When I got married almost four years ago, I hadn't started my photography business. I was interested in the idea and had done a little research, but overall, the world of weddings was uncharted territory for me. I had only been to a handful of weddings as a guest and they all seemed straight-forward to me - you get a dress, order some food, say your vows and eat some cake, right?
But now that I've witness and photographed dozens of original, gorgeous weddings, I find myself thinking, "Why didn't I do that!?" at the end of each one. So if I could go back and plan it all over again, here's what I would change:
Our Date: We got engaged in July and I had always hoped for a fall wedding. My parents weren't hip on the idea of such a short engagement and, financially, it would've been hard. We didn't have anywhere to live yet and I was still in graduate school, so we decided to wait until the next year. Neither one of us wanted a super-long engagement, so we decided on March for no special reason at all. We drew March 19 out of a hat and started to plan around it. We were lucky because every single weekend in March was filled with snow, sleet, or freezing rain except our wedding weekend. Our rehearsal dinner was sunny and 70 degrees and our wedding day was a breezy 65. It snowed the next day.
We lucked out, but planning anniversary events has been a small bummer since it's always cold that time of year.
The Church: This was such a doozy. The church we attended at the time met in a school so getting married there wasn't an option. The church I grew up in was over an hour away and not convenient for anybody. We called a dozen local churches to inquire and most turned us down right away if we weren't members. My stress level started to rise before my friend Emily stepped in - she worked at a daycare in a church just up the road from our reception venue and arranged for us to use the facility for a discounted price. The drawbacks? It had pink carpet and enormous theological posters all over the walls. Glory.
Bridesmaid Dresses: As it always goes when you take a handful of girls shopping, everyone has a different opinion. I had 3 girls, all with very different bodies, and for reasons still unknown to me, I was adamant about everyone wearing the exact same dress. We went back and forth for weeks until we finally chose one that everyone could agree on....but nobody loved. If I could do it again, I'd give the bridesmaids a color scheme and let them choose their own dress, from any store, and have it actually be something they would wear again.
The DJ: I have worked with so many professional and awesome DJs since I became a wedding photographer. When I hired mine, I just needed someone to fit my budget. While budgets are important, I completely overlooked how important a good DJ (or band!) was - it isn't just someone to play music, he/she is your emcee for the night. They will keep your reception moving. They will smooth over the rough patch that is your best man telling one-too-many embarrassing stories into the microphone. They will get a feel for the crowd and listen to your requests. Our DJ was a good deal, sure, but we didn't get much else.
But at the end of that sunny spring day, I was married to this handsome devil, so all of those things seem very small after all.