Lessons Learned From Our Wedding

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of WeddingWire. The opinions and text are all mine.

All photography by  Brant Smith

All photography by Brant Smith

Wow! It’s been almost a month since our wedding, and I feel like a whole new woman. The stress disappeared instantly, and it was all worth it. Not worth doing again, but totally worth it this one and only time. Here are the top 5 lessons I’ve learned from wedding planning.

1. Delegate/Ask for Help

This one seems like a no-brainer. But as a Type A personality, it was hard to let things go. And that was because I thought I had it all figured out! I had planned 75% of my wedding within 3 months, so I had the mentality of, “Duh, I got this.” I was even ahead in my WeddingWire monthly checklist (heck yeah)!

But unexpected things pop up. Parents want to invite 50 more guests. Wedding favors didn’t turn out the way you thought they would. You have too much on your plate to run errands after work. I thought I could provide all the answers, but it turned out Brian and our friends were saviors. Brian was at the front lines dealing with parents’ requests, my creative friend Vivian of Lefty Design volunteered to make us last-minute wedding favors, and, once again, Brian stepped up to purchase all of the alcohol and miscellaneous supplies for the wedding. These tremendously helped me in the last month of the wedding when I was breaking out in stress acne and cried more than I had cried the entire year!

2. Expect the Unexpected

You can’t expect everything to go right at your wedding. I came to terms with that the morning of. I let EVERY expectation go. And I had never felt more calm.

On my way to the venue, Brian called from a friend’s phone to tell me he lost his phone… Okay, no problem. We came up with a game plan for communicating with family.

Our guests drank all of the Hennessy, Jameson, and white wine during cocktail hour, despite us researching alcohol quantities on WeddingWire’s forums and our bartender and coordinator giving us their estimated amounts. Our coordinator said, “I’ve never seen this before.” So proud of our friends, ha! Brian made the call on how much more liquor to buy because the bartenders were willing to go on a liquor store run. Crisis averted.

One of our friends got laid out flat during my bouquet toss! I had to walk over fire ant hills during my ceremony (“as long as you keep moving, they won’t get you”). I went to change in my bridal room and saw a random girl sleeping in a chair. I went again for another outfit change and a GROOMSMAN was sleeping in the room!

I was just going with the flow, so it was all simply amusing! I’m so glad I faced the day with that attitude instead of wanting everything to go 100% smoothly. All of these were so unexpected but made our day SO memorable and a million times more beautiful.

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3. Everything Will Work Out

I was talking to someone about my wedding worries, such as details being forgotten (plates, napkins, cutlery, etc.), but they told me that everyone is so willing to help out that I wouldn’t even need to worry about it. Her example was that they forgot to get plates for the cake at their wedding, but a cousin volunteered to go buy some before she even realized there weren’t any plates! Just like the alcohol example in #2, we didn’t even think of the possibility of running out of THE MOST important liquor (Asians love that Henneyyyy) by cocktail hour. But our coordinator notified us right away, and we were able to get more! Just don’t even stress yourself out thinking of worst case scenarios because things will sort themselves out!

4. Spend on What Matters to Both of You

Everyone has their opinion on what weddings should include. Fancy menus. Elaborate seating charts. Videographer. What was most important to us was good food and good alcohol to keep our guests happy! I didn’t spend much on decor at ALL because we wanted a simple venue that was beautiful in itself from the get-go. Floral was a little more expensive but that was to make up for the lack of extra decor.

We didn’t spend a ton on invitations or save the dates either. I’m lucky that I know Photoshop and have design skills to create my own, but this was in addition to us not caring about fancy stationery. We also researched fancy cake ideas on WeddingWire, but we ended up going with something that was truly us: berry Chantilly cake!

I also didn’t care to come up with ideas and material for a seating chart and opted to go with ushers instead. To be honest, I don’t know if they got my list of table seating at all, but everyone was able to find their seats! Another example of “don’t worry too much because everything will sort itself out.”

5. You WILL Go Over Budget

I asked our main vendors for estimates such as food, floral, and alcohol, but you never know until get closer to that final guest count! And we dropped a pretty penny on more alcohol because of our Hennessy debacle. But also, small things really add up. I’m a spreadsheet type of planner, and I still didn’t think to add in menu stands for each table, last minute ideas such as customized coffee sleeves, our last minute wedding favors, the extra hair stylist we needed, and our personal sign-in table decor. You truly can’t think of everything in the beginning phase of planning! So yes, do plan to go over your original budget!

Thank you for reading and following along on our wedding journey! A huge thanks to all of our vendors for making our day so easy. And another huge thank you to WeddingWire for being my resource for the past YEAR!

Here is a beautiful sneak peek of our wedding day by Thy Ngo!

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Coordinator: Love + Sparrows
Floral & Design: Love + Sparrows
Venue: The Venue at Waterstone
Hair & Makeup: AKP Artistry
Hair pieces: Maggie Wu Studio
Wedding Dress: Mockingbird BridalCristiano Lucci
Bridesmaids Dresses: Watters
Suits: The Black Tux
Photography: Brant Smith
Videography: Thy Ngo
DJ: RLF Society
Catering: Andy’s Catering


Michelob ULTRA Fit Fest

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Michelob ULTRA. The opinions and text are all mine.

A few weekends ago, I traveled out to Scottsdale, Arizona to experience the very first Michelob #ULTRAFitFest! It was a weekend full of fitness activities, informative panels, recovery, live music, and more! It was actually the weekend before my wedding, but it was everything I needed to sweat out any remaining stress and recover for the big day.

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I got in on Friday and immediately went to a Gluteus Maxout class. I thought classes would be toned down because the weekend would be jam-packed full of fitness classes, but nope… that workout really set the tone for the whole weekend. I was SO sore the next day!

The whole experience was so cool because we got to pick and choose our classes through an app. You could customize your experience to be as active or relaxing as you wanted it! For example, one of my days started with Y7 Yoga in the morning, then a panel about Building Your Best Runner, a training camp, recovery at the Manor House where I got my hair braided, a nutrition panel, the WaveMaker workout with Gerren Liles and BODY by Kenny Santucci, and a fireside chat with Jera Foster-Fell about Defeating the Odds.

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This was all before Pure Golden Hour, a celebration with Michelob ULTRA Pure Gold! We also got to see a live performance by Kali Uchis!

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We also had delicious, healthy breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day. Not pictured: barbecue, rice, beans, salmon, zoodles, and more… it was all so good!

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There was also an awesome pool party, but I didn’t get to jump in because I didn’t want tan lines before putting on a wedding dress! I wish I could have taken so many other classes too, like outdoor City Surf or the meal prep cooking demo, but spots filled up fast. I’m super passionate about fitness and nutrition, so I had an amazing experience. I worked every muscle in my body and was able to walk away with more knowledge about running and nutrition. I can truly say that this fun-filled weekend made both my body and mind extremely happy.

I’ll look forward to next year’s annual ULTRA Fit Fest!

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I wish I could’ve brought my camera around more, but below are some great shots by LYVISUALS!


Watters Bridesmaids Dresses

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Watters. The opinions and text are all mine.

Earlier this year, my bridesmaids and I visited the Watters headquarters to pick out their bridesmaids dresses! In May, they received all of their dresses, and this past weekend, I got to shoot a few of them in it!

This was one of my favorite shoots all YEAR because I got to capture my beautiful bridesmaids in their dresses for the first time! Not everyone could make it, but I'm happy to have been able to shoot Jen, Angela, and Kat!

Left to right: Jen wearing  Deni , Angela wearing  Summer , and Kat wearing  Lottie

Left to right: Jen wearing Deni, Angela wearing Summer, and Kat wearing Lottie

I really loved that everyone got to choose a dress they liked from the Watters/Wtoo collections also! I wanted to be sure that everyone felt confident in how they look and feel in their dresses in September!

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Don't they all look so beautiful? I'm so proud to call them my bridesmaids! I can't wait to see the other three girls in their dresses also! I know everyone is going to look amazing!