This past summer, I had the pleasure of photographing Brooke Badgett’s wedding to John Canney at the Mansion Inn in Saratoga. I really enjoyed photographing this wedding–in large part because it was not only visually beautiful, but ran like clockwork. And even better, everyone enjoyed themselves! So when I was thinking about blog topics, I thought it would be great to have Brooke write a blog about how she went about planning the perfect wedding and any advice she would give to couples planning a wedding. So here we have Brooke’s Top Ten Tips for Planning the Perfect Wedding:
- Planning in Advance: I cannot stress enough how helpful planning ahead of time was during the wedding planning process. There is no such thing as doing things too early in my book. Whether its doing research on videographers, or ordering DIY supplies, not scrambling last minute and planning little by little within a years time was extremely beneficial in the grand scheme of things.
- Hiring Vendors who Understand Your Vision: It was really important for us to hire vendors who completely understood the vision and look we pictured for our wedding day. I went through a lengthy process to interview multiple photographers, as well as looking at several venues to ensure the vendors we hired understood us as a couple, and what we envisioned on our special day. It was crucial for the vendors we hired to understand what we were looking for, but also for our personalities to click with theirs right off the bat.
- Not Going Over Board on DIY Ideas: Yes I can totally admit, I am a DIY queen and Pinterest lover at heart, but when it comes to wedding planning its essential to make sure you don’t go crazy with all of the ideas you find on the internet. A great suggestion I have for future brides that worked for me was finding ideas on Pinterest and tweaking those concepts to fit your own wedding. Not only do I suggest making it more personalized, but making sure not to go overboard with signage, guestbooks, etc. for the décor component of your wedding.
- Go with a Theme: I found that picking a specific theme, in my case elegant/rustic/vintage, really helped bring all aspects of our wedding together. Choosing décor, bridesmaids dresses, flowers, and everything else can be extremely overwhelming at first. By solidifying a theme or color scheme, it may help narrow down choices when deciding on staple items.
- Catering to Your Guests: Though this may seem like the last thing you want to think about, catering to your guests should be imperative when throwing a big event such as a wedding. Whether its personalized welcome bags for guests staying in hotels, wedding koozies they can use during the reception, or even something as small as bug spray, deodorants, etc. available in the bathrooms, guests will recognize you went the extra mile for them at your wedding.
- Transportation for Guests: Especially for a destination wedding such as ours, providing transportation for our guests was crucial in making sure guests arrived on time and reducing overall stress of people getting lost in Upstate NY. Even though it was a small fortune, guests really appreciated the fact that transportation (air conditioned coach buses) were readily available and coordinated with specific pick up and drop off locations/times.
- References/Reviews are Your Friend: I did not really believe this until I realized the power of a good review when choosing vendors for my own wedding. I would definitely recommend using services and companies that have great references and reviews either by word of mouth or through wedding websites. Don’t just choose a vendor because it’s the cheapest or they have a pretty website. Making sure local vendors have a good reputation, and using wedding websites to read reviews from other brides is key.
- Don’t Be Afraid to Ask: My mom was the one to point this out during the wedding planning process and it could not be more true. If you don’t ask about something you want changed how will you ever know the vendors response about changing it? Perfect example for our wedding was changing the start/end time with our videographer. Or even something so small such as adding table cloths to the wrought iron table during cocktail hour. It’s important to have an open conversation with vendors about the possibility to change something you aren’t 100% happy with in order to make things run more smoothly, or look the way you want for your special day.
- Thanking Everyone Involved: As a couple we thought it was extremely important to make sure we not only thanked our guests for attending our wedding, but also making sure we thanked our parents as well. We wanted to make sure our parents knew how much we appreciated their help throughout the planning process. Giving each of our parent’s gifts as a thank you, such as a weekend getaway trip or golf at a nice course, was our way of an extended thank you to them.
- Staying Present and Enjoying Every Minute: Lastly and most importantly, staying present and having a positive mindset would be the most valuable piece of advice I could give to any soon to be bride. Not letting the little things get under your skin and making the most of every minute with your husband, family and friends! The day goes by as quick as a blink, so making sure you soak up every minute of it, laugh, not sweat the small stuff, and being mentally present is crucial for the perfect wedding day!
So there you have it, Brooke’s Top Ten Tips for Planning the Perfect Wedding! I think Number Ten is my personal favorite–enjoy your day!
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