I'm Ashlee, Austin Benny Bride and blog stalker of 5 years. Dale asked me to share some wedding tips/advice with all of you!
Tiago (my handsome hubby) and I were high school sweethearts and when we got married this past March we had been dating for six years already, five of which I was secretly planning our wedding! Tiago's family is from Brazil and my family is all from small town Texas with a lot of Czech thrown in there. My parents' wedding had about 500 people at it so we knew that ours would likely be big too and that was going to be a task with the budget we were looking at.
I started out as a bridezilla but by the end I think I was a pretty laid back bride and finally started enjoying the process and worrying less about whether or not my wedding was going to be pinterest perfect.
Here are the three best pieces of advice I could give to brides planning their weddings:
1. If you're on a budget decide what is most important to you from the beginning.
My parents, Tiago, and I all agreed that we wanted our guests to have a good time! So we knew we had to have good food and beer, wine and champagne. The other thing we knew we wanted was Benfield Photography, of course! My parents agreed to pay the average cost of an Austin photographer and Tiago and I paid the rest. We decided to look at it as an investment since our pictures would be the only thing we would have of our special day when it was over. BEST DECISION EVER! People at the wedding were raving about Dale and Mere before we even got our pictures back! The best part was we not only got amazing photographers but also wonderful new friends!
I compromised on my vision of all white fresh flowers on all of the tables and we opted for all white silk flowers and baby's breath. I still had my dream wedding and used the money for flowers on something that we thought was more important.
2. Hire a day of coordinator.
We hired Kirra Daugherty an Austin wedding/event coordinator, and she was a lifesaver! When we ended up with 100 more people RSVP'ed than we had originally expected--10 days out from the wedding--Kirra immediately rented more tables, chairs, and linens for us and informed our vendors of the change. She handled a crisis the day of when the caterer's truck got stuck in the middle of a busy road in downtown Austin, (We're talking wheels off the ground, stuck in the road) and she kept everyone calm when a groomsman showed up twenty minutes late. Second, BEST DECISION EVER!
3. Add pieces of you into the ceremony and reception.
We tried to incorporate our families, cultures, and even ourselves into everything. We did the traditional Czech grand march, we did the Brazilian tradition of cutting the tie, we sang my favorite song, 10,000 reasons by Matt Redman, and my cousin sang Ave Maria at the ceremony, we had a country band so everyone could dance, Tiago's aunt made delicious Brazilian appetizers to be served alongside our caterers' appetizers during the cocktail hour and desserts made by my grandma and aunts after dinner, we did the Czech unveiling, and I could keep going on and on. Not only did we feel like it was OUR wedding but we honored our families by letting them be a part of it too.
One of my favorite parts of the whole day was at the end of the night when Tiago and I just sat down and while he was taking the million bobby pins out of my hair we talked and laughed about everything that had happened, how beautiful the ceremony was, all the people who came to celebrate with us, and how much fun we had. That's what it's really about after all, right?!
Happy Wedding Planning :]
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