Wedding Planning in the Time of Corona: August+September

I am officially abandoning my previous template to just write from the heart!

August.

In the wise words of Taylor Swift, August slipped away like a moment in time.

Seriously, I barely even remember August.

I’ve been head down, working on wedding stuff, finishing my dental surgery, and loving on John. We’ve been finalizing all the details in preparation for the wedding weekend, which starts tomorrow!

Can you believe it’s here? I can’t. Seriously, it feels soooo surreal. Every time I picture myself walking down the aisle to John, I get giddy and nervous. All those people looking at me?! Oof. Don’t trip on your extremely long dress, Han!

I’ve also been dealing with all the people who can no longer make it to the wedding. This has been the hardest part, simply due to logistics. Our venue needed final numbers 3 weeks out, and with Covid cases surging, we had a lot of changes after that. Unfortunately for us, it’s $250/ head even if they don’t show up. Weddings, man.

Since August 1, we had 15 people drop out. 15 x $250= a lot. I’m such a money person, that that’s all I think about when someone says they can no longer come (who has seen that bride who sends invoices to no-shows?? Tempting!).

Among the people who could no longer make it is John’s best man, Angus.

We heard from Angus on Monday- he decided to take a vacation to Spain and got stuck there. We’re officially down two best men.

Also on the list is my bridesmaid, Faye, who is in London and unable to come to the US due to border closure. Thanks Biden! This also goes for our officiant, Janet, and her husband, David. We’re going to miss them so so much!!

We did have to find a new officiant this month. We asked our dear family friend, Madeline, and she seriously stepped up. 1 lunch of planning later, and we had a new officiant.

Details aside, this month has been emotional.

John and I are so close to getting married, after almost 7 years together. Getting married is the most surreal experience I’ve ever had. I know I’m going to look back and regret basically blacking out for most of it (much like the proposal, which I also blacked out for haha).

Everything has come together. 2 years of planning is complete. The event we’ve all been waiting for is here!

September.

Ok y’all, we are DONEZO!! The portion I wrote previously was written just before the wedding and I was completely brain dead. I abandoned that blog to sleep and focus on wedding stuff, but now it’s allll over and I’m here to report back.

God DAMN what an incredible weekend.

I was seriously amazed at how my planning paid off- everything went so well! The only things that went wrong were at fault of our wedding planner, who was, to put it plainly, terrible. But there’s no way she could have ruined such a perfect day!

The pool party flew by even quicker than the wedding did, and it was SO FUN. I only got the enjoy the pool before all the guests arrived, and I totally felt what it was like to be pulled in a ton of different directions. It was so hard to have conversations with everyone!! I know all brides say that, but as the people pleaser that I am (and social butterfly) this was so hard! I could have extended this into a week-long event and still wouldn’t have been able to talk to everyone enough. And y’all, we only had 85 guests. What do brides do with 300+ guests?!

The pool party was a really fun, casual day for guests to arrive, hang out by the pool, chow down on some popsicles, and get used to the incredible venue before Saturday’s wedding.

Highlights:

The popsicle vendor was AMAZING. We used Popbar Sacramento- they’re a family run business who provided a cute cart, as well as gelato and sorbet pops. They were made with real fruit, and were delicious. Everyone loved this!

We also had a Stroop Waffel vendor as a nod to my Dutch heritage, and this was awesome too. Everyone got to enjoy Stroop Waffels for dessert and learn more about how yummy Dutch food is. We were sad to not have any of my Dutch family in attendance, because they would have loved a fresh stroop waffel!

My brother as well as John’s brother and sister gave presentations- these were hilarious (and a little Hannah-deprecating but it’s fine I’m fine). We also had a lovely speech from my bestie (and John’s groomsman), Grae.

All in all, the day ended way too early and it was so freaking fun!! Highly recommend doing an event the day before your wedding- it was so nice to talk to everyone and get some nerves out of the way.

The Wedding.

The night before the wedding I got locked out of the house I was staying in. Just wanted to drop that little tid-bit in. Thank god for maid of honors, right??

I barely slept the night before the wedding, and I’m usually a good sleeper. Everyone says you don’t sleep, but this still was not anticipated. I filled myself with coffee and breakfast the next morning, hoping to wake up a bit.

It was super fun getting ready with all the girls! However, the way the timeline was created (cough cough terrible wedding planner), I was the last to get ready. I do not recommend!! Once I was ready, it was time for everything to start- this meant no downtime doing tiktoks. No ‘first look’ with the girls. And NO LUNCH. Brides- get ready first. Trust me!

I put on the most beautiful gown I’ll ever wear and went down to do a first look with my dad. This was so freaking TOUCHING. I can’t wait to see the photos!

Then I was rushed out to do a first look with John. The tears were flowing baby. FLOWING. I honestly cried like a baby the entire day. Seeing him there, looking soooooo good. My god. My groom! Best moment of my life.

We cried a bit and then it was time to rush through pictures (again, terrible timeline). This was probably the worst moment of the day because guests were filling in, seeing me before the ceremony, which I didn’t want at all (thanks wedding planner who was nowhere to be found) and we didn’t have enough time for photos. We rushed through them and then I had to get calm before the ceremony.

The ceremony is a blur. I SOBBED. I mean, truly cried my eyes out walking down the aisle. Any guests can attest- I truly lost control over any and all emotion I had. It was such an emotional moment for me. Thank goodness I can also just laugh my way through it!

The ceremony was beautiful, and it was so hard to not curl up and cry when I heard John’s vows. I’m pretty sure every single person there was sobbing at that point. What a beautiful, extraordinary man I married.

After the ceremony, we grabbed a couple glasses on champagne and some apps and had a private moment in the house. I thought this was going to be romantic and beautiful, but we flopped on the couch and just stared into space for 5 minutes digesting what happened. After sucking down our champagne, our photographer joined us, and I can tell you those photos are not going to be pretty. We were drained!

The rest of the night was equally as incredible. The setup was amazing. The CAKE table was amazing!! Our sweetheart table- sooo beautiful. The speeches were lovely, the food was good, and everyone seemed to have a great time.

We danced, we drank, we hit our bar limit at 9pm lol (gotta love our amazing drunk guests). It was magic.

After our sparkler exit, I felt soooo much pain in my feet, I just couldn’t go anymore. After saying goodbye to all of our guests, my new husband and I went to the hot tub to soak our aching feet before heading back to our room to sleep (we slept like actual rocks).

Review.

So, here’s what I learned from this magical day-

Some details don’t matter, but some really do. What goes on the tables? How they’re laid out? Not important. Making sure your wedding planner tells the staff to pass out cake? Super important. Thanks to her, soooo many guests didn’t even get to try our cake!

Find a solid wedding DJ and splurge on this. Our DJ was… meh. We spent literal days filling out a google doc with all our must plays, must NOT play, schedule etc. He ignored that and basically played Bruno Mars on repeat. Merp.

Have your photographer create their own timeline and share this with your planner!! There wasn’t enough time for pics!

Get a solid ‘getting ready’ outfit. I bought a robe and forget that I needed to wear something underneath. I frantically went to Target the day before and hated my outfit. You spend most of the day in this!

Make sure your wedding dress is comfortable. My first dress was incredible, but dug into my shoulders like crazy. I barely spent any time in it, but it was so painful!! Thank goodness I changed.

Don’t get a pedicure before the big day- this leads to blisters! This is a tip I heard after the wedding. Get your toes painted, but avoid the exfoliation and moisturizer. I got blisters almost immediately.

Bring a disposable camera! My brother gave us a couple to use on the day. I didn’t take nearly enough, but the ones that came out are so precious to me!

Have someone bring you drinks (water and alcohol) all night. I made it to the bar ONCE. Also do this with cake!

Choose vendors who are active on social media. I would’ve loved to have seen BTS on social media the next day, but only my cake vendor posted anything (god bless her).

Don’t stress. It’s gonna be the perfect day.

Thank you for following along on this journey! This will be my last blog post on wedding things, but be sure to follow along and subscribe to my blog for many more blogs on travel, fashion, self love, and more! And as always, follow my Instagram for updates on married life @hannahleelifestyle.