Ian and I got married on December 23, 2005. We were two broke kids still in college with few resources, but we loved each other and wanted to get married. At the time, we were not as comfortable with ourselves as we are now, and we stuck to tradition instead of making the details fit our personalities. As much as I look back at my wedding day with fondness, I would do things so much differently if I were getting married today. I thought maybe you could learn from my experiences.
#1 Hire a photographer that fits your personality and style. This is probably a much bigger deal to me now because of what I do. I had a family friend that did professional photography, but his style was so different than mine (very traditional) that I didn’t get many pictures that I was really happy with. I personally prefer the more artistic type of wedding photography. Whatever type you prefer, go with a photographer who offers what you like and that you can get along with.
#2 Don’t be afraid to see your groom before the wedding. We did the more traditional see each other at the altar deal. I was so stressed out by the time I saw him that I was ready for it to be over. If I had been able to see Ian first, I think it would’ve calmed me down and provided me with a few moments of respite so that I would’ve enjoyed the rest of the day more. Also, our ceremony was late in the day, and it didn’t leave us much time for photos. Plus, it took a lot of time after the ceremony that we could’ve been celebrating with our friends and family.
#3 For the venue, pick out a place you love that reflects your personality. We were married in a church in Gatlinburg. If we were getting married today, I think we would choose somewhere like the Knoxville Museum of Art (we both love artwork) or in our backyard (we enjoy being outdoors and we have a beautiful wooded area that would be a gorgeous backdrop).
#4 Don’t feel like all of your bridesmaids and groomsmen have to look exactly the same. We dressed all of our girls in the same dress. Mismatched bridesmaids dresses are lots of fun and add visual interest and texture to photos.
#5 Modify your ceremony to suit your spiritual beliefs–don’t feel like you have to go with the straight out of the box ceremony. After all of the fun things I’ve seen at weddings, I wish that I had added a handfasting and ringwarming to my ceremony. If there’s something that you want to add, go for it!
#6 Be thoughtful about what day you choose. Ian proposed on Christmas Eve so we decided to set our date almost a year away on Dec. 23rd. After choosing the date, we discovered that it was not only my Aunt and Uncle’s wedding day, but it was also my Great Grandmother and Grandfather’s wedding day. Crazy right? So, it was really neat for us that we were able to have that kind of family history tied into our wedding day, but choosing a day so close to a national holiday made certain things a bit more difficult. Because so many people have family get togethers around that time of year, it can make it difficult for people to attend. Of course, that can be a blessing, too. And… some vendors charge more on certain days.
#7 Get someone to be in charge of cleanup. We were cutting corners so we didn’t have professionals there for catering and such which meant that we were responsible for our own cleanup. Luckily, we had a couple of family members who pitched in to help us, but it took a while and was something that it would have been nice not to have to worry about on our wedding night.
#8 Wear comfortable shoes! As the evening wore on, my heels beat my poor feet all to pieces. Make sure to wear your shoes enough to break them in and know that they will be comfortable to wear for hours at a time. Or, bring a pair of flats to change into after the ceremony. What a great excuse to buy another cute pair!
#9 Have somewhere the groomsmen can hang out and enjoy themselves. To keep the boys out of trouble, give them a place to chill after they get ready–maybe even have something fun for them to do to keep them from being bored.
#10 Don’t have more DIY Projects than time. You might think DIY projects can save some money that you can use elsewhere–and that’s true! However, make sure that you don’t take on so many projects that you get bogged down and can’t finish them all. That being said, DIY projects can be lots of fun and bring unique elements to the wedding. I made my bouquet mainly out of wire and beads–hundreds of them–and it was gorgeous!
Photography: Knoxville Wedding Photographer – Star Noir Studio