Things I’m Glad I Did at My Own Mountain Wedding

Behind the Scenes

Mountainside Bride on DIY Bride

Welcome to Behind the Scenes Week on Mountainside Bride. I wanted to share with you some things about me that make this blog what it is. You probably know that I live in the mountains, that I love the mountains, and that my own mountain wedding was the inspiration for this blog. But did you know that the signature format of the Hindsight Advice section of real weddings came from a series of guests posts I wrote for A Mountain Bride?

Because Jess stopped blogging this summer, I wanted to share with you those original posts before they go away. Here are the things I’m glad I did for our own Mountain Wedding–originally posted on A Mountain Bride- June 16, 2010.

Things I’m Glad I Did

Handmade cookie wedding favors

Going back over this post there are so many things–little things, big things, almost forgotten things, and life-changing things–that go into and come out of a wedding. It’s funny, going into my 5th year of marriage, I can say that all of the little details of our wedding matter less and less each year we continue to build our relationship. Nonetheless, I know you’re in the thick of wedding planning and the details *do* matter, so  here are a few things I want to share. Keep in mind that the things I’m glad I did are very personal decisions, and are not for everyone, but I hope it gives you the confidence to forge your own wedding path with a sense of peace.

I Shopped for My Wedding Gown with the Mountainside Groom

Shopping with the ladies is one tradition I’m glad we ignored. Mountainside Groom and I enjoy shopping together. Like a best girlfriend, Mountainside Groom gives perfect advice on what looks good on me and what doesn’t. So when it came time to shop for a dress, he and I stole away to Asheville one snowy afternoon, and made a day of gown shopping. It was sweet, and fun, and intimate. I can think of no other person I wanted to get teary-eyed with when we found The One.

I Stopped Stressing About What Other People Would Wear

OK, I’m not at all proud of the start of this story, but here it is, the ugly side of focusing too keenly on “The Details”:

My future mother in law (FMIL) bought a Maxi Dress with a busy print. I told her the print would look bad in pictures and asked her to exchange it for something else. Then she came back with a white linen dress suit. I freaked out. I didn’t want her white linen to make my ivory gown look dingy. She was just trying to make me happy, but when I kept asking her to return every outfit she picked out for the wedding everyone got frustrated. In the end, I just let it go. My mom ended up wearing a cute black and white polka dot dress, my bridesmaid was in a cream and orange linen dress, carrying blue irises. LOL, no one really matched, but we all felt beautiful, comfortable, and happy with our outfits. What more could I really want?

I Made My Own Wedding Cake

DIY wedding Cake

I wouldn’t recommend this for most brides. It doesn’t really save money unless you’re already a professional cake baker and have all of the equipment. Even if you’re an avid at-home baker with lots of equipment, making your own wedding cake will take up a significant chuck of time the week leading up to your wedding. You have to ask yourself if that’s really how you want to spend that time. {Thinking of a DIY wedding cake? Check out DIY Wedding Cakes |5 things every bride should know}

However, I personally come from a long line of cooks. As an Italian-American, my childhood has been steeped in food-based traditions. And my grandmother used to make the most fantastic, elaborate, multi-tiered cakes when I was a little. It meant so much to me to make my own wedding cake, to honor my family, to cook for my guests, and to remember my grandmother. My mother graciously gave me grandma’s cake pans. Thanks Mountainside Mom!

We Had Both Parents Walk Each of Us Down the Aisle

This was one of my favorite parts of our wedding, and I’m tearing up writing about it. Mountainside Mom called, and asked who would walk me down the aisle. It’s a valid question given my feminist sensibilities and the fact that my brother is my best friend. I think my mom was wondering if my father or my brother would walk me down the aisle. My brother was already my “Man of Honor” and I wanted to somehow involve my my mom in meaningful ways in the wedding. I entertained the idea of having her walk me down the aisle, but also couldn’t imagine slighting my dad in that way. “Both of you!” I announced. Well, Mountainside Groom is very close to his parents as well, so we decided to throw out tradition completely and had both sets of parent walk both of us down the aisle. It was so incredibly wonderful.

We DIY-ed together

DIY pinwheels

Mountainside Groom and I are both creative people so it made sense that we would handcraft as much of our wedding as possible. He played art director, being closely involved with most of the design decisions, as well as doing test arrangements for our DIY flowers, sewing our bunting, and creating our fabric-wrapped vases. It made tackling the enormity of a DIY wedding fun and manageable, and it was fun spending time with each other and bonding over each creative endeavor. It also encouraged Mountainside Groom to “buy into” all of the little wedding details and avoid mutiny and elopement :-) Go team Mountainside!

We Hired a Day-of-Coordinator.

I am not alone in this. A significant number of Mountain Brides either regret not hiring a wedding planner or one of the top decisions they’re glad they made is hiring a planner. Without our day-of coordinator, we would not have had time to actually enjoy our wedding!

The week before the wedding, I hired a day-of coordinator to manage the wedding day schedule, serve as the iPod MC, organize key players such as the servers, the photographer and the wedding party, and mitigate any disasters that would invariably arise. I gave her a checklist, a timeline, and list of contacts. I told her that as soon and my gown was on, she was not to come to me with any questions or problems. I didn’t have to keep track of the schedule. I spent my wedding day in blissful ignorance that my videographer left before our first dance, or that there was no salt and pepper for the S&P shakers, and that none of the servers knew how to cut a wedding cake. She took care of figuring everything out and I was able to enjoy myself.

Mountainside Groom’s Responses

I asked the Mountainside Groom the same questions. Here are his responses:

  • Glad our wedding was outside: He likes being outside and we’re both outdoorsy people.
  • Glad we put our personal desires over tradition and expressed ourselves in meaningful ways. We had a simple, handmade/DIY wedding full of new traditions. He’s glad I had my brother as my “Man of Honor” and did things our way rather than let tradition dictate what to do.
  • Glad we bought a suit instead of renting a tux. While he was excited about wearing a tux, he’s glad to now have a nice suit.
  • Glad we made own cake because it tasted better than any wedding cake he ever sampled.

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All images from Two Ring Studios via DIY Bride