Saturday, May 29, 2010

real life: flagstaff in august

Well, my wedding weekend is here.  After months and months of planning and blogging and loving my Tommy, I just can't even wait to sip wine, enjoy the view of the Flagstaff mountains, and say "I Do" to the one who loves me best.  These next three weeks are going to be insane...with the wedding, my graduation, our honeymoon, and then our move out to New York!  Thankfully, I have a handful of bridal blogger buddies who have all shared advice, diy tips, words of wisdom, and lots of lovely wedding pictures!  

I will see you all on the other side.  Wish me luck!
 All photos taken by Sarah Neal Photography.

Hi everyone! Cori here from August and After. Let me just say first that I'm so freaking excited for Jes and Tommy. A.Mountain.Bride was my biggest source of inspiration while I was planning my own wedding and I can not WAIT to hear how amazing their wedding day was. I know everything will fall into place and end up being a night they and their family will cherish.

When I began planning my wedding during my short engagement last year from May to August, this blog was a life saver. It pulled me in from the main blogs and gave me something inspirational, honest, and realistic to look to for help. Plus I loved teaming up with another Flagstaff bride! She inspired me to begin my own blog, which now gives me a place to share what I've learned through my journey of planning a wedding and into the life of marriage.

So, what I have learned? Here's a few of the main things I discovered while planning a wedding to get hitched to the boy I love.

1) A wedding can be anything, and I mean anything. It doesn't have to live up to a certain standard, involve a white dress and 15 bridesmaids, or open bars and hand-your-first-born-son-over expensive food. Honestly. A wedding can be anything from a small cookout in a backyard to a full out black-tie party like there's no tomorrow. If it's your style and you have the extra dough to spend, go fancy. If you're more of a laid back couple who's stressing at the thought of first dances, the garter toss, and walking down the aisle of a church, then Good Lord -- just cut those things out! A wedding is a celebration of your love, not only with each other but also with the loving community that supports you. Have it in your style.

2) Ask for help when you need it and learn how to politely say no. The wedding is yours, if your family dynamics are different than that I'm sorry, but the wedding should really just be yours. When you need help (and you will), don't be afraid to ask for it. Chances are you have family and friends who would jump at the chance to help decorate the day before, or wouldn't mind researching places for guests to stay if your plate's too full. ASK. You will not be able to do everything, and on the day of the wedding it is SO important that you let go of everything and just focus on you. My Aunt was the one who took over for me. If you can afford it, get a coordinator. If you can't, ask a family member, bridesmaid, or someone else you can trust. Then enjoy your morning as you get ready. When you don't need help or anymore crazy ass suggestions being told what to do, learn to politely say no. Believe me, this is a skill you're going to use the rest of your life (especially if and when you have kids), so if you don't have it now there's not a better time to learn it.

3) Don't be afraid to speak up. If there's something you don't like (and something that will matter to you later on), speak up! Don't be afraid of hurting your hairdressers feelings when you're paying her to do your hair for pictures you will have for the rest of your life. Use your voice, and tactfully guide people to where you want them to go or do. It's your day and everyone is trying to please you anyway. Help them by making it easier to figure out what you want. It's kind of like the bedroom rule, communication makes it better.

4) Hire a good photographer. Most of our money went into food and photography and I don't regret it one bit. I fed the people I love a good, wholesome, meal and I have pictures I love to remember the day by. Get a good photographer, someone who can show you pictures you go crazy over. The days are over of over-photoshopped glowing faces and red roses held by a black and white bride and groom. Hire someone who can capture the natural beauty of you and will go the extra mile to find that flattering angle or get that right lighting. Make sure there are pictures taken of the two of you candidly loving each other, at least one of you both smiling at the camera (oops, somehow this one got away from us!), and one of you and your family being comfortable in front of the camera. If something is super awkward, ask to switch it up. You've got one chance with these photos, and speak up if your photographer needs some help capturing them. You're a team and it takes all the players.

5) Enjoy yourself. Let the stress go after you can't control things anymore. There's a point you cross when you get close to the wedding day where you've planned as much as you can and suddenly you just have to let go and let the pieces fall into place, even the pieces you don't know will fit anywhere. Just let it go, put them into the hands of those you trust, and freaking enjoy your wedding day. It's such a monumental day, such an exciting celebration full of joy and happiness, where it's all about the two of you. You're going to hold onto this day and later down the road in your marriage you'll both look back on the memory of how you started. Make it good day by always remembering the important things and letting go of the small ones that will mean nothing once the day is said and done.

The biggest thing I've learned is just that: choose to put your energy into living those fleeting, beautiful moments, however large or small during the wedding day. Put it into the people you're there with and the one you love, not the little stuff. It'll be an overwhelmingly beautiful day if you do, I can promise you that.


  1. Outstanding advice! I especially like your advice on asking for help but learning how to politely say no. Just because someone helps you does not mean they can/should co-opt your plans. Thanks Cori! I'm totally following your blog now :)

  2. yayy! so excited for jes
    and cori, awesome advice!!!
    as my day approaches i certainly need more advice like this
    you are the best!

  3. This advice is gold, thanks so much! When I get all caught up in the details, I need to hear grounding words like these.
    And yay jes and tommy are getting married!

  4. Oh, an unexpected post before the big day! Jes, you have bloggy friends (love that term) because your sweetness and joy are contagious! We are so excited for you.

    Cori, that is some great advice. I especially agree that a wedding can be ANYTHING and I love that.

  5. Congrats, I hope you have an amazing day :)

  6. I hope you have an AMAZING wedding that is everything you want it to be and more Jes. You deserve the best!

  7. I hope you have the most awesome weekend and wedding! Good luck to you in your new role as wife! And thanks so much for all your blog posts...they really helped me get through the last year. xoxo

  8. Jes! Yipppeeee!

    Cori, I love your last piece of advice. I think it can be applied to life beyond the wedding as well!

  9. Isn't that ever true Meghan!

    Thanks for letting me share in a little piece of your blog Jes!



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