• Picking a team of vendors that you trust is SO important.
• If you like to DIY, don’t be afraid to go for it, however, think about the effort, time, and end cost and make sure it’s worth it to do it yourself, or if it really makes more sense to hire someone else who specializes in whatever that is. For me, I LOVE the paper goods on a wedding day, but realized it wasn’t in our budget to spend thousands on a designer to do EVERYTHING. So what I did was figure out which parts I was comfortable doing. My dad is an artist, so I paid Shelby Made It to do some custom lettering of just our names and a few other elements, and we put the design together and printed ourselves. I really wanted every guest’s name to be handwritten on a place card for dinner though, and there’s NO way I was going to be able to do that well and without going crazy, so that’s something we paid to have done!
Check out our day on our planner’s website here: http://www.elevate-events.com/blog/katie-and-bobby
• If you are on the fence about getting a wedding planner, DO IT. I honestly could have planned our wedding without them, but omg I can’t imagine how much more stressed I would have been on the wedding day! There are so many moving pieces, and your vendors (photographer included) will do everything they can to make sure things stay on schedule and go as planned, but having a wedding planner to coordinate our vendors, set up, tear down, rentals, timeline, and just be someone to be there throughout the entire process who truly knows what they are doing, is NOT something that I would skip if I were to do it over again.
• Do an engagement session with your photographer. This one is a little self serving, BUT I absolutely felt so much more comfortable with our own photographer on the wedding day because we had already spent time with her shooting and knew what to expect in front of the camera. Plus, I used those photos for so many things… I had prints in cute frames around the reception, I plastered them allll over our wedding website. I still have more of the engagement photos displayed in our home than wedding photos just because they are more casual photos of us.
• If you can, I always recommend doing a first look and as many of the formal photos before the ceremony as possible. That way, after the ceremony, you can grab maybe a few of those bigger extended family pictures, and then you’re free to actually enjoy the party and cocktail hour with your guests rather than trying to fit in all of the photos you want in an hour or so.
• Plan your day around what you as a couple love and don’t worry too much about tradition if that’s not important to you. At the end of the day, you’re just throwing a big party for your friends and family… it’s a celebration of your love and that can look however you want. There are literally NO RULES, it’s up to you.
• Ceremony programs honestly aren’t necessary if you’re wanting to save somewhere (but neither are menus, and I printed one for every guest soooo… set your priorities lol)
• Utilize family with talents that might be useful! Everyone wants to help if they can, so don’t be afraid to ask for it! My dad designed our invites, my mom made all of our handmade candle wedding favors, my sister-in-law did my hair and makeup, my mother-in-law dropped off all of the glassware to our florist after the wedding when we were on our honeymoon.
• Even if your fiancé doesn’t seem super into the planning, they WILL have opinions on some things, so be sure to listen when they do! In my dream world, I would have had my husband in some cool jewel tone colored suit, but that’s so not him, and what he picked looked great. He really wanted us to write our own vows, which I was terrrrrified to do, but in the end it was so special because they were more personal, and I knew it was important to him.
• Set aside time for sunset photos. About 30 minutes before sunset, plan to sneak out for some time to just get away from the craziness of the reception, and (hopefully depending on the weather of course!) capture some magical photos in some of my faaaavorite kind of light. This was so important to me on our wedding day, and those photos are some of my favorite from the entire day.
• If you’re buying things, try and choose items that you will actually use again when possible. I went with some sandals that aren’t super fancy or really wedding-y (but they were comfy and a fun color!) and my earrings weren’t super bridal I just loved them, so now I can wear them whenever I want and it’s always fun when I do! I bought a lot of frames for signs and pictures, so I made sure they were really my style and now I have them all around the house! I did the same thing with other decor… we didn’t buy much because most of the decor was florals (a big ticket item that was pretty high on my priority list).
• The MOST important thing I learned though, is that at the end of the day, no matter what it looks like, or how perfectly planned it is, what you will remember is how you felt and how much love was all around, so all that matters is that you say “I do” and know you get to spend forever with your favorite person. So be sure to pick an awesome photographer to capture all of that AND what it looked like, because it’s certainly fun to look back at it all once the memories start to fade!
Most of you will have a venue at this point, but just in case, here are some of my favorites that I've worked at, and a few on my list of places I'd love to shoot at!
The Madison Club
Garver Feed Mill
Mansion Hill Inn
The Fields Reserve
The Villa Filomena
The Ivy House
Burlap and Bells
We'll be in touch as soon as we can!
We can't wait to meet you.