This wedding q&a answers all of the questions I received from readers throughout our wedding planning process. Hope you enjoy!
Because I have done anything but turn SST into a wedding blog, it makes sense that there are a couple of lingering questions. But I didn’t realize what a time warp this would be! It was so wonderful to answer your questions and take a step back through the planning process. But know, no matter how stressful planning got to be, I loved every step along the way!
I’ve broken all of the questions into various categories based on where it was involved within the planning process.
Did you know Ray was planning on proposing ahead of time?
Yes and no. When we originally moved out to Denver, I said that I would only do so, as well as only live together in general, if we were moving towards getting engaged. But I had NO idea that it was coming at the specific point that it did. And the fact that he surprised me with close friends being present blew my mind! Ray had flown back to Chicago, bought a ring, asked both of my parents and planned this whole thing in about 6 months with me being completely oblivious. And it ended up being a perfect proposal for us.
Did you tell Ray what kind of ring you wanted?
Before we had moved out of Chicago, I went to a jewelry store with my friend Ashley and tried on a few to see what my ring size was and what cuts I liked. Ray asked me to go one time with him, as well, but I was basically no help and only tried them on without giving my opinion because I wanted him to pick it out (it is a gift from him, after all.) I ended up liking both round and square cut and wasn’t too particular about the style, but I love what Ray created in Chicago more than anything I could have picked.
My engagement ring is a round cut diamond, with two smaller round cut diamonds flanking it on either side. We picked out our wedding bands together in Denver and I selected an infinity band (aka, diamonds all around) of small diamonds, because I wanted my rings to be miss-matched, but work well together. (Imperfection is beauty!) And I ended up getting both re-sized because my child-sized fingers are 3.5!
Planning & Budgeting Questions
How did you stay calm throughout the whole process?
I actually received questions on this even from our guests and bridal party, but I think it’s because I don’t sweat the small stuff. Remember the purpose of your wedding day is to have happy memories and start your wedding off on a celebratory note. And that’s exactly what we focused on across the entire planning process.
Our Officiant, Nathan, said once that he was nervous that he was going to mess up. And both Ray and I said the same thing to him, “If you do, then it’s even funnier and more memorable!” Everything will happen exactly as it’s supposed to, whether it’s how you planned it to happen or not. Your guests will feed off your energy, so just have fun with whatever happens and enjoy the moment!
What are some of your best money saving tips? How did you stay on budget?
In our little family of two, I’m only slightly more of the numbers person and kept track of our budget throughout the whole process. We booked our wedding planner early on (more on her below) and I asked her for a sample budget and adjusted it from there based on what was important to us.
Our most important characteristics were good music (band or DJ, we also had a guitarist), good food, in Summit or Eagle counties (aka, our favorite towns in the CO Rocky Mountains), open bar, and at least walking distance to a hotel. I also very much wanted to book our specific videographer before we even got engaged, which I’ll be sharing more on in a couple of months when we get our video. Our less important elements were flowers, attire, & stationery (all ordered through Minted), though they still ended up being gorgeous. Photography was somewhere in the middle, and Jamee Photography ended up being a fabulous choice.
We then booked those pieces that were big to us first to both get them booked and make sure that they were in budget. We then booked in order of our priority, while consistently updating our budgeting sheet over time.
Remember to leave some room for tips and additional charges that may come up. But I’m proud to say that we landed just under budget!
Did you hire a wedding planner?
YES – and she was probably the best expense we made. I was going back and forth on hiring a wedding planner, but I couldn’t tell you where our wedding would have gone without her.
We booked what is called “Event Management.” That is, she assists us in selecting our vendors (though we pick them), she takes over working with our vendors two months prior to our wedding, and she coordinates all wedding-day related events. We do all budgeting, design, and booking prior to those two months.
Taylor was my sounding board throughout the entire process because of her familiarity of the vendors and our space. She kept us on track and whatever we needed, she made sure it was done. I loved working with her and the whole team.
Wedding Dress, Hair, & Make Up Questions
How many wedding dresses did you try on before you found “the one?”
Not many actually! I only had one appointment alongside both my mother and mother-in-law. I slept on the decision and bought it the next morning because it was perfect and checked all the boxes.
Though my advice for brides-to-be would be to have at least one appointment by yourself to make sure that you love the dress. While I LOVE how my dress turned out (more on that in a second), I had buyer’s remorse the night following my decision to buy it because it didn’t feel like me. It felt like I had bought it just based on what other people said rather than my true gut instinct.
Who designed your wedding dress?
The original strapless dress was the Augusta Jones Anna. While it’s a beautiful gown, it was not me at all. For example, I NEVER wear strapless. Why I thought I would randomly be comfortable in that on the day of my wedding, I’ll never know.
I worked with a wonderful seamstress in the Denver area to create the lace portion on the top based on some images I found on Pinterest. And I asked her to do so the Monday following my Blackhawk Bachelorette, so not much time to spare! I am incredibly grateful for her willingness to work with me so last minute. My dress ended up being classic, preppy, elegant, and bohemian all in one. Customized to me, it was 900x better than I could have imagine.
Did you have a hair and makeup trial?
Hair, yes. And I thought it was incredibly beneficial. We made a couple of changes based on the trial and it was exactly what I had imagined, A low chignon with a bit of cross-crossing above the bun for added interest. I also had a small braid in the front because Ray always compliments my hair style with a braid.
Make-up, no. I would have preferred to have one, but I decided that it wasn’t worth traveling up to Vail for that specifically. Instead, I picked a makeup artist where I could see several pictures and tell some consistencies about her overall style. I then spoke to her the week prior to discuss details and shared some images from Pinterest for the day of to make sure we were both talking about the same thing. It ended up being beautiful – natural, but much more picture-ready than my usual look.
What was your something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue?
- Something Old – I considered my shoes old because I didn’t buy them new and have had them for several years.
- Something New – My wedding dress and a diamond bracelet that were both a gift from my father, and a pair of earrings that were a gift from my mother.
- Something Borrowed – My cathedral length veil that I borrowed from a good friend from high school. She originally wore it for her stunning wedding in January.
- Something Blue – My mother gave me two little blue stickers, one that says “I” and the other saying “Do.” I put one on each shoe to walk down the aisle.
Where did you go on your honeymoon?
We didn’t really take one. After a lot of thought, we realized that our ideal vacation would be enjoying time with our friends and family in the mountains. So, that what we did in our week leading up to our wedding!
We also kind of considered our trip to Machu Picchu in March to be a pre-moon.
Honestly, we really like living in Colorado and feel like we take a lot of trips away from here as it is. So it seemed a little silly to be planning another big trip when we can plan a trip at any time.
Though I will say that we decided to take a couple days off of work immediately following our wedding. These few days were MUCH needed to re-set and rejuvenate before jumping right back into work.
Looking Back & Moving Forward Questions
Did you choose any keepsakes to remember your wedding day?
Yes! My mother has made us a gorgeous wedding album of the pictures she took on our wedding day and we anticipate adding more pictures to it over time. I’m also in the middle of art & crafts time with some of the flowers that I dried from the wedding and will share the DIY details once they’re completed!
We also have a wedding day video that we’ll be getting within six months following our wedding day.
Looking back, what would you have told yourself a couple of months ago now that your wedding is over?
There honestly isn’t anything big that I would have changed, so I think that I would have just told myself to keep going with the flow. I was somewhat lucky that the whole wedding dress ordeal happened early in our planning process. Even though it turned out well, it taught me early on that we need to go with our gut on everything.
Going with our gut came up in several places. In our decision for our ceremony venue, in deciding that a separate room for dancing could work (everyone tried to talk us out of that one, but it ended up being one of our highlights), and it made picking vendors a lot easier.
The only two suggestions that I would have had for myself would be to have a wedding day clutch. And to bring a lipstick you want to wear. I didn’t pick a wedding day lipstick and kept borrowing others from friends and family after the initial application from my makeup artist. Although the fact that my lips kept changing colors of pink all night was kind of funny looking back on it…
Create a great life!