February 9, 2016
So if you didn’t know, last June I got married! See photo below by our photographer, Cassidy Brooke! Even though over six months have passed since our wedding day, every time I sit down with a potential bride, I find myself just wanting to expel bridal information, ideas, and tips like a loose firehose. I could literally sit there and talk about ceremonies, flowers, and cake all day long. But what I notice more and more about brides that who are planning their wedding is that they are stressed. After all, this is a big day–probably one of the biggest a bride will ever have! There is a lot riding on their shoulders as they process through different vendors and ideas, making multiple decisions a day.
At my last wedding consultation, my newest Shea Brianne bride glanced up from her little notepad of photography questions and her expression changed ever so slightly. The vibe at our little table in the coffee shop went from formal and fun to personal. She looked at me and asked somewhat sheepishly, but with openness and hope, “do you have any tips? What would you do differently if you could do it all over?”
The question made me think. I loved our wedding day. My cliché answer is, “nothing,” but as a bride-to-be not that long ago, I know what it’s like to desire to plan things well and do it up right, and asking for advice is one of the best ways to do that. Personally, I think so much of the actual wedding day lies in the planning process. So today, this newlywed is sharing her four biggest wedding planning tips to unsure a planning process that cultivates your marriage-to-be, and also prepares you for a wedding day that is organized and memorable!
1.ENJOY THE PROCESS: I hear more and more engaged girls say that they hate wedding planning, and I never know what to say to them because honestly, I enjoyed almost every moment of planning our wedding. My thought process was that our wedding would be one day–approximately 12 hours. That’s not that long when you think about it! So you might as well enjoy the planning process. Because you have to plan in order to have organization, try to find ways to enjoy it if you find yourself dreading it. For example, ask yourself how you can personalize certain aspects you’re working on. For me, choosing a design for the cake was pretty overwhelming. Looking at all the cakes on Pinterest did not help. So instead, I pulled out a sketchbook and actually drew the designs I wanted for each layer of our cake! This was 0% more expensive, and way more fun. If you’re not enjoying the process, focus on the love between you and your love, do something that makes you come alive and get excited, or even just take a slower pace! Do what you need to to make the process enjoyable, even if it means hiring a planner.
2. HIRE A PLANNER. You can’t do everything. Trust me, I pretty much tried at some points in the planning process. Consider what level of involvement that you want, how busy you are, and what kind of budget you have for a planner. Because I loved the planning process and felt fairly organized and familiar with the wedding industry in my area, I simply booked a planner for our rehearsal and the day of our wedding. It might seem like an extraneous cost, but once that day before the wedding comes and it’s time to set everything up, a planner becomes invaluable. Most planners offer packages that include day of + rehearsal organization, planning help, and also full planning and design packages.
3. VISUALIZE FIRST. Knowing what you want ahead of time will make the planning process move along more quickly. Don’t wait for your wedding vendors to make suggestions; start browsing through magazines or just visualizing what you want your wedding to look and feel like. Remember that this is you and your fiancé’s day–it doesn’t have to look like Pinterest or follow all of the “rules.” Make it your own. One of the first things I did in the planning process was buy a pretty binder. I stuffed tons of images from magazines and such into this binder–things from color palette swatches to dress ideas to detail shots I liked. I took this binder to every appointment so that I could show my vendors all of my ideas right then and there. It’s much easier to do this than email them a picture later!
4. GO WITH YOUR GUT. Eventually you will get to a point with some wedding decisions where you just need to go with your gut and decide. Mulling over things for too long will stress you out and make you feel indecisive and stressed. For wedding aspects that aren’t as necessary or incredibly important to you, just go for what feels right and keep rolling so you can get on to more important things (like hanging out with your fiancé)!
5. ORGANIZE. So you’ve picked the caterer and chosen the flowers and decided on the napkin color and fold. But now your spare bedroom is filled with flower girl baskets, candles, communion cups, and a giant aisle runner. A great way to ease your stress pre-wedding day is to organize everything that you plan to take to the venue in large tubs. Organize the tubs by categories such as “ceremony,” “getting ready,” and “for photos.” Grab a sticker label or tape a piece of paper to the tub and actually label out everything that is in this tub. Wedding day, this will come in handy if a planner or bridesmaid needs to find something but doesn’t know where to look.
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We're Shelby & Jared, Springfield MO wedding photographers passionate about meaningful living. We document timeless moments for free-spirited, elegant couples across the Midwest and beyond. As fine art photographers, we strive to create work that will leave a legacy of love for years to come.
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