So your lover popped the question and you’re asking yourself “I’m engaged, now what!?!” Don’t worry, that was my first question too. And one of my first resources was family and friends. I called them up and said, “Hey, who did you book for your photographer, venue, caterer??” Looking back now, I wish I would have had more guidance in the process. And now that I am in the wedding industry my eyes have been opened to all of the possibilities of making your dream day come true.
I’m here to tell you that if you are planning a traditional/big wedding, but you have a gut feeling that it really isn’t for you, that it doesn’t have to be! Hell, I LOVE all weddings big or small. But truth be told, I wish I would have followed that feeling in my gut. I was so excited when my now-husband popped the question, that I just jumped in headfirst without truly educating myself. So here are a few tips on the process of planning your wedding. And whether a traditional wedding or an elopement/small wedding is right for you.
You’re newly engaged and now it’s time to figure out what in the heck you should do next. This is such an exciting time, but it can also seem quite stressful. Walking into the unknown is always a bit stressful, but with these wedding tips, it should help bring you to peace with planning your big day.
- First, you’ll want to figure out the budget you want to spend on your wedding. And with this budget, it can also help you decide if you want a bigger or smaller wedding. Did you know the average cost for a traditional wedding starts at $25,000? And that’s not including your honeymoon. Looking back now, I wish I would have eloped and had my honeymoon all in one. WIN-WIN!
- Then you will want to set a date. It is best to keep an open mind on dates. Especially if you have other vendors in mind that you realllly want at your wedding. Having multiple dates to send over to them will help you secure those vendors. Fall dates go fast. September-November is usually booked up at least a year ahead of time. So do not wait to reach out if you are looking for a wedding during those times. When looking at dates, it’s also good to consider a weekday. Vendors typically offer discounts on weekdays so it’s always good to check! If you are thinking about eloping, this takes away the stress of choosing a date that your photographer will be available. You can elope any day you would like, and runaway with your beau to a destination that you will remember for the rest of your lives.
- Now you are looking at venues. Make sure you keep in mind the guest count you are wanting when viewing venues. Untraditional weddings don’t always mean eloping. This could also mean, when looking at venues, checking the best time of day to get married, and how the light will be at that time. Which could determine at what time your ceremony will start. Will it be a golden hour ceremony at 4 pm in the fall or 7 pm in the summer? Traditional ceremonies start between 12-2 pm, which can mean harsh light during if you are considering an open venue. Another tip when looking at venues is to consider locations that mean something special to both you and your S/O. Do you love to go to a certain park, the church you belong to, or maybe even a bar/restaurant that you had your first date at? This is a great way to incorporate a special detail on your wedding day. And don’t forget that if you are eloping you can always have a reception when you get back home!
- After you have decided on the location for your wedding, whether in a church, or a mountaintop, it’s time to pick your photographer! And in my opinion, this is the biggest investment for your wedding day. This is the person that is going to be capturing your day for you to look back on for generations to come. When looking at photographers, make sure it is someone that you honestly vibe with. That you can communicate with them easily, and someone you are looking forward to spending this special day with too. What type of wedding are you leaning towards? Do you see this reflected in their work? Make sure they are familiar with the type of wedding you are dreaming of. It never hurts to ask to see a gallery from a wedding they have shot in the past.
- Ok, so you found you the photographer of your dreams, now ask them about other vendors in the area that they would recommend. Wedding vendors usually build a strong relationship together and your photog should have lots of tips and recs on who would fit perfectly into your wedding day.
Now you have all the tips to help you start this journey, but still not sure about which type of wedding is the one for you. If you are telling yourself “well my family has always gotten married in the church, or my aunt or parents will be upset if I decide to not do a traditional wedding,” and it’s not really what you want, you don’t have to do it. Sorry to say, but it’s not about them.
Your wedding is meant to be about YOU and your significant other and what YOU both want. You don’t want to look back and think, I wish I would have done this or that. I’m not here to tell you to elope and drill it into your head that if you don’t you are going to regret it. No, not at all. I’m just speaking from my own experience and other brides that I have talked to, that at the end of the day all that matters is saying ‘I Do” to your lover. It doesn’t matter how many flowers you have, or what type of koozies you designed. It doesn’t matter about how many people are in your wedding party, or if you went with chicken or beef at your wedding. It’s about two people in love committing to spending the rest of their lives together. And you can do that in a church with 300 of your family members, friends, acquaintances, distant cousins, or you can do that with just the two of you (plus me) or you can do it with just your grandparents. Whatever you want!
I fell into the pressure of wanting to please others, before trying to please myself. I wish I would have done things differently, but the outcome was all that mattered to me. Marrying the love of my life. There are so many different options on how your wedding day can go about, and I just want to be the voice inside your head that says “choose what makes you happy, not others.” I love capturing big weddings, seeing all those people come together to witness you exchange your vows. But elopements and small weddings have my heart. The intimacy and intention of the day stick with me long after your day has come and gone. And I’ve never heard a couple say “ugh, eloping to the mountains was the biggest mistake I could have made on my wedding day.”
So when you inquire about your wedding day, and you have questions on how to go about planning your big day, remember these tips. And the answers you find should help you determine exactly what kind of wedding is the one that helps your dream day come together.
“I’m engaged, now what!?!” doesn’t have to be a stressful question. Take this time to spend it with your lover as a newly engaged couple. Time flies by and soon enough you’ll be sharing “I do’s.” And p.s. don’t forget to include your pups.