Congrats you’re engaged! You are now being bombarded with questions and advice from every other woman who has been in your shoes. Some of us would have changed things if we had known better. Some of us are SO glad we did take that advice. So make up your own mind, girly. This is your day!
This info is mostly aimed toward LDS weddings but I’m sure it can be applied to any bride!
Remember, this is my opinion. Don’t get your feelings hurt if you disagree with me. This isn’t meant to be hurtful but helpful.
1) Prioritize for your Budget
The first thing I suggest is sitting down with your budget and figure out your priorities. What things are very important to you? For me I knew that my dress and my photographer were the most important things to me. Other things like flowers or the luncheon or what food was served at the reception I didn’t care about as much.
Now this may sound selfish but that’s why I’m encouraging you to figure out your budget and how selfish you want to be in what area. Then when you know the things that are important you can be adamant about those things and the rest be low key about. After all, most girls dream of their wedding day their whole life. You deserve to be happy with the outcome of your day.
2) The Photographer
As I mentioned before, obviously the photographer meant a lot to me. I understand that for other women..the photographer man not seem as important. This is where I try to convince you otherwise. In the words of one of my good friends,
“One thing I am so grateful for is our wedding pictures, and I’m not just saying this for your blog post! The pictures are the only concrete thing we have left from such a special day. That’s where the money should go, because no part of the day will be recorded if you don’t have pictures. Not to mention, it’s so fun to look back and remember certain moments our photographer captured for us. A picture really is worth a thousand words!”
Amen girl! You can spend tons of money on your beautiful day and have nothing to show for afterwards if you don’t have a photographer! Since I am a photographer I will tell you..some are better than others.
“Choosing a wedding photographer is like buying a house: you get what you pay for.”
“Never rely on friends or family to capture your wedding photography, it will never work out how you imagine. I have had some very upset brides call me asking if I can help to salvage something from their wedding photographs taken by a well meaning friend or family member. Your wedding photography can understandably be all about money before the wedding, after the wedding no amount of money can fix this or replace it. It becomes priceless.”
Lots of Brides may say oh my family member has a nice camera, we will just have them take the photos. Cameras don’t create the beautiful images just like that. It takes a lot of practice and hard work to create these images. I can’t quickly say everything I need to in this section but trust me, you will never ever ever regret spending money for great photographer. You will be grateful you did. I guarantee it.
My own photographer was brilliant and my Mother complained about the cost of the photographer but she didn’t complain once she saw the photos. I have been married for quite some time now and still receive compliments about my wedding photos. They were stunning..not just because I was in them! 😉 My photographer knew what she was doing. Her personality was perfect for us as couple. She captured the moments just as I had pictured them in my mind. She caught my vision and I will forever be grateful I found her!
“The single most important thing for couples after their wedding is to see great wedding photographs that captured their wedding day. You will be devastated if they are not what you expected because you used a cheap and inferior photographer or simply did not do your research. You only get one chance to get it right on your wedding day.”
These quotes are from this article on Why Your Wedding Photography is so Important.
Ever heard of an Unplugged wedding? They are ideal for the best photos of your day.
Let your photographer capture the day, and let everyone else enjoy the day. I can’t tell you how frustrating it can be when other guests think they are the photographer and get in the way.
Do yourself and your photographer a favor and read this article.
3) Hair and Makeup
This is where I don’t want to use the word regret..but if I could have gone back I would have done things differently. I knew I wanted a professional to do my hair and makeup but was extremely frustrated with the results for my bridal shoot a week before my wedding so I chose to do my own make up the day of the wedding. I was unaware of certain aspects of makeup so my wedding day my face looks very ‘flat’. I didn’t use contouring like professional makeup artists do and you can tell in the photos. I have since found out that local girls own their own makeup and hair businesses and are affordable and do an amazing job. (Logan Makeup Artists just to name a few..Sarah Hernandez, Jessie West, B. Beautiful Artistry, Carrie Purser)
Although I was upset that the makeup artist didn’t listen to what I wanted with my makeup for my bridal shoot, she did a better job than I did for my wedding day.
Can you the difference in these photos? The makeup helps you look better in photos not to mention gives you a feel I think every woman deserves to have on her wedding day: being pampered! This is the one day in your life where I think you are allowed to be spoiled and completely happy. Why not get your hair and makeup done? Like I said there are some very affordable choices as well as places where you can spend more money for better results.
4) The Venue
We get it, I’m a photographer. So I tell you some Venues are far better than others. Living in Utah I have found that saving on a venue is fairly common practice and brides end up using a local church gym. Although some gyms are easier on the eyes..they are not easy to photograph. Yes a photographer should learn to capture photos no matter their surroundings. But, if you want beautiful photos for your day keep in mind that there are other options.
For me, my husband’s neighbor had a barn they had cleaned out and used for dances from time to time. So my mom and mother in law and I went over and helped her paint the walls and do things to help her so that we were able to use the barn, free of charge. It was a huge favor that I greatly appreciated and ended up being perfect for my wedding. Think outside the box. Do you have a family member or friend who has a nice backyard you could pay to use? Can you do a labor trade to use a venue?
5) Time of Day
I knew I didn’t want to wake up super early on my wedding day and feel rushed. My wedding was at 3pm so I slept in, showered and then went and got my hair done and was able to take my time doing my makeup.
It was a pretty low-key morning. Once our sealing was over and we walked out of the temple it was probably around 4:20-4:30 in August. Unknowingly I had also picked a great time for photos. Summertime makes for great evening shots. There are less shadows, less heat and all around better photos. My reception was outside/in a barn and the photos look great because of the time of day! It wasn’t until the sun went down and we had our first dance that the photos were harder to take, mostly because of the hazy lights in the barn.
6) The Dress
So we know from my first paragraph the dress was an important thing on my list. I had noticed looking at other bride’s photos that a lot of them on the day of the wedding are waist up photos. The top of the dress is shown in all the photos. I knew from this that finding a dress that was modest was preferable but if I was unable to find one with sleeves, I would pay the extra to have it altered to be modest instead of buying a jacket to cover my shoulders. I figured that if I got a jacket that didn’t match it would clash with the dress or cover up half of the beautiful top of the dress and therefore, ruining the point in spending lots of money on a wedding dress.
Again this threw my mom for a loop because of the unfortunate cost to fix my dress. However, when she saw the final results..she understood. My bragging moment for this is that I have had several women tell me it was the most beautiful dress they had ever seen. I never had to regret not spending a few extra dollars to make my dress perfect.
I had a family member tell me that she hated her wedding dress. She told me it was unflattering and couldn’t stand to look at any of her wedding photos. I knew I would have felt that way as well. So you may think what a brat or she is so spoiled when in reality I found ways to cheapen the cost for my wedding to make up for spending so much on my dress and photographer.
That’s the key here! Not to spend tons of money on everything, but to put your money where it is mostly wanted. I knew if my dress and photographer was perfect, nothing else mattered!
7) The reason for your wedding day is to be married to your Husband
Weddings are kind of like Christmas. Some people get so caught up in the commercial side of Christmas they forget that it is actually about Christ. Your wedding day is not about all these things I just listed as important things to keep in mind. It’s not about whether or not your dress is the dress of your dreams (although I hope it is!). In the end, it’s about the fact that you are marrying the man of your dreams. The boy you will spend the rest of eternity with. The man that will be the father of your children! This will forever be your wedding day. It’s a beautiful day no matter what. Don’t let everything keep you from understanding the importance of this day.
8) Don’t have a Line
That’s right. I said it. Don’t have a line. My mom was terrified of how it would look for me not to have a line and to stand and greet all my guests coming in. To me that sounded like a death sentence. I didn’t want to spend my reception standing in one spot for hours. My mom and I made a compromise that I would walk around and greet every guest, so that’s what I did. Some were short and sweet and some I got to sit down and talk to for a few minutes. It was perfect. I got to walk and enjoy the beautiful decor my mom had worked so hard on and also just enjoy it being my wedding day. Whenever my husband and I go to a wedding, we skip the line and congratulate them later. We hate formalities and also, I didn’t grow up in Utah and so it wasn’t as common place to have a line at a reception.
Yes it is important to talk to your guests, even the ones you don’t know because they took the time to come and congratulate you and maybe even bring a thoughtful gift. But that doesn’t mean it has to be in a formal line. As a friend of mine said, “every wedding in that area is exactly the same and incredibly boring! People come in and go through the line maybe have a cookie and leave.”
9) Have a First Look/Bridals
Some Brides are really hesitant when it comes to breaking the rules of getting married. Such as seeing the groom before your wedding day. Why should you just flush the rule book down the toilet? First of all, if you are getting married in the temple..you most likely won’t be in your wedding dress for the ceremony. When he will see you in your wedding dress will be after the ceremony for a minute before you head out the doors together. There will be no cameras to document that moment and believe me, you want them documented. If you get formals done together then you can have a moment where the photographer can photograph your first look. (Google first look..it’s awesome)
Then your wedding day can be less stressful photos-wise because you already took some together! Plus you can go to cool locations that you may not have time for on your wedding day. You can also have cool photos printed in time for the wedding day to be posted around your reception. Or your photographer can be awesome and include a canvas print in your package that you have hanging on your wall right now that you get to look at every day and people swoon over when they are in your living room. If you missed some photos you wanted to take, you can do that the wedding day. If you didn’t like your makeup (like me) you can get a second chance on your wedding day! It’s just a wonderful idea. I can’t imagine anyone regretting it.
10) Relax, and enjoy every minute
As I mentioned before, the day of my bridals was a nightmare. I showed up for my hair appointment to find out my hair stylist was in a different state. I went to my makeup appointment where the girl had left and they didn’t know when she would be back. The girl at the makeup counter was rude and short with me and ended up doing my makeup how she wanted..I could go on and on. Needless to say, things didn’t go the way I had wanted. After that experience I was determined that no matter what happened on my wedding day, I would be happy and just enjoy it.
The day of my wedding several things went wrong including that one of my dresses went missing I was supposed to change into and ended up wearing my mother’s dress. Oh and we got left at the Temple after our ceremony with no car. Things like that. I didn’t cry, I didn’t get upset..I just laughed and enjoyed the day.
It is very easy to get stressed out that everything has to go perfectly but in reality, things are going the way they are supposed to and it makes for good stories afterward. Just breathe. Stop and look around throughout the day: This is your wedding day!! Treasure the moment.
More tips/ Advice from other Brides
- Use a checklist! Keep yourself organized
- Keep track of expenses
- How to handle an overbearing mother
- A fun DJ can really livin your party up!
- Printing your photos
- Salix Floral
- Wedding websites
“I stressed so much on finding the perfect dress when really I should have just bought a cute short dress formal dress. It was so hot in mid July and I ended up spending so much on a dress I only wore for a few hours. I also got married so late in the day that we didn’t get to take pictures of the family I had wanted to because we had to go straight to the luncheon after the sealing.”
“My mom was wondering why I cared so much about a photographer but after she saw the photos she got it. She still thanks me for picking the photographer I did. She was perfect for our personalities and style.”
“We had the reception night before our wedding day and I loved it! There was less stress and we were able to just enjoy the night. There were very few people that said you’re not even married yet why are you having a reception! Everyone seemed to really like it. Then after the sealing we had a luncheon and left and just enjoyed our day together.”
“Very glad I had an mc, he even ended the line cuz it was way too long and brought me water when I was standing in line. Bless him. I just wish I enjoyed the day more because it flew by and I was stressed about every little thing. Wish I would have just relaxed. And I really wish I had a slice of my cake!!! Still angry about that.”
“If you’re going to plan an out door wedding, have a back up plan in case of bad weather. I went to an outdoor wedding in November and honestly couldn’t feel my feet. It took a couple hours to get warmed up.”
“#1 was I thought about eloping. The stress got very hard on both of us. However, we talked it over and said ten years from then we would regret not going through with it. We are glad we persevered and had our photos done. Although they were not the greatest in the world they are a capture of one of the happiest days of my life when I married my best friend. I still treasure them to this day. Another is to take a pair of comfortable shoes for the reception. And I did have my top layer of my cake on my first anniversary.”
“Our wedding day was so great! However, it was 105 degrees…whatever the weather, my advice for a bride would be to stay hydrated and keep some small snacks around because you will get so hungry! If you can, eat before the reception because you won’t have time to eat any of the food there…I didn’t believe anyone when they said that but it’s so true! Also, on your wedding NIGHT, pack some snacks because you’re going to need them…Along with some caffeine!”
“Speaking of which, if you have certain moments or pictures you want your photographer to capture…make a list and give it to them so they know exactly what you want. Lastly, it’s hard to relax and everyone tells you to do just that…if you can at least remember to take a deep breath every so often and stay in the moment. You’re wedding day is only 24 hours, so try to soak it all in.”
“My advice for brides is to have a voice! I felt pushed out of everything that I wanted and as a result didn’t feel like much of the reception was mine. I wanted things like a first dance and games for guest as well as a hot chocolate bar and a piano out with someone from the ward that wanted to play….and sadly everything was turned down. I highly suggest having a live piano player it is amazing to have what it adds to the overall room.
For anyone getting married in the December time frame I highly suggest getting christmas balls and such in your colors because it is super cheep yet very beautiful decorations and then you have your christmas decorations/a reminder of your special day forever.”
“My main lesson after my wedding was that you don’t have to do all the traditions you are told you have to do. We didn’t want a reception, just a dinner with all family and close friends after the ceremony, so that’s what we did, and it was lovely.
I had a reception in my home town and one in my husbands but we got married in Logan, and really it was just family and super close friends that came to the sealing. Traditions that don’t really mean anything to you aren’t a necessity.”
“I wish I would have chosen a different cake then doing fondant, it looked really awesome but would have tasted better being cream frosting! Plan in advance don’t leave things till a couple months before. My husband says we took too many pictures. Make sure you have family members who are committed to helping, cause if you just expect they won’t show up.”
“For the lds gals: don’t get married on the last Saturday before a very large temple closes for their two week cleaning. I was bride number 28 at 9 am. And if you must get married on a very busy ask politely for someone who does not have a thick accent. We didn’t understand most of the counsel given us. And I wish I had worn really comfy shoes!”
“Don’t let anyone talk you out of what you want or make you compromise to the point of not even being what you wanted. Its your day and your memory into forever.”
“During the chaos of the planning he said something to me that rang true to this day- What was important was the Sealing. The actual ceremony. That was really all that mattered. And even on that day, I knew he was right. And that I made the right choice in choosing him.”
“I wish we would have stayed and party longer! There is such a push to get you on the honeymoon and I just heard how much fun they all had that night, several stayed long after and had fun chatting and having a good time! I mean several friends and families come a long way to see you and you barely get to enjoy them!”
“Don’t forget to eat!!! Best advice. Someone actually brought us take out and we ate during the reception because we were starving! You gotta have food to be a bride & groom.”