Your wedding planning will be full of ups and downs. I’m sure at this point you’ve heard all the big kickers like
—don’t invite people who aren’t important to you
—make a wedding website!
—set a budget
All of that is totally great to know, but what about the stuff no one tells you until you’re through your day? I’ve got your back! Here’s a list of 13 things no one tells you about planning a wedding straight from a professional wedding photographer.
1. People suck as RSVP’s
Like really. I love snail mail. There’s just something about stamps and putting something in my mailbox that is oddly satisfying to the old lady that lives in my soul. Despite my love for stamps, I hate how expensive they are. Sending out invites costs a lot, guys, especially considering that your invites are paper. You can save a little on postage by not putting stamps on your RSVP cards. Consider creating a website where people can RSVP! This will save you some postage and help you reel in those RSVP’s (especially from the millennial crowd). After all, an accurate headcount is critical to planning the perfect reception!
2. Make a wedding e-mail or folder!
You are going to get SO many e-mails about wedding content from your vendors (and from people who would love to BE your vendors). I get 18,203,234,991,101,002 e-mails per day (slight exaggeration). What happens to most of them? They go unread and fall into the abyss that is my e-mail inbox. Protect your important wedding information and keep it all organized in a separate e-mail folder or e-mail! You will thank me later; I promise.
3. Stress-crying is okay
It’s going to happen. Embrace it. Rip open some chocolate. Watch A Star is Born and sob your eyes out, then fix your make up and keep on being fabulous. There is NOTHING wrong with feeling overwhelmed. Not allowing yourself to experience will make you feel even more overwhelmed. You are doing a lot! And you a doing a fab job at it. Give yourself room to breathe and rely on your besties to help you figure out the solutions to your stressors.
4. Prices probably aren’t what you think
One of the things I hear most often from clients is, “I had no idea weddings cost so much.” If that’s you, that’s fair! Chances are you haven’t done this before. Give yourself room in your budget to be a little surprised. This is a once in a lifetime event. It’s a statement about your relationship and the first big moment in the future of your life together!! It’s BIG stuff. Keep a little wiggle room to have the day you want.
5. They weren’t invited…
Someone is going to show up that you were not aware of. Cousin Susan brought a new boyfriend. Mark and Sam had no idea it was a kid-free wedding. Either way, you’re going to have some guests arrive that you won’t know about. If you have a seating chart, consider having an overflow table or a specific place for kiddos to hang out.
6. Pinterest expectations aren’t always possible to recreate
I LOVE Pinterest. I love drooling over wedding details! If you’re anything like me, you’ve got a board with a whole bunch of wedding magic. But this day is yours! This party has never been thrown and your details have never been planned. Use Pinterest for inspiration, but let your wedding pros worry about the execution.
7. You should book your vendors earlier than you think you need to
Speaking of wedding pros, you probably need to book them earlier than you think. I usually tell couples that 12-9 months is good for booking a wedding photographer! Booking a wedding photographer in Maine will be different than in booking a photographer in Chicago, but that 12-9 month number usually does the trick. You’ll want to be aware, though, that if your date is unique (like 10-10-2020, on the longest day of the year, or on a holiday weekend) you’ll have a lot more couples booking the same pros. The earlier you book, the better!
8. It’s okay to not be excited
Sometimes, you are going to hate the process. You’re going to be fed up with sealing envelopes or going to another appointment to get your dress fitted. Sometimes you’re going to wonder why you didn’t elope. It’s OKAY not to be excited. Everyone experiences this as they go through their wedding, but once the day gets here, you’ll forget it all! Hang on till then and enjoy the best party of your life with your best friends by your side.
9. Weigh your invitations before you order more!
If you have some sample invites from calligraphers or invitation companies, take them to the post office to be weighed! They might be overweight and require two stamps! *gasp* That’s totally fine, but if this is the case, just make sure it’s in your budget and the invites are perfect.
10. Throwing a ‘simple’ wedding is just as much work!
“Our wedding is just casual.” I hear this so often at the start of wedding planning, and I always try to caution my brides that ‘casual’ doesn’t mean easy. Regardless of whether or not you’re throwing a “fancy” party or a “simple” one, your wedding will take a lot of planning! If you’re not into planning, but still want an awesome day, just hire a wedding consultant or planner! They’ll worry about the nitty gritty and you can worry about the fun.
11. It’s for all your loved ones, too
Your wedding day is all about you! BUT…your wedding day is more specifically about celebrating your love with the people you love. Keep them in mind as you plan your day! If your guests are enjoying your wedding, you will have SO much more fun and cherish more of the time you get to spend with those people.
12. You’ll have to make time for each other
Wedding days go by SO fast. As a wedding photographer, I can tell you that brides and grooms don’t get a whole lot of alone time. Everyone will be vying for your attention! I always try to sneak brides and grooms off for private moments together, but if you aren’t planning on making some time to just breathe and take in this AH-MAY-ZING commitment you just made to each other, you’ll lose that time. A great time to sneak away for five minutes is while your guests are finishing their meals.
13. Everyone is an expert
Everyone. Or at least, they think they are. You are going to hear A LOT of advice and A LOT of opinions. Listen to the ones you care about. Nod and smile at the ones you’re letting in one ear and out the other. It’s okay to not consider every shinning nugget of wisdom from Auntie Barb even though she does have lots to say after four weddings. It’s your day. Protect that!
While I’m a wedding photographer in the Presque Isle, Bangor, and Portland areas, these tips hold true for weddings everywhere. Shoot me an e-mail with any questions you have! If you’re looking for some great vendors, I can give you a stellar list of amazing pros here in the beautiful state of Maine.