With fall fast approaching, Jimmy and I are well into our 5th season of weddings. We've seen such a wide range of settings, styles, and personalities... each as memorable as the last. Wedding planning may seem like a daunting task but it doesn't have to be stressful! Here are 10 bits of advice that we've learned on our journey as wedding videographers.
1) Bigger isn't always better! Everybody loves a good party but you have to ask yourself what you value more: intimate or Gatsby style. There's two sides to every option. At larger weddings there's a feel-good feeling of 300 friends and family all gathered in celebration. Downside? I can't tell you how many times we've seen the bride and groom spend all night at the reception feeling obligated to make sure they visit every table, saying hi to their guests. At smaller weddings things are more laid-back. Timelines don't matter as much and there's a greater sense of community. On the other hand you'll struggle much more with the final guest list and it's much less of a "party." Both are great ideas each with their own mood and personality. Ultimately you just have to ask yourself which you would enjoy more!
2) Don't forget about transportation. Having your wedding and reception take place at the same venue will virtually eliminate the need for expensive limos plus it will greatly cut down on the stress day of. The last thing you want the day of your wedding is to be watching the clock making sure you're in the right place at the right time. Hair makeup and dress at the hotel, across town to the church at 1pm, pictures in the park at 3pm, back to the city for the reception at 5pm. It's enough to make anyone go crazy! Time in the car is time lost for pictures, video, and relaxing with family and friends. Think about finding a venue where you can do all the wedding details without ever changing the address.
3) Budgeting. There's a lot to buy and a limited amount of money to spend. Again, ask yourself what you value more. Would you scrap the cake if it means you can have your favorite DJ? Your outdoor ceremony location is already beautiful, why do you need extra flowers? Occam's razor, the simplest solution is usually the best (Jimmy's favorite saying!! :)). And that leads us to...
4) Don't worry about traditions. Make your wedding unique to YOU! Trends are cool but thinking outside the box can save you time and money. Are you really that worried about seeing each other before the wedding? What about trading the flowers for a photobooth? When you're starting your wedding planning consider throwing all the norms of weddings out the window and start from square one. What do you want to feel that day. What would you do that leaves you waking up feeling fulfilled and EXCITED the morning after your wedding.
5) Consider a first meeting before the wedding. Most photographers and videographers will suggest this idea and there's a strong reason behind it! From a logistics standpoint, you'll save time doing your portraits before the ceremony. On a sentimental note, seeing each other before the aisle will make that first moment more intimate and memorable for you. It's just the two of you together to take as much time as you want to soak in the happiness. At the alter, the processional song will end and the ceremony will proceed along as planned. Also (and this is for my brides out there!), you'll have a moment to touch up your makeup before the ceremony, just in case you shed a few happy tears when you first see each other :)!!
6) Creative venue locations. The first thing most people do when planning their wedding is hit up Google for the best local venues. We all know someone with a beautiful lake lot or spacious backyard. If outdoor is your thing, consider talking to them about using their house for your venue. You'll save a ton on site fees and you can forget about all the red tape that some venues bring. Find a house or location with lots of big windows for tons of natural light. Your photographer and videographer will love your for it!
7) Think about hiring a wedding planner or day of coordinator. You can go all out and hire a professional, or if the budget is tight, assign an aunt to know all the details of the wedding plans. You don't want to be bombarded with questions the day of your wedding. Wedding planners can be invaluable in helping you work out the kinks of the day, like locating a wandering uncle for family photos, keeping everything on schedule, picking up lunch, having an army of bobby pins... the list goes on!
8) Consider alternative food. Creative food ideas can give a special flair to your reception. We've seen doughnut bars, food trucks, ice cream bars, wood-fired pizza, and more! Creative food can help make your wedding unique to you while giving the guests something new and exciting.
9) Implement your hobbies. What do the two of you do together? What makes you unique as a couple? Take those ideas and add them into your wedding! For example, if you're a major sports fan, use your favorite teams as table names. If you both love cooking together, implement that into your decor or even BETTER, go back into the kitchen and help out for a few minutes! Talk about an awesome photo and video op! Love wine? Scrap the flower centerpiece and put a bottle of wine on each table. After all, this is YOUR big day!
10) Be true to yourself!!! The day after you get engaged you're bombarded with questions: what's your date, where's the wedding, have you picked a dress?! Then as you start nailing down the details, Aunt Sally will ultimately let you know what she thinks about the flowers and there's a chance she won't like them. But from day one you have to remember that this is YOUR wedding! I can't stress that enough! FACT, whether you have 300 guests or 30, you'll never make everyone 100% happy. Even those closest to you will disagree with something about your wedding plans. Remember to make your wedding the wedding of your dreams and brush aside everything else.
11) Yes, I said there would only be 10, but I couldn't resist adding this since I've heard it sooooo many times. Number 11? RELAX and enjoy the ride! Wedding planning is fun and exciting! In the end, you get to marry the man or woman of your dreams and that is the best part of all.
captured in frames - St. Louis Wedding Videography