(All highly personal revelations)
1. Best to treat a wedding like a big party to start the rest of your lives together, not the single defining day of your relationship with your husband. That’s just silly.
2. If you don’t feel too emotional walking down the aisle, like all wedding websites say you must, don’t worry. A big happy smile will do.. (In fact I cried more practicing my vows at a stairwell alone than reciting it in front of a crowd)
3. Ideal size: I would say 100 guests, though probably not possible. I love the idea of parents celebrating at a wedding too, so including their friends, it’s hard to keep it down to a small crowd.
4. 2 weddings , probably not the greatest idea if you’re organizing it alone, though you’d enjoy the second one more because you’re more relaxed.
5. Sleep ALOT before your wedding. I went around in a sleep induced coma during my first one cause I had a hen party two days before, a BBQ party the day before and lots of bridesmaids coordination that started early on the day itself. Sheer adrenaline kept me awake and excited but on hindsight, I probably should have slept a peaceful 10 hours the night before.
6. I really LOVED decorating both my weddings and getting the little touches in were important to me. Some girls love to say they don’t care about decorating and they couldn’t care less about the colour of the table flowers, which is fair enough, but I think nice decorations can really help guests to enjoy your wedding. Why not? For example, I had the cutest little penguin matchstick books customized with cheesy titles like “The Perfect Match”, ” Love at First Strike”, ” Sparks Flew”, etc. , Just don’t go too pin-interest / bat shit crazy over the very smallest details which I guarantee no one, not even yourself, is going to notice.
7. Remember to save a single copy of all the paper paraphernalia- menus, invites, favors (I gave handmade lavender soaps to guests) if they are non perishables, as they make nice souvenirs and will help you relive your wedding day, that passes by in a flash and like a dream.
8. Our photographer was a tiny lady whose style is dreamlike, subtle and lovely, just the way she was in person. Spanish guests do have the tendency of getting super excited about taking their photo with you and some were standing IN FRONT of the poor lady, blocking her view without realizing it and spoiling her pictures with their flashes. Best to help her along by being assertive and saying to your guests nicely, but firmly “let her take the pictures please”. Alternatively, just go along with the flow and let everyone stay excited, which we did.
9. Do walk around the wedding site a bit with your husband to take in all the sights and to luxuriate in the visual aesthetics of it all. It’s a nice intimate moment to enjoy the effort both of you have put in to make the wedding a good one for your guests.
10. You probably can tell how nice your husband is gonna be by how much he does for the wedding. I knew I had struck the husband lottery when Jorge became involved in all aspects of the weddings(s) despite being the most un-metrosexual of dudes on the planet. He drove me to Segovia to carry two heavy boxes of soaps back to Madrid (making a fun day excursion out of it), handled the DJ, bus drivers, caterer, etc while I managed the decorations, sat through a 3 hour meeting with our lovely wedding planner, while we discussed flowers, plates, serviettes, table clothes, candles, etc. I imagine it would be the same as me sitting in a 3 hour meeting with my husband’s mechanic talking about engines, gears, headlights..uck. PLUS the topper on the cake was that after all the fuss and muss of the first wedding, it was by no means over because we had to lug two heavy boxes of stuff I bought from the Internet to Singapore. He helped me carry them happily and carefully with nary a word of complaint, ay saint. Two thumbs up and a hip hip hooray to the most patient man in the world!
11. Who knew invitations (from designing them to sending them out) were such a pain in the ass to get done so make sure you start as early as possible.
12. Find vendors who are physically located close to your home or office. I was lucky that my calligrapher worked 5 minutes from where I lived and so did my wedding designer. I had to go to them 4-5 times each and I wasn’t even that busy at work. But still, got tedious. Also you should probably book a wedding venue that you can visit 2-3 times. At the very very early stages of planning, we were contemplating Portugal as a destination and I thank heavens we did not continue down that line of thought for very long.
13. Nice vendors make the world of a difference. For our Singapore wedding, I planned and hired all the vendors from overseas so it was an anything goes situation. With a great stroke of luck, everything turned out so well. The wedding band (recommended by Sandra) was awesome, coming down to recee the place twice to check out the acoustics, with a professionalism unheard of for the price we paid them (playing was their hobby, not job) And i LOVED their music which sounded much better live than on the youtube videos they posted on facebook. The photobooth people stayed for 3 hours, not the 2 we contracted them for. The flowers were JUST divine and I’ve decided to use them as my florist for every single special occasion (Mother’s Day and birthdays mostly). Our hotel wedding planner was just the most efficient lady on the planet who went the extra mile. For example, she told us that 55 bottles of wine was probably enough when I wanted to order 70. Our first wedding planner from that same hotel was from hell, she told us to order 1 kg of wedding cake for 5 people, obviously a moronic idea so I really appreciated our second wedding planner’s common sense, honesty and good advice.
14. If you try on a wedding dress you really like and that fits you well, better to get it than to tailor one. I tailored mine and honestly while I liked it ALOT, I think some bits of the dress could have been done better. Also it was stressful in Tokyo not eating as many mochis as I’d like for fear of not fitting into my wedding gown for our second celebration, as the dress was bone tight. In fact, Marta had to come to the rescue to zip me up as neither the make up artist nor Jorge could get me in it at first go.
15. Tell inconsiderate guests “No!!”
16. Good bridesmaids are so essential : All of mine were gems who flew in for 2 days just for the wedding. All participated in meaningful ways- tarn sang, Sandra gave speeches and practically directed the whole Singapore wedding, zhen was the ringbearer, fatin collected angpows for Singapore and everyone just kept asking me what they could do and that really helped.
17. Lastly, try to be nice to your poor husband who’s probably just as overwhelmed as you on your (oops, both of your) wedding day.