I got married last month!!!
On March 5th, 2016 my man and I said ” I do!” after nearly eight and a half years together. Part of me can’t believe it actually happened… We planned our wedding in just a few short months and the day flew by faster than any other day I’ve experienced. I really wish I could go back and relive it all again.
As a wedding photographer I’ve been to my fair share of weddings, picking up tips and tricks along the way. Now I have a brand new perspective. I’ve seen wedding days through the eyes of a flower girl, junior bridesmaid (and daughter of the bride), bridesmaid, photographer, and now, as the bride. Planning and experiencing my own wedding day has given me a whole new perspective on weddings. Here are a few of the things I learned:
Make It Yours
When it came time to plan our wedding it was really important to both Andrew and I that our day reflect us as a couple. In fact, the whole concept of whether or not our day truly was a wedding came into question. In the end, we decided it was half wedding, half elopement.
We chose to get married on the beautiful Pacific Northwest coast in early March. A brave decision considering we wanted both photographs and the ceremony to take place outside. We got ready together, said our vows over a crystal, wore leather boots instead of fancy shoes, and made sure that every person who participated in our day was close to us. Our photographer is one of my best friends and our officiant is her husband, my makeup artist is my good friend and gym partner, and my hair was done by two best friends, instantly bringing up memories of long nights of giggles with these same two girls in high school.
For the reception we gathered for snacks and drinks in the lodge then made our way to mine and Andrew’s favorite local restaurant for dinner. After dinner everyone went their own ways, some enjoying the sauna, some heading straight to bed, and the coolest of the group stayed up late playing Exploding Kittens and listening to old- timey records. 😉
Our day was loosely planned. Get up at 9am and get something to eat, start hair and makeup at 10am, head out for photos at 1pm, get hitched between 2 and 3pm, then dinner at 6pm. Easy as pie, right?
I always tell my couples to plan some buffer time into their day. You never know what will come up… I am SO glad we did this.
While I was busy getting ready with my ladies my poor husband was having some pretty nasty stomach pains. In addition, I forgot my beautiful silk sash and bouquet ribbon at home (2.5 hours away!) and my best ladies had to go searching through a florist shop for replacement ribbon. Thankfully Andrew’s sickness started to abate as soon as he had a little food in him and something to keep him occupied. He got ready with a little help from his brother and I while I decided to forgo the ribbon for my dress and bouquet all together.
Though everything turned out fine, these two little events set us back one whole hour.
Prioritize Your Budget
Andrew and I didn’t have much money to spend on our wedding and we really wanted to get the most out of what little money we did have.
We chose to have our wedding at the beginning of March because it’s still cold and wet out, definitely not peak wedding season in the Pacific Northwest. This allowed us to save on lodging for our guests as well as make a large dinner reservation instead of booking out a restaurant or hiring a caterer for our reception.
Photography was a high priority for us and we dedicated a chunk of our budget accordingly. We chose our photographer to suit our personalities and tastes, an added bonus that she’s one of our favorite people. In the end, we knew that the photographs would preserve our memories and we didn’t want to forget any of it!
We chose not to decorate a damn thing.
We skipped traditional cake and dances.
I made my own bouquet and Andrew’s boutonnière to match.
I kept my wedding attire costs down by ordering an “alternative” wedding dress, purchasing some boots I found on sale at a Clarks store in the mall, and wearing my own lingerie.
Andrew didn’t keep his wedding attire costs down… but damn did he look good!
The one thing I would have done differently on our wedding day is ask for more photographs of our family and friends.
This was the one day that all of our favorite people were in the same place at the same time and I could never have too many photographs of that. As the bride, I was busy getting ready, having my photos taken, getting hitched, and making sure to say hello to everyone. I didn’t get to see what everyone was doing while I was away from them and I really wish we would have had more time together.
There are a few ways we could have made more photos and/or family time happen:
- We could have hired a 2nd shooter. Though our wedding was very small, a 2nd shooter would have been able to capture bunches of friends and family candids while our main photographer was busy following us around.
- We could have asked for more photos. I didn’t even think to do this until it was too late! Thinking back, I would have loved an individual portrait of every person at our wedding. There were only 32 people and though this isn’t the most fun job for a photographer, if it’s planned it into the day it would make a great addition to the wedding album.
- We would have made our wedding a weekend long experience! This is my favorite of all the options, though it kind of throws budget out the window. Had we planned our wedding to be more of a weekend long event we would have had more time to spend with our people and we would have had a lot more opportunities to photograph everyone together.
Plan An Escape
Even a little one.
Weddings are a lot of work and very tiring for everyone involved. After our wedding day Andrew and I had planned a couple extra days off from work but didn’t take the time to go on a honeymoon or even a mini- moon. I really wish we had! After planning, executing, traveling, and catering to the needs of our guests we were pretty drained. It would have been amazing to take a couple of days away from home to be with my new husband.
Someday we plan to go on another grand adventure overseas, a delayed honeymoon somewhere exotic… and warm… with lots of tasty food.
Location: Sou’Wester Lodge in Seaview, Washington
Reception: Pickled Fish
Photographer: Shannon Rosan
Officiant: Milan Rosan
MUA: Cassandra Blyth
Bridal Attire: BHLDN & Xtabay
Groom’s Attire: JCrew & The Haberdashery