Planning a wedding on your own? This is both an exciting and scary time! Below are some experiences and tips that I have as a wedding photographer than will hopefully be helpful to you in planning your wedding!
#1: Start planning early! This one seems obvious, but really, the earlier you start, the more you can get down and the less you will have to stress when it comes to the weeks leading up to the wedding. Because you are doing a DIY wedding, you should stop Pinteresting at least a month before the wedding, because you don’t want to keep finding ideas and changing your mind, this will just lead to more unnecessary stress, so say it with me, I hereby vow to stop using Pinterest at least one month before my wedding. Good job! I have met many a bride and groom that a week before are still scrambling to finish the details for the wedding, so start early!
#2: Pick an in-season color for your wedding! This will make it much easier (and less expensive) to find flowers! Unless, of course, you chose not to use flowers, in which case you can use whatever color you want! Exhibit A, Exhibit B, and Exhibit C.
#3: What is the advantage and disadvantage of assigned seating? One of the most common things at weddings now is to skip the assigned seats and let the guests seat themselves. The obvious advantage here is that you will have one less (and occasionally stressful) thing to plan leading up to your big day! But the disadvantage is that generally, guests tend to be a little shy at first about sitting, which means that it can take a little longer for dinner or other seated events to begin.
#4: Not all guests enjoy dancing (crazy, right?!), so planning other events for guests to participate in is essential if you want people to stay through most of the reception. Something that is common right now is yard games like cornhole, giant jenga, yahtzee, ladder ball and even mini golf!
#5: Don’t schedule your day too tight! You want to leave room in the day for you to breathe! And, as a photographer, I highly recommend that you schedule at least an hour for photographs, not including any travel time that might be necessary. A lot of clients that we have had in the past have scheduled a half hour or even less and then are unhappy with the number of photographs that they receive when they have 30+ people they wanted in different poses and groupings, so I beg of you, please, PLEASE, allow for adequate time for all of the day’s events.
#6: Don’t fear having a simple wedding. All that matters is that you and your future husband or wife are happy. Fancy weddings do not necessarily lead to longer marriages. So pick a style that embodies who you are as a couple and stick with it. Traditional or non-traditional, it doesn’t matter as long as you are happy.
#7: You will have so little time to interact with each guest one-on-one that you will want a way to see how much they enjoyed your day, and the best way to do that is to create a wedding hashtag and then use an app such as WeddingMix which will store all of the photos and videos that guests post using your hashtag so that you can view them later. Because applications like Instagram and Facebook have a tendency to hide photos and videos after a period of time.
#8: Cake vs. Cupcake vs. Pies vs. Other desserts. At the end of the day all it comes down to is what you like. You’ll probably save money if you have an aunt that loves to bake and is willing to make a bunch of pies, but if you are a cake kind of person, this is the one day where you can have that cake, and eat it too. But there are plenty of amazing non-traditional desserts that you can dig into. How about donuts, mini dessert bar, or even an ice cream truck!
#9: Wedding favors! If you listen to one thing I have to say, listen to this, give favors that are useful. I know the appeal of trying to save money, but think of how annoying it is to get something that you will never use, it’s exactly the same for your guests, it’s not any less annoying because it’s your day. Plants, sandals, booze, candy, chapstick, cups it doesn’t matter. They can all be personalized so that guests remember your day every time they use it and everyone will love taking home something they can actually use. One time we were given a Love Bottle Opener that we still use in the kitchen! Trust me, it is a much better use of your money to give something that can be kept for five, ten or even fifty years rather than something most people will throw away in a year or two when spring cleaning come around.
Just remember, at the end of the day this is YOUR day (well, and your fiance’s) and whether it’s elegant or simple, all that matters is that you love it and have fun!