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8 Things I Wish I Had Known While Planning Our Wedding
8 Things I Wish I Had Known While Planning Our Wedding
8 Things I Wish I Had Known While Planning Our Wedding

We recently received the photos and video from our Texas wedding in April, and I am all kinds of happy to be able to re-live our wedding day! And, now that I have some gorgeous images to illustrate this post, I thought I would share some lessons that I learned during our nine-month engagement. I hope these will help a future bride or two!


kate lemmon wedding 08

All photos taken by our incredibly talented wedding photographers, Justin and Mary Marantz! More on them below!

1) Just because everyone else does it doesn’t mean you have to.

I decided that a large wedding, a bridal party, a garter, and a bouquet toss just weren’t for me. We only had 25 guests, and my cousin and E’s brother stood for us. We even skipped alcohol, with the exception of a champagne toast, to keep the peace with my conservative grandma. And making these decisions, although different from many brides, felt so liberating!

Photo by Justin & Mary Marantz


2)  That being said, it’s really, REALLY hard to not get swept up into the wedding world. And the pressure to be perfect will consume you if you let it.

The week after we got engaged, I really didn’t care about having a Pinterest-perfect wedding. In my mind, if my family was there and we got married, then it would be perfect. We had even considered forgoing a formal reception and just going out for dinner as a family instead. But the moment I bought my first bridal magazine, the wedding industry started to creep into my head. “Why do this, when you can do something even better? You deserve it! It’s the best day of your life and you only get one chance!” My most rational thoughts were slowly drowned out by articles on The Knot and perfectly stylized (fake) weddings. I’m embarrassed to admit this, but it’s true. After reading “A More Perfect Union: How I Survived the Happiest Day of My Life”, at least I realized that I’m not the only person that this has happened to. (By the way: that book is HILARIOUS and I highly recommend it to anyone who has planned or is planning a wedding!)


kate lemmon wedding 04Photo by Justin & Mary Marantz


3) It’s entirely worth it to invest in the best photography and videography that you can.

As a photographer, I already knew that hiring amazing people to document our wedding was a top priority. In fact, I started saving for our wedding photographers before I even met E, because I knew it would pay off someday. But I still had no idea how meaningful the photographs and video would become to us. Our wedding day passed by so quickly (cliché to say, I know) and I had trouble remembering the details even a week later. I couldn’t remember what our cake looked like until I saw an image of it. Our professional footage became the only way to re-live the happy moments of the day, and I’m so glad that we have such gorgeous, classic images and video to show to our kids and grandkids someday.


kate lemmon wedding 06Photo by Justin & Mary Marantz


4) Start your budget at half of what you can afford, because it will easily double by the time of your wedding.

What do you think is a reasonable price to pay for beautiful flowers? Now take that price and multiply it by four, and that should get you close to the cost of wedding flowers. Like it or not, I quickly realized that the wedding industry has capitalized on the whole “once-in-a-lifetime” aspect of weddings. But if we were going to have a wedding, I wanted to do it right, and so I signed on the dotted line. Unfortunately, since I had never planned a wedding before, I didn’t know to anticipate all of the extra little costs that kept popping up throughout the year. Example: on top of our wedding dinner, we also had a service charge, sales tax, AND sales tax on the service charge. Oops! Had I allowed for more wiggle room at the beginning, those last-minute additions wouldn’t have felt so painful.


kate lemmon wedding 09Photo by Justin & Mary Marantz

5) People want to help you, so let them!

I’m a perfectionist (to a fault), so I was really bad about this. By the end of our engagement, I was so exhausted from making decisions that I finally started delegating tasks. It turns out that my mom felt guilty that she hadn’t done more (because I hadn’t asked her to), and so she was happy to run last-minute errands and tackle tasks like hotel blocks and rental cars. Even my office friends were offering a hand. I was happily overwhelmed by how many people genuinely wanted to help out.


kate lemmon wedding 02Photo by Justin & Mary Marantz


6) Marriage is way better than the engagement.

Before the wedding, everyone kept telling me, “Enjoy this special time! It’s so exciting!” And so I felt like we should be having the time of our lives while mailing invitations and choosing flowers. But the truth is, although some moments were so special (like the shower my friends threw, and visiting our venue for the first time with E), most of the nine months of wedding planning were stressful. I got in silly fights with my mom even though my relationship with her means everything to me. I became determined to fix my frizzy hair and lose those last stubborn pounds.

The morning after our wedding, this huge weight had lifted off my shoulders and it hit me that we were really married. And marriage is the best thing I have ever experienced. Even though we had been together for a couple of years beforehand, being married now feels like we’re home no matter where we are. I am so incredibly lucky to have E by my side. He makes simple things, like trips to the grocery store and coffee in bed, feel way more fun. Forever is WAY better than one day.


kate lemmon wedding 07Photo by Justin & Mary Marantz


7) However, as much as it’s tempting to just skip straight to the wedding, the engagement period will help you grow and learn.

I thought that E and I knew each other really well by the time he proposed, but we learned so much more about each other during the engagement. We learned how to be a better support system for each other in times of stress (well, mostly he did – ha!). We had time to reflect on the huge life change we were getting ready to make, and we talked about our values and game plan for our marriage. Waiting to make it official made our wedding day feel more special. That being said, I definitely wouldn’t have wanted to wait any longer — 9 months felt like plenty of time! One of my best friends planned her entire wedding in three months, and she agrees that long engagements aren’t required!


kate lemmon wedding 03Photo by Justin & Mary Marantz

8) Things will go wrong on your wedding day and it will be amazing anyway.

My friends told me this, and although I knew they were right, it was hard not to hope they would be wrong. Yet, here’s what happened the week of our wedding:

• I spilled water on my iPhone, rendering it lifeless
• Emmanuel’s wedding suit got lost at the dry cleaner
• I forgot to wear the wedding earrings I spent so long picking out
• I cried my face off with happy tears, but my makeup got locked in the car
• Our guitarist’s flight got delayed until right before the reception
• Thunderstorms forced us to move the painstakingly-planned outdoor reception indoors
• My mom stepped on my dress and accidentally ripped it

And somehow, I still couldn’t stop smiling from the moment I stepped into the church until the moment that we drifted off to sleep. The pouring rain made the day feel so cozy and romantic. Our family and friends had traveled a long way to celebrate with us, and I had never felt so much love in one place.



The rest of our wedding dream team:
flowers: Elegant Bee | videography: Oak and Cypress | hair: Revelry Beauty | reception venue: La Cantera Hill Country Resort | wedding coordinator: Reba @ Sweet August Events | cake: Pennington’s Cakes | rentals: Marquee Rents | lighting: DPC Event Services

To view more from our day, here’s our wedding video:

And here’s our wedding album (hit full screen — it’s worth it!!)

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