Oh my word, I could not be more excited to write this post. I love weddings in general because they are just so beautiful, magical and incredibly significant but I also love our wedding. I’m sure all of you now married brides and grooms feel the same way about your day!
I wanted to share a few tips and vendor recommendations with all my lovely bride-to-be friends. And if we’re being honest, I wanted to bombard you with all of the amazing photographs from the day (kidding, kiddingggg…) captured by our most wonderful, best friends L’Amour Fou Wedding. They are based here in Connecticut but they travel and I’m telling you, they are incredible and you need to scoop them up immediately! Love you, Tor and Ang!!!
As I wrote out all of the details, experiences and tips for this post it became super, super long. I felt like all of the information and the breakdown was really important so I’ve split it up into two posts! Lucky you, more wedding goodness next week! Today we are discussing the big ticket vendors/items and my experiences with them through planning our wedding.
After getting engaged so many brides feel like where do I start?! There is so much to manage and book and decide on but none of that can be done until you have a date. You can’t book any other vendors until the date is set so always be sure to think about this first! We narrowed it down by deciding upon the season first (summer, preferably July or August) and checking with our church which dates they had available. Then, once we went to our venue we had two dates in mind and it just so happened that one of those dates was the only one the venue had available for the entire summer. We seriously lucked out!
In deciding upon the venue we thought about the type of wedding we wanted to have and what we wanted our guests to experience. Also important to us was the variety of photographs we would be able to have at our venue. We knew we wanted a location that had a beautiful outdoors space, interesting character and could fit about 200 people. We contemplated having our wedding in my parents backyard but realistically it couldn’t fit 200 people so we began searching for other venues. I did a lot of research online and then went to visit Saint Clements Castle with Peter, my mom and sister. We all fell in love immediately and booked it that day!
Venue: Saint Clements Castle
Peter and I both grew up in the Catholic Church so we knew we wanted a traditional church ceremony. When we first got engaged we began going to our church, Saint Patrick-Saint Anthony Church, and fell in love with the community. We always knew that we would get married in this church so that really helped dictate where our reception would be.
My, oh, my. Where to start with L’Amour Fou Wedding. I had followed Victoria on social media for a bit before we began wedding planning. Most of her work was focused on children, mothers and families. (Go check our her My Motherhood Storybooks!) But I loved her work so much and knew it was exactly the eye and feel I wanted for our big day. I emailed her on a whim to see if she ever, ever did weddings and she said yes! No joke, we were immediately sending novel emails back and forth to each other. Our connection and friendship was instantaneous and I am deeply grateful for that. It didn’t hurt that once she shot out engagement pictures our guys connected right away too! We have shared amazing memories with Victoria and Angelo over the last 2 years so it was even more meaningful to have them photograph our big day. Now, I know this is a totally unusual situation but really, make sure you connect with your photographer out of ALL your vendors. They will be spending the most time with you and will be there for the most intimate moments of the day. You want to feel comfortable to be yourself and have them witness these life changing moments.
Another thing to note about photography for us, this was the priority-number-one-vendor for Peter and me. We knew almost right away that we wanted to allocate a bit more money to our photographer than other vendors. We felt (and still feel) these photographs are a keepsake. They will hang in our home for the rest of our lives and hopefully one day in our children and grandchildrens homes. They will be looked back on for years to come and we wanted to be sure they captured the day and our love authentically and beautifully. Tori and Ang went up and above and delivered the most stunning wedding photographs. Peter and I are forever indebted to them for it.
Photographer: L’Amour Fou Wedding
I have watched my parents wedding video approximately 500 times throughout my life. I absolutely love having this as a keepsake and wanted the same thing for our day. As with all wedding costs, everything is so damn expensive. I searched high and low to find a company who fit our vision and they just so happened to also have the best price. SCORE! When does that ever happen in wedding planning?! Mint was everything I could hope for and more. They were SO easy to work with before hand and when Zach showed up on our wedding day he just blended right in and worked his magic. I still cry watching our wedding preview and most definitely fall in love with it more and more each time. If you have a few minutes (it’s not long!) you can take a peek here:
Videographer: Mint Cinematography
Unless you do your flowers yourself (which we almost did but it was just too much work for me) flowers are going to be expensive. And I promise they are worth it! They really set the mood for the entire day. When you first meet with your florist make sure you have a vision of your colors and what you want your day to feel like (Pinterest!). Flowers have such a magical way of transforming the mood of your wedding day so you want to be sure and convey this to your florist. It also helps to have your ceremony site and venue booked (or at least decided upon) before you meet with your florist so you know what the setting will be and you can match the flowers and decor to those locations. Melissa at Stylish Blooms understood my vision right away. She started pulling up pictures and examples of exactly what I was looking for. She was the second vendor we booked, which was a year before the wedding, but we knew she just got us and what we wanted for our day. LOVE. HER!!
Florist: Stylish Blooms
DJ (or band!)
This is always one of the biggest questions when wedding planning – are you having a DJ or a band? We decided upon a DJ because we wanted to have a wide variety of music and if we are being honest, bands are much more expensive. We loved our DJ, everyone danced all night, which is exactly what we wanted!
I still smile when I think about my wedding gown. Which is exactly how it should be! I promise you, that feeling exists so wait for it!!! Because that will be your dress. The family of my best and oldest friend, Alessandra, who was also a bridesmaid in our wedding, owns a bridal store called Mariella Creations. If you’re from Connecticut or any part of New England I am sure you have heard of it because they are incredible. They have every designer, style and color bridal gown you can imagine and they also offer bridesmaid dresses, Mother of the Bride dresses, flower girl dresses, formal wear of any kind, prom dresses – EVERYTHING GUYS!! I had the most magical time picking out my wedding dress and could not have loved it more. Truly, they make it so you have the experience you always dream about. Trying on different styles, figuring out what you like best and they are so insanely knowledgable and kind. Basically what I’m saying is if you can drive there and are getting married (or know someone who is) GO THERE!!! I promise you won’t be disappointed!
But more specifically about the dress, I always thought I wanted a form fitting gown, probably a mermaid style or fit and flare. Well, when I went to try on dresses I started with these styles and everything just felt mediocre for me. Not that they weren’t stunning but I just didn’t feel wow-ed or like a bride. I kept waiting for that moment. In swoops Mariella, who I can’t praise enough, with a dress she says I just have to try on. It’s a ball gown and I’m all like womp, womp, not me. But I put it on and oh my heavens! Guys, it was everything. There were tears and laughs and screams and half cry-half laughs. It was perfect. I didn’t go with that specific dress but as you can see now, I did pick a ball gown and I can’t imagine wearing anything else.
Bridal Shop: Mariella Creations
Designer: Paloma Blanca
When we originally got engaged I wanted nice, flowy dresses for my girls but once they tried them on I was completely underwhelmed. Don’t get me wrong, they are beautiful but they just weren’t fitting with my vision. Once again the team at Mariella’s swooped in and suggested some other dresses and we decided on these stunning Lazaro mermaid gowns in a charcoal color. Fun story, I had decided on navy and blush tones as my wedding colors but when we found this dress it only came in a royal blue, not navy. The royal blue was just too bright for me so I changed my colors to charcoal just so my girls could wear this dress. I loved it that much! And for real, how insane do my bridesmaids look?! They are so gorgeous I can’t stand it.
Designer: Noir by Lazaro
We had planned on doing charcoal tuxedos to match the bridesmaids and literally two weeks before our wedding my mom called and was like, “I think black tuxedos would look better.” And boy was she right. This is one of those changes I am so grateful I made. The guys looked incredibly classic and sophisticated. I absolutely loved their look. To add a little bit of character the tie has a paisley pattern but its in black so you can’t see it unless you’re up close. I just loved that little touch.
Also, SUPER important, something I never would have thought of – when your groom gets his tux, suit etc. for the wedding, make sure to ask that his shirt and tie (if they are white) match your dress. This never dawned on me but Mariella and her brother Tony (who owned the tuxedo shop!) both made a point of saying this. Then they showed us pictures and it is amazing how different creams and whites and off-whites can be. When you take your pictures you want your whites to match so they “go together” otherwise you will end up with your ivory dress and his cream-yellow shirt and tie. Trust me on this, match your whites!
Tuxedo Shop: Formals by Antonio
Have a vision
Of any kind – of what you want the day to look and feel like. This will help as you meet with all of your vendors and decide on a location. Pinterest is amazing for this! Create a wedding board so as you see things you like you can pin them and then look through to get a good feel for what you want for your day!
Set the date before anything else!
This avoids any kind of headache of trying to book a vendor without knowing a date.
Make a list of what is most important to you for your day.
Is really good food the most important factor for you and your fiance? Or great music? Photography (us!)? This will help you form your budget so if music is most important you know you can spend a little more on that and cut back in other ways.
Research, research, research
I absolutely loved this part of wedding planning. It was like the ultimate scavenger hunt trying to find vendors we loved, who fit our vision and our budget. Everyone will have opinions and ideas and a lot of them may be amazing and what you end up with but do some research because there are never ending options out there! And a lot of times you end up finding your dream vendor just because you ended up taking some time to research.
Don’t bring 50 people with you. Bring people who know and love you. People who want you to be happy and won’t be critical of your taste or your pick. Also, be open minded! Thankfully I was open to all suggestions and because of it I ended up with my dream dress!
I said it before but it needs to be said again because it truly makes a huge difference. Match the color of your dress (because there are 547 shades of white in bridal) with your husband-to-be’s shirt and tie (if either one or both are white!) I wish I had the pictures they showed me so I could share because for real, it’s incredible how noticeable it is!
This was extremely helpful. No matter who is paying for your wedding, you want to stay on top of how much money you have paid already, what you still owe and what you have coming down the pike. It is incredible how many different vendors are involved in a wedding day so a spreadsheet is key. It sounds OCD (which I’m not at all) but it makes your life so. much. easier. I set up a list of our vendors with columns for deposit amount, date paid, balance due, balance due date. Then, as we made these payments I could check them off and we had a clear understanding of where we were on the money front.
Make it personal!
And by this, I don’t mean you need your name or monogram on everythinggg, although it’s fun to have it in places that make sense! Peter and I really focused on trying to infuse our personalities, our families, our life into our wedding day. We wanted people to come and understand who we are as a couple and why we love each other. For example, we rented a wrought iron trellis from our florist that had three sections. It folded almost like a standing room divider would. In one section it had pictures of me all through my childhood and life, the middle section had pictures of Peter and I together throughout our relationship and the last section had pictures of Peter from his life and childhood. There are so many ways to make your wedding day significant and unique don’t miss out on doing this. It makes your day so much more memorable and genuine to you two as a couple!
Focus on the true meaning of the day
I know, I know, I’m sitting here writing all about vendors and tuxedo shirt colors and Pinterest boards but truly, this is such an important reminder. I tell this to all of my friends who are engaged or soon to be married – remember what this day is all about. If at the end of the day you are married to your best friend then mission accomplished! All of the other stuff does not matter. At all. Focus on this because I promise you when things start to feel stressful, this reminder will put it all in perspective. And! Seriously, once Peter and I were on that alter I did not think about what the music would sound like or what color nail polish worked best. This day is about you two and the love you share.
And HAVE FUN!!!
Truly, have the best freaking time!!! Through everything! Everyone would always ask on baited breath, “how is wedding planning going?…” And I would always end with something along the lines of, “I’m only getting married once so I’m just enjoying every moment of planning!” I loved every single part of wedding planning and not because it was easy or stress free but because I just made sure I had perspective on the situation and true appreciation for what it all meant.
Okay, I know this has been a lot but I couldn’t withhold anything from you. That’s why there is even more to come! I feel like we see all these glitzy or horrific accounts of what wedding planning is like and I wanted to give you a true, honest perspective. Like most things in life, it isn’t always easy but it is well, well worth it and the best damn time.
Who is engaged? Who is currently planning a wedding?! What do my wedded friends think – what are your tips?
Check in next week because I will be sharing how we decided on all of the details for our big day!
Love, The Adams
All photographs in this post were captured by L’Amour Fou Wedding.