Well, nothing like two long-winded posts in a row to see which of you guys REALLY like me here. 😉 Jeff and I are 9 days short of our two month wedding anniversary (!) so I figured it was HIGH TIME I did a little recap! Sadly, I won’t be able to share the wedding photos or design/decor details for a little while here on the blog, but I thought I could share a few Instagram snaps and some thoughts on the highlights of our day so it doesn’t look like I just got married and then forgot about it and moved on! Here we go, our thoughts:
Click through for the full recap!
On the whole day
I was 100% convinced it was going to rain. But it didn’t. Guys, we had 100% the perfect wedding. Nothing, to our knowledge, went wrong. Sure, we had a few things go missing and started a bit late, but when that’s all you have to complain about? That’s a good thing, folks. Our vendors BROUGHT IT. The day was completely gorgeous. Bash executed every detail FLAWLESSLY (and there were a lot of details)! It was the perfect combination, of fun, quirky, classic and colorful. It was just “us.” We were worried about the night being too long, but we were dancing till the very end. (Gary Ames, by the way, KILLED IT with the music. KILLED IT!) Like everyone says, it flew by and we couldn’t believe it was over but it was amazing. We were thrilled, our parents were thrilled, our guests were thrilled. BA-BAM!
Above two photos from Katie Stoops’ Instagram!
On what I wore
I can finally talk about my dress!!! For as long as I can remember (Like, since I was in 8th grade.), I’ve wanted a dress that looked basically exactly like what my dress looked like. Layers of structured but messy tulle and NOT strapless. I just happened to get lucky that Chaviano Couture designed one the same year Jeff proposed. I saw the dress from Elizabeth Messina’s shoot of it, floating around Pinterest, and was just like “Oh, ok. So that’s my dress.” It was the only dress I showed to each bridal store I went to (the one that carried the dress, Love & Lace Bridal Salon was our last visit) and several of the consultants at the other stores remarked “Oh, you want a very 2014 dress.” Frankly, it made me want to punch something. Leave it to me to get married the year the dress I’ve always wanted becomes “trendy.” Even though I did the whole dress shopping thing, I think I knew all along that that one was it, before I even tried it on. And no, I really didn’t have that “It’s the one! I’m crying!” moment. I just kind of knew, and that was it. The dress was what I called an “apricot” color and I loved that it wasn’t white.
SURPRISE! I broke my own rules and had two outfits for the big day. Though that decision didn’t happen until 3 weeks before we tied the knot! I never understood the people that had ” a reception dress.” Actually, it kind of irritated me. Like, really… you need TWO dresses? One isn’t good enough? But then, there I was standing in my gigantic dress for my umpteenth fitting and it dawned on me. “I can’t dance in this.” And I knew I was going to be “that girl” that had a reception dress…. except I chose a jumpsuit! Now, looking back, it was one of the best decisions I made. Jeff LOVED the jumpsuit and I was so comfortable dancing all night long, which is basically all I did. So my apologies to all of you who I secretly mocked for having a reception outfit. Good call!
Perks of being friends with your floral designer: I got to go over to Holly’s floral HQ for the weekend a few days before the wedding and see all the goodies she had picked for the day. It was heaven on earth and I didn’t want to leave!!!! I can’t WAIT to show you all the magic she + her team worked!
On not having a first look
I think I am still happy about this decision. We were very sad to miss our entire cocktail hour (especially the mariachi band!) but we know the photos will be well worth it. One major downside to this was that nobody got to see my gown outside of me walking down the aisle and back up it. Since we didn’t get to go to cocktail hour, nobody really got to see my dress as I had to change out of it before we were introduced at the reception. I totally didn’t think about this and I do wish I got to spend a little time mingling in my dress, but there’s only so much I could do with the time we had.
On the ceremony
As you may recall, I really didn’t want to write my own vows. I finally wrote them, the day before the wedding, and wasn’t really too happy with them. When you google wedding vow examples, they are all so formal and heartfelt and deep and I am none of those things, really. So I just felt like mine were inadequate. Luckily, Jeff’s vows were very similar to mine (lighthearted, funny) and after hearing his, I felt at ease. His uncle did a perfect job with the ceremony and several people told us it was the best service they’ve ever heard. (Go, Alan!)
On our first dance
We didn’t tell a single soul, besides a few vendors, about our first dance. We always knew we wanted to do a crazy first dance, and we DID it and NAILED it! Other than the back of my jumpsuit flying open, but hey… at least I didn’t have a Janet moment. We had Gary do a mashup of five songs that had meaning to us:
1. Oh Happy Day from Sister Act 2: This is my go-to song I play (and sing to) anytime anything good happens (I even did a rendition in my graduation gown, which Lauren apparently has on tape somewhere.) and it was the perfect weird, slow song to throw everyone off.
2. Happy by Pharrell: We both wanted a 2014 song to be a part of the dance, and we both just love this song. We love the beat, we love the video (filmed in LA) and I just think Pharrell is the most awesome human. No-brainer.
3. The Way You Make Me Feel by Michael Jackson: We both love MJ, and one of my favorite movies is Center Stage, which this song was in. I have literally DREAMED of Jeff doing some crazy leg move like Cooper does and he DID IT!
4. The Way I Are by Timbaland: This song just reminds me of Jeff. The beat is a very “Jeff” beat and it was released the year we met, so it brings back memories of our early days of dating. It’s also very true, if you actually listen to the words.
5. Forever by Chris Brown: Forever is the best song that ever happened to the universe. Don’t bother arguing me, ’cause that opinion isn’t changing. It is “our song” and we may or may not have a choreographed car dance for the chorus. This was always going to be the pinnacle of our wedding dance (can you tell we’ve been planning this for years?) and that it was.
This is definitely the most talked about part of our wedding. We spent about two weeks choreographing it (thanks to my sweet grocery-store dance skills and some Youtube videos) and snuck off to the hotel parking lot a few times the night before the wedding to practice it!
We got our wedding video back last week and I can’t even tell you how thankful I am that Dewberry Cinema stepped in to do a video for us. It was the very first thing I said “we don’t need” when trying to compromise for budget and I think that’s pretty common for a lot of brides out there. After seeing it, I can’t imagine not having it. While photos will be my pride and joy, and something we’ll hang on our walls, there’s nothing quite like being able to see video of yourself on your wedding day. And being able to share that with our kids someday makes me REALLY excited! If you have the budget, I highly recommend keeping videography in the wedding equation.
On the Photobooth
The week of the wedding, we decided to book Smilebooth for the wedding. It was a last minute splurge and budget compromise (see my tips below) but it was another one of the best decisions we made. Guests LOVED it, it acted as an additional “favor” (We chose to have the printer, so guests could take their photos home right away) and we had a BLAST looking through all the photos online during our mini-moon. Several of our guests ordered prints of them and gave them as Christmas gifts, too!
On our Hotel Buyout
Most people get wedding room blocks at hotels. We did this as well, but we also rented out an entire small hotel (36 rooms) for our close family and bridal party. When you say that, it sounds really extravagant but it was not. We “bought out” the hotel, meaning that for the weekend, we were the only ones staying there. But each guest paid for their room, and got a great discounted rate since we guaranteed all would be filled. This was actually one of the biggest stresses of our planning experience, because we HAD to fill the rooms unless we wanted to pay for them ourselves, but once the weekend arrived it was so fun having a whole hotel to ourselves! If you have less family than we do, you could do the same by renting out a large Airbnb or other private property, too. It’s a great way to keep everyone together and, as the bride and groom, to get to see everyone a little more, since you sure don’t see much of anyone on your wedding day!
On “Would you do it again?”
Our wedding day was perfect. Literally, perfect. But would I do it again? 100% no. Even with wedding planners taking care of the research, the correspondence, etc…. (Thank goodness!) wedding planning was one of the most stressful experiences of my life. There is so much emotion, so many opinions, and so many decisions that go into the day and I don’t care to ever revisit those. The money is another hard pill to swallow. A few months after getting engaged and kicking off this process, Jeff and I realized our priorities lied in our future (a house, babies!) and not in a big party, but we continued and a big party we did have. If I could have my wedding day without the time, stress and money that went into it, hell I’d get married every day!
On “Is it different?”
This answer would be a big fat not really! Since we’ve been together for so long, and already share a home, not much has changed other than I now call Jeff “husband.” For the first few days, it felt pretty surreal but now we’re just back to our normal (now-married) life. The only thing that’s really changed is he can’t up and leave me when I throw confetti all over the floor. At least, not without a lot of paperwork… 😉 I still haven’t been able to officially change my name (Thanks California!) so I haven’t fully adjusted to calling myself “Kelly Mindell” yet but when people call me “Mrs. Mindell” it definitely makes me feel OLD!
On Changing My Name
A lot of people were surprised I was changing my name, since I’ve established myself in the business world as Kelly Lanza. To me, having the same last name as my future kids is more important than the merit my maiden name gives me in business so I never once doubted changing it. Slowly but surely, you’ll see all my accounts, features, etc. refer to me as Kelly Mindell and I just hope it will be a smooth transition!
On What’s next?
For those of you who are also married, it’s kind of mind blowing how quickly you get the “So, when are you having kids?” question, isn’t it? Ha! It still shocks me each time. But, if you’re curious. Yes, we do want kids. Lots of them. And yes, we want them sooner than later. I told many people that we got married to have kids. (Ha!) We’ve been together almost 8 years. Time to get this show on the road!
I’ve managed to make four of my closest friends through blogging, and we managed to each live in a different time zone? Bad planning. Having everyone together was a blast! Especially when said friends have such sweet dance moves. Lookin’ at you, Ash, Britt and Lex! (Chelsea was there in spirit while she awaited this cutie!)
My tips to you engaged folks?
1. Get your priorities in order. Not your wedding-day priorities, but your life priorities. Everyone has a different financial situation and each wedding is unique in who pays for it. But think long and hard about how important it is to put money into your wedding day, or to store money away for your future home, kids, travel, whatever it may be. Once you get started in a wedding, you can’t turn back. So I urge you not to make our mistake of getting too caught up in newly-engaged excitement to keep the rest of your life in mind. I will treasure our wedding day memories forever, but I will also perpetually be working to swallow the giant pill of how much it all cost.
2. If you go the wedding route, consider a short engagement. I wanted a year long engagement because “oh my gosh! I’m only engaged once! This is so fun!” Being engaged is really fun. Talking, for an entire year, only about your wedding, is not. Don’t be afraid to have a shorter engagement. If you can still book the vendors you want, I’d recommend six-months engagement MAX. Fact of the matter is, you are going to be rushed in the last few months whether you have a six month engagement or a two year engagement, so if you can swing it, just bust it out. (All wedding planners are currently cursing me for this “tip.”)
3. If you can’t do a honeymoon (immediately, or ever) do a mini-moon in the same city you get married in. Both Lauren (in Chicago) and myself (in Palm Springs) did this and it was perfect. We were able to go straight from wedding mode into relaxation and decompression mode without worrying about car travel, air travel or any other hassles that come along with either. We picked up and moved to a hotel away from our guests and never looked back. It was pure bliss.
4. Tell all vendors your budget is 10-20% less than what it is. Budgets get blown, that’s just how weddings work. Unexpected costs creep in, or you make “just one budget compromise” that turns into 15 and suddenly you’re in too deep. I recommend pretending like 10-20% of your budget doesn’t even exist at first, so it becomes your emergency fund instead. Believe me, you’ll need it.
Shout out to my parents for making this day possible! My mom is wearing a J. Crew bridesmaid dress and I highly recommend the line for mothers of the bride who don’t want wear the bedazzled taffeta evening gowns they are often offered.
And questions for you married folks….
What were YOUR thoughts post wedding? Was it the best day of your life? Or the most stressful? Both? Would you “do it again”? Did it feel any different after you were officially husband and wife? TELL ME YOUR FEELINGS!
The whole thing was quite a trip. I felt like a crazy person for a year, like I was on top of the world for one night, and then everyone just kind of went back to their normal business and there we were… husband and wife. No more wedding emails, no more writing checks. I must say, I FREAKING LOVE being on the other side. Being a wife is DA BOMB! I’ll be doing several more posts throughout the next couple months and eventually I’ll share all the goodness of the photos, details, GALORE! But for now, at least I shared our life-altering first dance, eh? Thanks for listening! Over and out!
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