Marriage,  Tips & Tricks,  Wedding

Firstborn Groom: The Failures & Successes of Organizing Our Son’s Wedding

The blur of our past few months was topped off with the most incredible wedding celebration between our son, Micah, and his new bride, Hannah. But before we could all walk down the aisle, the amount of mind-boggling details had to be put into motion. For a Type-A mom, a take-charge dad, and their firstborn son you’d think that would be fairly easy. 

Not so much. 

Here are a few things that went well, and a few things we’d do differently.

5 Months Out – They’re engaged! Take pics, call family and friends. Seems like an easy task, but the order in which you tell people makes a difference. A few got their feelings hurt, but we did our best.

4 Months Out – Reserved and paid for the DJ. Super glad we went with the best guy in the area. It’s true what they say… a DJ makes or breaks the reception! 

3 Months Out – Reserved hotel rooms for us and the groomsmen. Santa Barbara is a small town. Knowing everyone had a convenient place to stay before rooms got booked up was key to being able to relax.

Inked a caterer for our rehearsal lunch. Due to a scheduling conflict with a family member, we couldn’t do a rehearsal dinner, but lunch was just as great! Some people said they liked it better because then they had the whole evening to relax, go out, whatever.

Texted family and friends a “Save the Date” for the wedding shower I was throwing Hannah. This might not seem necessary, but with people’s schedules these days, marking their calendars long before the official invite arrived helped everyone plan.

2 Months Out – I should’ve purchased decorations and party favors for the rehearsal lunch then, but I wasn’t thinking clearly. Running from store to store in the last week was a bummer. 

Also, Etsy has incredibly creative goodies for rehearsal dinner decorations and party favors. My goal is to order some personalized items from them next time! 

1 Month Out – Sent rehearsal lunch invites to family and bridal party. Instead of relying on everyone to remember all the details from the email weeks later, Micah had a great idea. He texted his groomsmen the rehearsal lunch details the night before, and Hannah texted all of her girls. And out of all 12 people in the bridal party, every single person was on time for the rehearsal! 

1 Week to Go – Sent out a detailed text to all family and close friends who would be in town early. It spelled out where we would be every day, with all the times, and if it was a “y’all come” or a “family only” event. 

More Lessons Learned

Bummer – Delegate, delegate, delegate. I’m a capable adult with dozens of parties under my belt, but pretty much everything turned out to be way more time-consuming and difficult than I thought it would. 

Success – Live spreadsheets to the rescue! Poke fun if you want, but they saved us. There were different spreadsheets for every topic, and it was so nice knowing all six of us were on the same page. So to speak. 

Bummer – Before the wedding shower I threw for Hannah, a couple friends helped me with decorating, and a couple family members helped with food. It turned out great, but in hindsight, I would’ve asked for a lot more help instead of doing it mostly by myself. The details of trying to make it special took way longer than I expected. 

Success – I asked a few friends to take as many pictures and videos as possible, and I’m so grateful for what they captured! The professional photographers were fantastic, but they can’t be everywhere at once. Asking friends to snap candids is always a great idea.

Bummer – Prepping for the rehearsal lunch alone felt a little rough. My parents helped, but I felt rushed and like I needed more hands. I wish I would’ve asked more people to pitch in. I made the mistake of not thinking through how everything would flow, and at the end it felt a tad lonely. Next time I’ll bring in the troops, blast the music, and make a party out of it!

Success – As for the wedding day, start everything earlier than you think you should. Hair, makeup, eating, drive time, photos, everything. Hannah’s mom did an excellent job of scheduling everything with plenty of time, and it all ran smoothly! Having a few minutes before the ceremony to breathe, pray, relax, and eat a snack? Such a gift. 


As a structured firstborn with an organizing business, I think I assumed everything would run like clockwork. As a human, I realized I should’ve put more effort into a few things here and there instead of assuming it would all work itself out. 

Buuuut… at the end of the day, Micah and Hannah were married, and that’s all that matters. A month later and my husband and I are still recovering, but it truly felt like a dream.

Above all, we are beyond grateful for two gingers who love Jesus and love each other!

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  • Debbie Eady

    Just sent this to a friend who’s daughter is getting married. She’s forwarding it to the mother of the groom. If you have any more mother of the bride tips, they’d be greatly appreciated! My Jenelle’s wedding went great. I hosted the rehearsal dinner (about 49 people) at my house the night before and had family staying with me. It was a LOT, but so great. I really enjoyed your tips.
    Hugs! Debbie

    • Carrie Talbott

      How kind of you to forward this on! Thanks, Debbie. Yes, I most likely have a few more tips. Feel free to have her contact me.

      Wow–hosting dinner at your house for that many people and having family stay with you at the same time is definitely a lot! Thanks for chiming in, and for sharing my words with others. I appreciate you!

  • Dan Dawson

    Wedding planning can be so much chaos, but at the same time, almost always things work out well in the end. I remember running around crazy on my own wedding morning because the florist thought the wedding was on the next day, not that afternoon! Crazy times… but it all worked out 🙂

    • Carrie Talbott

      Oh no! That’s not super fun on your own wedding day. You’re right–it usually all works out in the end. Thanks for stopping by, Dan. Now go book a florist for your daughter; her wedding will be here before you can say cheese. Haha.