After countless performances entertaining for weddings in Orlando, FL and around the globe, when my now husband proposed to me, from the onset I knew exactly what would make us happy on our wedding day. Before I was a full time bellydancer, I had been promoted to event manager for a popular catering and events company in Orlando, FL. From the many experiences I have had watching brides and vendors go through flawless and not so smooth weddings, I learned so very much. As a bellydance bride, I knew i would put these experiences to use.

I thought I would share this blog today for any other soon to be bellydance bride who may be searching for some simple advice. My wedding went as smoothly as honey and I could have ever imagined and careful planning throughout the entire length of our engagement, allowed us time to enjoy and only 1 instance of stress during the planning process. 

Here is a list of stressful points during planning and some great tips for those who have never had event or wedding experience behind the scenes:

1. I bought the wedding dress right away, and online. My dress was the first thing I purchased a year ago and it was such a stress relief to do so and quite affordable. The boutiques where I live would charge $1k plus for the type of dress I was looking for and yet none had the neckline feature I was set on having. A thorough search online revealed something that with little modification would be EXACTLY what would work for my body and had the sexy neckline.

I know many brides worry about weight, and often will lose weight for the wedding, so no worries there as a seamstress can take the dress in. In my case I had to have my master seamstress friend Marcy extend the dress at the lower hip as I spent the year increasing my muscle mass and lower hip measurement. In fact, I increased my thigh and lower hip measurement a little too much by the wedding jaja, but while the dress may have been a  bit too snug in that area, I didn’t freak out. I had accomplished my muscle build goal and the snug dress on my wedding day was my visual proof of accomplishment jaja!

My parents helped me bling out the dress (which is such a nice memory) and after a couple fun details the dress was exactly what I wanted visually.

2. With destination weddings, the guest size is smaller which means only people you truly are close to and know will be there. My honey and I did not want people we did not know to end up at our wedding. We were firm on the number of invites, max guest count, and a not so subtle hint to one great friend to keep their unknown boyfriend at home. Not to be mean, but so that only faces we knew and loved would be there. True friends understand, and our party was nothing but people we cared about.

3. A stressful yet helpful part was the third party hotel/transport coordinator. With so many people flying in, needing trip details and etc… I enlisted a travel agency who works often with our designation wedding resort to help with all travel and stay details. Anytime a guest wanted to know something, they were sent over to the travel coordinators. While the coordinator could have been quicker to respond in my opinion, it was still a great help, and less stress on our plate.

4. The one moment in the planning process that was annoyingly stressful was the wedding invitation and shipping process. I designed the invites and honey gathered the rum bottles..that part was fun. Figuring out all the addresses, hearing “no” from some of our best friends/family who couldn’t come due to financial or health reasons, and 3 hours at the post office sending all the packages wasn’t. It is hard to hear those “no’s”, it is hard to get your at the time fiancé who is not a natural planner to get the information you need on time, and it is hard to be at the post for 3 hours to get the darn things shipped. 

5. Make sure to schedule SPECIAL TIME into your wedding day timeline. I can’t tell you how many times I have done or performed at weddings where the bride and groom didn’t have a moment to simply breathe! Ours was not the case. I specifically built in 15 minutes after our photoshoot to simply be with each other, relax and THEN go out to the reception area. 

We did a 45 minute photoshoot instead of an hour to accommodate this, and during our 15 minutes while the cocktail hour party was finishing, we giggled, took pictures, video, enjoyed each others company and relaxed after such a beautiful and emotional ceremony and photoshoot session.

I HIGHLY recommend brides and grooms do this. Downtime needs to be built in, and food time needs to be built in too!

6. Make sure to build FOOD into your timeline! Anyone who knows me knows that I MUST EAT, or I will be a nightmare. In the wedding timeline I had it built in to bring us food after our 45 minute photo session and eat we did. Thank goodness too as my hubby and I weren’t able to finish eating the main plate of our reception meal.

As soon as the ceremony was over, we took group and family shots for 10 minutes, then the guests were ushered over to the cocktail hour location to dance with the live band. In the 10 minutes while the photographer/videographer set up, and guests were moved, our personal server came to us with all the pescatarian cocktail hour appetizers I requested. Ohhhhh it tasted so good! The server laughed as I devoured the whole thing, and my honey as always smiled as he admired my healthy appetite.

During the reception meal, our personal server made sure we were served as soon as we sat down (we requested guests to be brought to buffet so we could eat in peace first). Not being able to finish our reception meal was our decision. My dress was hella hot, dancing was the  priority, and so we were up from our table, and in the process I told honey i wanted to change into dress two so I could dance, so he quickly ushered friends and family over for pictures before i changed which took quite a while to complete. After that I changed into my second dress and by the time I got back, the bugs of nature had taken a hold of our course which we had abandoned on the table during pictures. It is nature, but the dance party was in full swing, so we just danced and reggae’d the night away until the wedding ended.

7. You can bring your own decor! The resort where our destination wedding was held had limited decor offerings. As a crafty person, I decided to make or purchase all of our decor. Everything from a sparkle backdrop for the photo area to all of the table decor, and the cake topper and decor. This belly dancer packed two suitcases of decor and brought it over, and not only saved thousands doing so, but had a much more deluxe set up than the resort could have offered. Do not feel pressure into thinking you MUST use what the hotel or resort offers. Stick to your vision and do what you ned to do to achieve the look you want for the wedding.

8. Do something each week. Our wedding was smooth due to steady planning and luck with weather. There were no last minute projects. While at the wedding resort it was nothing but fun and relaxation with guests as all had been done beforehand. There was no sewing the day of, or anything strenuous. The only bummer was not being able to get a pedicure the day of which is not that big of a deal. My amazing friends brought over some polish from the resort and I did my own real quick. Quite a tiny detail. It was the most perfect day and so relaxing. 

Good luck to you if you are a bellydance bride to be on your weddings and much love! If you would like me to bellydance at your wedding visit this page.