Pick Your Own Bridesmaids Dress
Allowing my bridesmaids to pick their own dresses was one of the best decisions I made. My friends, sister, and sister in law have very different body shape, ages, and coloring. I knew a single dress or even a single color wouldn't flatter them all. I truly believe that allowing them to find a dress that suited them and that they could wear afterwords (or in my sister in law Sarah's case, had worn before!) was a great plan. They were happy, more comfortable, and for many of them, a little richer. Alyson's strapless beauty was a Max & Cleo find at Burlington Coat Factory and Becki's adorable short pale yellow dress is from Urban Outfitters via Gabriel Brothers.
Jason and I viewed our wedding as a chance to show our design skills and passion. We spent countless (seriously, I never want to know how long we actually spent on this stuff) hours working on every little detail of our wedding. In the end, I cannot tell you how much it meant to see all of our stuff play out. Even the little mistakes, like losing the table numbers, worked out okay. And I was so proud to see how much everyone appreciated it. Everything you see above, from the custom chalkboard with laser cut words, to the IKEA hack cupcake chandelier, to the hand cut and stained centerpieces, down to the custom made and cut labels (yup, I typed one for each of 120 guests) were made by Jason and I.
Speaking of DIY, Jason and I did photography a bit different too. We dressed up on the Tuesday before our wedding (he helped me pick my dress, so he had seen it many times before) and took the dogs to the park. With a self timer and a tripod, we took many of the photos ourselves and saved a ton of time for the wedding. We brought all the groomsmen out on Thursday before the wedding to do photos as well. For the ceremony, we didn't hire anyone, but entrusted our camera to a friend as well as gave memory cards to our friends with DSLRs. The result was spectacular.
My good friend Anna took this lovely photo of us exchanging the rings. She had never shot a wedding before and was super nervous, but her photos didn't show it. She did a great job capturing details and using her zoom lens to get in on shots like this.
Our friend Drew brought an unique perspective I was lucky to have. Drew's photo, like this one, focused on all the details and really gave a great 'essence' of the wedding.
My good friend Becki, who was also a bridesmaids, acted a photographer as well. Becki worked with a photographer for over 8 years and has shot many weddings and her expertise made sure we had shots like this one above of the entire wedding party. She also made everyone comfortable in photos.
Lastly, this photo was taken by me on our 'groomsmen photo day.' Doing photos beforehand allowed us to be more relaxed because we were not pressed for time, and photos like this one were able to happen. This is my husband's favorite photo of him and his groomsmen.
Enjoy It While It Lasts
There won't be many times where I get to see my friends dance like crazy people or dress up in seer sucker suits simply because Jason and I told them so / we were getting married. It will be only this once unless people are willing to be just as nuts in 5 years (friends, you are reading this right? You'll be as greatly insane come our Mario themed vow renewals I hope). Not everything will be perfect. It will rain during your first dance. Your DJ will get ridiculously drunk. You'll lose your table numbers. And all of that will be perfect for what it was. Just dance it off.