If I had my wedding to do over again…

Yesterday my husband and I celebrated our 15th wedding anniversary. On June 1, 1996 we hosted our wedding ceremony and reception on my father-in-law’s property in Southern Indiana. Loyal readers of this blog have gotten tidbits the past few years about the things I would’ve done differently – like not letting my mother near my hair or make up. And don’t get me started on my dress…I wish to this day I would’ve gone store-bought instead of having my aunt make it.

Blair has nagged at me for years to see wedding photos (since I’ve griped so much about my day). I refused to share…until now. In celebration of our special day, I ripped apart our wedding photo album and scanned in images to share with Blair, and our readers. (Quite literally, I ripped the photos out of the album…it was pre-digital age, so everything exists only in hard copy. I haven’t told my husband about this yet.)

But what fun is just sharing pictures? I’ve woven in some thoughts and advice for those of you planning your special day:

We had a photo session before our ceremony, which is when this was taken. We had an audience, so I don’t feel like moments were really captured…everything felt very staged. (My husband – even then – was not this publicly affectionate; the photographer made him do it.)

My advice: Whether before or after your ceremony, arrange to spend time together, alone, with your photographer. The part of our day that remains dearest in my heart is sitting on the tailgate in the early morning hours on a secluded part of the property eating bagels together.

My mother-in-law wore white. This frosts me to this day – almost more than my new brother-in-law grabbing the mic during the reception to propose to his girlfriend. My MIL claimed it was the only dress she could find that was flattering. Right.

My advice: Obviously you have control over the color of your maid’s dresses (even if you just tell them to choose a dress within a certain range of blue). For others who are on their own (like mothers in law), consider tactfully having a conversation about an acceptable range of colors. This is not to suggest busting into a Bridezilla moment. Over a casual dinner, calmly discuss your colors and suggest that dresses be searched for within this range.

I was married young…I graduated from college and two weeks later got married. I attribute my age for why I lost control of my wedding. Still thinking of us as “kids,” we’d get calls from our parents announcing the things they’d purchased, vendors they secured, bands they hired, etc. These weren’t questions about what our preference was, mind you, but rather simply informing us how our wedding was going to be.

The one thing that worked out fabulously was the hiring of a French pastry chef. Instead of a traditional cake, we had a pastry table. It got rave reviews from guests, and everyone was able to choose something to their liking. (Mark and I had a small cake to cut into for that moment.)

My advice: When it comes to cakes and desserts, don’t feel trapped by tradition. In a recent post we showed you a couple that served their favorite desserts (cookies and donut holes). I think you’d be surprised to discover how much guests actually appreciate a departure from wedding cake.

Regarding losing control of your wedding…that’s a tough one. We were balancing divorced parents having to come together for the first time in 15 years, and very different family styles. The best thing I can say is to stay strong (again, not witchy) on the things that are truly important to you, but give a little on the things that may be important to your parents (especially if they’re footing the bill).

Just as we were young, so were our friends. Most of whom started drinking while Mark and I were enjoying our bagel breakfast. So by the time the toasts rolled around, our best man was more than little drunk. And his speech made absolutely no sense…this picture captured me not in a moment of wedded bliss, but laughing at how completely awkward the speech had gotten.

My advice: Talk to the folks giving speeches ahead of time. Are they comfortable? Or are they completely terrified to the point that a) thinking of that moment is going to ruin the evening for them, or b) they’re going to drink themselves into a stupor trying to summon liquid courage? Better to not have a speech at all than to have a Wedding Singer moment.

At the Pavilion, we’ve seen some doozies, including the maid of honor taking the opportunity to express her dislike and distrust of the groom. So carefully consider the decision to appoint people to speeches. It’s always an option to just open a mic up for anyone who has something truly meaningful and heartfelt to say – instead of pushing it on one individual.

In this last picture, I love the adoring way we’re looking at each other – but wish that someone would’ve been care taking my appearance throughout the evening so my hair got tucked back in place, and my shiny-made-shinier by the Indiana humidity face would’ve been blotted and powdered.

My advice: The evening is going to fly by. You’ll be swept in a dozen different directions…trying to spend a few moments with your grandparents, being introduced to the family friends invited by your parents, asked by the photographer for a special photo op…I’m normally pretty high maintenance when it comes to my appearance; I blot, powder, and lipstick a lot. Except on my wedding day – they’re details I just lost track of in the swirl of it all.

So appoint a bridesmaid, or another friend, to every now and again approach you with blotting tissues and your tube of lipstick, or to invite you to join her in the bathroom for touch ups. To be honest, I can’t even remember using the bathroom that day because we were so busy. (A whole ‘nother topic…)

Also, make it known to the photographer that you welcome advice on things like “you have some hair out of place…try tucking that behind your ear.” The photographer should function as a director in these instances, so choose one with a personality you can work well with.

I could go on and on…but you get the idea! As much as we girls, as brides, believe it’s The Most Important Day of Our Lives, it’s one day. Special moments will happen every day in the forever lifetime of your marriage. So on the one labeled as your “wedding day,” have fun, and don’t try not to take it too seriously.

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