Real ECB Judy: The Wedding Planning Finale

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Today’s Real East Carolina Bride entry comes to us from Judy, a bride whose Jacksonville wedding took place in July 2016.

The wedding day was planned over a 13 month span. One might think this is more than enough time, especially if it is a small to medium size wedding with about 80 guests on the list. And yet, wedding planning can be a temporary full time job. There is so much research to do; so many decisions to carefully consider; and then, there are so many last minute details.

I was glad when it was over but not until the very last minute of it. Up to the wedding day, it got a little—nah, a lot stressful. The wedding dress—lost in the mail for a couple of weeks; the RSVPs—not completely accounted for; the first dance…well, let’s just say that our dance instructor would not have been proud of us. All things considered, it was…

…A Dream Wedding

When my fiancée and I started planning the best day of our lives, he constantly told me that he wanted me to have my dream wedding. The only thing I’d always imagined was a horse drawn carriage ride after the ceremony, but I did not think of this as a dream wedding per se. We quickly found during our initial planning stages that this would not be feasible due to distance and timing between the ceremony and reception. So I knew that it was just not going to happen, and that was ok with me.

Much to my surprise, my wedding gift from my dear husband was a horse and carriage ride. It was absolutely amazing. When we came out of the church, there was a beautiful white horse and white carriage coming down the street. When we got on the carriage, it was sunny and as our ride progressed through the church neighborhood, it started raining, but not before our photographer could get in some great photos. It was great coming back around to the church where all the guests were waiting for us on the church porch. Even with the rain, it was a dream come true.

Wedding Tips from a Tired Bride

I did a lot of reading and found many helpful tips when planning my wedding, all of which I’m grateful for. And now I can share some tips that I learned during my process. These are things I either did or wish I had done.

  • *Priority details: Give yourself a number of top priority items over the rest of the wedding details. Things that you will allow yourself to obsess over. For instance, the music may not be a big deal to you but the decorations may be because you want to preserve those perfect wedding photos for a lifetime to come. Therefore, every decoration detail will require careful consideration. Prioritizing like this will help you not spend unnecessary time, money, and mental and emotional energy on items that are not on your priority list. Making this decision ahead of time means you will not have to take the time to make it on a daily basis. Every wedding detail took too much thinking energy on my part. I wish I had read this tip on all the research I did beforehand.
  • *Ceremony schedule: Do not make your ceremony too early in the day. Our ceremony was at 11am, and the morning was almost not long enough. Consider the following:
    • -The time it takes for pre-preparations. I got ready at the church but it took a couple of hours of preparation at home before leaving for the church.
    • -The time it takes for hair and make-up for yourself and the wedding party. Throw in some extra time for a bunch of women scrambling around.
    • -The time it takes to have those little special moments with those special people in your life before you walk the aisle. I regretfully did not have this.
  • *Help me list: Make a detailed list for your maid of honor and/or bridesmaids of what you will need help with during your preparation. Include everything that you are wearing that way your maid of honor will make sure you are wearing everything. One of my bridesmaids had finished getting ready first and continued to ask me if I needed help with anything and I didn’t think I did. I went down the aisle without the sash on my dress, without my jewelry, without perfume.
  • *Written agenda: Have a written agenda for the day of for yourself, the photographer, and the coordinator. Having an agenda is great but having someone to manage that agenda is probably more important. Even if you don’t have a wedding planner, you can try to have a day-of coordinator. A friend or relative who is not in the wedding party and who likes to manage projects would make a great wedding day coordinator. This person’s responsibility is to manage the agenda. He/she needs to be able to get everyone where they need to be, when they need to be there; get everyone ready for the photographer (my photographer found this to be a huge benefit); be the point of contact for everyone. This will keep guests and vendors from coming to you for every single detail.
  • *Plan for last minute items: I did not get sleep the night before and finally got about 30 minutes the morning of. Luckily, I was too busy getting married to notice how tired I was. The last two weeks up to the wedding were brutal. I would say that I planned well for the wedding overall, however, my planning for the last minute items was poorly done. Try to have an agenda for the last two weeks before the wedding: when to buy items for your hair, jewelry, perfume, when to schedule your visit to the nail salon, etc.
  • *Have the best day ever: If this is really the best day of your life, make it so! Enjoy every detail: watch your guests dance, have someone sing for you and your spouse, do not stop smiling. I don’t think I stopped smiling until I went to sleep that night. And when I think back on that day, I smile!


Judy’s Vendor Team

Photography: Miramé Photography (Web)

Ceremony Venue: Freedom Way Free Will Baptist Church

Reception Venue and Catering: Jacksonville Country Club

Photo Booth: Mojo of Jacksonville

Linens: CV Linens

Hair: 114 Hair Studio & Spa

Makeup: Samantha Dove


Dress: Willie Perez

Dress Alterations: Violet’s Alterations

Cake: 1 Stop Party Supply Rentals & Cakes

Groom’s Cake: White Oak Bakery


We’re looking for more Real East Carolina Brides like Judy!  If you’re interested in becoming a Real ECB and sharing your stories with the brides of Eastern North Carolina, you can learn more and see if you qualify on the application page.  We can’t wait to hear about your wedding!


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