my life: my wedding and lessons learned

In my life, there have been many opportunities presented to me to learn a lesson. Especially in my darkest, ugliest moments, nuggets of wisdom are plentiful and ready to be plucked and stored for a later date.

When I was around 9, my parents told me to stop shopping and save my money.  I went and bought a watch and then tried to hide it from them. Of course, it was discovered and I got the biggest whooping ever. Lesson learned…uh, sorta.

When I was learning to drive, my dad wanted to send me to driving school to learn how to drive. I wanted to practice. My dad relented and while pulling into a parking spot,  I accidentally pressed the gas pedal and crashed his car. Lesson learned.

When I was in college, I was told that I should not get a cafeteria pass, but the thought of having to not cook was appealing. I got the pass…lesson learned.

Sometimes, you learn a lesson but you really can’t do anything about it because well, the same opportunity won’t present itself again. So, you hope to use your knowledge and educate people to not make the same errors that you did and hope they listen.

So, my dear blog readers, learn from my mistakes…stop shopping so much, don’t practice driving in your parent’s car (wreck a car from driver’s ed…they’re insured, too) and always listen to the other college students regarding cafeteria food.

Nine years ago today, I was getting ready for my wedding. Looking over the photos there are a lot of lessons to glean from my big day. If you are a soon to be bride, you should take notes here. Trust me. I’ve learned the hard way!

Lessons to learn from my own wedding day:

  • Wear colorful shoes. Remember Dyeables? They were shoes from Payless and you could dye them any color you wanted. I left mine white. Subsequently, there are no photos of my shoes. They were boring.
  • Be specific when choosing your bouquet. I didn’t really care much and told my florist I wanted long-stemmed red roses (why did she NOT talk me out of it??) I hauled around 15lbs of Miss America flowers all day –all I needed was a sash to complete my look.
  • Get the wedding dress you really want or at least willing to live with. I had cut out a page from a bridal magazine for my “bride binder” (You know you had one too…quit mocking). It had no information on where/when/who to get it from. After a search and just pretty much stumbling upon it one day, I found that it cost almost HALF of my total wedding budget. I found someone to make it for a fraction of the cost. My mom (who was footing the bill) made me rent a dress as is the Asian tradition. Dejected, I randomly picked one that I didn’t care about. Looking back, I should’ve chosen much more wisely. I am still bitter.
  • Go to a really good seamstress and bring your shoes and accessories to the fittings! I didn’t. I had to pull up my dress every few seconds while walking down the aisle and for the rest of the day.
  • You should get a hair and makeup artist. (Did that). You should NOT have pounds of makeup and hairspray (You have to carry that around all day and trust me 60 bobby pins, a fake hairpiece and pearls tightly wrapped around your head for 12 hours = one BIG headache).
  • Work on good posture for a few months before your event.
  • Splurge on your wedding photographer. (One of the things we did right!) I know, I know. Sounds self-serving since I am a wedding photographer now, but I’ve said it every year for the last 9 years, and will forever say that when we look at our wedding album, we know that we ABSOLUTELY made the right choice in splurging our wedding photographer. It was a huge chunk of our budget, but 9 years later, the only thing we have to remind us of things like my 16-year-old brother getting champagne while the rest of us got cider –are the pictures of the head table laughing hysterically as he spit it out or the feeling I got when the huge doors opened and my dad and I were standing at the doorway right before we walked in.

(Amazing Photographer + amazing location = awesome photos)

  • Having a veil over your face the entire ceremony is uncomfortable…especially when your false eyelash is stuck to it and you can’t inconspicuously, untangle it.
  • Hire a wedding planner!! I don’t know how to emphasize this enough, but I did not heed this advice and I tried to do it all myself. On the morning of my wedding day, with FULL hair and makeup done, I was hanging lanterns at my reception with my bridesmaids, decorating tables and running around stressed. My new husband and I were the last to leave (my family had to catch a flight) and ended up cleaning up, taking all the stuff to our new house, dumping it all there and then going back to the Mission Inn to our room.
  • Get a wedding album. Another thing we did right. I have a beautiful leather album that showcases all of my photos and I didn’t have to worry about doing it myself. My friend has her wedding disc sitting on her shelf…five years later. I’ve never seen her photos. Enough said.

11 thoughts on “my life: my wedding and lessons learned

  1. OMG! How things have changed. I remember that day and how beautiful you looked. I think you need to post some of your Asian Wedding Pics! The one with all the butterflies..
    Thanks for this!
    xoxoxo

  2. OMG you weren’t kidding about the flowers… when I was at the top of the post I was thinking, ah, come on, it’s just Hanssie exaggrating, but seriously, those really ARE Miss America flowers! But you were stunning! I’d definitely “vote for you” to win! So how’s your stance on World Peace??

  3. My dad (a minister) agrees with your advice as he tells couples he marries to “get an amazing photographer because after the wedding day, that’s all that remains”. Hey, people trust him as a minister and take his advice. I guess he learned that from his own wedding 40some years ago as my mom was too embarrassed to ever show anyone her photograph album and she is now in the process or redoing it.

  4. My dad (a minister) agrees with your advice as he tells couples he marries to “get an amazing photographer because after the wedding day, that’s all that remains”. Hey, people trust him as a minister and take his advice. I guess he learned that from his own wedding 40some years ago as my mom was too embarrassed to ever show anyone her photograph album and she is now in the process or redoing it.

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