Does it feel any different being married?
I always wondered this before being married.
The answer for us from a relationship perspective is no. We do feel more secure in our relationship though, which is something tough to even describe.
Another feeling I had before the wedding was “this is such a waste of money.” Now looking back on the wedding, it was far from a waste of money and one of the experiences I cherish most in my life.
We created this Q&A to help future brides (and husbands who think its a waste) and to remember the little details as the wedding day gets further and further away.
Yes, we were in Arizona and planning a wedding in California. We had a wedding planner who took care of all of the coordination and communication with vendors, so she made our lives SO easy throughout the process. If a wedding planner is in your budget, we highly recommend!
We knew we wanted to get married at Mount Palomar winery in Temecula, California. So with the venue picked out, we first explored what dates they had available. There were only 2 days in 2020 and Melissa wanted to squeeze it in. Ryan didn’t. So we settled for Memorial Day weekend in May 2021 and it was a blessing in disguise (thanks, Covid!).
After the venue date was locked, we started looking at other vendors. Again, highly recommend a wedding planner because we didn’t have to search for any. She found 3 or so of each and set up calls for us with them.
We booked almost all vendors about a year in advance because it was a holiday weekend. Luckily all of the vendors we really wanted were available for our date!
Melissa is a creative junkie so she made our save the dates, invitation suite, menus and our welcome sign. We tried to save a little money where we could (which is incredibly hard with wedding planning)
From Melissa’s point of view, her favorite part of the wedding planning process was making decisions and planning a wedding with me. So cute!
This was TERRIFYING!!
For some reason the “rule” when planning a destination wedding is to invite more people than the budget can handle because 25% or so won’t attend.
We invited 177 and 125 attended. Which was right on what we had budgeted for. Somehow it just works out!
We opened a separate bank account and called it our wedding fund. We transferred the money we were willing to spend to that account and used it anytime there was a wedding expense.
Well, we used a credit card to get some points and then paid it off with that money.
We also created a google sheet that was a running balance of what we spent. As we got pricing from vendors, we dropped it into the sheet to monitor how much was going out and how much was left.
Martina Liana is such a great wedding dress designer! I absolutely loved my dress and succeeded in making Ryan cry.
I tried 3 other dresses before finding my dress. So it was the 4th dress I tried on.
I remember taking off the 3rd one and starting to get nervous that I wasn’t feeling that feeling and then I put my dress on and as soon as I walked out and looked in the mirror I started tearing up and then everyone else started crying and I just knew it was the one.
I tried on a bunch of other dresses after but kept comparing it to mine and knew that meant it was the one.
Azazie because they seemed to be one of the more affordable options for dresses. I tried to be mindful of the expense since its likely a one time wear and we had a destination wedding.
Men’s wearhouse which was super helpful because they have stores in every state (don’t quote me on that one – it feels like every state but this is not fact checked).
You go in and try on the tuxes and then they set up an order for you and put in each groomsman’s info. Each groomsman then goes to Men’s Warehouse and tries on the exact tux and gets fitted. SO easy!!
Ryan did his bachelor party in Breckenridge, Colorado. That man and his skiing.
Melissa did her bachelorette part in Charleston, South Carolina. The beach vibes there!!
Yes, we did a first look and highly recommend it! We’re super thankful we did because it gave us SO much more time together on our wedding day.
It was also just nice to see each other all dolled up before the ceremony and to share an intimate moment to start the evening.
No real regrets but we did forget to pack the wedding invites for the photographer.
Falling like the stars by James Arthur.
Yes, we did dance lessons for the wedding and “choreographed” a first dance. It was so much fun learning to dance together and then executing that dance together.
Shoutout to Fred Astaire dance studio and Myroslav.
Our favorite part of the wedding was our ceremony. Everything about it was perfect and we often find ourselves just daydreaming about it.
Oh boy did we?!
Yes the whole day Melissa was ugly crying!
3 times really stand out though!
I hate to say the cliché but really soak it in and be present because it goes by SO fast! OH, and eat!
Everything just happens and of course for summer weddings dinner fell during golden hour. So take advantage of golden hour but also remember to eat!
A traditional thing seems to be going to each table and thanking everyone for coming to the wedding. When we started the reception, we did a blanket thank you to everyone (including the vendors).
Make sure to show appreciation for the vendors! They were so grateful and just made the event so much more enjoyable.
We sent our save the dates 10 months before the wedding and our invites 2 1/2 months in advance.
If we can give any advice here – find a service that has auto RSVP in it. It was tedious getting them back and trying to transpose everything correctly.
LOL nope! Girls pee as a team of course.
I had help from my friends but my dress was really flexible so I was able to just pull and hold it up. Who woulda thunk. I’m sure many dresses can be difficult to pee in though.
Picking favorites is just so hard!
If we had to pick, definitely the ceremony. It just felt like a magical expression of love and vulnerability.
Our first dance was a lot of fun because we had practiced it so much that it was fun to perform. Dancing at the reception was with our friends and family was also a highlight.
The DJ announced last song and it felt like the party was just getting started.
The videographer and DJ were the most worth it.
Video is priceless to look back on and relive the moment.
DJ just sets the vibe of the event so having everyone hyped made it so much more enjoyable.
But again hard to pick a “best”.
Without the flowers it wouldn’t have been as beautiful. Same with the venue.
The cake felt like the biggest waste. Its just a cake and no one really cares about it, but for some reason its still a few hundred bucks…
We didn’t do a guest book!
We thought it’d be fun to have a Jenga set where people wrote on the pieces. So we can play Jenga and relive people’s thoughts and comments as we play.
Also when you see a blank page, you feel enticed to write a lot. This was its just a short, sweet or funny message.
Nope, not a thing. It was one of the best days of our lives so far!
Melissa wore a dainty Kendra Scott necklace and matching earrings.
Of course we both acquired a ring at the ceremony too 😉
We’re lucky that we didn’t (or at least we don’t remember any disagreements big enough to leave any impressions).
Ryan really liked the vision Melissa had for the wedding and wedding details. She’s just a creative genius and has a great eye for details.
Our biggest “disagreement” was more around budget and Ryan monitoring the spending. Things like okay the videographer has 3 packages – which do we go with?
Not really! I think it took us about 2 hours total from start to finish and again, the wedding planner had us use aisle planner so it was easy to seat those who RSVP’d.
We started with family tables and where, and then moved to friends.
This was stressful for us! It was the heals of intense covid lockdowns so we weren’t sure if we’d be able to do a honeymoon outside the US.
Also, most honeymoon trips or all inclusive places are like high thousands of dollars which we weren’t down to spend on a week trip. Not yet at least.
We had some friends go to St. Lucia and recommended a hotel that was all inclusive and not too expensive, so we booked there about 2 months before our wedding.
It was a relief having it booked. Stressful trying to understand the Covid restrictions.
We had an eventful few days after our wedding!
We drove back to Arizona a few days after the wedding, packed up our moving truck and started the drive to Tennessee 3 days after our wedding.
We got the Tennessee on June 3 and then had to scramble to get Covid tests. We got our results the night before our flight and ultimately left for our honeymoon 9 days after our wedding.
We went to St. Lucia and LOVED it! So much so that we named our pup after the island!
No we didn’t.
We had heard starting drinking too early can make you tired (duh!) and obviously wanted to remember the event.
So we started drinking at the reception!
If we’re being honest though, Ryan got a workout in in the morning and had a beer with the boys before, but nothing extreme. No mimosas!! (IFYKYK)
We’re not really the gift giving type! Also, we didn’t find it worth adding that extra money to the budget when the wedding was already expensive enough.
As close to on time as we could get with an event of 125+ people.
We were maybe a few minutes behind schedule, but again the wedding planner just kept everything going and we didn’t think about timing at all!
Pro tip: put on the invites for people to arrive at the venue 30 minutes earlier than the start time because there will always be stragglers. This got almost
everyone on time and in their seats!
We didn’t have a priest marry us.
We opted to create our own ceremony with aspects of a traditional ceremony, but with a little flare.
We were at a winery and obviously love wine so we did a wine blending ceremony with our parents. We all poured wine together and cheers’d to the mixing of our families.
Our great friend Ben married us which was super special because he could speak from the heart about us and it wasn’t a stranger who married us.
Ryan’s little sister Jenna and Melissa’s bridesmaid Jackie were witnessed to us signing our marriage license! It was so special to have these two ladies be our witnesses!
We danced our shoes off! literally lol
After photos and our late dinner, it felt like we were both on the dance floor the whole night! Really felt like everyone was on the dance floor.
One of our favorite parts of the night was when the dj played “Doses and Mimosas” by Cherub, which is a song our college friend LOVE. SO much energy on the dance floor from that!
Probably not in reality, but again, wedding planners!!
They’re so amazing that if something did go wrong, we had no clue about it.
Ryan thought it all up.
NOT! Melissa had dreamed/been pinning a romantic blush wedding. She wanted it to feel timeless so we went with a blush and nude theme and it came out even better than the dreams!
Our bridal party walked down to the instrumental version of “Turning a Page” by Sleeping At Last.
Obviously our last name and our wedding hashtag was #turningapage2022.
Melissa walked down the aisle to a violin version of “Can’t Help Falling In Love” by Alan Ng.
Boy was that emotional for both of us!
We originally wanted a funfetti cake (yum!) but only one bakery in the area did it and we didn’t love it.
So we went with a vanilla cake with strawberry filing and plane vanilla buttercream on the outside.
Some of our friends have little ones that are like family to us so we had 2 ring bearer and 2 flower girls.
No other kids besides them and they were taken home by grandparents after the ceremony and pictures. No kids at the reception.
It was so fun writing our own vows! Nerve racking pouring out our emotions but also vulnerable.
We both wrote them and we sent them to our officiant before the wedding so he could read them and make sure one wasn’t longer than the other/they were set up similarly.
What’s crazy is we both wrote/spoke about a vision we’ve shared. Emotional wreck.
Lots and lots of pinterest scrolling!
I also wanted a hairstyle that felt like me which was hair down and in curls!
Weddings are so magical! There is nothing more precious and vulnerable than expressing love to each other and doing it publicly.
It’s like a protective layer around our hearts shed that day and we wish the same thing for everyone on their wedding days!
We hope this Q&A helps you prep for your wedding! We’re so excited for you!!