Monday, May 19, 2014

Post-Wedding Weekend Takeaways

This past weekend, my friend Amber married her perfect match. Everything was AMAZING. The ceremony was beautiful, the reception was a party to say the least, and Amber & Dave are now on their way to beautiful Nicaragua for some newlywed relaxation and adventure. I was so honored to spend much of the weekend with her and stand up there as a bridesmaid as they each said "I do". Pictures and more details are forthcoming, but today I'm sharing some wisdom and tips that can only come at the end of a jam-packed weekend like this one, from first-hand experience. What was awesome? Pretty much everything. What could've been better? Only a few little things. Can this help future brides, grooms and wedding party members? Maybe. So here goes...

Random Tips from the Other Side of the Wedding:

Wedding Drop off a Week Prior- The bride & groom had an appointment to drop off all wedding things (vases, card box, parent wedding photos, seating chart, guest board, etc.) about a week before the wedding. This was amazing, and allowed them to focus on other things (and relax) the week of the wedding. Plus, it was POURING rain the day before the wedding, and it was so nice not to have to worry about loading/unloading everything that day. Phew.

Card Box Savings- I'll come back and write a tutorial post on this soon, but I created a card box for Amber & Dave that was inspired by- and looked a lot like- this one.

It took some time and love, but I had both of those and was happy to do it! It turned out great and saved the happy couple some money. I did it for less than $40, when all was said and done (including buying fabric, ribbon and supplies) and was happy to consider it part of our gift.

Security Tags and Regular Tags- A few days before you plan to wear each outfit for the weekend, put them on and do a last-minute check. Are all tags and security tags off? Are you ready to step into this outfit and go? I bought a dress last week for the rehearsal, then realized as we were getting ready to change and go that the security tag was still on. Eek! Luckily, we figured out a solution, but it could've been a major stressor. Also, we had scissors on hand the day of the wedding to cut off any remaining bridesmaid dress tags (a good idea).

Bridesmaid/Groomsman Gifts-  Amber gave us each a big purple gift bag, with gifts layered the same way for each girl so that we each took our the same things at the same time. First, we pulled out a sweet gray and white clutch with a white flower (Etsy), filled with a Burt's Bees chapstick, a $10 to Chipotle- her favorite place, and a little box with a pair of earrings inside (Etsy)! Then, we pulled out a purple and white satiny robe (found at Forever 21!) for prep on Saturday, and a pair of black Old Navy flip flops in case the ground was wet for pictures the next day. Her sister (the MOH) also got a really pretty infinity bracelet. The guys all got cufflinks with Bill Murray's picture on them (the groom had a matching t-shirt which he wore under his dress shirt at the wedding and which made an appearance at the after-party), and another, specially selected gift.

Jewelry Cleaner- The bride received jewelry cleaner and a cleaning cloth as an engagement gift from a friend. She brilliantly brought it along to the hotel where we would be getting ready, and we used it to clean earrings and her engagement ring, then proceeded to clean my rings as well as two other bridesmaids' rings so everyone sparkled a little more than usual for the wedding and beyond. Win.

Hotel Prep- This was my 2nd wedding experience where we (the bridal party) stayed overnight, ate breakfast and got our hair and makeup done at the hotel, got changed, took pictures and got picked up/dropped off there, and I can't express enough just how easy it was. It was relaxing, enjoyable and really nice to have all of our stuff there for after the wedding. Also, the fact that the wedding was at the hotel was so nice, especially when my camera battery died and I was able to run upstairs and switch it for a charged one!

Food- Be sure to make a plan for breakfast and lunch for the wedding party- especially the bride and groom- the day of the wedding. We had an awesome breakfast, but in all the excitement, skipped lunch and were so ready for hors d'oeuvres and dinner when the time came.

First Look Location- The trolley picked the girls up at the hotel and brought us to the groom's parents' house, where the guys were all waiting. We all got in a couple shots during the first look in Dave's childhood backyard, by his treehouse (love this), then we all hopped on the trolley and they took some alone before we headed to Valley Forge for more pictures.

Angry Orchard & Summer Shandy come in Cans! Enough said. Great for wedding day, especially if you cannot have glass bottles on a bus or in a trolley.

Hip Hop Road Trip on Pandora- The wedding party rode around in style on wedding day in a trolley  that was lightly decorated with white tulle and flowers and equipped with an auxiliary cable so we could play our own music. One of the bridesmaids recommended the Pandora station, Hip Hop Road Trip, and we proceeded to listen to it and love it for the rest of the day! What a blast from the past! All I can say it I'm really impressed at the number of words that everyone remembered, as many of the songs were from the 90's and early 2000's and had a LOT of words to remember. I signed onto Pandora on my computer today and noticed that all lyrics are available as you're listening to the songs now, which is pretty awesome. Anyway, I highly recommend this station for wedding day travel :)

Bathroom Stop- We were on the trolley for a few hours, with about 4 stops for pictures, and with water, mimosas and cider/beer throughout the day, a lavatory stop was necessary along the way. If your transportation does not have a bathroom, you may want to plan a quick stop. In this case, the bride & groom did not need to stop, but many of us did, so they took advantage of the stop/time and took some more photos in the nearby field and woods.

Hair Spruce Up-
 We got our hair done in the morning, then took pictures outside, then headed to the church for the ceremony. We were SO thankful that our friend Megan, who did all of our hair, was able to come to the church early and do a quick spruce up on each of us. Since it was a breezy day, we were in need of a little refreshing and she did just the trick :)

Impromptu Receiving Line For the Win- Amber & Dave weren't planning to do a Receiving Line at their wedding, figuring they would get around to everyone at the reception. Somehow, a receiving line just sort of started happening in the lobby of the church as guests came out, and it was perfect so we all went with it. Bridesmaids and groomsmen backed up a bit, saying hi to the guests we knew, family members who were staying for pictures stepped aside, and everyone else went on through and out, on their way to cocktail hour at the hotel. This was perfect as it took some pressure off of the bride & groom and allowed them to say hi to every single guest (including a few people who only came for the ceremony) right after the happiest point in the day.

Instagram Note- If you're creating a wedding hashtag, note that it cannot have the & symbol in it. The bride created one that was Mr&MrsMidgley and we made signs to put around, only to realize that it did not work. Boo Instagram for allowing it to be created in the first place, but yay to the guests who quickly made a new one and noted it on all the signs!

Late Night Wendy's- The bride planned ahead and we all love her for it! A guest who was not drinking left the hotel at about 11:40 pm with a couple helpers and they came back at midnight with Wendy's for everyone at the after-party. Amber had called that morning, so the 60 Junior Bacon Cheeseburgers, 40 orders of Nuggets & 15 orders of Fries were all ready for pickup when they arrived. Amazing :) 

Brunch- If a morning-after breakfast/brunch is not included in your hotel stay, consider a Pay-Your-Way group brunch at a nearby restaurant. We went to McKenzie's Brew Pub on Saturday morning in Berwyn and there ended up being about 30 of us. It was perfect and a great cap on an incredible weekend. 

That's all :) The weekend was just fantastic and I couldn't be happier for the newest Mr. & Mrs. Midgley! 

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