I’m finally here… over two years later… to write about one of the most special weeks/days of my life: our wedding!
Planning the wedding took a lot of work. If I could go back in time, I think I would hire a full-time planner because it might have saved some money in the long-run and a lot of stress. At the same time, I wouldn’t have changed a thing. It was fun making decisions on venue, food, table tops, flowers, photographer and more. Since most of my family lives in Los Angeles and Matt was primarily in Utah — both far from Tennessee — I was grateful for the help of my now mother-in-law, Rebecca, who came with me to dress fittings and cake tastings to help make some of those decisions. I was glad that I could at least find my dress in Los Angeles and my mom and maid of honor as well as both my grandma’s and aunt could be there to help me find the right fit.
Anyhow, lots of work and preparation leading up to the final week! I only took off three days before the wedding so I could use my vacation hours for the road trip honeymoon (will get to that too!), so timing was tight to wrap up loose ends. One of my bridesmaids, Krystal, came into town early and as soon as she landed, we went straight to Matt’s parents house to put together care packages/gift boxes for people that were flying in. She’s a trooper. I actually loved putting the gift boxes together. They included:
Picture of the person delivered to with Matt or I with a personal note on the back
Tourist pamphlets (check with your local tourist office — I was able to pick up over 50 for free)
A printed pamphlet designed by me with information about pre-wedding events, the wedding day, related maps, our favorite places to eat in Nashville and Franklin, as well as fun things to see and do
A MoonPie (originally started in Chattanooga, TN)
A little luggage tag with their name on it (made using Rebecca’s (my mother-in-law’s) Cricut machine)
The hardest part after putting them together was delivering all of them! It had to be timely because people all checked in to their hotel at different times and days. Airbnb’s were also a lot harder to drop them off at. Luckily that was delegated well and I had some great helpers. Biggest lesson of wedding planning and the week of: ask for help!
The other important thing we needed to do? Oh ya, get our marriage license. What a crazy day that was. We had just a few hours in the morning to get it before I needed to get ready for my bachelorette party day, and it wasn’t really clear about where we were supposed to go to get the license. So after going to the wrong place twice, we finally got to the right office and found out that they only took cash. So we had to make another stop at an ATM machine nearby (the one in the building wasn’t working) and come back to get the document. We got it.
The day before the wedding was the day I mostly let go and decided whatever wasn’t done wasn’t going to get done. I made sure to take a moment with my mom — I had promised to take her out to lunch for her birthday when she came to Tennessee, and I also wanted to have some calm and collected one-on-one time before my big day — and my bridesmaids and I got our nails done.
My dad and step-mom took charge of trying to find sparkling cider for the toasts only to find out they’re not in season. We ended up deciding to get flavored water for the majority of guests with a couple bottles of sparkling cider for family (saved us a ton of money even though it’s kind of a lame substitute — ps. we don’t drink so we didn’t have alcohol at the event). Honestly, no one brought it up to me or complained about it and that’s when I realized that it seriously didn’t matter. (We provided lemonade and water as well.)
The last couple of events before the big day, and some of my favorite time spent with those we love, was the rehearsal dinner and an open house party right after at the house that I called my home for almost two years.
The rehearsal dinner was at The Old Spaghetti Factory in downtown Nashville. I really wanted to bring downtown into the mix since that’s closer to the “Hamilton house” as my roommates and I endearingly called the place we lived, and since our wedding took place closer to Franklin, TN it seemed like a good way to make sure both environments of Nashville were covered. Plus, the restaurant has a trolley inside of it, feels really classy, and we got our own room.
One thing I was determined to do was replicate one of my favorite restaurant experiences from C&O Trattoria in Marina del Rey: sing “That’s Amore” and clink glasses at various intervals.
We went to the Hamilton house after, snacked on some food and really had the opportunity to interact with everyone that we would see the next day. I knew the actual day of the wedding was probably going to be a little hectic and time-limited. There were so many people that were flying in to be there to support us and be there for this significant event in our lives that I wanted to have the time to really talk with them and spend time with them. It was very casual — people came and went, got to know each other, talk to us and our parents, and just have some food before going out on the town.
Although there were moments during the process of planning the wedding that it seemed much easier and less stressful to have a wedding with just our primary family members and elope or something, the thing that kept me going, my main goal other than marrying Matt was the importance of having everyone we loved there there. Like a big family and friend reunion on both sides. And I realized it would probably be the only time in our entire lives where we would have the opportunity for something like that. I mean, how many times as a kid growing up did you wish everyone you loved could live with you on an island somewhere? Just me? Well, dream come true, I was able to live that for a day.
Even over a year later, I remember how excited and happy I was. I did a little recording into my phone since I knew I wouldn’t have very much time to write anything down (easy tip!) and it’s been a valuable thing to listen to and remember.
It was worth everything, and I’m so glad that Matt and I could share such a special day with such a special group of people that all mean so much to us.