I can’t believe my husband and I are coming up on our fourth wedding anniversary! We had way too much fun planning the BIG day! And by ‘we’, I really mean my mom and me. Don’t get me wrong, my husband had voting power on all things but he ultimately trusted us in making our wedding weekend one to remember. My mother is also an interior designer and we are both extremely detail oriented so we found this came pretty naturally to us. We definitely learned a few things along the way but really enjoyed the whole experience. I thought I would share some of the behind the scene details that made the weekend such a success.
We had a destination wedding (Santa Barbara, CA) but nowadays all weddings are really a destination for most people. Even if you have your wedding in your hometown, odds are most people don’t live there any longer. So first things first. Save the Dates! People are busy and have full lives, they need notice about your big day so they can plan accordingly. With the Save the Dates you should be thinking about the overall look of your wedding but keep them simple with pertinent information only- date and website information. Keep the website link either very simple or catchy. Most people will still forget and ask you for the information again but this way maybe not everyone will forget.
Next up- Gather your team! Wedding planner, on site event coordinator, photographer, florist, band, lighting, makeup, hair, seamstress. Some people may not think a seamstress is necessary but I found it absolutely essential. Our seamstress Mercedes was there to fix any last minute issues. One bridesmaid got lipstick on her dress and another one ripped the hem before the ceremony and she fixed it all!
Lighting is one of those things that people think, eh, is it really necessary? YES! It highlights the centerpieces and also creates a happening dance floor. Without spot lighting, key items that you have put time, energy and money into go unnoticed. Without appropriate lighting it lacks that extra sparkle.
Having a strong team is so important in the outcome of your event. So chose early and carefully! Do your research and interview people before hiring them. You will pick up on their vibe and know if they are a right fit. I met with my photographer, Elizabeth Messina, and her lovely daughter while they were in New York for a project. We met at a Cuban restaurant downtown and over some amazing corn on the cob I immediately knew she was one cool chic. I felt the same way with Mindy Rice, she did the floral arrangements for all of the weekend’s events and really made the whole wedding come to light. She is the one who coined ‘tailored bohemian’ for our wedding and I just responded, YES! She just got it and that is how you want to feel about your team!
Gift Bags- I am pro gift bag in a big way. Since our wedding was in Santa Barbara we were able to use such fabulous local vendors for our gift bags. We used a Santa Barbara longitude latitude burlap bag we found at one of the shops in town and filled it with all local treats, chips and salsa, chocolates, lavender, Herban Essentials, the current Santa Barbara magazine, and itinerary for the weekend’s events. No matter how many times you tell people where to be, what to do and what to wear, they forget. Listen, I get it, I have been there! So I made sure to put this information in as many places as possible.
Another important item to put in the gift bags is water! I have been to a lot of weddings and I know it may seem small but receiving a bottle of water in a gift bag is huge to me! You have traveled a long way and they charge like $50 in the mini bar for a teeny tiny bottle of water, if there even is a mini bar. So yes, I think water is nice in a gift bag. It says thank you for traveling all of this way now hydrate, because I care.
Last note on gift bags, if the majority of people are traveling in and out try and be mindful of what they can put in their carry on. Most of the things in the gift bag we provided were to be consumed or used during the weekend. Otherwise, people may have to throw out something that took time and money to create, because of its size or liquid amount. SB Gifting Suites was so unbelievably great to work with. They listened to every idea and made it happen.
If it is going to be a true destination for most of your guests and people are making a weekend of it, it is nice to set up a little something else for your guests. We had a welcome party the night before the wedding at the San Ysidro Ranch and then an after party at the Four Seasons (Our wedding was at the Four Seasons as well but a different event space). We also provided picnic lunches for people to pick up the day before the wedding if they were in the area. Anything to say thank you so much for coming! It doesn’t have to be extravagant or super pricey just something to bring people together. Plan a beach day, yoga in the park, a day of skiing, something that people can join if they want and meet the other guests while spending some extra time with the bride and groom. The wedding night goes by too fast so this extra time is special.
For the actual wedding itself. Something I learned- I wish I had packed a little tiny purse. People had told me before the wedding that I didn’t need one but afterwards I felt I could have used one. I would have put my lipstick, burt’s bees lip moisturizer, mints, eye drops and a little blush stick in there- just for some touch ups along the way. I would have just left it on my chair so I knew where it was and didn’t have to track someone down for a tic tac.
Something fun- At the end of the wedding night we did a late night snack that was passed around on the dance floor – mini hotdogs, grilled cheese, little French fry cups. This was just a fun note to end on.
Something I did do during the night, and I’m so glad I did, I stood back a couple of times and took a few moments to take it all in. Watch your family and friends dancing, laughing and enjoying themselves. The night will be over before you know it, so this is important!
And lastly, have your planner or bridesmaids have the kitchen or caterer put a plate together for you and put it in your room at the end of the night. Along with some dessert, a slice of cake, champagne and a little floral piece from one of the tables. It was a nice surprise to see this in the room when my husband and I got back. We were able to enjoy some of the food while laughing and smiling about our favorite parts of the night.
We had so much fun that we said we would do it all over again for our five year anniversary, so we better get on it!!
Photography: Kiss the Groom | Wedding Planner: imagine…Weddings & Special Events, LLC | Floral Design: Mindy Rice | Wedding Dress: Monique Lhuillier | Wedding Cake: Four Seasons Catering | Bride’s Shoes: Valentino d’Orsay | Makeup: Flirt Makeup | Hair: sheila stone | Lighting: Peterson Event Lighting | Officiant: Rev. Jon Ireland | Transportation: Executive Limo | Venue: Four Seasons Hotel St. Louis | Church Pews: Found Vintage Rentals | Custom Save-the-Dates + Welcome Bag Inserts: Lazaro Press & Design | Furniture & Dance Floor: Town And Country | Invitations, Programs, Menus: Ceci New York | Linens: La Tavola Fine Linen Rental | Musician: Laurie Rasmussen | Reception Dress: Jenny Packham | Reception Music: West Coast Music | Rentals: Classic Party Rentals | Seamstress: Mercedes Trump
More photos to be seen at Style My Pretty: Blushing Black Tie Affair