Wedding Wednesday: Advice from an expert.

 expert wedding planning advice 

 hello there. aimee here. almost 10 years married. married once. so, probably not considered a wedding expert BUT - been there. done that. not doing it again. expert right??
i got married in 2002 -- at the VERY YOUNG age of 19. craig was 21. we were young. foolish. void of anyone telling us we were too young. we stood firm on 1 fact, "we want to grow up together" & people just nodded their heads and said it was great! well, we did. we have. it's been a loopty-loop of ups & downs BUT, i would not change it for anything. craig is a Marine. 14 years into a 20 year retirement plan. we have jack, 4.5 & abby, 2.5. we were on the 5 year plan and had Jack a few days before our 5th wedding anniversary. seems like just yesterday until jack reminded me that 5 weeks after we get home from our trip to NY in june, he will be 5! 5??!!! is that even possible? so, today i'm going to be blunt. giving you my highs, lows and the changes i would have made if i was to get married all over again. still at 19. still to craig. but i would have 10 more years of knowledge on what i REALLY wanted, not what i THOUGHT i wanted!

let's start with a concept my mom offered 10 years ago called, "CHOOSE 5".

CHOOSE 5 means to choose 5 things that you MUST have. that MUST go well. that MUST be perfect on your wedding day and then let go of everything else. yes, everything. all of the other details. all of the little things. all of the control. all of the feeling defeated when you have to cave to your MIL's wishes! here's my 5: #1: carrot cake. supremely the BEST cake ever. with coconut, pineapple walnuts, fresh shredded carrot, buttermilk & cream cheese frosting. we still make this every august as a celebration to our wedding 
 #2: calla lillies. was my favorite flower at the time. i didn't care how they were used, but that they were there! and they were EVERYWHERE! 
 #3: sunday. my favorite day. a day to honor God. honor our families and our lovely wedding!
 #4: my dad in a suit. a real suit. with a tie & a jacket & pants that all match. with a cobalt blue shirt. {both younger brothers showed up in matching suits, less the jacket part}
#5: dancing wedding cake toppers. yes, this was important. i did not want those BORING people just standing on the cake starring at each other. so i ordered and spent stupid money on a darling couple that matched craig & i. i still have them. maybe i'll use them for something someday??!!  

ways to save $$

weddings CAN be expensive, but they don't have to be. craig & i managed to host over 125 people for a wedding, 5 bridesmaids and 5 groomsmen, dinner, appetizers, decor, dessert, cake, flowers, amateur photographer & prints, wedding dress, DJ, tent & party rentals, a custom built dance floor, all of the bridesmaids dresses, the suits and the honeymoon to Jamaica for under $4,000. completely paid for BEFORE we got married. have questions about this? perhaps post #2 should be written.
  • ask people in your life to make things for you & your wedding that they might be willing to give as a gift OR might be willing to barter with some of your services {photographer, veil, cake, chef/caterer, decorator, favor making, centerpieces}
  • make your own wedding invitations using downloadable programs or maybe you know a graphic designer willing to help {wink, wink}
  • when people offer to help - LET THEM!
  • make as much as you can - wedding favors, bouquets, table settings, decorative items -- use Pinterest. how can you not?
  • following the KISS rule and the inexpensive intelligent rule --- put 1 bottle of red & 1 bottle of white at every table. classic table wine will be just fine. yes, that’s it. you DO NOT NEED to pay for other people to drink. they can go out afterwards and drink on their own dime and look stupid with their friends!

learn from my mistakes:

i made some mistakes. i listened to others opinions. i was impressioned by a "classic wedding" idea. this really goes back to the first CHOOSE 5 concept. but, if i could do it over... here is what i would change:
#1: choose your setting wisely. i got married in our hometown church and had our wedding reception on the front lawn of my parents home - a beautiful open field with large trees, overlooking the Genesee Valley. i would not change any of this -- time of day, oh yes! i wish i had strung twinkly lights and hung candles and danced under the stars at an evening wedding {which would have been much cooler than our mid-day sweat-fest}.
#2: cut the bridesmaids. i did not choose wisely OR i was just too young to make a wise decision. how can you at 19? if you're getting married before the age of 30, cut them out. they don't serve a purpose. your friends will still be your friends. no one gets pissed because they were chosen second in command. no ugly faces in EVERY SINGLE WEDDING PHOTO because you apparently can't make good choices on who's first. too many women in one room. too many opinions. get my drift. ugh. just ignore the idea that you need a party because that man you're about to marry will offer you a party after the wedding is done! :)
#3: if you insist on a summer wedding. go for early morning or evening. people are miserably when they are hot. there's never enough ice water to keep them happy. so - avoid HOT DAYS IN THE SUMMER!
 #4: have good music. go to a wedding or event where the DJ is going to play. or if you can afford it - hire a small band or group of musician's. don't wait for your wedding to realize that the DJ is only going to play what they want to play and it's awful music. yes. been there. done that.
so, there you have it. this is what i think. all opinions are my own!! :)
we are just weeks away from our 10 year wedding anniversary and excited to start making some plans to celebrate the milestone. here we are then & now:
stop by & visit me sometime. i blog DIY projects every Monday over at // i own a graphic & website design shop called // you can find me tweeting or facebook-ing too.
so, if you had a wedding already... what would you change?
if you are planning a wedding... did you like any of my advice?!!

Great advice Aimee!
Thank you so much for sharing! 


  1. Perfect post! Your mom was right on with the choose 5. Only thing I would change from our perfect wedding would be to hire a professional photographer. At the time I was being cheap and thought about all of the friends and family that would be there to snap pictures. I really wish looking back that I had nice professional pictures of us to hang in our hallway one day from that special moment. Oh and proof that I was that thin at one time;)

  2. Choose 5 is a GREAT rule! :) Love that! My sister is knee deep in planning right now... and its going well but its a huge bridal party. We'll see how it plays out!


Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever; wisdom and power are his.