Have a first look, or follow tradition and wait until the ceremony? Invite friends you haven’t seen in a long time, or keep it simple? Where should I invest the majority of my budget? There are so many things to consider when planning a wedding. As wedding photographers we tend to notice trends that make a wedding day seem to flow more easily than others. I was so excited to talk with a lot of wedding photographers and married couples to see what they would do differently.
1) Smaller bridal party. Hands down- this was the most common response.
2) Meet vendors ahead of time to make sure your personalities are a good fit and that you share the same goals and visions.
“I would have met my DJ beforehand. A DJ’s personality can really change the mood of your reception. In my case, he was like Jersey Shore meets your creepy, loud uncle”
“We would have chosen a different officiant or interview them beforehand to be sure they incorporated our own thoughts and words into our ceremony because the one we had did not.”
3) Smaller, more intimate wedding. Many people invited a lot more guests than they would have liked out of obligation. Looking back they would have kept it to a more intimate crowd with closest friends and family.
4) Breaking tradition in favor of tailoring your wedding day to your unique tastes. Many couples expressed that they shouldn’t have been so concerned with what people thought of how they planned their wedding day.
“If I could go back I would have created a wedding day consisting of more ‘us’ and less ‘norm.'”
5) Hire a coordinator.
“I would have hired a coordinator. Everything else was perfect but I wish I could have relaxed and enjoyed the day just a little more.”
6) Outdoor wedding. Many individuals expressed their frustration of the disconnect between how they wanted their images to look and the location they chose. They loved the look of natural light photography, but got married indoors in a pretty dimly lit venue.
7) Invest more time and money in a photographer, and don’t choose based on obligation.
8) Hire a videographer.
“I LOVED having a videographer in addition to our wonderful photographer. The wedding goes by in a blur, so it was so nice to see the action!”
9) More candids, less posed.
“More pictures with my family, bridal party, and guests-including candids! Everything was very posed and beautiful, but candids would have captured the emotions of the day better and been more meaningful.”
10) Have a First Look.
“I would have stolen 5 minutes of quiet time with my husband. It all went so fast we didn’t get those moments of ‘omg we are finally married!!’ til the next day.”
Showiteer Ashley Fisher‘s husband wrote a great article on his experience:
“As I reflect on our wedding, and the first years of our marriage, I consistently return to the quite simple realization that life is about moments…
Ashley and I have already shared so many incredible moments together: first meeting, first date, first kiss, our engagement, seeing her walk down the aisle on our wedding day, and finding out we were expecting our first child.
I also anticipate so many amazing moments in our future: the birth of our children, building a home, sharing professional successes, enjoying daily wonders, and just growing old together.
With all of this in mind, I often find myself wishing we had set aside one more moment on our wedding day. Every time I see a bride and groom during their first look moment, I can’t help but imagine taking the overwhelming joy and excitement I felt when Ashley first appeared on that aisle and bottling it up in one moment for just the two of us.
Let all the guests, the wedding party, and the pastor wait for us for just a minute or two while I sneak away and share a moment with my bride. With no one else around (except a photographer or two), we’d have a few seconds for a warm embrace, a smile, a kiss, and maybe a few tears. Then, we can get on with the party!
Now I’m definitely not saying that I have any regrets about our wedding day. After all, I still have the vivid memory of exactly how I felt watching her slowly approach the altar. What I am saying is that I also recognize how incredibly special the first look can be for a bride . . . and a groom. “
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