Certified Coordinated Bride Deandrea
Journal Entry #3
+ Wedding Advice From a Coordinated Bride
It’s been approximately 4 months (July 15th) since Bae and I said “I Do”, and I honestly can’t believe it’s all over. The stress of: (a) picking the perfect dress for myself, my bridesmaids and my flower girl; (b) explaining to certain guests they will not be given a plus one; (c) losing girlfriends and gaining new ones (long story); (d) hounding guests to return their RSVP card (not really sure why this is so hard; just drop the card in the mail); (e) explaining to Bae why we need this and that and him constantly referring back to the budget; and (f) the lack of sleep….all for my perfect day. However, I am still in a daze because despite all the craziness that went into planning, it was still the BEST DAY EVER! It’s hard because there were so many great moments, but if I had to choose my favorite moment, it would definitely be the Ceremony, specifically, when Bae read his vows that he had written for me *tear drop*.
When I think about all of the planning, all thanks to my wedding planner Ghana Wilson (extremely amazingggggggg; highly recommend her to plan any event you have), I have to pat myself on the back. Growing up, I never really dreamed about getting married, and I don’t recall ever sitting down planning my wedding. I just never really thought much about it LOL. Even as I got older, planning a wedding was not something I thought about. And, on top of all of that, I can count on one hand how many weddings I have attended in my entire life. So as you can see, planning a wedding was all very much new to me. But I did not let this stop me from being great. I did A LOT of research about anything and everything related to weddings. I wanted to familiarize myself with the wedding planning business so I knew what I was doing before I started putting money down. To all my future brides who have no idea what to do or where to start, here is some advice for you:
1. Wedding Budget – Decide on a budget and stick with it (do your absolute best to stick to it. Trust me; I know it will be hard). The issue Bae and I had, was trying to figure out how much a wedding (in New York) would cost. So, we obviously had to research and research and research. After we decided on what we were willing to spend on the wedding, we created a detailed budget and then ran it past our wedding planner who helped us finalize it. Once everyone agreed on the budget, I asked Bae to be in charge of updating it (Our wedding planner also updated it, but it was helpful to have two people to do it). Not only did he update the budget, but he ensured that I was not spending our money frivolously. So, make sure you have a budget that includes every dollar you plan on spending on the wedding.
2. Guest List – I advise you and your future husband to decide on how many people you can afford to attend the wedding. Not how many you want to attend, but how many you can afford to attend (this is for my brides who are paying over 50% of their wedding). Finalizing the guest list was actually the hardest part of the wedding planning process. Think about it: you want to invite family, friends, coworkers, and their plus ones. You can easily have a 250+ person wedding. Now, if you can afford that, then I say go ahead. Do you, boo LOL. But, if you and your husband-to-be are paying for the wedding yourselves (at least 50%), then you have to come up with the total number of guests based on what you can afford. Bae and I decided that we wanted an intimate wedding so our number was 120 maximum. Our wedding was also in The Hamptons so we knew we couldn’t invite everyone we knew. It was hard because you upset some of your family members because you cannot invite everyone. Sorry, my aunt’s aunt cannot come. Your parents may be upset because they may want to invite their friend’s friend. When choosing your guest list, the best advice I received was, make your list and stick with it. There may be people who are upset, but when the wedding comes, they will eventually forget about why they were upset in the first place. However, if someone is offering to pay for someone to attend, well then, hunny…money talks so you may need to change the guest list haha.
3. Plus Ones – Such a touchy subject. Surprisingly, the majority of your guests assume they are allowed to bring a plus one, especially the single (unmarried) ones. It’s so funny to me because why would they assume that LOL. Bae and I had guests that were with their boo thangs for like 4 months and wanted to know if they could bring their “significant other” to our wedding. In my head, I’m like, you only known this girl/guy for a few months, but you want me to allow them to witness me and my husband express our undying love for each other. A forbidden love that we developed over 6 years. On top of that, you want me to PAY for your boo thang to dine with us at our reception. Ummmm no! The funny thing is, when we were telling people they were not allowed to bring a plus one, we had a few people who weren’t so happy, but then I don’t recall anyone offering to pay for their “significant other”. To me, this means that your boo thang wasn’t even really that significant in the first place LOL. To make sure Bae and I were being fair, we established some thresholds for allowing our guests to bring a plus one. Here are the rules: (a) If you were married, you were allowed to bring your husband/wife; (b) if you live with your significant other, then you were allowed to bring him/her; (c) if you were dating for over 1.5 years prior to a year from our wedding date (basically 2.5 years) then you were allowed to bring him/her. If you did not fall into any of the categories then no plus ones were granted. Also, plus ones were not interchangeable. Lastly, we emphasized this was an adult wedding so no kids were allowed. We made a plan and we stuck to it. Do not let someone persuade you…unless they are offering to put up some money LOL.
4. Vows – I stronglyyyyyy encourage you and your husband-to-be to write your own vows. Like I said before, it was literally my favorite part of the wedding. I always knew that Bae and I were going to write our vows, so to prevent myself from waiting to the last minute, I kept saying that I was going to write them a week before the wedding. Well, that didn’t happen LOL. I ended up writing my vows at 6am on the day of the wedding. I know that sounds crazy, but it was actually the best time ever. I woke up at 6am and turned on my Pandora to listen to the Musiq Soulchild station. It was nice and relaxing. I was able to tune everything out and genuinely focus on the love for my husband. Not only should you both write your own vows, but make them personable and make them you. For example, I vowed to always have the link (to the album/mixtape) every time Fabolous (the rapper) dropped an album/mixtape. Sounds crazy, but Bae loves Fab so I wanted him to know that I got him. And, let me tell you, when Fab recently dropped his new mixtape, I immediately became “the plug” LMAO!
5. Honeymoon – As you all know, or will experience, wedding planning takes a lot out of you. It is very time consuming, even if you have a wedding planner. So as you are planning the wedding, you have to also think about the honeymoon, which I strongly encourage all newlyweds to go on. You need the honeymoon to relax from the wedding planning process, and you need that time bond with your husband. It’s truly a special time. Because I knew Bae and I were going to be extremely busy with work post wedding, I didn’t want to go on honeymoon immediately after the wedding. So we decided to go 2 months after the wedding which helped us tremendously. We were able to unwind after the wedding, and it gave us something to really look forward to now that the wedding was over. Well, because I was doing a lot with the wedding and I sometimes was making the final decisions, I asked Bae to plan the honeymoon. Yes, you read that correctly. I asked Bae to plan the honeymoon. Actually, I asked him to make it a complete surprise. When I say “plan”, I literally and figuratively mean plan. Meaning, Bae chose the location, how long we would be there, where we would stay, what we do, and how we would get there. He did all of that without telling me anything. I didn’t know where we were going until a few days before we were scheduled to leave. My only job was to make sure I was packed. Now, of course there were a lot of people who were shocked that I was letting Bae do everything, but I trust him. This is the man I am spending the rest of my life with, so why would I not trust him on planning our honeymoon. He knows me so I did not worry about anything. Shoot, he may know me better than anyone LOL. This gave Bae a chance to be in charge without me interfering. He literally had free-range to do whatever he wanted. I enjoyed every minute of it. And because I allowed him to do his thing, he ended up taking me to The Seychelles!!!!!! So ladies, please consider letting your husband plan the honeymoon. I promise he will not let you down. Even if you think your husband can’t do it, trust me, he can. It’s 2016, and the internet is extremely powerful so he can research all the places in the world. And if he is super clueless, he will probably ask your friends or his friends. But, give him this responsibly because I highly doubt he will let you down. You will be his wife, and I know he will want to impress you.
Even though the wedding planning was long and stressful, I definitely believe it brought me and my husband closer together. We think about things differently. We make decisions together. It was no longer just about me or just about him; it was about us as one. As we enjoy life after the aisle, people always ask if things are different or if things have changed post wedding since him and were together 5 years prior to marriage, and my response is “Of course, it has changed. We are married now, duh! Before we were married, he was my boyfriend so I treated him as my boyfriend.” Momma always said “Why buy the cow when you can have the milk for free” LOL. So now that he is my husband, he will be treated as such. I can definitely tell that our love and our bond is stronger post wedding. Now, him and I are just focused on making each other happy and planning our future together.
“…Because our love is heaven sent, I promise to be here forever and always, and I promise to keep it how it is so you can never say how it used to be.” (A few words from my vows)
See below for a list of my vendors. Please note that because Bae and I are strong supporters of our community, over 90% of our vendors were people of color!
Wedding Planner: Ghana Wilson (Green Gigz, Inc.) || Bridal Dress: Pantora Bridal (custom) || Hair: Tinika Sadiku || Make-up: Sisi Nike || Nails: The Nail Boutique || Bridesmaid’s/Flower Girl: Pantora Bridal (custom) || Grooms Suit: Exclusively made overseas (custom) || Groomsmen/Ushers Suit: The Black Tux || Grooms Hair Cut: Steve Gilles || DJ: DJ Chill || Band: Certain Moves || Venue: Pellegrini Vineyards || Florist: Judy from Moriches Main Street Flowers || Caterer: Samy from Creative Courses || Photographer: Tayo’s Creations | Photobooth: FunkyEntertainment Inc. || Cake: Tonnie’s Minis || Buses To Transport Guests: First Student America || Tent: American Tent Company || Additional Items: Bride’s Jewelry: Gifted from Mother || Bridesmaid’s Jewelry: J Crew || Groom/Groomsmen/Ushers Misc. Items: The Tie Bar || Host Hotel: Hotel Indigo Long Island – East End