One thing we love to share with our Lowcountry Brides (well, besides stunning, jaw-dropping wedding inspiration, of course!), is tried and true tips straight from our horses, I mean, brides' mouths. Our gal, Brittani, is back today to give us a few pointers about what she's learned thus far as she navigates her way to her big, Charleston wedding day!
Yay it’s time for another ALW update! Last time I dropped by, I updated the fantastic ALW readers on my DRESS! That was such an unexpectedly exciting part of the process and I actually go for my first fitting in just a few weeks! I cannot WAIT to get back into my beautiful wedding dress, cowboy boots and all! The last few months since making that big decision have been CRAZY! I have been blown away by how quickly the time has gone, and I’ve learned a lot about wedding planning. Phew! I’d love to share some of the things I’ve learned you probably want to do, and some of the things you probably don’t want to do…
- Do hire a wedding planner! Ugh, what a mistake it was thinking wedding planners aren’t always necessary. As a wedding photographer, I of all people should know how important it is to have someone running the show. Oops! If I could do-over, that definitely would have been the FIRST vendor I would have hired!
- Do be realistic about what weddings cost. I LOVE weddings, trust me…there’s nothing more exciting and special and exhilarating than a wedding day. BUT, having said that, there is SO much that goes into a wedding. I was the bride that wanted to be able to spend big on the things that were most important to Dustin and I (photography, the venue, and food), and DIY and save as much as possible elsewhere. I’ve learned that’s not really realistic, at least for me and my lifestyle. When you have a full-time job, wedding planning is a whole other full-time job. That’s why planners are so important! There were so many “great big ideas” we had to save money but there’s just no TIME to make these things a reality. Life happens, and you have to be realistic about how much time you can really put aside to manage, create, and plan all of these things that seem so easy to do yourself.
- Do start whatever DIY projects you are doing early. In my mind, August was going to be wide open (the hot summers are usually my slower time work-wise), so I could do sooooo much DIYing then. Wrong. August is already halfway crazy for me. I’ve started tackling some projects now but honestly at the end of the workday, I just want to relax! I know some brides are so into crafting for their weddings and it is their way to relax at the end of the day, but between taking care of my dogs and horses, trying to work out (gotta look good for the big day!), cooking dinner, cleaning, regular household and farm chores…there never seems to be enough time at the end of the day.
- Don’t get too caught up in Pinterest. Used the right way, Pinterest can be such a great tool for planning your wedding and coming up with fun projects. BUT, the trick with Pinterest is to not feel like your wedding has to look like someone elses’s. The whole point of getting really creative with your wedding is to make it a true representation of you and your fiancé and the things that are most special in your relationship. It’s so easy to look at pin after pin and think “that’s perfect!” but you should really start with a list of unique traits or themes you want to include in your wedding and search out inspiration from there. For us, since we were long distance for so long and spent a LOT of time flying and driving, travel is going to be a big theme. We’re also super dedicated to our farm and both grew up with horses, so that’s a big shared passion. We love our dogs like kids, so of course the dogs and being a blended family (Dustin has a 5-year-old son) are also very “us.”
- Maybe this is just me, but if I had to do it again, I would not try DIYing invitations. I work with a really good print lab because of my business, so I totally thought I could handle this on my own. Invitations are important, but to me they weren’t one of the biggest priorities. In reality, invitations are basically the first impression you are giving your guests. It’s worth it to invest in a talented designer (I love Sarah at Dodeline Design) who gets what you’re going for and can handle this for you. Invitations have Stressed. Me. Out. You can even find TONS of great invitation suites on Etsy, if going through a designer isn't for you. At the end of the day, by weighing the pros and cons, spending another $200 or so on invitations would have been totally worth it, rather than dealing with the headache I’ve caused myself.
- Don’t lose sight of what your wedding is really about. There are going to be things you want to do but won’t get done. There are things that aren’t going to go as planned. Don’t forget what the day is really about…you and your new husband, your new life together, and the opportunity to have all of the people you love the most in one place at the same time, celebrating together. What will be, will be.
Hopefully those little tips are helpful in some way or another. There are definitely some things I wish I could re-do but we’re this far in and we’ve just got to roll with the punches! I know the next three months are going to FLY, and although I can’t wait for the day to be here, I don’t want the days to fly by too fast because I don’t want our actual wedding day to fly by too fast! I know that no matter what happens, the day will be wonderful and I really look forward to the celebration!
What’s going on next? I’ll be back pretty soon with some insight into the vendors we chose and some other fun details like bridal portraits and what we’re doing for bachelor/bachelorette parties! See ya soon ALW!