5 Wedding Tips from a Photographer turned Bride

I’ve noticed this year how much more I can chat and relate to my couples. We will share stories about wedding planning and we will share laughs, or frustrated faces or many smiles as we all know the emotions that go into a wedding. Before being a bride, I could only imagine it from the other side. I was behind the camera documenting the day, but after my husband and I got engaged in February 2013 and said our I Do’s June 2014, I could finally see everything - the planning, the emotions, every side of the day.

So, I understand. I understand the joys that could come, as well as the heartaches, the highs and lows of planning such a special day. I truly understand it all and would love to share some of my tips for planning the most important day of your life, as you read this - keep in mind, this is your wedding day, so whatever you decide make sure it’s the right decision for you and your love. 

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1. Follow your heart. Determine what is most important to you on your wedding day. Is it the venue? The photography? The music? The florals? When you look back on your day and all the hard work you put into it, where do you want to see the majourity of money spent? Most times brides have a list of 3 majour things they want to spend the largest portion of their budget on, and that is fine, determine what those 3 things are and follow your heart. My advice is to just focus on what’s important, to make your entire day come together just as you imagined, and not regret those decisions. Planning a wedding can be stressful, and money can add up very fast and sometimes you may go over your budget, but if you start out with a plan and 3 important vendors you’d not like to miss out on working with then everything else you can find along the way and think of some DIY things to save money on. Also, speaking as a photographer here - all vendors book up fast, especially Venues, Photographers, DJs. These should be at the top of your list when beginning to plan because you could miss out and unforantely for some have to settle with a vendors that may have not been your first choice. So when starting to plan, make sure to book these vendors a good 1-2 years ahead. My top three was venue (food), photographer, and DJ (music) oh and I wanted us to have a photo booth, our guests loved it!

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2.  Add personality.  Pinterest is a very useful tool when planning your day, but can be overwhelming when planning too. If you find something you love, make sure to incorporate it but if it’s something you can live without on your wedding day, don’t stress over it. A couple I had in 2013, are very creative and I still follow along to what they get up to. She made her bouquet and the boutineers out of an old book and their wedding bands were made with each other’s fingers prints. They really made their wedding day unique and personal to them as a couple. For my wedding, there was many ideas I saw on pinterest of course that I had in mind for our wedding day, but I decided to do what I could and just keep it simple and full of personal details. I wanted to show our love story since we had spent 9 years of our life together, there was so much to share with our guests I wanted to have little pieces of us all over. It makes your day so much more special, when you can include your personality and sentimental pieces.

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3.  The first look. This breaks away from tradition, but now a days, there isn’t any wedding that is the same as the other. Think of seeing each other before the ceremony. This doesn’t only help calm your nerves, but helps your photographer with the timeline of the day to capture more photos of just the two of you. I opted for the first look on our wedding day and it was the best decision we made that day, we were able to see each other just the two of us before and have that moment of cuddles, hugs, and kisses before the busiest day of our lives began. I loved these moments, and always smile when I look back on our photos. These are the real, candid, true moments, that make my heart skip a beat! I love capturing these for my clients, at this moment you don’t even imagine the photographer there, all you see is the love of your life infront of you. With how busy your wedding day will be, this could be the one time throughout the whole day to have that small moment of ‘just us’ time. There won’t be 100 + guests staring at you to see your reactions as you two first see each other, and there won’t be the photographer setting up poses and guiding you throughout the photos of just the two of you. There is just the two of you, turning around to see each other, cuddling close, maybe shedding some tears, and finally able to relax in each other’s arms and enjoy that moment. Enjoy the beginning of the next chapter of your love story.

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4. Hire a coordinator. Sometimes your venue has a coordinator for the day of, and you have to figure out the inbetweens. I am honestly a pretty organized person, and because I am also in the wedding industry, I knew exactly how the day should run, so I didn’t spend money on a cordinator. Our venue owner helps coordinate the weddings, so he was a big help to make our day as special as it was. If you aren’t as organized, but you want your day to run as smoothly as possible and know that just won’t happen with only you and family/friends helping, then please hire a coordinator. It makes a huge difference, and most importantly you and your love can relax on the day. Let someone else take charge and make sure every vendor has arrived, the timeline goes to plan, etc. The last thing you need to do after the planning of this day is to work on the day too, just relax and enjoy.

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5. Soak it all in. This day flies by, I mean really flies by. One minute you are dressed, the next minute, you said ‘I Do’ and the next, you are eatting dinner. Just take moments to look around, soak it all in. Relax, don’t stress, enjoy. All the final details will fall into place, and at the end of this day, you’ll be married, and there is nothing more beautiful than that. A new chapter begins, new stories to tell, new memories to create. Take this day to reflect on all that you two share, your love for one another, and the love that your family and friends have for you both. Most of all have fun and celebrate! 

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Now you’ve seen many weddings that I’ve photographed, but since I was a bride as well on June 21, 2014 - I thought I’d share a few photos from our day below, photographed by: Sara Tanner

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Our wedding was held at Elmhirst Resort on Rice Lake. This venue holds a special place in my heart, as my husband and I both lost a parent from Cancer. My husband lost his Mom a year before we met, and my Dad past away not too long after him and I began dating. My family went away to this resort for a weekend getaway the month before my Dad past. I remember it well, and for many years, knew that was the place I wanted to get married. So when it came time to start planning my wedding, my husband, my mom and I went there for lunch, met with the owner/wedding coordinator and discussed the plans of our special day. Since loosing both of our parents, we wanted to make sure they were incorporated into our wedding day as much as possible. My brothers did the honour of walking me down the aisle, but my Dad was also apart of that - his navy blue tie, was wrapped around my bouquet with a photo of the two of us on the last time I was so dolled up, my prom in 2005. My brother’s also wore lapel photo pins that I created with a photo of our Dad, and Tristan and his brother wore a photo of their Mom. We kept our decorations simple, elegant, and personal to us - our aisle was decorated with a photo from each year we were together up until our wedding day, our table numbers had stories about us related to each number. Our cake topper (not seen in that specific photo, sorry) was a wooden heart with our wedding lyrics, “All I need is life, love with you”. The favours were Canadian Cancer Society pins as a donation was made in honour of each guest as a memorial to our parents. We did many more details here and there to make this day so sentimental and personal to us. Since we held our wedding at a special place to my heart, we decided to spend our honeymoon in a special place to my husband’s heart. This summer we went on a 10 day long honeymoon to N. Wales where he was born. He moved to Canada with his family when he was 4, and had visited with his Mom when he was a teenager, but it was nice to go back again and he loved that he could bring me there to visit with some of his family. Our wedding was truly a day full of so much love, and our honeymoon was even more so - just the two of us, creating many more memories together.

A blog post of all our adventures from our honeymoon will come in the near future…. :)

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