Congratulations! You're engaged! That's amazing!
Now that you've had time to celebrate and process, it's time to plan. But you've most likely never planned a wedding before- it can seem daunting. What if I told you it doesn't have to be! When I was planning my own wedding, it was really hard. I didn't have a wedding planner, and I had a bunch of people throwing their opinions at me. I hope this helps you and gives some insight into this journey you're about to embark. I genuinely wish I had this advice when I got engaged!
Planning a wedding is a lot, we all know this.
Here are 5 things you need to know when you're planning a wedding, coming from the perspective of a wedding photographer/someone who recently planned their own wedding! These are here to help you with the entire wedding process, so that your wedding day is perfect for you!
These tips are to guide your mindset through the wedding process. Logistics aside, wedding planning is overwhelming. I'm here to help you enjoy it as much as possible!
1. Think about your values and priorities together.
So many things to do, so little time...
It's overwhelming, and it's not always fun. Before you find your venue, vendors, or dress- think about what's most important to you. How do you want to feel on your wedding day? What's top of your priority list? How will you express those values through your budget?
Think big picture about the important things in your life. Visualize the ambiance, the emotions, the rush of it all. You and your partner should be on the same page before you take any steps in the planning process. If you both value family relationships, maybe your guest list should reflect that. If you value intimacy and closeness, maybe your wedding day will look like more of an elopement.
Talk it out together and write these down so you can reference them. It's SO easy to stray away from those values once you get caught up in all the planning and opinions. Stand your ground and remember why you're planning a wedding in the first place.
2. Don't worry about making everyone happy.
One of the best pieces of advice I heard while planning my wedding was this: no matter what you do, or how you do it, there will always be someone who isn't happy with everything (usually it's family members 👀). If you focus too much on people pleasing, you're just not gonna have a great time. Accept that there will always be opinions, and that they don't really matter that much. What matters is that this is a celebration of the love and unity between you and your partner.
3. Hire vendors you can trust.
Do your research, ask ALL the questions.
Your relationships with your coordinator, florist, makeup artist, and photographer are SO so important. If there's no trust, you just won't be happy with the work they put out. Align yourself with people who you believe in, whose values match up to your own. This is key to any type of wedding or elopement. Shopping around for vendors can be overwhelming, but once you find people whose work you're just in love with, it will be so worth it. This might be all very new for you, but if you're clear about your values and vision, it's not very complicated. You can find some guidance on how to find a wedding photographer here!
4. Be intentional about how you spend your time on your wedding day.
Once the day starts, it's go time. Like non-stop. And it happens so fast!
Remember to just be present. Be present with your family, be present with your partner.
Now, I know this isn't for everyone, but I ALWAYS recommend a first look. Hear me out, this might be the ONLY time you and your partner will have a quiet moment alone together. And no, this won't ruin the "wow" factor when the bride walks down the aisle... That's still a very special and exciting moment. And nooo it's not bad luck lol. It's such a beautiful and intimate moment that you can't ever do again. Lots of couple use this time to exchange personal vows or letters before the ceremony.
If you're like 100% totally against a first look, I highly recommend still taking a quiet moment with your partner before the ceremony. This can look like praying together, or reading love letter to one another while you're not looking at each other. I promise, IT'S WORTH IT.
5. Do whatever the hell you want.
I can not reiterate this enough. YOU DO YOU.
My number one advice to every couple I work with is this: only do things that reflect you as a couple.
Everything else is irrelevant. Don't like being the center of attention? Elope! Get married in the mountains! Have an intimate dinner with just your closest friends and family! Love big parties and dancing? Do the big wedding! I don't care! As long as you're absolutely loving the way you get married.
My husband and I decided to get married at the courthouse last minute, because we were totally over planning a "wedding." Yeah, a courthouse ceremony with one witness. We got Korean BBQ afterwards with some family and you know what- it was freaking awesome. A whole wedding ceremony just didn't vibe with us. We never wanted a big complicated wedding, so we eloped and then had an intimate dinner with our closest friends and family a couple weeks later.
Everyone is different, so that doesn't mean you have to do it like anyone else. There are so many ways these days that you can do it. Get creative, and really think about it. 10 years from now, are you going to regret it? What are your values? What do you want to feel most on your wedding day? These are important questions you and your partner should be asking yourselves.