Oh weddings. They have been a big part of my life for more than a decade of photographing them. I feel like I have seen (and documented!) it all when it comes to the hundreds of weddings that I have attended. That is until, I experienced going through the process of planning and living through my own wedding. It was seriously one of the best days of our lives and there is not a thing that I would have changed about the big day. No, actually. Everything rolled out exactly as we envisioned and from what we hear, everyone in attendance had an awesome time. We could not have asked for more. Having said that, I learned a lot from my wedding. I learned a lot about people and relationships. I learned that things will shift in your life when it comes to the people in it. And I learned what is truly important: those close to you who support you 100% and who understand the importance of that big day for you. They support you, your choices and your relationship. They are in it for the long haul and that is a beautiful thing.
You will hurt others.
I am telling you now, someone is going to be hurt because of something that you do or choose to do for your wedding. I lost my oldest friend while in the planning process of my wedding. That situation made me stop and reassess what we were doing with this wedding thing and through that I decided that I felt confident in our decisions. I am sure that we had friends who were offended that we chose to get married on a weekday and in the afternoon to boot or that their kids were not invited or that their new boyfriend/girlfriend whom we have never met were not invited or that we chose to not have assigned seating for everyone. But in the end, we put great thought into every aspect of our wedding and we chose to do things exactly how we wanted. We decided that it was our day and we were covering the costs so we were allowed to do that. Some were hurt by those decisions but ultimately at the end of it all, the day was about us. You will hurt people and it will make you hurt in the process but as long as your heart is in whatever you are deciding, know that what you are choosing to do is the right thing.
People will offer to help but will never follow through.
One of the first people that offered to help after we got engaged was a planner. Once we had an idea of what our wedding would be, we reached out to her to get a quote for our wedding. It took her two months to get back to us. Two months. And at that point, she wasn’t even confident that she could be available at the time of our wedding. A couple of months after we got engaged a makeup artist texted me saying she would love to be a part of my wedding. She was excited. I was excited! A week before our wedding, she bailed because she got another (higher paying) job. People will offer to help you but please know that you cannot rely on them. Choose those closest to you that you trust and that know you well because you know that they will not bail on you at the last minute. In fact, surround your life with these people. They are the people that you know are going to be there for you now and in ten years from now. Hold them close and don’t let them go.
The day really does fly by.
Every married person told me this before our wedding. I was told that the day would just fly by. I was told that we should take a couple of minutes at the wedding to just look out at the room and soak it all in. We did and I am so glad for it. The morning of our wedding started out super relaxing with a great breakfast and hair and makeup happening. Then suddenly, we saw the clock, realised we were running behind and then the day moved in fast-motion. I jumped into my dress and we were out of there. Everything from that point seemed to move much too quickly and then it was well past midnight and we were rolling into our hotel room at the Drake. At one point during the reception, we took some time to sit down (with some food!) at the back of the room and really see everything that was happening. This day is your one and only chance to have all of your favourite people in one room. Take time to let that sink in. It’s pretty darn special but that day will pass much too quickly. (So be sure to also hire a great photographer who captures the whole day for you so that you can relive it again and again. I cannot emphasize this enough.*)
Never forget what it is all about.
Remember, this is YOUR wedding and it is a celebration of you and your partner. Never forget that importance. That should be the core of everything to do with your wedding and anytime you find things drifting from that, just bring it back to you. Yes, it’s may seem like just a dumb, big day where you are spending a ridiculous amount of money but it’s an important one. It’s about you taking that next step in your relationship together and no one should hold you back from doing it exactly as you envision.
*And I am obviously biased in saying so but trust me, it’s true. All you have in the end are the images (and that dirty wedding dress that is likely left crumpled in the bottom of your closet!).
Photos by Rebecca Wood. Reception photo by Jennifer Rowsom.