My husband and I just celebrated our 7th anniversary this past November, but in so many ways I can still vividly remember the wedding planning phase. It was JUST before Pinterest, but there were plenty of wedding inspiration blogs and, of course, The Knot’s checklist. But most of the time those things were overwhelming because I had a shorter engagement and so many things on their list were things I wasn’t even going to do. One of the things I think is the most helpful to a bride currently planning her wedding is to hear first-hand from other real brides – not just wedding websites.
So today I’m excited to introduce a new blog series where some of my past TWP brides will be coming to you to share some of their own experiences in their wedding planning processes! I adore the clients I’m able to work with, and have been so impressed how they have achieved their different visions – both in large events and more intimate ones, DIY and large budget, and everything in between. Plus, they’re just amazing women and I’m excited for you to hear from them and hopefully gain some helpful tips!
First up, is Kaitlin!
Wedding date & venue:
October 3, 2015. Greenwell State Park; Hollywood, MD
To start off with, tell us three fun facts about you as a person and the “kind” (style/vibe) of bride you considered yourself to be!
1. I consider myself to be an “extroverted introvert”. I enjoy being social and meeting new people, and I can carry on a conversation with mostly anyone! However, I feel like I thrive most in more personal, intimate social situations. And I’ll ALWAYS choose a night in with movies and snacks over a late night out. Every time.
2. Funny enough, despite my social “preferences” listed above, I met my now-husband in a hometown bar when I was 21 years old. However, sticking true to my introverted ways, the night that I met him was a night that one of my best friends (who was also one of my bridesmaids) literally had to DRAG me out of the house for a night out. I really wanted to just stay home. Lol.
3. As a bride, it was very important for my wedding to feel authentic, intimate, and personalized. I wanted all of my guests to come to my wedding and think, “This is exactly how I envisioned Kaitlin and Josh’s wedding to be.”
How long was your engagement?
We were engaged for just over one year. We were engaged on our two-year anniversary (September 23, 2014) and married on October 3, 2015.
When it came to wedding planning, what was your method for staying organized? (Apps, sites, personal methods, etc!)
Two major sources of organization for me during my wedding planning process were two family friends that I asked to help me design and style my wedding! The two girls are lifelong friends who have organized several events before and I loved their styles and creativity! I gave them a budget and a general idea for the style, theme and color scheme for the wedding and let them run with it. They were AMAZING, and I think the fact that we all knew each other on a deeper level than just “bride & wedding planner” really helped to bring my vision for the wedding to life. It stayed true to my goal to keep our wedding very personal and intimate. (Disclaimer: I also ordered “The Knot Ultimate Wedding Planner & Organizer” binder. It was a lifesaver organization tool and resource! 10/10 would recommend).
How would you describe the vibe and vision you had for your wedding?
As I previously stated, it was very important for me to stay true to mine and my husband’s lifestyle and personalities when planning for our wedding. I wanted to incorporate really special pieces of our lives into this day and make it very unique to “us”. I also really gravitated towards the romantic, rustic style when it came to wedding decor; since our wedding venue was on the grounds of a state park with a historic manor and gorgeous horse fields, that vision came to life very naturally!
What was your starting point in achieving that vision?
Firstly, Greenwell State Park held a special place in my heart as I grew up riding horses and had spent several years in high school volunteering at the barn on the Greenwell’s premises. I felt like I was incorporating a special piece of my childhood into a very special day in my adulthood. Also, I asked a very special family friend to be the officiant in my wedding; George was part of a family who allowed me the privilege of riding and competing with their family horse, Shades, for close to 10 years. The love and friendship that I developed for Shades and the family is something that I will cherish forever. Including them in such an intimate part of my wedding planning is something I still hold very dear to my heart.
What was the biggest obstacle you had to overcome in achieving that vision, and how did you do it?
When I initially started planning for our wedding, I remember thinking, “Early October in Maryland will make for such a beautiful outdoor wedding! The leaves will just be starting to change, the weather will be cooling off.” Well. Mother Nature had very different plans for us as our wedding drew near; Hurricane Joaquin decided to join the party. As the bride of an outdoor wedding, heavy winds and rainfall were two of my very worst nightmares. Yet, here I was, several days out from the wedding and scrambling for a Plan B. We had to improvise a little for the photographs, and we did decide to move the ceremony from the outdoor Rose Garden to under the tent (in order to keep our guests warm and dry, and to allow them to be able to actually hear and enjoy the ceremony). I was bummed and a little resistant at first, but my common sense came through for me, and I realized those changes really were the smartest options. Call it luck or God’s good graces, but we lucked out with only some moderate wind gusts and a little bit of rain when the reception was already well under way!
What was the most helpful thing you learned or did during the planning process?
To be flexible! And enjoy the process. Every single moment of it. One thing several people reminded me of, especially when the stressors of the less-than-ideal weather came into play, was this: At the end of the day, Josh was going to be my husband and I was going to be his wife. And that’s truly all that mattered. (I replayed that over and over in my head; It really did help calm my anxieties about details I had no control over, and reminded me of the true beauty and significance of our wedding day).
What is something you wish you’d known or done differently?
Staying true to the little message above, I honestly wouldn’t have done anything different. The way our wedding day all came together was unique, beautiful and perfect.
…I guess I do kind of wish I had taken a chill pill a little earlier about the weather, though. Lol.
Favorite tip, little gem, or bit of wisdom to pass on to a current bride?
Broken record moment: Enjoy the entire journey (the good, bad, and ugly) of wedding planning! It really does go by so quickly. And don’t sweat the small stuff. Seriously. At the end of the day, you are going to be married to the love of your life, and they are going to be married to you. That really is all that matters. Happy Wedding Planning, future brides! :)
Thanks so much for sharing your experience, Kaitlin! I loved seeing how you kept your cool in spite of the weather changing your plans, and I can verify it was a perfect and beautiful day, regardless. :)
See more of Kaitlin & Josh’s wedding here!