We recently celebrated our 1-year anniversary! We reflected on how incredibly wonderful this past year has been, looked at our wedding album, and reminisced the good, the great, and the crazy. Looking back at the wedding weekend planning process, here are my thoughts on what I loved, and what I maybe would have differently (and how WeddingWire helped!).
365 days. 12 months. 52 weeks. Countless firsts. I have been Mrs. Gundry for one year and this year was one for marriage record books. It would be an understatement to say that a LOT has happened in that year. I competed as a finalist on The Food Network Star, published four cookbooks, appeared on QVC, oh, and we had a baby!! On September 25th, about a month before our one year anniversary, we welcomed Cooper James into the world. A tiny peanut, at 6 pounds 10 ounces, he is a bundle of pure joy. No, he really is! Cooper is affectionally known as Super Cooper since he is such a great little guy. He is always smiling, loves EVERYTHING, and he started sleeping through the night by month two. I am talking like 12 hours sleeping through the night, it is not normal but it is wonderful! Anyway, it has been a BIG year and being in Arizona now for the holidays reminds me of our wedding planning process and I want to share a little bit of my thoughts with you!
Leading up to our wedding I was completely consumed with every detail and looking back on it now, after a whirlwind of a year, I have a lot of thoughts on what we did and loved and what we should have done differently. There are not many things in the “should have done differently” category as our wedding felt like pure magic, but I learned a lot, had a lot of help from my electronic bestie and unofficial eMaid of Honor, the WeddingWire checklist. Here are my personal do’s and maybe-not-do-agains:
Favorite Moments came from some of the “Craziest” Ideas:
Engagement Photos During the Wedding Weekend
This sounds a bit strange, but we took our "engagement photos" the day before our wedding! We drove out to the desert and snapped a few pictures. This was a fun way to get casual photos in the area, encompassing the desert vibe and feeling, and not to mention you look your best on your wedding day so why not snap a few extras versus taking them months before when you are still trying to run those extra miles and eat less cake ;)
Cocktail Hour BEFORE the Ceremony
You read that right! When our guests arrived at Desert Mountain they were handed a cold beer in a beautiful glass or a flute of bubbly champagne. Our guests enjoyed cocktail hour, took photos, and mingled for about 45 minutes before they were then asked to sit, with their cocktails, to watch us get married! We have received so many compliments, as it was a very elegant welcome and got the party started!
Changing Dresses Before the First Dance
Everyone said don’t change out of your wedding dress. I mean everyone had an opinion on this topic. “Your first dance HAS to be in your wedding gown”, I was told. But why?! Trust me when I say you will have a LOT of pictures in your wedding gown and so mixing it up and dancing your first dance in your dancing gown is really fun. And I have some awesome pics of me in my second dress, pictures that would not have happened had I not changed. Plus, dancing in a wedding dress isn’t as easy as you’d imagine.
Large Bridal Party
I had ten bridesmaids and my husband had ten groomsmen. I admit, that’s a lot of bodies lining the altar. But I wouldn’t change it for the world. These are our tribe. The people who have seen us at our worst and love us anyway. Plus, our friends are so much fun! It felt like a big party before the party ever began. Why limit the number of bridesmaids? Make it a party! By the way, the checklist on WeddingWire.com allows you to keep track of what your bridal party needs to wear and what time they need to where so you don’t have to task your Maid of Honor with that job unless she really wants to corral cats all day.
Non-Traditional Rehearsal Dinner
I would say without a doubt one of the most special parts of our wedding weekend was the casual rehearsal dinner that took place at my husband’s parent’s home. No assigned seating, in face no one even sat down to eat. Just tacos and tequila by the pool. It was very fun for us to have a laid back, casual, rehearsal dinner, because our wedding was going to be very formal. Having a completely different vibe the night before set a different tone and so that it did not feel like another wedding. We keep all of our vendors straight thanks to the Vendor tab on WeddingWire.com . Could. Not. be. Easier.
Include Your Furry Family Members
It is safe to say that we LOVE our dog! Paisley is part of the family and so we wanted he part of our wedding weekend. She did not partake in any event, as in she was not a ring bearer nor had a formal job per se, but she became the official greeter at the house for the Thursday evening BBQ and the Friday night rehearsal dinner. Having Paisley in Arizona was really special. We have some fun memories, great pictures (of her drinking out of the pool during a groomsman toast), and I will never forget having a nice warm cup of coffee outside with her the morning before we said "I Do". If it is doable, get those furry friends involved.
Things that just don’t Matter…
Day of Schedule
I know. It is easier said than done, but some of those little things that you are stressing about just DO NOT matter. I promise. I had an entire schedule for the hair and makeup. Who was going first, who was getting it done at the same time, etc. I don’t even remember if we looked at that schedule, everyone got it done and it just did not matter! As my husband said, “Don't sweat the small stuff...you won’t even have the chance to notice if you try!” But if the schedule is giving you panic attacks, then outsource that to your eBridesmaide WeddingWire.com You don’t even have to get her a gift since she’s electronic.
What Other People are Doing
I was very worried about the guests. Will the buses be late, are people having fun, etc. Don’t worry about it. It’s not their day it’s yours. It is all good! And if it isn’t, it is not your problem! Not on your wedding day at least, and that is why you have amazing friends (especially a maid-of honor) and family to help manage any issues.
If Anything goes Wrong (spoiler alert- it will)
Something is bound to happen. You lose your earrings, someone gets injured, the flowers are not what you imagined, whatever it is- have perspective. You are getting married, that is the point of this all! So even though everyone says it's the best day of your life, it is still only one day. If something goes wrong, life will go on and you may even laugh about it for decades to come.
Things that I would have been better about…
I am missing a few photos
Looking thru photos, I was like, huh, I don’t have one of me and XYZ. Or there was a group shot we never got. I should have made a list, but I didn’t. If there are certain photos that you really want to make sure you get make sure to tell the photographer. Photos fly by and there is a lot going on so you may forget to call over special people or relatives you don’t see often.
We partied, a lot
We flew to Arizona a week before our wedding and in true “Gundry spirit” (we have a lot of fun when we are all together) we had a lot of fun every night leading up to the weekend. #GoingGundry - check out WeddingWire's hashtag generator to create your own! By the time the Thursday night BBQ came along we needed siestas! I probably should have had a few less tequilas and slept a few more hours, but whatever, it was a blast! But, that said, try and rest the week before your wedding so that you are not exhausted!
Last Words of “Wisdom”
Make it Black Tie!
When else are you going to celebrate such a momentous occasion? Make it fancy! I can’t tell you how fun it was to see everyone in gowns and tuxedos. To me it really made it feel like a big celebration. And I was in love with my dress! To find inspiration for your perfect dress head over to WeddingeWire and see the latest and greatest!
Toast your guests
I spoke at our wedding reception. It was one of the most memorable and special moments of my life. Being able to express to everyone in the room my gratitude was incredible. My husband spoke at the rehearsal dinner. Being in his home and speaking to his parents was also such an incredible moment for everyone. If you have the opportunity to write something and speak, do it.
Throw out the Playlist
We let the band read the crowd! One of the best decisions we made. They read the crowd, and it was like they hacked into their phones and stole their playlists. The dance floor was full and the guests were sweaty from non-stop dancing.
Get Involved with the Ceremony
I was very involved with writing the ceremony. I talked with the pastor a lot to make sure our personalities shined through. We chose the passages and helped guide it in our own words. We have been together for a long time (since we were kids!). When we got married we already owned a house, a dog, and cars, so in many ways we already felt “married”. But actually committing to one another in front of our family, friends, and God and exchanging rings was a moment so big I will never forget it. Be a part of that ceremony.
You will Feel Beautiful
Something about your day, the bride glow, it is true. I was a diet crazed queen leading up to the main event and I promise when I say that on the BIG day you will just glow. Leading up to our big day everyone said that to me and I didn’t believe it but now I understand that on that day you just are so darn happy you’ll feel the glow!
I have been married for one year. I am not an expert on marriage. But here is what I do know: the things that you meticulously planned and then went awry, things that you didn’t plan but somehow happened anyway, the unexpected, the things that feel like mistakes, are all notes in the orchestra of your wedding song. Every moment- great and not as great, will make up your memories of the best day of your life. Weeks after we got married I still had dreams about it- what I would have done differently, what I wanted to do again, and I think that is normal. But celebrating our first-year anniversary I can honestly say that our wedding weekend felt perfect. So, don’t stress, remember to enjoy every minute, or as my husband would say “try your best to pinch yourself throughout the day” because it goes fast.
Photography: Tamara Gruner Photography
Location and Catering: Desert Mountain Club
Event design: Metta Events
Day-of coordination: Sip and Twirl
Flowers: Fiori Floral Design
Stationery: Kate Lemish Design
Calligraphy: Sharon Morgera
Cake: Addie Cakes
Music: Lucky Devils Band
Groom's suit: Judd Frost Custom Clothier
Menswear: Combatant Gentlemen
Transportation: Desert Rose
Engagement ring and wedding bands: Continental Diamond