What I Wish I Knew About Wedding Planning
This summer Dave and I will celebrate our eighth wedding anniversary (HOLLA!) which means it has been over eight years since I've planned a wedding. I still can remember what it felt like to plan such an event and how, at times, it was like a second job. There was so much to think about and organize. I was still in college when I was planning our wedding, a baby by today standards, I wed at age 22. I was one of the first of my close friends to get married and as an only child I had only been to a handful of weddings. I truly did not have any idea what I was doing. I learned so much in those nine months of planning and the subsequent years later of shooting weddings. Things that I try to pass along to my Bride and Grooms as they plan their weddings. Below are some of the things that I wish I knew when I was planning our own wedding.
Dave and I DIYed almost the entirety of our wedding. From the stationary to the flowers to the DJ'ing to the transportation, with the help of family and friends, we did the brunt of the work. And it was because that was what our budget could afford. There's nothing wrong with having a small budget, but looking back I think I would have dispersed the funds differently so to have the ability to hire professionals for the most important jobs of the day. Your wedding is a day that only comes around once and it ends with the blink of an eye. It is SO important to work with wedding professionals, people who know the wedding day inside and out, who can serve you on a day you never want to forget. No matter what your budget, hire professionals for the things that matter most, your memories will thank you.
We wed in 2006, right before the cusp of the smart phone and the explosion of social media. (Can you believe I almost canceled my Facebook account in 2006 because no one was using it at the time?!). So when it came time for the ceremony, I never had to worry about guests whipping out their cell phones or iPads or fancy cameras to take pictures. Sure a family member or two took a few pictures here and there but for the most part they were present as we said our vows and shared our first kiss. Today it's such a different vibe, where almost every guest has technology at their fingertips. If you haven't already, consider having an unplugged wedding or at the least encouraging your guests to put down their phones for the ceremony. It truly is a magical feeling knowing that your friends and family are present with you during such an important moment in your life.
As a wedding photographer today I want to scold myself as a former Bride. I paid no consideration to our timeline and our photography while planning our wedding. Our ceremony and reception were at least 30 minutes apart and Dave and I did not choose to have a First Look. That meant we were rushed when it came time for our photography. Add in a very rainy and thunderous day and well, the conditions were less than ideal. Today I try to plan out almost every minute with my couples to ensure that they have enough time to capture the images they desire without adding undue stress to the wedding day. Knowing ahead of time how much time is needed for the photography as well as planning for travel and unforeseen interruptions throughout the day is crucial to having a smooth timeline and an enjoyable day together.
Consider a First Look.
Like I mentioned above Dave and I chose not to have a First Look for our wedding day. I don't even know if chose is the right word because frankly we didn't even know this was an option!! I was so nervous the morning of our wedding and I would have given anything to have seen Dave before hand. That time alone on our wedding day would have been very welcomed and appreciated! (I love the idea of a First Look so much, that when we took our anniversary session four years later we decided to have a "First Look". It was one of the most special moments, ever.) While I know that a First Look is not for everyone, it is worth considering if it fits the vision you have for your wedding day.
It's amazing how Pinterest has altered the very fabric of weddings today. Sure wedding notebooks were huge when I got married but back in 2006, vision as it is related to a wedding day, was almost entirely about a singular color and not an over arching theme. I chose the color purple and based all our decisions around that. And while there is nothing wrong with that per say, pushing that vision further would have helped to pull all my details together. Pinterest had changed all that. Today Brides can truly theme their wedding around any idea that they choose and I highly recommend doing so. Having a vision creates cohesion between all of your details and choices related to the wedding day. Having a theme can communicate a clear message to your guests about what they day means to you and who you are as a couple.
When it came to our wedding day, there were things we did right and things I wish we could do over. There are things I know now, that I wish I knew then. But I know that all that experience and information has directly related to my clients today. I'm able to share what I've learned as a former Bride and now wedding photographer and pass that along to my Brides to ensure that they have the wedding and experience of their dreams. Our wedding was one of the best days of our lives, perfect or not, it paved the way for what I'm doing today!(Many thanks to Katelyn for this beautiful image from our amazing anniversary session!)