer (don’t judge) during the biggest snow storm in the last 10 years out here, and it even closed I-70. We lived together from Day 1 of me moving out here, and the world thought we were insane, and we might have been – we had a lot of tough lessons to learn but it was so worth it. He proposed to me at the top of a mountain almost 3.5 years later in June of 2009 (you can read all about that here.) We planned for a Summer 2010 wedding but decided that August we wanted a winter wedding in hopes for snow. December 5, 2009 we married. It didn’t snow that day but did the next (story of our life). But it was beautiful anyways. Our first year of marriage had the biggest obstacles of our entire relationship but here we are in 2013 – together almost 7.5 years, and married for 3.5 years and last November we welcomed our first child, a little girl we call “A” to the world.
This whole marriage thing….I totally love it. LOVE it.
This one may or may not apply to everyone reading this but it did for us, so I’m tossing it in here. Ryan grew up in the church his whole life, my church life consisted of Easter mornings and the occasional Christmas Eve service until my high school years went I went more, but there was some weird things with that church and a couple other factors that left me feeling pretty burned by the church. I also thought that I was sure we didn’t need it. Ryan wanted to Pastor that he knew all of his life as a youth pastor to marry us. I was willing to go and meet him, then he said he would LOVE to do it but that we had to do premarital coaching with him and his wife first. I wasn’t interested in the homework, I wasn’t interested entirely. I simply did it for Ryan. Looking back, I sure wish I was a little more invested, not because I didn’t get anything out of it – we did, principals we still use today, daily, but more because it was important to him and he is so very important to me. So when something is that important to your spouse, you need to be willing to make that sacrifice.
2)Put Your Heart FULLY into the Wedding.
Ryan and I had been living together for 3.5 years, many called us “common-law married” already and so honestly, we were just more ready for the technical name than anything else. We just wanted to be married. Plain and simple. Because of this we would have done quite a bit different looking back on it. So, no matter how long you have been together, or if you are pretty much married anyway – Get. Excited. Soak every moment in.
Ugh. You guys. This kind of goes back to the last one but Ryan wanted to do our own vows and I nixed that. Why? Because I’m shy. I was too worried about speaking my heart in front of all of those people so I just wanted the basic vows. Now…now is a different story. Now, I wish we would have done personalized vows just so I can stand from the rooftops and tell the whole just how much I love that hubby of mine.
4) Feel Your Best! (This means No Crazy Bachelorette Parties the Night Before!)
All of my attendance but my little sister was coming in from Kansas. So that meant no bridal shower, and no bachelorette party. My maid-of-honor came into town the week of my wedding and the others came in that week. It was great to have that time but they insisted we had to have one last Girls Night. So we got a hotel room and some alcohol and lets just say a little bit of tequila then a half (x-large) bottle of yellowtail hits hard and fast. Next thing you know you are dancing around crazy with a bridemaid and sick the next. Not my proudest moment friends. It also makes for hell the next day. I mean, trying everything to feel better, and scooting in the door with menudo in hand as a last ditch effort (that’s what’s in my hand…menudo and tortillas, not coffee – hehe). Thank heavens for that menudo. Lets just say I didn’t drink at my wedding or my entire honeymoon. I wish I was kidding. Ryan and the boys had a fun guy’s night, poker and drinks – which led to him calling me and leaving me a sweet drunken message from our roof after tumbling out onto it. Ha.
5) Make it reflect YOU.
Our wedding was beautiful. Breathtaking. Complete with floating candles and a chocolate fountain. It was more than I ever dreamed, it really was. We still get comments about it to this day from people who went. We were blessed to have such a beautiful day but the truth is…it was much more extravagant than Ryan and I are. We are super simple, keep to ourselves kind of people and our wedding was the opposite. Is this a big tip? Not really because I can’t say it was a regret moment but at the same time, we really would have been fabulous with a simple wedding.
6) Plan it Together & Don’t Be Afraid to DIY
Ryan and I planned our entire wedding together. He loved being involved in the process. We chose our colors together, picked out invitation, tasted delicious foods, met with photographers, ate cake, toured venue after venue. We loved doing it together. We also did all of the DIY together. I cannot stress DIY enough. We did our invitations together – bought the wedding invitation kits at Michaels and printed them out and put them together one by one. Since we had a December wedding I wanted to do something fun and different for our wedding favors and did our wedding favors, too. Really I probably could have done more. DIY takes a lot of work but it saves a ton of money.
7) It’s not about the COST of the Dress it’s about How you FEEL in it.
This tip is probably not going to go the direction you are thinking it will. I’m not going to tell you spend a ton of money on your dress. I’m actually going to tell you the opposite – sometimes those clearance racks have some real gems in them for a fraction of retail cost. Remember, you are probably only going to wear it once in your life (I say probably for the sole fact sometimes people take more photos in it later or renew vows in the same dress). Don’t be afraid of the clearance racks. Seriously. I tried on several out of there and they made my decision tough. The only reason I didn’t pick a clearance dress is because I picked the dress I fell in love with in one look. And I’ll leave you with the knowledge of it being well under $500. Also – don’t be afraid to shop local boutiques. Sure there are chains but see if you can find some local gems. Seriously. I did in my mom’s city and I had the best service.
8) Think HARD About Your attendants.
I cannot stress this one enough. Seriously. Let me give you a little insight. I had 4 attendants and I only still talk to one of them and that is my little sister. Ryan only talks to one out of his guys, and it’s his dad. Seriously. We put “right now” friends in our wedding party and we really regret it. One of the girls in my wedding party I
would probably hit with a car if I had the chance really can’t stand, the other ended morally corrupt and the other just ended up not having the same drive for our friendship which has broken my heart over and over again. As for Ryan, time and live has changed the relationships for him. So – lesson learned. The most important part is we married our best friend, each other. So, we have lots of photos of us together, and we got individual photos with his dad and with my little sister. Score, right?!
9) Pay a Videographer.
We made sure for our Photographer we found the best. He was a perfectionist, full time wedding photographer and photos weren’t something that we weren’t willing to shortcut. For videography we had a “friend” volunteer. This friend of ours was someone we would have considered a little brother to us. He had a passion for video and asked if he could video the wedding. Of course, we said we would love him to. He came the day of the wedding, videoed it and we were ecstatic. He told us he dropped the disc in the mail..it never came. Truth came out later he didn’t put it in the mail and friends, we have been married for three and a half years and we still don’t have a video and we probably never are. We have begged and pleaded for it, sent money, offered even more money. Nothing. We are heart broken.
10) Toss in Some Fun
Ryan and I wanted to do something fun for the wedding and so we decided on a choreographed dance. That’s right – we took dance lessons. It was so fun. Before you think “that’s so expensive” hear me out. I posted a listing on craigslist that I was looking for someone that taught dance lessons and I had X,Y,Z in trade. Bam. At the time I was a massage therapist still and I traded massage for dance classes! Score! We went weekly, laughed, got frustrated with each other – but we had so much fun and it was awesome for bonding and everyone was shocked at the wedding! 🙂
At the end of the day, no matter how you do your wedding, it really doesn’t matter. What matters the most is truly that you walk away with your husband being the one person you are excited to spend the rest of your life with. Marriage isn’t a walk in the park, it’s work. A lot of work but friends, it’s so absolutely worth it.
If you are Interested in Reading MORE about our wedding & lessons learned you should read THIS POST, as well as, THIS POST, if you have some time.
Well, it’s been so fabulous to see all of you today and chat about one of the favorite days of my life. If you are interested in connecting you are always welcome to say hello on the blog, or twitter! And a HUGE HUGE HUGE Congratulations to Santana. You will be a fabulous Mrs. A!