This one is for those newly engaged couples out there that are trying to figure out how to plan their dream wedding. In a world of Pinterest and so much wedding inspiration it can sometimes be hard to know which direction to take for your wedding. Because let’s be honest there are so many completely different ideas and ways to get married today but how do you pick one? Wedding planning is hard work and it’s so easy to get lost in the details. As a Wedding & Elopement Photographer I’ve seen a lot of different weddings and the best ones are the ones with the most heart. So the important thing to keep you sights on in the midst of planning is who you are as a couple and what is important to you both. The most beautiful weddings display who the couple is and their love for each other.
The best place to start is what type of wedding you want to have. On that note I think it’s helpful to lay out your options and the pros and cons of each and see what’s the best fit for you. I’m going to split them into five different categories with you and talk about them and also talk about different styles and ways to personalize them. I hope you find this little read will be helpful in your wedding planning journey.
1. A Big Traditional Wedding
If you think about any movie you’ve seen with a wedding in it, this is usually the type of wedding that is showcases. A pretty church ceremony, gorgeous reception hall and lots of dancing with all of friends and family. This is the perfect option for couples who really value having a lot of friends and family there to celebrate their marriage with them. Or if you have a huge extended family who you are really close to. The best parts of these kind of weddings is the traditional things like the maid of honor/best man speech, gorgeous ceremonies with everyone you know and love present, and the awesome time everyone has dancing the night away!
Many little girls have dreamed about their big perfect wedding day! It can either come with a formal wedding with a big cinderella dress or like one of my brides for 2018 who is planning a relaxed bbq with her friends and family. The best ways to personalize your big wedding is bringing things you love into the decor. The couple above chose to do a Beauty and the Beast themed wedding that was amazing! The year before I had a couple who loved outdoors and hunting and had antlers and deer figurines incorporated into the centerpieces. I put influences of Lord of the Rings into my wedding, with the table names being places from the books including a table named Mordor for all unexpected guests. I’m still waiting for the day I have a Harry Potter Themed Wedding inquiry.
But you don’t have to have a themed wedding to personalize your wedding, maybe your man proposed on his parents estate and you deck the place out and get married there. Perhaps you both met at church and having your wedding there will be what makes your day feel special. Or maybe your shared loved for helping people and bringing awareness to a cause you’re passionate about will be what you’re the most excited about. I’ve had some really amazing couples donate to help orphans instead of favors. Or a love for coffee, music, books, etc. I’ve been at a wedding where the bride was an english teacher and the groom was a pilot and they decorated with paper airplanes, maps and an antique typewriter. They perfectly captured how to bring their personality to their wedding day.
The one down side is there is an awful lot that goes into planning a big wedding but it’s all worth it in the end! The important vendors you’ll want to have on board to help make your day perfect are : A Photographer (but for real) , the perfect Venue, a Florist, a Rental Company(for tables, chairs, etc) , Cater, Paper Goods(invites), perfect Decor, Hair and Make Up Artist, DJ, and a Bridal Shop. All of these will be important for your day and I also highly recommend bring a wedding planner on board who can ensure all the details come together perfectly.
Eloping used to be equated with shame but now it’s a really beautiful option for couples who really want their wedding day to be just about them. Elopements are for couples who want a private and beautiful day just to be shared with each other. Elopements are such a beautiful and intimate thing to witness as a photographer. When there isn’t an audience the level of vulnerability is seriously moving and such an honor to witness. And as the couple eloping it makes for a special day where you will absolutely never forget how you felt in those moments.
It’s also for adventurous couples who want to climb a mountain and get married at the top, wander barefoot in the woods or get married underneath a waterfall. There is hardly a more romantic location than the great outdoors. Elopements are perfect for the wanderlust souls out there.
But there are equally romantic and intimate places to elope in doors as well and you can get creative as you want. Elope in a coffee shop after hours with a thousand candles and twinkly lights, or in a record store, or a cool abandoned building, or at a cute Bed and Breakfast. The options are endless and it’s a wonderful way to bring highlight who you are as a couple.
Eloping does mean you will miss out on having your friends and family there but you can have a reception at a later date which has worked well for many couples. Important vendors you’ll need : A Photographer, perhaps a Videographer, Florist, a Dress Designer and Stylist for the groom, Hair and Make Up Artist and the perfect Location.
3. Destination Wedding
Destination Weddings are becoming more and more popular and it’s no wonder why. Who wouldn’t want to get married in Paris or Ireland? How romantic is it to fly off to another country and get married?! I myself always dreamed of getting married in Scotland and really wish I had. You can either elope in a stunning country of your choice of you can invite your family and friends along for the ride. You also don’t have to leave the country to plan a destination wedding, you may dream of getting married in a different state. There are a ton of gorgeous locations right here in the USA.
If this is you and you want to start researching places for your destination wedding check out my bucket list page. There are a ton of locations there to pick from and that can help give you a start at looking for you dream location. Traveling is my passion so don’t be afraid to shoot me an email with questions. 🙂
There certainly is a lot that goes in to planning a destination wedding though, sometimes getting a visa, some locations require a permit to take pictures, coordinating accommodations for your guests and making sure you have the budget for it. But none of that matters is this is the wedding you’ve dreamed of! Vendors that are essential for a destination wedding will be : A Photographer, a Wedding Planner, A Travel Agent, A Venue, Florist, Hair and Make Up Artist, Cater, etc.
4. Religious/Cultural Wedding
For many couples their heritage and religion are a big part of their wedding day. I’m thinking of Traditional Indian Weddings, Traditional Nigerian Weddings, Jewish Weddings, etc. The thing I love most about these weddings are the sense of community, the unique cultures and traditions and all the stunning colors! It’s always an honor to be a part of a day that celebrates a different culture and it’s an opportunity that as an American Photographer I’m so thankful for. How great it is to be in a country with people who come from all over the world!
Vendors you will need : A Photographer, the perfect Venue, a Florist, a Rental Company(for tables, chairs, etc) , Cater, Paper Goods(invites), perfect Decor, Hair and Make Up Artist, DJ, and a Bridal Shop. All of these will be important for your day and I also highly recommend bring a wedding planner on board who can ensure all the details come together perfectly.
5. Intimate Wedding
An intimate Wedding is a wedding where there are 50 people or less or present. These weddings are perfect for couples who don’t want a big formal wedding but still want their closest family and friends beside them. The wedding you see above was a wonderful day where the quest who were mostly family and some close friends dance in the middle of the forest freely, they had a huge pig roast and tears of joy were shed. It felt both like a beautiful private wedding and also a reunion with their best friends and family, the perfect way to step into marriage.
Intimate weddings tend to have a relaxed styled due to the couples who usually choose it are very chill and a formal wedding just doesn’t suit their personality. Whether they get married in their backyard, in the middle of the woods or invite a couple of the people who mean the most to them to climb to the top of a mountain with them, it’s always a good time! You still get most of the traditional elements of a big wedding, the speeches and first dances, etc.
Important vendors to not forget are : A Photographer, the perfect Venue, a Florist, a Rental Company(for tables, chairs, etc) , Cater, Paper Goods(invites), perfect Decor, Hair and Make Up Artist, DJ, and a Bridal Shop.
There you have it! There are the five types of weddings to choose from. As you scrolled through them which one made your heart sing? What’s holding you back? What would it take for you to say yes to your dream wedding? As you scroll through Pinterest remember to keep what matters to you as a couple at the center of your planning. It’s really easy to be swayed by what everyone else thinks you should do but if you stick to what you truly want you will never regret it.
I hope reading through this gave you some clarity and you found it helpful! Never be afraid to ask your photographer if they have any suggestions for fellow vendors. We work with a lot of great wedding vendors who and we would love to help you in the wedding planning process in any way we can. Photographers are storytellers and we love to help tell your story however we can, so don’t hesitate to ask us for advice. Thanks for reading and happy wedding planning to you all!