To the Newly Engaged – Part 3

This is Part 3 of a five-part “To the Newly Engaged” series about making your engagement, wedding planning, and wedding as enjoyable and productive as possible! This is from my personal experience as a bride, and from my perspective as a wedding photographer as well. Check back for the next 2 weeks to catch the remainder of the series, and share with your friends who are engaged as well!

Nacogdoches photographer: To the Newly Engaged Series: detail ring shot of an engagement ring on bright magenta flowers

Part 3 is alllllllll about picking your photographer… Sure, I know I’m biased in thinking that this should be one of the major considerations in planning your wedding, but I promise it’s not ONLY because I’m a photographer. This was obviously one of my most important decisions because I do loooooove some great photography, but there are also a lot of other things to take into consideration as well.

  • Pick the photographer, not just the photographs. I’ve written a little bit about this before, but I really can’t stress this enough. Take the time to get to know your photographer. If they have a blog – read it. If they regularly post on social media – follow them. Make sure you like them as a person, AND make sure you like their work.
  • They are more than just another vendor. Following along with point number 1, you want to make sure you like and get along with your photographer. There are a lot of vendors involved in a wedding – cake, linens, DJ, caterer, officiant, etc. Most of those people drop off their items and leave, or they are part of a certain part of the wedding day. Your photographer will be with you all day long. They will be there as you gather with your mother and your bridesmaids as you put on that beautiful dress. They will be there as you wait at the end of the aisle for your music to cue the start of one of the most important walks of your life. They are there as you are introduced by your new name for the first time. There as you cut your cake. There as you exit one of the best parties of your life. They are there with you the whole time. Make sure they’re the kind of person you want around in all of those moments.
  • They are an experience, not just a product. As wedding photographers, we tend to also be there in those moments when things might not go as planned. There to help with a stubborn bustle right before your entrance into your ceremony. They are there to give the belt off their dress to help out a bridesmaid. They are there to re-pin a wild curl that’s come loose from your carefully selected wedding hairstyle. They are there to help you with what you need – and if they aren’t willing to do that, I’d say they shouldn’t be lucky enough to have the honor of photographing your day. Their primary role is to get gorgeous images, sure. But the best kind are there to make your day easier in the process.
  • Really think about the investment and what it means for you. If you’re just starting to look at photography pricing for the first time, you may have a little sticker shock. But trust that the money you invest in your photographer will be one of the most lasting decisions you make  – That decision will be the one providing you with visual memories to share with your grandkids in the future.

EmilyJesse085_WEB

  • BONUS TIP: Invest in Engagement photos! They are so much more than just getting sweet images of you and your fiance prior to your wedding day. They afford you and your photographer to build a relationship before your big day – you’ll have those jitters all worked out, so that when you take time for portraits on your day, you won’t have to worry about taking time to get comfortable with your photographer & their camera. (This is one of the reasons why engagement sessions are included in wedding packages.) You can also then have great (recent) images of you and your fiancé to display at showers, engagement parties, your rehearsal dinner and your reception if you choose!

 

You can find the rest of the To the Newly Engaged series here:

To the Newly Engaged – Part 2

This is Part 2 of a five-part “To the Newly Engaged” series about making your engagement, wedding planning, and wedding as enjoyable and productive as possible! This is from my personal experience as a bride, and from my perspective as a wedding photographer as well. Check back for the next 3 weeks to catch the remainder of the series, and share with your friends who are engaged as well! 

Nacogdoches photographer: To the Newly Engaged Series: detail ring shot of an engagement ring on deep green leaves

So now that you’ve taken some time to just enjoy your engagement, it’s time for my next piece of advice…. Get organized. If you’ve looked at magazines, blogs, or Pinterest so far, you know what I mean. There are so many decisions to make, and it can seem like they’re never ending! But don’t worry – as overwhelming as it may seem, if you get organized it really starts to become so much more manageable – even enjoyable.

So here’s some thoughts as far as organizing your planning:

  • Decide what your main priorities are when it comes to your wedding. Now of course I hope that photography is on the top of your list… but whether it’s your photographer, your cake, your dress, your venue, etc., pick your major must-have item (or two) and work on those first. Getting two or three of your major priority items secured will make the rest of your planning more focused and less stressful.
  • Keep Pinterest as your friend (not your overly-opinionated, demanding, quick to make you feel “less than” Aunt Sue). Pinterest can be an AMAZING tool for planning a wedding. There are so many great ideas for every aspect of your day, no matter what vibe/style you’re going for. However, Pinterest can also very quickly turn into a source of stress. Just remember that there are great ideas there – but you DO NOT have to incorporate all of them! Don’t let the best highlights of other weddings become your requirements. Take the ideas you love the most and incorporate them, and let the other pins go. Making separate boards for the different aspects of your wedding can also be really helpful – I did this the wrong way. I wish I would have made a board for cake ideas, a board for table decor, a board for dresses, a board for invitations, etc. rather than one board with everything thrown in together. Having separate boards will save you time from having to scan through every wedding-related pin to find the specific one you’re looking for. (Side note – also try to keep the number of pins on each of those boards fairly low.)
  • Talk with your fiancé about their level of involvement in the planning process – and really LISTEN to them. Some guys will be really into helping with all of the details and making decisions. Some guys won’t care at all about any of the decisions. Some guys are somewhere in between. Figure out what your fiancé wants, and be honest with them about what you want – be sure to be realistic too though. If there are decisions you’ll want his input on, be sure to explain that early in the process (and also explain why it is important to you to have his opinion on that particular thing). Forcing him to decide between cream and eggshell table linens might not be the item you want to push for input.
  • Figure out a system that works for you. Spreadsheets, binders, post-it notes on a white board, whatever it is, get your thoughts and your to-do’s in order so you can make sure you’re methodically crossing them off the list. Being able to see what’s been done already can help ease the amount of stress. It also really helps you see the whole day from start-to-finish which can help you see if there’s anything missing.

Nacogdoches photographer outdoor spring wedding with bridal headpiece

  • When making your timeline for the day, build in plenty of time for pictures. Wedding days are so full – full of emotion, full of people, full of moments. Taking time for pictures, particularly a “first look” and bride & groom portraits, was one of the best decisions we made for our wedding day.  Not only does this time give you a more relaxed opportunity to get irreplaceable images of you and your spouse(!) on your wedding day, it also gives you time away from the hustle and bustle to just been with the person you love most. If your wedding is in the afternoon/evening, this will also allow for those “wow” images in the sweet golden hour light right as the sun is going down.

 

Just remember in the midst of planning, staying organized and focusing on your fiancé will always help!

You can find the rest of the To the Newly Engaged series here:

To the Newly Engaged – Part 1

This is Part 1 of a five-part “To the Newly Engaged” series about making your engagement, wedding planning, and wedding as enjoyable and productive as possible! This is from my personal experience as a bride, and from my perspective as a wedding photographer as well. Check back for the next 4 weeks to catch each part of the series, and share with your friends who are engaged as well! 

To those of y’all who got engaged over the holidays – CONGRATS!!!!!!!! This is such an exciting time for you and your fiancé. Isn’t it fun to be able to say that?! Fiancé! (Hopefully I’m not the only one who felt like that haha)

The engagement period can be such a fun, sweet time, but it can be also overwhelming… How many times have you already heard ”Have you set a date?” I remember that being one of the first things people would ask after looking at my ring. Usually “How did he propose?” came first, and then asking if we already had a date figured out.

Those people mean well, and they’re excited for you. Maybe they want to be able to put that date on their calendar early so that they can make sure they are there on your big day. But that question (and that ring) can start to bring on the feeling of pressure to get it a llllllll planned out – and fast.

Nacogdoches photographer's advice to newly engaged people; macro photo of an engagement ring

So I’m here to tell you, it’s ok to not have a date, or a venue, or a dress, or a color scheme, or any of the details planned out just yet.

Breathe…. And take a second to relax and enjoy it!!

 

Which leads me to the actual advice part of Part 1:

  • Remember that your focus should be on your marriage and your fiancé first and foremost. It is really easy to get carried away in planning a wedding down to the very last detail. After all, it’s typically the biggest party/event/celebration you’ll throw in your lifetime. But you have to also keep in mind that you need to also be planning and preparing for your lifetime of marriage. If things get stressful in the planning, take a step back and really focus on your future spouse. Remember to be planning a life, and not just the party at the start of it.
  • Seriously… just enjoy it! You really don’t have to start planning RIGHT AWAY. If you already know you want a shorter engagement, you’ll have to start sooner rather than later, but it’s still ok to at least take a day or two to just soak in the feeling of being engaged, and continue to celebrate that feeling with your new fiancé. Then you can dive into the magazines, Pinterest boards, and venue hunting. Try to really soak in the experience and reality of your engagement before you start in on a planning to-do list.
  • Planning is fun, but don’t let yourself get overwhelmed right away. Not all brides-to-be are excited about planning a wedding. Not everyone thinks it’s fun. But for those who do think it’s fun, the key is trying to keep it that way!! If you’re enjoying the process, don’t rush through it at the speed of light. Sit down in your favorite cozy chair with a soft, snuggly blanket and a hot beverage, and flip through that bridal magazine – don’t speed read it at a desk like it’s work.
  • Don’t forget to keep dating your fiancé throughout the process- no one wants to be a “wedding-planning widow.” Some guys will genuinely want to be a part of the decision-making process when it comes to a wedding. Some guys will genuinely want to be as far away from it as possible. But all guys will not want to lose their woman to Pinterest, excel sheets, bridal shows, and florist appointments. Make sure to take time to continue dating your man during your engagement! This will help set you up for success when it comes to my first point too – just because there’s a ring (or rings) on your finger doesn’t mean you stop dating one another. Keep that as an important part of your relationship, now AND after the wedding.

Don’t forget to share this series with anyone you know who is engaged!

 

You can find the rest of the To the Newly Engaged series here: