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What I learned planning my own southern California wedding

Where to even begin.... I'll start with this: OUR WEDDING DAY WAS ABSOLUTELY PERFECT.

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Does that mean that everything went exactly as planned? Nope.

Does that mean that I (yes, even me - a wedding planner) perfectly planned everything? Nope.

Does that mean that I wouldn't go back and change things if I could? Nope.

And yet -- it was still everything and more than I ever dreamed it would be. Here are a few things that I learned along the way:

  1. Planning Your Wedding Is Truly a FULL-TIME JOB. And boy oh boy was it tough to juggle my clients, life, the holidays, and planning a wedding. Granted, I did decide to help my fiance buy a restaurant, went full-time with event planning, moved in with my fiance, AND tried to plan our wedding all at the same time but hey.... that's life, right?! THANK GOD I HAD A WEDDING PLANNER, MYSELF!

  2. Decision Fatigue is real. Thank the lord for my sweet planner (and yes, I did have a planner) who helped me make decisions, give suggestions, and even help with a couple of my DIY projects. Surprisingly, our tablescape decor was one of my toughest decisions so I was super grateful for an outside perspective even though I literally do this for my clients every day.

  3. You will get wrapped up in the moment so don't leave anything to the morning of. Do I ALWAYS tell my clients to write their vows ahead of time? YES. Did I forget to write them down in the actual vow book until the morning of (oops!)? YES. Do I wish I hadn't because it slightly stressed me out and took up a chunk of time that I really could have used. Yes.

  4. Hair and Makeup Trials and worth it. Learn from my mistake and just do it. I wasn't totally in love with my hair and had to do a little damage control after the hair and makeup artist left (HMUAs... please don't come at me! Yes, I know I should have told them but we were already behind schedule and I couldn't sit in that chair for another minute!)

  5. Have your group shot list ready. This is one of those things that I started and definitely forgot about until it was time for group photos. I really hope we didn't miss any photo combinations because I was doing it on the fly and I'm actually really sad about this. Luckily we had parents and family who helped make sure we got most of them.

  6. Give your photographer instructions on the shots you do want! Yes, they are professionals but if you have customized items or special detail shots that you really want.... TELL THEM and communicate this ahead of time so that you don't have to remember in the heat of the moment when you should be on the dance floor.

  7. HIRE A PLANNER: I cannot tell you all the ways that my planner saved me during our wedding weekend. Things she handled, errands she ran, transitions she smoothed, and little fires she put out.... my sweet friend Tambra (Tambra Moultrie Weddings) came all the way from southern Utah to coordinate my wedding and I will always be so thankful to her, her team member, Mel, and my sweet cake baker, Julie for all their help.

  8. Something will inevitably go wrong.... just laugh! For us, it was the sprinklers that went off at 3:30 pm which was literally our ceremony start time. The limo to pick up the bridal party was running late so even with the 30 minute buffer I had built into our timeline, we were still about 5-10 minutes behind schedule and good thing (for me, at least!). Our guests were SOAKED and I just laughed. ... better them than me (selfishly!) haha Tambra once again came to the rescue and helped dry down all the chairs so that we could get started.

  9. EAT.... I know I tell couples this all the time but don't forget to eat a little something before your wedding AND during your wedding. Yes, the nerves and butterflies make that difficult but keeping fruit and crackers around is better than nothing and definitely hydrate. Ed and I ate first so that we could go around and chat with all our guests while they were eating and this was the best thing we did. It also gave our vendors a chance to eat because no one wants photos of them with their mouths open.

  10. At the end of the day.... it's about starting the next chapter of your life together with your partner. Will it be "perfect"? Probably not. But will it be P E R F E C T? Absolutely (as long as you choose to make it that way!)

This was my experience as a professional wedding planner, busy professional, and destination bride planning her own wedding (with help from my amazing vendor team, of course). My southern california destination wedding was everything I dreamed it would be and I'd give anything to go back to that day to soak up even more memories with our closest family and friends. The day FLEW BY SO DAMN FAST.... but the life that Ed and I have together is just getting started.

Questions about my wedding planning experience? Ask away and stay tuned for a deep dive into the entire wedding week experience coming soon.

Ready to start planning your own wedding with our destination wedding planning team? We cannot WAIT to hear all about your dream wedding vision and help with the design and planning to bring it to life.

Happy Planning, Lovers


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