Bride to Bride: May

This is the second post of this series and I couldn't be more excited about it! These past brides have so much wisdom and helpful insights! Plus I love getting to reconnect with my ladies and relive their beautiful weddings days with them! 

Bride: Jonai Johnson

Dress: Essense of Australia from Blush Bridal  

Hair & Makeup: Fallbrook Beauty Bar

Venue: Grand Tradition Fallbrook

Florist: Soiree Design & Events

Dessert: Donut Bar

Dj: Bryan Thrane of Pacific Entertainment

CN: WHAT IS SOMETHING YOU WISH YOU KNEW BEFORE THE WEDDING PLANNING PROCESS?

JJ: Before the wedding planning process, I wish I would have known how long the whole process can take! My husband and I gave ourselves a year (exactly a year...like to the day) to plan our wedding from the day we got engaged, and we were still shocked at how far in advance you need to start planning and booking things out.

For example, we looked at what felt like dozens and dozens of wedding venues pretty soon after we got engaged, and couldn't believe how many places were booked up for 1 - 2 years!

And these places weren't anything crazy...we weren't looking to book the Pelican Hill Resort or anything like that...maybe it's an Orange County thing but we were just really surprised at that. Even when it came to picking out a dress, I was looking around at some boutique bridal salons in LA, and some places had a 6 month waiting list just to get a fitting!

Now whenever anyone asks my husband and I for advice regarding wedding planning, we tell them to start the planning process ASAP. We've already had friends move their wedding a year out due to lack of availability at a local wedding venue. 

CN: WHAT IS ONE OF YOUR FAVORITE MEMORIES FROM THE WEDDING? 

JJ: I can hardly begin to answer this question. There was so much magic in that day for me...so many beautiful moments. There were also some great moments I didn't get to witness (such as my sister-in-law dropping my wedding band in her bouquet and thinking she dropped it down the front of her dress during our vows all while our savior of a photographer is slyly offering up her own wedding band as a backup - how I wish I had seen this all go down - but I was in total La La Land).

But I have to say I will never forget my husband's face as I walked down the aisle. It's almost too cliche to mention, and I think it's been so hyped up by Pinterest, Instagram, wedding videos, etc. but in all reality I knew what that day meant to both of us. And his face showed every emotion in that moment. It was complete surrender to the joy, the relief, the excitement of the promises we were about to make.

It was nothing short of the most handsome ugly cry face I've ever witnessed. My other favorite memory has to be the speeches. My brother, my new sister-in-law, and my husband's childhood best friend brought down the house and brought us all to complete tears at the same time. I've never felt so much loved poured on me.

CN: IS THERE ANYTHING YOU WISH YOU WOULD HAVE DONE DIFFERENTLY? 

JJ: I think there are a few petty things I would have done differently. For example, I probably would've chosen a cheaper dress! Not that my dress was unreasonably expensive by any means, and I still absolutely love it, but I just don't see myself being the person that passes down a dress to my kids. Plus I haven't grown since 8th grade so there's a slim chance my future children will fit in that thing.I think it just strikes me as an area of wedding spending that you can get away with really cutting costs if you shop smart.

More than anything, though, I would have also probably spent more time alone right before the wedding. Which probably sounds awful. But there was so much chaos and so many people (family, friends, husband's relatives) around in the days before the wedding that I never got to slow down and really be alone with my thoughts.

I'm a very introverted person so being around a lot of people quickly wears me out. And when families and friends merge and mingle it's not always smooth sailing (at least not in my experience!). I wish I would have left my rehearsal dinner, gone to a quiet room alone, and had some time to just relax and be alone and talk to God about what was coming my way. 

CN: IF YOU COULD GIVE ONE PIECE OF ADVICE TO ANOTHER BRIDE, WHAT WOULD IT BE? 

JJ: My advice to another bride is to make your voice heard. Inevitably there will be someone...ALWAYS...who is unhappy with some decisions you make. If you're a people-pleaser (like many brides end up becoming) you'll feel pressured to decorate the way your mother-in-law wants to decorate.

Or you'll feel guilty because one of your bridesmaids doesn't like the way you planned your bridal shower. Or your grandmother will not like your choice of song walking down the aisle. Whatever they tell you...don't listen. Be strong. Allow this to be your day and nobody else's (besides your husband's of course!).

I had this crippling need to please a lot of people and protect people's feelings and in the end, I ended up super stressed and disappointed at the way some things went down. I would remind brides that it's OK to talk to people directly and remind them that this is your dream day.

Weddings will ultimately bring people together and bring joy no matter what. It's getting there that often gets muddy! 

CN: DO YOU HAVE ANY TIPS FOR STAYING CONNECTED TO YOUR FIANCÉ WHILE WEDDING PLANNING? OR ANY ADVICE FOR CULTIVATING A GOOD FOUNDATION FOR MARRIAGE?

JJ: My husband and I did a really great job at staying fully connected and present with each other during the wedding planning process. My advice there is just to be willing to help each other out. And also be willing to loosen the reins if you're a more controlling type.

The engagement period really seems to make or break the whole feeling of the wedding, and if you and your partner approach it with the attitude of being teammates on the same side, you'll have much more success. Opinions come at you from every which way, all the time, regarding every aspect of the wedding, so the more you and your partner can back each other up, the easier the process will be.

Another thing we found helpful was looking at the different wedding planning aspects as unique dates instead of chores. Granted, some things just won't be fun, but you can even connect over how "un-fun" certain activities are! When we would go looking for venues, we treated it like an opportunity to take a road trip together somewhere new, for example. And when we went donut (yes, donut) tasting, it became a super fun treat instead of a chore.

At the end of the day, the most important thing to remember is that you and your husband have more to talk about than wedding planning. You're marrying this person for a reason! Remind yourself of the things you look forward to most about marrying the wonderful person that's joining you on this small, comparatively short journey. 

CN: IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE YOU WOULD LIKE TO ADD?

JJ: I will just add that marriage is such a gift. I've already found it to be the most supportive and trustworthy aspect of my life. Regardless of how down I get due to work stress, friend drama, societal pressure, or what have you, my husband is someone I look forward to seeing every single day. It's not always easy because people are imperfect - but it also doesn't have to be hard. 

Make someone's day and share this post with another bride to be! 


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