5 Things I Would Do Differently While Wedding Planning

For those of you who have been following Uncorking Peonies since September 2017, you know I had big dreams when it came to my wedding. Having coordinated and planned over 100 weddings and events, it was finally my time to plan my own Big Day.

My color palette was dusty rose and navy with silver accents. I’ve always loved the more rustic and laid back parties, and my wedding was no exception. I opted to have my bridesmaids choose their own dresses to fit their personal styles and budgets. I created my own decorations with hodge-podge findings and borrowing from family members and friends. I utilized my resources to design the look and feel of the perfect wedding. And the perfect wedding it was.

I loved our wedding day down to the very last detail. But would I do anything differently? Yes. Now that I am past the sparkle and glamour that made our wedding so spectacular, here are five “bigger picture” details I would consider changing should I ever happen upon a time machine:

1. I would change our ceremony location.

G and I met through our 20’s and 30’s Bible study group at church. We are both very active in the church and center our lives around our love for God. Most of our closest friends are from our church and we even hired a band made up of our fellow church members. You could say our church is pretty near and dear to our hearts.

But I never envisioned getting married in a church. I’m not sure if it feels too traditional or perhaps church ceremonies seem too romanticized for my own personal liking, but being married in front of an altar was not my forte. Instead, I had always pictured myself saying my vows under a blue sky or in a meadow surrounded by trees. I love the natural settings which more and more ceremonies are taking place in.

Compromise is a beautiful and necessary part of any relationship though. Being married in a church was important to G and to many of our family members. So that is what we did. Looking back, I would make the same decision for the sake of our family’s wishes, but I might also push for the natural setting a bit more. After all, our church cost nearly $1000 to rent for the ceremony, and simply the price differences in holding the ceremony elsewhere might have been persuasive enough to break tradition.

2. I would have made a Thank You speech.

One of the little pieces I loved about some of the weddings I coordinated is when the bride and/or groom got up during the reception to give a thank you speech to their guests. It was a rare occurrence, but a memorable one each and every time.

In the rush of wedding planning I completely forgot to plan a quick ‘Thank You’ myself! We spoke with our best man, man of honor, and fathers about their speeches, but this little gem skipped over my head as other wedding details took over. It would have been nice to tell our family and friends how much we appreciated having them at our wedding and in our lives. That was definitely a missed opportunity!

3. I would have bought and worn a reception dress.

Before my wedding day I actually had never heard of a reception dress, but I guess they are quite the trend nowadays! A reception dress is, obviously, a dress the bride dons after the ceremony to be more comfortable for dancing, eating, moving about, what-have-you.

Now, I really did get my dream dress and it only cost me $150! I felt beautiful and confident in this dress and it photographed incredibly well. But it was floor-length, had a long train, and turned out to be quite heavy and difficult to dance in. Plus the temperatures for our outdoors reception were high into the 90’s along with boasting Michigan June humidity. With the low price of my gown, I easily could have found a cute, white reception dress to change into once we finished pictures and headed to the festivities.

Unfortunately, no one mentioned this trend to me until I was walking around after dinner and visiting. “I can’t believe you’re still wearing that dress!” “Aren’t you hot?!” “How will you ever dance with that thing?”

But dance I did — and I had a blast even with the river of sweat flowing down my back all evening.

4. I would have spent more time working out.

Don’t any of you @ me! I’m not talking about starving myself to fit into my dress, or spending every waking moment in the gym to tone my arms. I had good reasons for not making my health and fitness a bigger priority during my wedding planning days, but I wish I’d recognized those various reasons as excuses. The biggest being that I was more stressed with planning every detail than I felt I was at the time. Looking back, I realize I gained 25-30 pounds while working on wedding plans because I allowed myself to “treat myself” whenever I felt a bit tired, stressed, or celebratory.

I was not at my happiest weight on my wedding day, and I know I’ll be able to see that tension and discomfort in my wedding pictures. Even if no one else can. And since these are the pictures documenting one of the most important days in my life — meaning they will be hanging in my home for years and (hopefully) passed down to my kids in the future — I wish my instinct wasn’t to cringe when looking at some of them. I felt beautiful and extremely happy at my wedding, and that is apparent in the pictures as well. I just think that with a little more effort and cognition, I could have felt even better in my own skin.

5. I would have lived more in the moment of the day.

One thing G and I agreed to do on our wedding day was take steps back, breathe, and enjoy the little pieces throughout the entire experience. There are moments I remember verbally saying this out loud to him, “Let’s stop for a second to remember this.” And we did.

However, looking back, there were so many missed moments to do this! The entire day is a blur to me, a very happy blur, but a blur nonetheless. I never worried about having a perfect day but I also didn’t focus on the little details of the wedding. I wish I had. I wish I had taken the time to go around and look at every table of decorating for the wedding. I wish I had taken a moment to step aside and do a panorama look at the entire reception. I wish I had forced myself to slow down, because maybe that would have made the day slow down as well.

At the end of the day, though, I really wouldn’t have changed a thing. Our wedding was an absolute dream and even if I went back in time, nothing could have been more perfect than becoming the wife of an amazing man in front of God and our closest loved ones.


Hopefully some of these thoughts are helpful to you if you’re debating between details of your own wedding. Is there anything you are considering changing in your wedding plans, or perhaps you wish you had been able to change? Feel free to share in the comments below!

xoxo, 

No Rhyme or Reason

I’ve never been depressed. Sure, I’ve had bad times and I’ve had my own share of craziness. I’ve laid in bed at night and started crying for no rhyme or reason at all. But overall, even when things are as dark as can be, I am lucky enough to have the ability to say “I’m feeling depressed,” as opposed to “I have depression.”

I’ve never been depressed, but I’m slowly learning that there’s a big difference between those statements, and the key word is feeling.

In Driving Off a Bridge and Other Fears, I discussed a very confusing and difficult situation between Wilbur and myself. It was written out of pure and raw emotion at, what I thought, was the end of a promising relationship. That post was written from the perspective of a sad, rejected, and very confused young woman with no idea of the horrors depression can have on a person; this post is being written from the perspective of the same woman, now humbled and contemplative of what two months difference can make in understanding and education.

Following that post in January, Wilbur contacted me only three short days later. We talked. A lot. And some hard things were discussed as to what had caused the entire “Hiccup” in our relationship. The underlying factor was his depression.

I had known he struggled with depression, but I didn’t know to what extent. In all honesty, I hadn’t considered his condition to be more than just something to be aware of, and I definitely never thought it would wiggle into our lives and cause such destructive thoughts. Since our make-up, though, I’ve done a lot of reading on depression and cannot believe how off I was in my thinking of the condition.

Depression is literally one of the most helpless and frustrating experiences a person can face. It’s sometimes feeling sad, but it also brings feelings of emptiness, isolation, and self-hate. Those afflicted can feel paralyzed in their own minds and bodies. It’s not something they can simply “get over.”

People who suffer from depression often feel frustrated with feeling like they are a burden to those they care about. With this, they tend to push away people they need the most and end up mentally exhausting themselves with worrying about if their sadness is bringing down their loved ones as well.

Does this sound incredibly disheartening to you? It does to me. It breaks my heart that this person I care so deeply about has this internal battle going on and there’s nothing I can do to help. And that’s the worst part: there is nothing I can do to help!

In addition to taking the time to educate myself on what Wilbur goes through sometimes, I also have been teaching myself some self-bettering skills. One is patience. Another is that words are not always the best gift. Seriously, saying things like, “Things will get better.” or “You’re going to be okay.” are not ideal. Instead, I’ve begun training myself to simply be there for him during the times he needs me, and stressing that I will be beside him through everything for as long as he asks me to be. Offering advice isn’t helpful because, well, I simply don’t know exactly what he is going through. So just being there for him, believing in him, and encouraging him are some of the only things I’m able to provide.

I won’t pretend to understand depression as a whole. I’m not sure if anyone can actually claim such a thing. However, I am slowly treading the waters, becoming more knowledgeable of an invisible poison hidden in this sinful world and also becoming more compassionate to those in our society who have suffered for far too long from something beyond their control. Educate yourself, friends! And maybe then the world will begin to become a bit more welcoming on an environment for all…

Change has to begin somewhere.