AKA a Milestone Georgetown Wedding: Tashara and Alvan

I research and write about weddings A LOT. So one would believe that when it came down to planning my own wedding, I would know exactly what to do and how to do it.  Yea, I thought that too.  Then I was hit with things I had never even heard about before.  Like, why does no one ever share the real, behind-the-scenes drama that begins to unfold once you say “YES” to that ring????  Let me tell you, everyone, and I mean EVERYONE has an opinion about what you need to do or how to plan your wedding.  It’s easy to get caught up in making everyone’s dreams come true, so much so, that you forget to make your own dreams happen.  Don’t do it!  They still won’t be happy and you will regret all the things you didn’t make happen for you.  So, please for the love of all things, take into account my wedding planning from personal experience, otherwise known as: my pain and my successes.  Use the tips below to make sure your wedding stays “your wedding.”

Note from Lauren: this post about wedding planning from personal experience wouldn’t be possible without the amazing work of my wonderful copywriter Tashara, who not only graciously hired me to photograph her wedding, but was willing to share her experience with all my people.  I am grateful for her business, kind words, and most of all for her indelible personality and energy.

wedding planning from personal experience

Be prepared to stand your ground, OFTEN

Wedding Planning from Personal Experience

Do not hit that share button yet! But seriously, don’t do it without reading on. Before you hit share to spread the news of your engagement and imminent wedding in the Twitter-sphere, Insta, Facebook, or your blog, prepare yourself for the flood of opinions. Once the world knows about your engagement, the opinions will come and they will come unsolicited and often.

The biggest culprits of this will likely be your family and the people closest to you. At the beginning of my own wedding planning, lots of people offered to help— which in theory was great until they suggested something that I didn’t necessarily want. 

In just one example, one of my immediate family members who was helping a ton made her dislike of my wedding color scheme known early on.  She made sure to let me know that my colors would be out of season for my wedding date and it would “look awful.” One of the colors was chosen because it was my fiancé’s late mother’s favorite. It was incredibly important to the two of us for it to be included.  However, after being badgered about it being out of season, I nearly folded and changed the colors.  Thankfully, my fiancé stepped in to support me.  We stuck with the original plan. Not only did we keep the colors, but we also received sooooooo many compliments during and after the wedding about the colors.  I would’ve completely regretted it had I not stood my ground on what I wanted.

Hire and Support Local Businesses and Vendors You Love

This is EVERYTHING!!!!  I had no idea how important it is to choose the right vendors.  Here’s the thing that I learned in my wedding planning and experience: your vendors do SO much more than what you hire them to do.  Your wedding vendors typically do weddings all the time, so they not only know how to do their jobs, they know how weddings normally flow, they know how to work with difficult family members and work around strange relationship dynamics.  Even though they are there to do a certain job, they also support the couple throughout the wedding planning and even more importantly, on the day of the wedding, when you are likely running around like a chicken with your head cut off.  Just a few things that my wedding vendors did that they very much did not have to do:

  1. My makeup artist waited for me to do makeup, even though I was 2 hours late from my hair appointment.  She also helped me to put on my dress and shoes because when it was time to get dressed, my bridesmaids were out helping to chase everyone down to start the ceremony and find lost bouquets.
bridal portrait

2. My hairstylist came back up right before the ceremony to touch up my hair (even though it wasn’t in her contract to do) and gave me a calming pep talk with a story about her wedding when I flipping out about where everyone was.

3. The owner of the bakery who made our cake helped us to find and set up another table when we realized the cake didn’t fit on our originally planned table, giving us the leeway to not have to assist or make decisions.

4. And finally, but definitely our favorite vendor, Lauren Lindley, seriously knows how to help you enjoy your day.  She helped us laugh in super tense moments and is a pro at wrangling in difficult family members for pictures.  She definitely kept the mood light, kept the party going, and even helped me keep my ridiculously long wedding dress from interrupting my dance moves.

Though you should definitely choose professionals, choosing the right vendors is not only just about the product they offer and the price. They provide so much more than that.  As much as I could, I chose local, small businesses and friends who owned businesses for my wedding and I am so glad I did. They really helped support us and make our day go smoothly.  Interview your vendors, support your friends, and choose the ones you would actually invite to your wedding whether or not they were providing a service.  It might be one of the best things you do.

Invite the People You Love and Not Those You Don’t (Family or Not)

Wedding planning from personal experience
Wedding planning from personal experience

Oh, the ever contentious guest list. The bane of existence for nearly all engaged couples.  Anyone and everyone in your family will want a say in who should come to “your” wedding.  Do yourself a favor and invite the people you want.  Go with your gut on this one: if you don’t like someone’s energy, even if it is a family member, you do not want them bringing that to your special day. Unfortunately, I was “strongly encouraged” by my mother to invite family members who I knew wouldn’t show up.  I don’t have much of a relationship with them and when I see them it’s generally contentious or a day full of complaints.  I went against my gut and gave in to my mom’s request.  I sent the invitations, and even when I didn’t receive RSVPs, I called to check in and they said they would be there.  Well, guess what… they didn’t show up.  It was a big group and the worst part was not the fact that we lost money by including them in the catering and bar counts, but that I actually thought they might be there and ended up a little disappointed in that on my wedding day. 

Don’t let that happen to you.  A wise friend told us, the people you can’t or don’t want to invite will eventually get over it and if they truly want to celebrate your love, they can invite you over for dinner, coffee or drinks.  It doesn’t have to be at your wedding. 

Your wedding day is exactly that. It’s YOUR WEDDING DAY. Don’t let other people make it about them. Stand your ground, hire people you like and invite only those you love.  And of course, when the day comes, enjoy yourself to the fullest.

Venue: Milestone Georgetown | Day Of Coordination: Mariah Steinbaugh | Officiant: Bishop LA Wilkerson | Invitations: Mixbook | Bakery: Kiss My Cakes | Catering: Chef Vi’s Catering | DJ: DJ Steady B | Bride’s Attire: Signature Bridal | Groom’s Attire: Jos A Bank | Wedding Party Attire: Signature Bridal and J.C. Fashions Mens Wear | Makeup: Nia Ford of I Bless Faces | Hair: Tiffany Nicole Peterson of TNL Salon | Videographer: Martin Ramos with Gorilla M3dia | Badass Babe Second Photographers: Lisa Hause and Ilana Natasha

Lauren Lindley is a wedding and elopement photographer based in Lake Tahoe, CA that also services the local areas of Austin, TX and New Orleans, LA and the surrounding areas. Also available to provide services for weddings across the U.S. and worldwide. Specializes in capturing artistic portraits paired with unique storytelling moments to produce photojournalism based wedding photography with classic, clean and vibrant images.  Lauren Lindley is currently booking weddings for 2020 and 2021 in Lake Tahoe, CA, New Orleans, LA, Austin, TX and other destinations worldwide.

Tashara Mitchell is a badass babe and freelance copywriter from Austin, TX. She specializes in education, entrepreneurship and small businesses.  She and her husband Alvan were wed in a Georgetown Milestone wedding outside of Austin, TX where they currently reside and are excited to welcome a new addition to their family very soon! Tashara hired me for her Georgetown Milestone wedding and was happy to share the stories of her wedding from personal experience at my request.