Wedding Advice for Newly Engaged Couples: Takara Swoopes Bullock

When you discussed the wedding, was most important to the two of you?

Great question. Our family and friends getting to know each other and enjoying themselves in Hawaii was the most important part for us. Since we’d already had a special ceremony (for just the two of us a year earlier) we wanted our second one to be all about our closest family and friends.

How did you incorporate this into your wedding?

We had a wonderful kick-off rehearsal dinner, a short and sweet ceremony, and a long and fun celebration party/reception. Each event included many opportunities to interact with others and have a good time. We wanted the wedding atmosphere to be very friendly, and laid-back.

Did you register for gifts and was it a good experience?

Yes, I registered for gifts and I HATED registering. I’ll say it again, I HATED registering for gifts. My mom guilted me into registering and it was a bad decision. Mainly because there’s no such thing as an international registry, so it made getting gifts back to Tokyo a headache and costing us a lot of money.

Could you share some wedding planning advice for newly engaged couples?

Absolutely, what immediately comes to mind for me in terms of advice for couples is, don’t get so caught up into the fantasy of it all that you end up throwing money away on unnecessary stuff. When in doubt, default to simple. It’s the little things that both add up and stall the planning process up.

Where did you splurge and where did you save?

We splurged on the reception. The venue (The Halekulani) was a dream and the food was amazing. And (eh hmmmm), we also splurged on my wedding dress. It was a designer dress by Amsale and it was double what I initially budgeted, oh did I LOVE that dress!

What specific cost surprised you (pleasantly or unpleasantly)?

Wedding stationery – unpleasantly. I love me some pretty paper, so I wanted to have the best of the best. I couldn’t believe how much the best of the best costs! We used an online retailer, Wedding Paper Divas for our save-the-dates, invites, directions, and RSVP cards. In the end, it still cost us a lot.

Could you share a favorite DIY project (feel free to include a link) from your wedding?

I used picnik to create menus, table numbers, and favor tags for our wedding.

Could you share some wedding day advice for newly engaged couples?

Certainly. Brides, make sure you have your make-up artists at the reception or have someone on hand to freshen up your make-up mid reception. This will ensure all of your reception photos look fab and your make-up looks fresh. I wish someone had told me this! I had a blast at my reception, but I hate all of the photos post 7PM.

For grooms, steal your new wife away from the wedding crowd at least two times to have a moment just the two of you. My husband did this and it really made the day special.

Could you share your favorite photo from the day and tell us why you love it?

This is a photo of us entering the reception, about to get the party started! I love this photo because it really captured both of our personalities.

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Image Courtesy of: David Murphey


Thank you, Takara! I loved your use of technology (especially of the free kind!) to organize your wedding and you lovely take on being a gracious host for your multicultural wedding guests (and respecting their customs).

Would you like to ask Takara any questions about her wedding experience? Leave a comment and we'll try to get back with you!

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