Weddings can be so overwhelming to plan. While I was planning mine, I found it helpful to hear what other friends and family liked and didn't like about their own weddings, so I thought I would compile some thoughts in the hopes that it will help some of you with your own planning. Let's start with:
Things I'm glad we did:
1. We only held onto traditions that actually felt relevant to us, and made our wedding reflect us. For example, Jamie and I are from Utah and belong to the LDS faith. In our typical wedding culture, there's a temple ceremony in the morning that not all of your friends and family can attend, which is followed by a lunch, which is followed by a huge reception later that night with people on the guest list you've never met. Jamie and I decided that didn't function well for us or our loved ones, so we decided to have two separate days of wedding events. Day one was a ceremony that all of our closest friends and family could attend and share with us where we shared vows and exchanged rings. I had my mom walk me down the aisle because feminism. We kept the guest list short and sweet, unlike the culture of inviting every parents' cousins' neighbor that you have never met and don't know personally. We didn't do a receiving line or toss a bouquet or garter because it just didn't feel like us or fit the vibe we wanted at our wedding. We had THAI food catered instead of the typical wedding meal of chicken and vegetables. Day two was just the temple ceremony with our friends and family that could attend, then we went straight to our honeymoon. And it was beautiful and impactful for us. I wish everyone could know that just because lots of weddings are a certain way, yours doesn't have to be.
2. We hired lots of people. A DJ to help keep track of the timeline and set the mood with music, a florist to bring to life the little details we imagined, a wonderful photographer (who, bonus, is one of my best friends), a venue with event staff, etc. The more people you can hire, the less you have to be in charge of and the more you can just relax and enjoy the day. There's one person I didn't hire and wished I would have, you'll find that one below.
3. We brainstormed an overall feeling we wanted at our wedding, and made every event focused around achieving it. The feelings we wanted at ours were: intimacy (between me and Jamie, and between us and our small group of guests), happy tears, laughter, and warmth. Then every decision we made about the wedding from the guest list, to the events, to the lighting, to the decor had to run through the checklist: will this bring more intimacy? Will this add to happy tears? Will this bring warmth and laughter? I gotta say, I feel like we nailed it.
Things I Wish I'd Known:
1. Weddings are expensive! I wish I would have had realistic expectations as to how much each part of the wedding would cost, and would have budgeted realistically. Great florals are expensive. Little wedding favors for the guests will add up. There will be little details you forget about that suddenly take a thousand dollars from your budget. Take deep breaths and set a little extra aside as your incidentals fund while planning.
2. It is worth it to hire a wedding planner, or at the very least, a day of coordinator (many wedding planners offer that service). I thought since I had been to a lot of weddings as a photographer, I knew what to expect and could do it without a planner. We did pull it off, and it was still an incredible day, but there were times I wished I wasn't in charge of making something in the timeline happen. For example: we totally forgot to put out the desserts for the guests until a lot of them had already started leaving, because it was a detail I was in charge of and forgot to delegate to anyone. A planner wouldn't have missed that. On the bright side, we went home with LOTS of Sweet Tooth Fairy cupcakes.
3. Don't worry so much about pleasing everyone. Often, we would feel like we had the ball rolling with our plans and like things were going really well, but then a well meaning family member or friend would mention something about 'you really should invite this person,' or 'why aren't you doing that this way?' and then it would spiral us into trying to please mode. We eventually just decided to keep doing things the way wanted to, since it was OUR day and we wanted it to follow our vision. But we gave ourselves a lot of headaches worrying about appeasing other people's opinions, when it really was just that. Their opinions. There's no wrong way to do a wedding. If you have an idea of what you want in your head, don't let anyone else derail you.
So there you have it. I hope these ideas helped. I'll be posting more tips like these once a month, so if you don't want to miss them, sign up for my email list below. Also, let me know what kinds of things you'd like to hear from me! Leave a comment.
All of the photos in this post were taken by me at The Path Workshops in Salt Lake City.