Following up on yesterday’s post about the 5 Things I Would Change About My Wedding, I thought I would round things out on a positive note by talking about the 5 Things You Have To Do For Your Wedding. Admittedly, I had a really hard time narrowing it down to only 5 things. I just loved so many things about our wedding and I would totally recommend doing so many different facets of our wedding. (I guess that’s a good problem to have.) So without further ado, here are the 5 things that made the cut.
#1- Hire An Amazing Photography (or just save yourself the trouble and hire ours
If you couldn’t tell by our wedding recaps, I am beyond in love with our photographers. I can’t even begin to explain how much better our wedding was because of them.
When all is said and done, the only thing you have left to remember your wedding by are your memories (which of course are always lovely) and your pictures. I can’t tell you how many moments Jason and Cicely caught that I either missed or totally forgot about.
On top of that, while there are certain memories that instantly bring tears to my eyes, there are some moments that were captured on film that literally take my breath away.
Take for example this one.
I remember that moment when I walked down the aisle and first caught my husband’s eye. Up until that point, I had been able to maintain my composure. As soon as we locked eyes, I saw that he was crying and I just couldn’t contain my emotions anymore. In that moment, I realized that everything I’d ever dreamed of and more was waiting for me at the end of that aisle. Seeing this picture reminds me of how lucky I truly am. How blessed I was in that moment and how blessed we both will be for the rest of our lives.
For some people, pictures are things that get printed and shoved into storage. But when you spend the money on high quality photographers and in turn receive high quality photos, believe me, you will want to cover every surface with your beautiful pictures. Our pictures have lived on in so many forms. On this blog, in magazines, in albums, on our walls, on our parents’ walls, on my desk and on and on and on. When you have pictures that capture just how beautiful and amazing your day was, you want to shout from the roof tops and show everyone.
I can honestly say that Jason and Cicely captured our wedding day in such a heartwarming and beautiful way that every single time I look at our pictures I’m flooded with such overwhelming love and joy. And can you seriously put a price tag on that?
Besides getting great photographers that take great pictures, you need to find great photographers that you connect with and that understand you. There is an invaluable comfort that comes from having photographers that you trust.
I remember standing on the porch of my bridal suite taking pictures with Cicely in this nervous, quiet head space. She knew me so well that she could tell that something was wrong. She asked me if I was okay and I can’t tell you how reassuring that was.
There’s also an incredible comfort that comes with knowing that your photographers can handle anything that’s thrown their way. Jason and Cicely handled every curveball in the most respectful and quiet manner. Most of the times, I didn’t even know that anything had happened. Having quick, resourceful problem solvers are key to having a smooth wedding.
I could literally go on and on about all of the reasons I loved our photographers and why it’s so important to hire good ones but I really think the pictures that I have speak for themselves (and I think I’ve said enough). So seriously go hire an amazing photographer, it will be the best money you’ve ever spent. I promise.
#2- Do A First Look
I know there are tons of traditionalists screaming at the screen reading these words but I literally would not recommend doing a wedding without a first look. Having that sweet, quiet, personal moment with your soon-to-be spouse is so magical. And if you think that it will take away from the drama of a walk down the aisle, trust me, there will still be plenty of tears.
Besides having an intimate moment with your spouse, I think that first looks are really grounding. There is a crazy amount of nervous energy that you get as you are about to walk down the aisle. Literally, the only thing keeping me sane was the thought that I was about to see my soon-to-be husband. I can’t imagine what a nervous wreck I would have been had we not done a first look.
There was an unimaginable relief that came with seeing Mr. A. It was this amazing calm that overtook my whole body. This sense of being exactly where I was supposed to be.
It was also nice to be able to have a completely organic reaction to seeing one another for the first time. I feel like a lot of people get reserved in their reactions when people are staring at them. I know that had I waited to see Mr. A until my walk down the aisle I never would have been able to scream “You are so handsome” at the top of my lungs (true story, I did that).
I’ve written about the amazing emotional journey of our first look before so I won’t bore you with the details (but you can read them here). Just know that my favorite moment of the day was the moment where I got to say a prayer with my husband-to-be right before our ceremony. We asked God to watch over us. We asked our angels in heaven to guide us. And we humbled ourselves before God realizing that without his help we wouldn’t be able to get through this moment. There’s no better way that I would like to remember my wedding day than standing under that old tree holding hands with my best friend praying for God to lead us to the heavens.
#3- Writing Your Ceremony/Vows
There’s nothing worse than going to a wedding ceremony where the officiant knows nothing about the couple and spouts off a bunch of stories that have absolutely nothing to do with anything. Just thinking about it makes me sleepy.
On the top of that, the entire purpose behind a wedding is the actual ceremony. It deserves your respect and attention and personalization. When I hear that a couple has taken the time to write their ceremony, it immediately makes me think that that couple has seriously considered their vows and their marriage.
Not to say that people who get married in churches where they can’t write their own ceremony don’t take their wedding seriously. Just from my own personal experience, the seriousness of our marriage and the commitments that come with it really sank in as we formulated the words that became our ceremony. There is solemnity in reflecting on your wedding ceremony wording that really can’t be reached in any other way. It’s the written proclamation of all the things you dream your relationship to be and all the hopes you have for your future.
Besides giving you some much needed reflection, a handwritten ceremony gives your wedding an undeniable atmosphere. It’s one of love and inspiration and romanticism. An intimacy that has been created by your thoughtful, heartfelt words. A kind of intimacy that simply can’t be bought.
I can’t tell you how many people complimented us on our ceremony, including my father, who hardly utters a word. He said something to the effect of “those vows were wonderful.” I almost died.
#4- Add Personal Touches
Another surefire way to create an instant feeling of love and intimacy is to add personal touches throughout your wedding. For me, the personal touches were my way of showing how much thought and care went into planning our wedding.
The hours that went into gathering the photos and painting the frames for our wedding photo table.
The days spent digging through family treasures for these old postcards and pictures.
The nights spent cutting and gluing our programs.
The million trips to Salvation Army to pick up all a zillion milk glass containers.
The hundreds of trips to Michaels to pick up all the supplies for our dessert buffet table.
Everywhere I looked at our wedding, I could find a personalized touch that Mr. A and I spent months contemplating, planning, and executing. The love and care that was created by those details was palatable. Even months after our wedding, relatives have come up to us to tell us how much they loved our wedding. How they could feel the love in the air. Is there a better compliment?
#5- Have Your Own Sweetheart Table
The ceremony and really the entire day moves by at a lightening pace. I know I got really tired of hearing that from every single married person I talked to but it couldn’t be truer. Before you know it, your last song will be blaring from the speakers. All the more reason to make sure you spend some alone time with your new spouse.
The best way to do this, of course, is to sit at a sweetheart table. It was literally the only moment of the day where we were left uninterrupted. No photographers, no videographers (they were eating). Just me and my hubby holding hands, gushing about the ceremony, and stuffing our faces. Of course there were some occasion guests and picture requests but most of our time was completely undisturbed.
It was amazing to be able to spend some time soaking up the moment with my husband alone. Because after such a momentous change, all I wanted to do was look into my husband’s eyes and call him “my husband.”
I hope you enjoyed my humble suggestions (remember I’m just one bride and there’s an infinite number of ways to get married). These things are simply the things I couldn’t have lived without.
As a side note, I would also say that picking the right location is an absolute must do but I didn’t include it in my list since it’s been so overdone and written about everywhere. So I guess I’m just assuming that you already know to do that
What are your most important things?