Real Weddings – An Insider’s Perspective

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Industry insider Samantha Wilson (née Mollerson) discusses her recent wedding planning experience leading up to her big day in May 2017.

Samantha has been JYW's marketing coordinator for the past 2+ years, while working on site with our couples to help bring to fruition their magical wedding days. When it came to her wedding day, our team was honoured to do the same & see our girl shine with her incredible bridal glow. The following is an account of Samantha's wedding planning experience, and the surprises along the way...

As a young woman, a hopeless romantic and a believer in soul mates, I really have been dreaming about my wedding day since I was a little girl.

Once I got engaged, the reality of it all became so real and I found myself having difficulty making decisions. Choosing colour palettes and which shades of pink for the bouquets, should my bridesmaid’s dresses match or should they be different? What colour & patterns should the groomsmen’s ties be?

All these details I thought I had figured out became new excuses for more research and design inspiration. I found it hard to settle on one particular design. One day I’d be loving calla lilies in white, the next I’d swoon over pink peonies. I’d become inspired all over again with a new image I had seen on my Instagram feed or Pinterest. This is something I wasn’t expecting.

I have always been a fairly definitive person, but when it came to my wedding, I really did get confused between picking classic designs I knew I had always liked, or, opting for the avant-garde, trendy inspiration I had just come across a few days prior. This was amongst the first unexpected realities of planning a wedding- one that I hadn’t heard of in any wedding blog or magazine feature.

My wedding was the best day of my life. Everything about it was absolute perfection, and I seriously wouldn’t change a single thing even if I could. I had a lot of pre-conceived notions about how the day would go and I thought they’d apply to us. Going through the common claims of weddings made by decades of brides & grooms, I’m giving you my perspective on how our wedding day really went.

  1. You’ll be nervous. False.
    If you know me, you know that I am not the biggest fan of attention. All eyes on me? No thanks. The thought of being the centre of attention as I walked down the aisle seemed overwhelming and intimidating. The thought of having to speak in front of over one hundred people scared me to death. The last time I had publicly spoken to more than a dozen people was back in university, and I have never been a fan.
    But the days leading up to the wedding day, those fears instantly vanished as I realized what was about to happen. I was marrying the love of my life, in front of the closest people who were coming together to celebrate with us. How could that be scary? The thought of people traveling far distances to be with us humbled me to my core, and as I envisioned walking down the aisle, and making my bridal speech at the reception with my new husband by my side, I started getting more excited than I had been in the past several months. The morning of our wedding, I couldn’t have been calmer or surer of anything in my life. It all was perfection. If you are feeling nervous leading up to your wedding day, try to think of every single guest that is coming to celebrate with you, think about the relationships you’ve had with the people that are going to be there, and finally, think of your fiancé. This is the first day of the rest of your life. How amazing is that?
  2. The best part is the ceremony: True.
    The ceremony was the highlight of the entire day. I thought it would be the party, dancing and the photographs, but walking down the aisle with my father, seeing Stephen at the end of it, as well as all the guests looking at us, there is no greater feeling in the world. Our ceremony was a traditional Anglican service, and when Stephen slightly fumbled our vows, it got a great chuckle from the entire congregation. It made the service that much more memorable and unique. Plus, it broke the formality with a surge of humour.
  3. Your face will hurt from smiling so much: True.
    You’ll be visiting with a lot of people, all day, with little to no personal breaks (minus going to the bathroom), and after a while, your face does get sore from the constant smiling and adrenaline. That being said, I didn’t feel tired until about 3:30 AM when we arrived at the hotel. It’s the funniest feeling, but so amazing.
    As painful as it might get later in the day, remember to smile- always. Your photographer and videographer is on you all day, and you don’t know when you’ll get that close-up. You don’t want to be unintentionally frowning!
  4. The love and support from your family & friends will overwhelm you. True.
    Never have I felt so supported, loved and humbled than on our wedding day. A lot of our guests flew into Calgary to be with us from east and west Canada and throughout the United States. This made it all the more special having them with us on that glorious day. It was unlike anything I’ve experienced, and I still smile from ear to ear thinking about it.
  5. You’ll feel different once you’re married. False.
    The only thing that’s changed between my husband and I is our relationships with each other’s family. We are closer, more open and truly feel like family now that we are married. It’s wonderful! Other than that, nothing significant has changed in our daily lives. We have this beautiful day to reminisce on, and that has made our relationship closer and respect for one another grow.
  6. You wont have time to eat. False.
    I think it’s imperative that every bride and groom take the time during dinner to actually sit down and eat their meal. Enjoy the food you spent so much money on, drink the wine (but not too much)! It’s super important to have sustenance on your wedding day, as the activities of the day takes a lot of energy. Plus, you’ll enjoy sitting down and resting those sore-I’ve-been-in-heels-all-day feet (girls, I’m talking to you)!

  7. You’ll worry and stress about little things. False.
    All of those little details you spent dozens of hours on the days/months/years leading up to the big day, I seriously hardly noticed on my wedding. Did I know that the seating chart actually caused confusion amongst our guests? No. Once I did, was it a concern? No. Did I notice that the cake was in the ‘wrong’ place during our first dance, not at all! Did I register that we ended up running a bit late on bridal party speeches during dinner? Not a chance. The reason why we only focused on each other and our guests was because we hired the best wedding planner in the world. When you do, you do not have to stress or worry about anything. Seriously. It is the best investment any newly engaged couple can make.
  8. Something will not go according to plan. True.
    There will be something that happens that wasn’t planned for. As I previously mentioned, hiring a wedding planner for day-of coordination ensures that even though something might not go right, you are in good hands and have a seasoned professional there on the ground to problem solve. The last thing you as the bride should be worrying about is schedule delays, vendor coordination and styling.
  9. Walking down the aisle is rather fun. True.
    It is one of the best feelings you’ll ever have. Surreal? Yes. Incredibly glorious? Absolutely. The list of adjectives describing the feeling of walking down the aisle, seeing all of your loved ones looking at you, your bridesmaids and groomsmen, and finally your groom waiting for you- it’s actually indescribable- the joy and excitement is over the top. It was one of the top 5 highlights of the day. Soak it all in!
  10. You’ll feel bad about not talking to everyone, and it’ll be unavoidable. True.
    I tried to make the rounds, but only got 1.5 tables in before the dance officially started. I focused on the tables of people that were a bit older in age, as they were less likely to stay late into the night. Of course, you end up feeling a bit remorseful for not being able to talk one-on-one with everyone, but in reality you only have a certain amount of time before you yourself have to enjoy the events of the evening. Your guests understand you have a limited amount of time to talk to them individually, make your rounds as best you can, and don’t beat yourself up for not being able to talk to all 100+ people. They’ll forgive you, I promise!

The one true claim that is shared by every bride is that your wedding day goes so quickly. It’s true- in the blink of an eye, it’s done! When it’s over, you’ll want to relive every moment again.

Even when you are enjoying every minute, every detail and every conversation, your wedding will go faster than you know. Enjoy the lead-up and try not to get caught up in the details. Hire people you trust, make sure you take good care of yourself the weeks leading to the big day, and focus on your new spouse and the new life you are starting together.

To the following incredible and talented people, thank you. The amount of work that you all did to help make this day so special for Stephen and I brings tears to our eyes! You are all fantastic.

Photography: Phil Crozier | Day-Of Coordination & Design Consult: Julianne Young Weddings | Church Venue: Christ Church, Elbow Park | Reception Venue: Teatro Restaurant | Florals, Candles and Rentals: Lyn Chapman of Flower Artistry |  Stationary: Plush Invitations | Stationary Illustrations: The Little Me Co. | Ceremony Programs: The Social Page | Bride & Bridesmaids Robes: BHLDN | Wedding Gown: Blue Willow by Anne Barge Summersweet from S2 Bride | Lace Topper: Sonia’s Bridal | Bride’s Shoes: Manolo Blahnik Hangisi from Holt Renfrew | Bridal Jewelry: Diamond & Pearl Earrings from The Bay | Diamond Bracelet: Bride’s own | Veil: Toni Federici from Town & Country Bridal in St. Louis, Missouri | Hair: Ashley Dawn and Royal Hair YYC | Makeup: Miriam Akbar | Grooms Tux: Custom from Munro at Harry Rosen | Tuxedo Shirt: Eton from Harry Rosen | Bow Tie: Dion from Harry Rosen | Cufflinks: Tateossian London from Harry Rosen |  Cake Design: Alforno Bakery | Rentals: Special Events Rentals | Ribbon & Seal: Silk & Willow | Ring Box: The Mrs. Box | Grooms Ring: Tiffany & Co. | Brides Ring: Carat Jewellers


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