Wedding Q & A: Part I

Holy wedding question overload! I want to be sure to address nearly every question I received from you guys, so I’ve decided to divide my Wedding Q&A post up into two parts.

In this post:

  • Bride & Bridesmaid Questions
  • Groom & Groomsmen Questions
  • Family Questions

Coming up:

  • The Proposal & Ring Questions
  • Planning & Budget Questions
  • Reflective Questions
  • Honeymoon Questions

Let’s get started!

Bride & Bridesmaid Questions

What was your “something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue?”

  • Something old and something blue: A piece of my mom’s wedding dress embroidered with the initials of my maiden name and our wedding date in light blue thread. This was a total surprise from my mom and sister and I loved it!
  • Something new: My wedding dress.
  • Something borrowed: My sister’s pearl bracelet.

Fastening My Sister's Pearl Bracelet

You may see all of these items here.

How many dresses did you try on before you found “the one?”

A million. Well, not really, but that’s what it felt like. I would guess that I tried on more than 30 dresses. I went to a bunch of boutiques (5?) with my mom and sister and one boutique with my friends Merri and Laurel. I expected to have that magical “a ha!” moment where I slipped into a dress and started crying immediately. That didn’t happen for me. When I tried on the dress I eventually purchased with my friends Merri and Laurel, I thought it was absolutely beautiful. I didn’t cry or say “This is MY DRESS” but I left the store and couldn’t stop thinking about it.

The more and more I thought about it, the more and more I wanted my mom and sister to see it. I had a feeling they would love it. When I put the dress on for them, they both looked at me with emotion in their eyes and I knew it was the one. It reminded me of a modern-day version of my mother’s wedding dress which I absolutely loved.

Here are some of my wedding dress-related posts:

Did you use your bridal clutch?

Yes!!! I know many people say a bridal clutch is a waste of money, but I definitely used mine. I kept chapstick, tissues, a tiny mirror and my camera (which I didn’t use) in my purse and was very grateful I had it with me.

The Clutch

Did you do anything special to get in shape for your wedding (diet or exercise-wise)?

No. I honestly thought I would be more rigid about what I ate leading up to our wedding, but when I found myself thinking that way, it made me feel stressed out. I do much better with eating well when I’m not feeling stressed and when I’m not putting pressure on myself. I didn’t want to restrict myself during fun events like my bachelorette party or bridal shower and I just tried to make healthy decisions as I normally do. I completely stopped weighing myself about two months before our wedding because I didn’t want a number to affect how I felt going into such a special day. I know this isn’t the route for every bride, but by taking the pressure of looking “perfect” off myself, I felt like I was able to focus on the bigger picture (marrying Ryan!) and alleviate some of the pressure I know I would’ve otherwise felt.

What would your advice be to someone who was chosen to be a bridesmaid in a wedding?

I cannot tell you how much it meant to me when my bridesmaids would express genuine excitement and enthusiasm about our wedding. I realize that everyone is leading their own busy lives, so having someone who genuinely cares about your day and wants to talk about what you’re going through means a lot. Also, I really appreciated bridesmaids who were prompt about getting back to me. As a bride, you have to make a billion decisions, so receiving quick feedback related to questions or ideas you may have is really, really helpful. You may see my thoughts about planning an awesome bachelorette party here.


How much did you spend on your bridal party gifts and did you struggle with deciding what to give each person?

I spent around $70 per person on my bridesmaid gifts. I know this is a little pricey, but the majority of my bridesmaids had to fly to Florida to be a part of our wedding and many also flew to Chicago to be a part of my bachelorette party. I had a really hard time brainstorming gifts for everyone and wanted to go a more personal route so I turned to Etsy for handmade gifts that I felt were beautiful and more sentimental.

Groom & Groomsmen Questions

What was Ryan’s gift to his groomsmen?

Ryan gave his groomsmen black and gray check Dakine duffel bags embroidered with their last names and the date of our wedding without dashes so it looked like a serial number. The embroidery was a hot blue color. He also gave them the Ralph Lauren pink argyle socks they wore on our wedding day.

The Guys

Did your groomsmen and bridesmaids walk in together or were the groomsmen already up front?

We had the groomsmen standing up front and the bridesmaids walked down the aisle alone. We chose to do it this way because I’ve attended some wedding where I noticed the groomsmen and bridesmaids talking and joking to each other as they walked down the aisle and I thought it detracted from the ceremony a bit.

Family Questions

How did you make your parents feel special before (and on) your wedding day?

I really wanted our parents to feel loved, appreciated and special on our wedding day. I purchased personalized handkerchiefs for our mothers and my dad to give to them on our wedding day.

Handkerchief for My Mom

Ryan and I also gave our mothers figurines of a mother with her daughter/son to show them how truly blessed we felt to have their love and guidance as we grew up. Since my dad walked me down the aisle, I was also concerned about including our mothers in the ceremony, so Ryan and I decided to take a moment to recognize our mothers by giving them both a rose during the ceremony.

What would your advice be to the family members of a bride?

Be supportive, loving, helpful and honest. I felt love and genuine elation from both of our families whenever the topic of our wedding came up and that was truly amazing. Both of our families were supportive and offered their opinions when asked, but weren’t judgmental, condescending or critical of our choices. (Nothing bothers me more than watching Say Yes to the Dress and seeing families pick apart the dress that a bride clearly loves!) Also, I have a hard time asking for or accepting help, so I found it really wonderful when my mom and sister came right out and said “this is a labor of love and we want to help.” They wouldn’t let me do it all myself which, in the end, was incredibly invaluable and saved me a lot of sleepless nights!

How did you balance the expectations and wants of your families with what you wanted?  How did you communicate between the two families?

We tried to be open with both of our families during the whole planning process. I felt like my mom was my go-to planner and I loved her proactive and positive approach to planning. My mom and Ryan’s mom worked together a lot (specifically on the rehearsal dinner) and met for lunch a few times to discuss planning. As far as family traditions are concerned, neither of our families had real strong opinions about what we had to incorporate into our wedding which was such a blessing. Of course I could sense when I had an idea that they weren’t exactly thrilled about (like when I toyed with the idea of Ryan and his groomsmen wearing beige suits rather than the black tuxes) and I tried to be respectful of their thoughts while staying true to the personal preferences that Ryan and I shared.

More to come! 🙂


  1. Gill (snaxandthecity) says

    Wow great post Julie! Looks like such a fantastic day. When I get married (many years from now hah) I’ll come back here for inspiration!


  2. Karla says

    Amazing post Julie! I look to your blog a lot for wedding advice/ideas. I am getting married in July and it’s been very helpful. In fact, I may snag your idea for the menus and programs, if you don’t mind. I think they are so beautiful! Also, thanks for sharing your approach to eating/exercise before the big day. I often feel like I “should” be crazy watching what I eat and working out, but like you I want to enjoy this time and focus on what’s about to happen, which is so amazing!


  3. says

    Well I don’t feel so crazy either!
    I had a clutch with similar items, I didn’t do any pre-wedding diet or fitness regime other than what I normally do (didn’t want to go crazy either) and I didn’t have a crying moment for my dress either. (I actually ended up having to pick/buy my dress 5 days before my wedding! But it was exactly what I wanted so it all worked out.)


  4. says

    This was unbelievably informative.

    I’m off to e-mail a bride and remind her how excited I am to be her bridesmaid in July and that I support her!

    I’m bookmarking this post for when my boyfriend and I tie the knot!

    Also, what an indescribably admirable attitude about wedding weight. How trivial it is to focus on a scale when the event is LOVE and LIFE! way to put it in perspective, so lovely


  5. says

    Thank for you this Julie! I find that the hardest part of planning our wedding is finding a balance between what we want as a couple and what our parents want. Chinese parents can be very overbearing and it’s hard to tell them that we’re going a different route. But at the end of the day, it’s about making ourselves happy and realizing that there is no way that we can make everyone else happy.


  6. says

    I love reading about weddings! I wish I could go back and redo mine (mostly because I was over 90 pounds heavier then), but also because I know so much more about what I want now!


  7. Presley says

    Random comment… But I wear a size 4 1/2 as well. I never thought much about it until I realized most of my friends were around 7 or 8… I feel like I have baby hands! But my future sister-in-law wears a size 3 1/2!!! They had to be very careful in choosing a ring that could be sized that small!


  8. Robyn says

    What were your favorite wedding related blogs or planning related sites that you looked to for advice after/ around the time you became engaged?


  9. says

    I know this post is from YEARS ago, but I just wanted to say I love the handkerchief idea and plan on using this for the Mums at my wedding next year! 🙂



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