Ceremony & Reception location: Naval Academy Chapel, Annapolis, Maryland
The biggest piece of advice we can give, is to make sure all day-of responsibilities are delegated in advance. If you can afford a day-of wedding coordinator, it’s an excellent idea. If not, make sure you have people (not the bride or groom) who know exactly how you want things done, and when they need to be done by. They especially need to know all contact information for any vendors that have a hand in their “task.” We’d heard people say this before, but basically didn’t give it enough thought. Planning out the day-of schedule and task list in detail would have saved a bit of stress and anxiety. Also, we had to spend precious time on logistics that we could have spent enjoying friends and family that made the trip out. Make sure you set aside time to really enjoy the wedding. As cheesy as it sounds, it’s so easy to focus on what needs to be done and overlook the meaning of it all. Not everything is going to go as planned, so it’s best to just accept that and move on to happier things. Another thing that might be helpful is to create an email address specifically for wedding planning that both people can access. It’s challenging to use both individual emails, and honestly it’s easy to overlook emails if wedding messages are coming into the same folder as work and personal emails. If you have a good filing system, that works too, but you should really just have one primary email address for your vendors to contact.
We used weddingwindow.com for our website, and (once we figured out how to use it) it was extremely helpful. There are a lot of great wedding websites out there, but we opted for one that had a planning feature as well. Our biggest advice would be for the couple to sit down together and put in a few trial names as guests, then go through every single function you can find to see what you can do. There were a lot of times we wanted to do something, and just didn’t know how! Also, the website we used was very helpful via email. Any questions we had were quickly answered. The other resource we used was wedpics.com. This basically took the place of having cameras on the table or a photobooth. There were some absolutely hilarious pictures that we got from that site. It is basically a free app, that when downloaded creates one online photo album that all of your guests contribute to. While this won’t replace a photographer (obviously), it did give us some really great and fun pictures we would have never seen otherwise. It also allowed all of the guests to access the photos as well the same day! Additionally, since we live in Hawaii, we had to select nearly all of our vendors based off of their reviews online. This turned out to be a great resource. If you use yelp, make sure to look at the unfiltered responses. As far as your site goes, the portfolios and bios were how we selected you. We were looking for someone with a photo-journalistic approach, and Napoleon was such a ninja! It was absolutely perfect.
Our favorite part of the planning process was chatting with the vendors after we’d selected them. Looking online can only tell you so much, so until we had a chance to chat with them in person (or by phone in our case), we were pretty anxious. Once we got to know their personalities and vision, everything was much more at ease. I think that for vendors, it’s important for the person who will be physically participating in the wedding (such as the actual photographer/videographer/DJ/Florist etc.) to contact the couple early to ensure everything jives well, and then again closer to the wedding. For the couples, our advice is to ASK QUESTIONS and not worry about offending the vendors. Most of them are pretty flexible and at the end of the day, they want a satisfied customer, so all of our vendors were absolutely wonderful about that. They answered all of our questions, and they made sure they understood what our desires were for the wedding.
As funny as it sounds, a scrapbook was our inspiration. We loved the idea of different types of things and photographs coming together into one beautiful piece. We wanted to embody that with our wedding. Our colors were black, white and red because we wanted a classic feel with a pop of color. Our guestbook was a scrapbook, and that’s how we wanted our table numbers, name cards, etc. to feel. We had lots of photos up for decor as well, including photographs of our grandparents on their wedding days on the guestbook table. Our wedding “theme” evolved over time. We thought we wanted to focus on the travel aspect of our relationship and future, but as time went on, we started focusing more on the journey of our relationship. Jessica has always been into scrapbooking because she’s always felt like it represents life more than a photo album. So many things that don’t normally get put together in an album, are able to make absolutely beautiful scrapbook pages! That’s how we wanted our wedding to feel. Family and friends coming from all over the place who had not necessarily met, coming together and having a wonderful time.
It is hard to name a favorite moment. Our favorite part was the opportunity to share such a momentous moment in our lives with such amazing people. We are truly blessed to have such wonderful and supportive friends and family, and having them there to share in our day was the best part.
We hope you enjoyed our Annapolis wedding blog feature this month.
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