Congratulations! You’re engaged and entering into one of the most celebratory times of your life. If you’re anything like me, you’ve had that secret Pinterest board for years, waiting just for wedding planning. But be cautious. An abundance of inspiration can quickly highjack your vision, sweeping you away into falsely seeking out the “perfect” wedding.
But what does that even mean?
For everyone, the “perfect” wedding has a different meaning. And I’d encourage you to think of it from a unique perspective. Instead of focusing on perfection, take the time to consider who you and your partner are as a couple, what is it that you value, and WHY couldn’t you imagine the rest of your life without them by your side.
What is important to you as a couple? Do you go on weekly date nights to discover a new restaurant? Invest in an amazing caterer. Are you consistently entertaining friends with lavish dinner parties? Invest in flowers and wedding paper. Are your coffee tables covered with albums highlighting your most recent travels? Your dream photographer might be at the top of your list. Whatever it is, remember to keep it true to you.
To help you undertake everything from buying your wedding dress to choosing your venue, I asked five wedding industry experts to share their very best pieces of wedding planning advice. Let their sage advice guide you on this journey.
Wedding Planning Advice from Industry Experts
“Start with your why!” suggests wedding planner Laura Mayfield of Mayfield Events. “Sit down and establish your core values and what you want from your wedding celebration. Then once you have talked over those pieces in-depth with your partner and your support system. Then, and ONLY THEN, start wedding planning. When you get in a bind or uncharted waters with planning… go right back to what you value and why you are having this wedding ceremony and celebration. Almost always, you will find peace in your answers.” Mayfield Events has a unique approach to the wedding planning business. As a values-based planning firm, they start by helping their clients find their WHY, then establish their values. With all of that in place, constructing a budget, vendor team, design plan, and day of wedding logistics becomes much clearer. “For us, the whole process is built around understanding our couples and the support system they will have for not only their wedding celebration but their marriage,” she adds.
Hailey Daniels and Kailey Nouis, wedding industry hair and makeup artists with Etoilly Artistry, start with their brides at the wee hours of the morning until they are a mere 120 minutes away from walking down the aisle. “We are there for the early morning excitement, the afternoon second wave of energy, and the last-minute jitters,” Hailey says. “In the hundreds, yes, hundreds if not more, brides that we have had the pleasure of serving on their wedding day, our best piece of wedding planning advice is to be completely present in your day. Remember every little emotion, that very special feeling is fleeting.” She reminds us not to stress the small stuff. The handsome man standing at the end of the aisle will be there beaming, with his focus 100% on you, no matter the weather or the water stain on a bridesmaid’s gown. “Remember,” she adds, “You are beautiful. You’ve waited your whole life for this. You’re going to make one stunning bride.”
Wedding photographer, Anna Peters, the talent behind the lens at Anna Peters Photography, can’t stress enough how important it is to consider how you’ll be able to move around in your wedding dress! At dress boutiques, you’ll mostly be standing still in the gowns – but on a wedding day, you’ll be walking in all directions, turning around, and giving lots of hugs! “I occasionally see brides who feel restricted or slightly uncomfortable in their gown as the day gets going,” she says. This shows in photos, but more importantly, it can affect how comfortable you feel throughout the day! “If you find a dress that is “the one” but is hard to move around in,” Anna adds, “consider finding a second dress to wear for your reception so you can let loose and truly enjoy the epic party all night long!”
Making and sticking to your wedding budget is a struggle for most brides. As you consider your why intentionally decide how to invest in your day to support those values, so you can cherish the memories after the day is long gone. If family heirlooms and photographs are important to you as a couple, invest in great photography. Skylar Stetten, one half of the talented duo at Pura Soul Photography, reminds us, “After it’s all said and done, the only thing you’ll have left are the photos.” So, choose the very best photographer that fits your budget and make sure to give them time on the wedding day to use their talents. Skylar also suggests incorporating your photographer in the discussion when planning your day-of timeline. She says that way, “You’ll be sure to get those magical golden hour photos we all love.”
Ultimately everyone wants that fairytale wedding. And it’s even better when the fairytale is your love story. When it’s all said and done this is a day celebrating two people choosing each other. “Always remember your why,” says Julia Lamberth of Julia M. Photography. “No matter what goes exactly right or what may not go as you envisioned, take comfort in the truth that your wedding day will have the same beautiful result no matter what it looks like.” Wedding planning can be overwhelming and sometimes stressful but keeping WHY you are planning this day at the forefront of all decisions makes each choice a little easier. Ultimately, no matter what you choose, the end goal is always the same: to get married and celebrate your love! She wisely explains, “Enjoy the process, taste all the cakes and smell all the flowers. But always remember that this is not about one day. The wedding is just a celebration. The real beginning is your marriage that you will build with the one you love most. And that beautiful, mysterious truth is what should be celebrated.”