Flowers, venue, menu, DJ, live band, travel, invitations, honeymoon, officiants, family, friends, cake, dress, suits, gifts, best men, maids of honor, etc, etc, etc…
The list goes on, believe me – it took at least two years for my wife to plan our “simple, summer wedding”.
If you don’t get ahead of things and lock down what’s actually important, you can easily get lost in all of the minutia that weddings can entail.
Over the years, I’ve covered many weddings. It goes without saying that I’ve also had a lot of conversations with brides. I was always making note about what was important to them while they were planning, then comparing what was truly meaningful for them post-wedding day.
So whether you’re a bride-to-be starting to make your list or one who is neck deep in cake samples, invitations and dress fittings, save yourself some grief, doubt and buyer’s remorse by taking the advice from these experienced bridal champions.
There are three things that pop up across the board from almost each and every bride I’ve talked to – her dress, the rings and the photography.
It may not be immediately obvious why all three of these are so vital, but once you take a second to think about it, you realize that these are the only items – besides your new spouse – that you actually get to keep after your wedding.
Let’s explore them a bit to get a clearer picture:
The Dress – the star of the show, the reason we’re all here, the bride is the sparkling jewel on the crown that is the wedding day. You’re on top of the world and all eyes are on you – and your gorgeous dress.
If the suit makes the man, then the dress makes the bride, right?
It’s what all your guests remember when they think of how beautiful you were, it’s one of those ‘specifically for you’ items that make the day extra special for you – because it is your day after all, and it’s what you’ll be showing people throughout your life from your wedding albums.
No bride wants to settle on something that ‘will do’, that just sets them up for big regret later – but you can’t go back… and you will be stuck with images of that dress for the rest of your life.
Even faced with the fact that you will only wear it this one time, my brides have insisted that there are a myriad of options for their dresses, like a Trash the Dress session or passing it on to one of their children for their wedding.
Now for those of you that are interested in a more daily use item, that’s where we move onto…
The Ring – It’s packed full of symbolism – together, forever, unbroken. You keep it as you build a family and life together, grow old and most likely pass the onto your children and their children’s children as heirlooms.
Very romantic, as it should be.
Rings can be customized to a degree that is borderline insane nowadays. Designed to whatever tastes you and your future spouse have. Whether you’re a fan of Star Trek, Star Wars or Starbucks, the sky is the limit.
Rings are a physical symbol of your love and dedication to each other – and it doesn’t hurt the ego to show off a little bling every once in a while. It’s a reminder of what led up to this special day and every day following.
But if you’re wanting an injection of 100% emotional nostalgia, we come to…
The Photography – beyond a shadow of a doubt, your wedding photography is the most emotionally charged and connected momento you will ever own.
They are windows into your day; not paintings or sketches – light from those slices of time were actually captured and can be displayed forever in your albums and on your walls for you and your whole family to relive and enjoy for all your lives.
If you have a great photographer, they’ll catch those candid moments where real emotion reveals itself, between you and your mother, father, grandmother, siblings, children, friends, new spouse – the list goes on.
Looking at those images 50+ years later, you can still hear the music and laughter, feel the caring arms embracing you both as two families come together, and the same joy and excitement you felt that day.
I will admit, I am a little biased when it comes to these three items, but while a dress is worn once and rings can be replaced(although that would probably be accompanied by a very cross spouse…), your wedding day can’t be reshot.
Because your photography holds the strongest connection to your memories of your wedding, the decision of both who you hire and how much you invest shouldn’t be taken lightly.
And I should know, my wedding photographer was dropping the ball – starting on the wedding day. I won’t go into the details because I don’t believe in bashing another photographer and she has since gained more knowledge in the industry and taken actions to rectify our relationship. But if I were to do it again, I would’ve done it very differently.
Do these make sense? What would you consider the most important decisions for planning your wedding?
From what I’ve learned over the years shooting couples, I find the most important part is the couple themselves, and that’s my motto for each and every wedding.
It is your day, right?