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  • Natasha B

A Play-by-Play of My DIY Fall New England Wedding

Updated: Dec 8, 2020



Timeless. Elegance. Romance.


Those are the three words that came to mind when someone asked me, "So what's your wedding vibe?" right after I got engaged.


Golds. Whites. Greenery.


Those are the three words that came to mind when someone asked me, "And what's your color palette?" right after they asked me about my wedding vibe.


So what did I achieve on October 9, 2020? A quintessential fall wedding in downtown Amherst, Massachusetts at an historic inn.


And here's how.


5:00 a.m. "It's Your Wedding Day!"


That was the first thing my bestie Lauren said to me that morning. And why was I awake at 5:00 a.m.? Because absolutely nothing can prepare you for the amount of butterflies you feel the morning of your wedding day. And I'm sure the several bottles of water I chugged before bed for hydration purposes didn't help either!


Pro tip #1: Have the calmest force in your life sleep next to you that night. I was so thankful to have Lauren there to keep me calm and sane before we fell asleep and after we woke up.


8:30 a.m. "Alexa, play Shania Twain"

A question I always ask my couples during their first consultation for my services is, "What are your wedding must-haves?" Among the many I had for my day, one of them was to book a venue the bridal party could stay at and have one big overnight wedding weekend.


So, I was lucky enough to have all 8 - yes, 8 - of my bridesmaids stay at the Inn. And what comes with a large bride tribe, a mother of the bride, and mother of the groom all getting hair and makeup done with a first look with my father scheduled for 2:30 p.m. sharp? An early start to glam of course!


Pro tip #2: Charge someone with providing breakfast foods, waters, coffee (and mimosas, duh!) for you and your girl gang! My father was the perfect person to task this with.


Pro tip #3: Make a getting ready playlist and don't forget a speaker. You definitely want to set a fun vibe to the room.


12:30 p.m. "We're ready for the bride!"

Remember when I said nothing can prepare you for the butterflies you feel on the morning of your wedding day? Well, I lied. The butterflies you feel when getting your hair and makeup done are NEXT. LEVEL. No joke.

And the first thing you'll likely forget once the butterflies start taking over? Food.


You. Need. To. EAT! We ordered lunch from the Inn's restaurant and I was able to scarf down a salad with grilled chicken while getting my hair done before makeup started.


Pro tip #4: Take a deep breath. At this point in the day, you've been having the time of your life watching your favorite people get beautified. And now, all eyes are starting to turn on you. Breathe in, breathe out. Because from here, the craziness begins.



1:00 p.m. "Everyone say, 'Hi, Gabriel!' "


And it does. Once my photo and video team arrived, you start to feel it really begin.



Pro tip #5: Detail photos were an absolute must-have for me given how hard I worked on my aesthetic. If this is a must-have for you, have your photographer start with these photos once they arrive.


2:00 p.m. "Take it in!"

Another must-have of mine? Cute getting ready outfits, duh! These personalized two-piece satin sets are from Le Rose - I literally cannot recommend them enough - and the slippers are from Amazon.


Pro tip #6: I tasked my maids with one simple thing: Every time you look at me, tell me, "Take it in!" I depended on them to make me take a step back and enjoy every single second. It all goes so fast!


2:15 p.m. "Omg a video!?"

I'd be lying if I said I didn't get pure enjoyment throughout planning from photos of couple's exchanging personal notes on their wedding day. Enter another must-have.


Now, if anyone knows my husband, he is disgustingly good at getting me sentimental gifts. And I cry. every. single. time. So why wouldn't a personal handwritten note on our wedding day be any different? Because instead of a handwritten note at the end of a photo album filled with our best memories, there was an iPad with a video of him in our apartment with our two cats. A freaking VIDEO!! Cue the tears.


You must be wondering: "So what did you get him!?"


A handwritten note and.........boxers lol.

Pro tip #7: If your timeline allows, do this and have your photo team capture it. This was a top 3 moment of the day for me. Hands down.


2:30 p.m. "Why am I so calm right now?"

You may have noticed that in my original timeline I had my first look with my father promptly at 2:30 p.m., yet, I wasn't getting into my dress until that time. And I was calm. My mother on the other hand, different story. Sorry, mom, if you're reading this!


The reason I was calm was because I had put 2:30pm for the father/daughter first look knowing that I would be just fine with a 15-minute grace period.


And just like that, I was headed to my father for him to see his little girl as a bride.


Pro tip #8: Get. these. shots. Having pictures of my mom and sister getting me dressed are some of my favs.


2:45 p.m. "You're a goddess."


As a wedding coordinator, I cannot stress to my couples enough that they need to feel overly confident about the vendor team they put in place. You are trusting them with the most important day of your life. You have to go with your gut.


If weren't for my kick-ass lead photographer, Gabriel, I wouldn't have gotten a picture of a moment I hadn't planned for in my day-of timeline. And that's a first look with my gals!

The next thing I saw after that unforgettable moment? My father with his back to me. Cue the tears. AGAIN.

And herein lies another top 3 moment of the day. When he said to me, "You are a goddess."

This was also when I planned to give my parents their gift. And here's why:

Pro tip #9: If you're searching for a good gift idea for your parents, this painting knocked it out of the park. I waited to gift it to them at my first look with my father because we were in our outfits. It's from Etsy, you're welcome!


Pro tip #10: Also, try to remember how hard your beauty team worked on your makeup earlier and try not to ruin it by being a cry baby like I was!


3:00 p.m. "We feel SO much better now!"

Awaiting to see your future spouse on your wedding day comes with its own sets of anxieties, but I promise that when you see your person, all of the stress and nerves disappear.

Which is why after my husband and I hugged each other hard for a few minutes, we yelled, "We feel SO much better now!"

Pro tip #11: DO A FIRST LOOK!!! That's it. That's the tip.


3:30 p.m. "Smile, everyone!"


Among the many, many, many benefits to a first look is the opportunity to get all of your portraits out of the way. Couple portraits, family portraits, bridal portraits. All of them. And trust me, your bridal party will thank you when after "I do" is said they can immediately get something to eat and drink.

This is a public service announcement for Birdy Grey. Trendy bridesmaids dresses (with pockets!) for $99? Sign me up! Check them out - I highly recommend!


Pro tip #12: If you're looking for a way to differentiate your MOH (maid/matron of honor in bridal lingo) from the rest of the tribe, try having her in a different dress style.


Pro tip #13: Send a detailed shot list to your photographer. The day goes by so quickly that having your photographer armed with a list of every picture you want results in an end product you'll be pleased with.


5:00 p.m. "I do!"

Now, I have to be honest here because as much as I encourage a first look to wash away any nerves, that is not to say you won't feel nervous as the ceremony approaches.


I was nervous. My husband was nervous. Yet, I had never been so ready for something in my life. Nerves are normal. Don't fret.


We decided on a short and to-the-point ceremony. And it was just that. Short and to-the-point.


As for music choices, I've always found acoustic string music - no lyrics - so romantic. And it's the perfect opportunity to add your personal touch.



Can't Help Falling In Love

Originally by Elvis Presley

Performed by Vitamin String Quartet


Fun Fact: My grandmother's favorite musician is Elvis Presley, so in addition to my husband walking his mother down the aisle to this song, I also had my grandparents walk down to it.






Hallelujah

Originally by Leonard Cohen

Performed by Vitamin String Quartet


Fun Fact: This was my husband's grandmother's favorite song. Unfortunately, she passed away years ago and we couldn't think of a better way to honor her than to play this song during our ceremony.









Canon in D

Performed by Vitamin String Quartet


Fun Fact: My husband always said that he pictured with me in a huge ballgown with a long train and a veil over my face (Princess Diana vibes). I would joke saying I would never wear a veil over my face down the aisle, but I made a point to surprise him.







You're My Best Friend

Originally by Queen

Performed by Vitamin String Quartet


Fun Fact: This one is simple. Queen is my favorite rock band and my husband is without a doubt my best friend.





Pro tip #14: Read your own vows. It'll be the hardest, yet rewarding thing you'll do.


Pro tip #15: Wear your engagement ring on your right hand and switch it over once you have that flashy wedding band on your ring finger.


Pro tip #16: After the ceremony, find a place to have 15 minutes ALONE with your new spouse. I remember every second of that moment. It was very special. Do it.


5:30 p.m. "Let's party!"

FINALLY to the part I've been waiting to blog about! The design details I incorporated into the reception are the details that kept me up at night. If the fonts on my menu cards didn't match the fonts on my invitations or signage, I wasn't interested. Making sure everything - once pictured - flowed well was THE must-have for me.



Seating Chart: Etsy

Easel: Hobby Lobby

Greenery: Hobby Lobby (it's fake!)


Fun Fact: If you couldn't tell by now, I am very detail-oriented. The easels I purchased from Hobby Lobby were black and while it did look fine, I knew we could make it better. So later that day we bought glittery gold spray paint from Lowes and got to work!






Guest Board Signage: Etsy

Guest Board: Etsy (again)

Card Box: Etsy (and again)

Picture Frames: Hobby Lobby

Crates: Facebook Marketplace

Votives: Provided by venue

Greenery: Provided by florist


Fun Fact: The stands the guest board sign came with were not sturdy enough, so luckily my venue had those black easels in storage!




Vases & floating candles: Tablecloths Factory

Table numbers: Etsy

Greenery: Provided by florist


Fun fact: I had this whole plan to order fresh greenery from Sam's club to save $$, but it turned out I was able to negotiate down the price for my florist to provide it!

Chargers: Tablecloths Factory

Menu cards: Etsy / Vistaprint

Greenery: Provided by florist


Fun fact: A few things on the menu card were wrong. I downloaded the template and printed them before our venue had to make a menu change. No one noticed! Or at least I don't think they did lol.

Masks: For Your Party

Tray: Amazon

Greenery: Provided by florist


Fun Fact: I'm against favors for the simple fact that you're gifting your guests a night of great food, drinks and music, but keeping my guests safe was my top priority, so why not give them cute masks!




Arch: Etsy

Neon Sign: Etsy

Greenery & roses: Provided by florist


Fun Fact: Once the night progressed, I had the venue team move the sweetheart table for it to become a photo backdrop. It was a hit!






Cake topper: Etsy


Fun Fact: Not once during planning did my husband and I discuss the whole "smudge cake on each other's faces" tradition. In the spur of the moment, I did it to him first followed by him putting cake in my HAIR.

Mirror photo booth: Gary S. Jones Entertainment


Fun Fact: If your budget allows for a photo booth, DO IT. We were given a book at the end of the night with every photo taken and it was such a fun way to see everyone having the best time!

Pro tip #17: Have your bridesmaids put their bouquets on your sweetheart table after the ceremony. They're done with them anyway and it's a way to cut costs on florals!


Pro tip #18: If this isn't obvious, Etsy was my best friend. It's your access to affordable, DIY event design! I also highly recommend doing a complete run-through of your design elements. I set up the easels, table decor and sweetheart table backdrop in my parent's basement and took pictures to give to my venue coordinator.


Pro tip #19: At some point during the reception, find a time for you and your spouse to watch the reception from afar. This gave us the opportunity to really soak in the moment.

When looking back on October 9, 2020, it was the best day ever and I would not have changed one little detail. Nothing could have ruined it. As always in the event industry, things will go wrong, and trust me they did: My father drove 2 hours to Amherst to drop me off at the venue, then drove 2 hours back East to pick up my wedding dress since it wasn't ready when we expected to pick it up, and then drove 2 hours back to Amherst in time for rehearsal! But when you put the right people in place for your big day, those little hiccups will no doubt be handled professionally and seamlessly.


So, to all of my brides out there in the thick of planning, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. And who knows, for those enjoying every minute like I did, you may be one step closer to launching your own wedding coordinating business.


Xoxo,

Natasha B.



Venue: Inn on Boltwood

Photo + Video: George Street

Beauty: Crystal Vazquez & Co.

Florist: Cameron Fairbanks

DJ: Gary S. Jones Entertainment

Dress: Allure Bridal

Bridesmaids Dresses: Birdy Grey

Tuxes: Mens Wearhouse


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