Considering 85% of my wardrobe is striped or dotted and my own wedding included a navy and yellow color scheme, it’s safe to say that I am pretty pumped for today’s wedding. Striped ribbon and a polka dot wedding cake? Please! And what’s even better than preppy colors and patterns? High school sweethearts! This adorable couple has been together since high school and their love just shines through in these photos by Kelly of Spindle Photography! The sweet bride, Sarah Grey is here to share her insight on planning a perfectly preppy navy and yellow wedding:
What (or who) helped you most in your planning process and/or on your wedding day?
For the planning process, I have to give major credit to the people around me. I was extremely overwhelmed trying to plan a wedding during my first year of law school, and I absolutely could not have done it without the help of my friends and family. My budget required some DIY, but I am terrible at making things. I’m so grateful that other (more talented) people were so willing to step in and help out. One of my best friends/bridesmaids, Leenie, designed my invitations for me. My Aunt Laura decorated the flower girl basket and other little things like that. My sister Elizabeth made the chalkboard sign announcing the donation that we made for our wedding favors. My mom and my sister/maid of honor Lilly pretty much did whatever I needed them to whenever I needed it.
On the day of, I think the key to having everything go smoothly was having a wedding coordinator. I didn’t have the budget for a wedding planner, but I knew from prior experiences that if there’s not a day-of coordinator, the bride’s family ends up running around trying to handle everything. I wanted my family to be able to relax and enjoy the day. I ended up choosing a venue that had its own coordinator, which was great because she was familiar with the venue and all the little details like how to best set things up, traffic flow, etc and she was used to working with the catering staff. On my wedding day, she made sure that every thing and every person was where it needed to be when it needed to be there. I literally didn’t have to worry about a thing. Having almost no stress on my wedding day was worth every penny. One other small piece of advice that I have is to be very thoughtful when choosing your wedding party. That can be a really difficult decision because you don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. But after some prior experiences being in other people’s weddings, I knew that I was only going to ask people to be my bridesmaids who would make my wedding day easier, not people who would complain or cause drama or stress.
What was the most important thing to you when deciding who to work with for your wedding?
For me, budget was a major consideration because I had very little wiggle room in my budget. Beyond that, I really wanted vendors who were easy to work with and would make the process less stressful for me. I actually chose several of my vendors by reading reviews on weddingwire.com. I didn’t have many friends who were married before me, so I figured reading online reviews was the next best thing to getting personal recommendations. I was planning my Birmingham wedding from Nashville and on a crazy schedule, so I was lucky to have vendors who were responsive and easy to communicate with via email. From the beginning, the thought of wedding planning made me more stressed than excited, and I did not want to get bogged down in all of the small details. I feel like my vendors took my basic vision and ran with it, and everything turned out even better than I could have imagined.
What was your inspiration for the wedding details and/or design?
When I got engaged I started avidly looking at weddings on wedding blogs, photographer websites, and Pinterest. I chose the color scheme after seeing photos of a gorgeous navy and yellow wedding. I thought the colors were simple and classic and matched my preppy style. I loved the way yellow flowers pop against navy bridesmaid dresses. I wanted the wedding to have a relaxed, rather than formal, feeling. Most of all, I wanted it to feel Southern. I never really embraced my Southern-ness until I went off to college in the north. With all of my and Matthew’s northern friends coming down to the South for the first time, we wanted to welcome them with some good ole Southern hospitality. This informed our choice of venue (we loved those wrap-around porches), our choice of food, and the aesthetics of the event.
What was your favorite thing about your wedding?
It is so hard to choose just one thing! There were so many little moments that were so wonderful: walking down the aisle, hearing the vows that my husband wrote just for me, having a few minutes alone to marvel in the fact that we were actually married before making our entrance at the reception, dancing with my friends and family. I think I have to agree with Matthew that overall the best part of the wedding was having everyone that we love all in one place. They are from all over the country, so it was really a once in a lifetime kind of opportunity. We enjoyed every minute of it.
What is your best piece of advice for other brides?
My biggest advice for brides who are in the planning stage would be to not sweat the small stuff and try to enjoy it. Some people easily enjoy wedding planning, but I was not one of those people. What I learned is that you can’t try to please everyone because it just won’t work. Even when people are pulling you in different directions, ultimately they care about you and probably just want you to have a wonderful wedding, so don’t be afraid to speak up about what you want. It’s your wedding after all. And don’t get bogged down in the minutiae. You may not get to every single item on your to-do list, but your guests will never know and your wedding will still be beautiful.
Sarah Grey and Matthew relied on a day-of coordinator to ensure their wedding ran smoothly. Are you planning to hire a wedding planner or coordinator? I’d love to know!