Our guest post today is from Whitney Brade, a sweet friend, and recent bride, who wanted to share her heart and shed some light on wedding planning. It’s not an easy task by any means and comes with a new-found level of anxiety about making the “perfect” decision. Whitney has taken a look back at her bridal journey and the lessons it garnered for her, to share with you some things you might forget about when wedding planning.
On November 10, 2016, I married a man who is smart and kind and has all of the patience I lack so desperately. Batman was his first word (really), he wore a Batman bowtie and our cake was topped by actual Batman and Wonder Woman action figures.
Our wedding was very…us. And I’ll be honest, more than a few years later it has been hard to let it go. It was a tremendous teacher, and I felt moved to share its biggest lessons, both the practical and the emotional.
I made a shot list for our photographer that I thought was comprehensive but actually failed to consider so many important photo ops. We didn’t get pictures with each of our siblings individually or a picture with my beloved cousin who officiated the ceremony (he was helping with something at the time). We didn’t even get a shot of our custom sneakers, the ones that mattered so much to me!
While we ended up with so many great pictures, those are things I would love to have captured forever. The day really does go by so quickly, and what’s left are treasured memories and photos. Even though it feels like photography eats up a huge chunk of an already fast-flying day, it’s worth the extra time to get every shot you want.
Planner Tip: When you chat with your photographer, ask them how they like to compile a list of group photos. Many photographers have a document or questionnaire you can fill out with the important family photos. And don’t forget any fluffy or furry family members you might want in photos! If you have any special items you want to be photographed, work with your photographer and wedding planner to add in some time for these photos while you are getting ready.
We got married just two days after the 2016 Presidential election. No matter where you fall on the political spectrum, there is no denying emotions were running high. We were married on a beautiful rooftop venue in Downtown Los Angeles, and unfortunately, there were protests in the area that closed the surrounding freeways and caused delays for a few of our traveling guests’. There were also helicopters overhead near the end of the reception.
And while these things may have happened regardless (those are the risks you take being outdoors in a major city), it was a distraction for some of our guests. When we set our date almost two years earlier (a date that was important to us, as it was our fourth anniversary of dating) we could never have predicted the course of our country’s history.
But we could and should have considered that a major cultural event may have a big logistical and energetic impact on the wedding of our dreams.
Planner Tip: This is a big thing you might overlook or forget about when wedding planning. When you tour a venue, make sure to ask if they host any important events throughout the year. You could end up booking your wedding on the same date as a HUGE convention or conference and risk there not being any hotel rooms open in the area.
The only thing I knew for certain when we started planning our wedding was that Hilary Duff on the cover art of “A Cinderella Story” was my dream aesthetic. Hot pink Chucks and a ballerina skirt were non-negotiable in my mind.
That was until some of the important folks in our lives (whom I love and respect immensely) didn’t seem as excited about that idea as I was. They brought up great points and I started to second-guess myself.
Our venue was an art deco historic landmark built in 1927, a classy joint. I am only 4 feet 10 inches tall…I decided to split the difference and wear strappy, sparkly heels for the ceremony and switch into my custom sneakers for the reception.
I don’t regret it, and the heels made for beautiful getting ready pictures, but I believe in holding your ground on things that matter you. I wish I hadn’t questioned my own tastes even if they aren’t for everyone. A lot of things you choose might not be for everyone, and they can make different decisions for their own weddings.
Planner Tip: Start your planning journey off by having some important conversations with your fiance, and any family members who may be involved in planning, both emotionally or financially. Read more here about how to set healthy internal and external expectations while wedding planning.
I am so embarrassed to admit this, but I was terrified at the thought of crying in front of our guests! I worried about being so overcome with emotion in a way that made people uncomfortable (clearly because I was uncomfortable with the thought of being so vulnerable publicly).
I also worried about getting my words (vows, thank you speeches, the whole lot) wrong and not being able to properly relay the magnitude of the moment. I love to write, I even met my husband at a writing group! There was never going to be a combination of words that accurately expressed my love for this man and our families in my mind. And I know that fear kept me from being entirely present.
But it’s okay to cry and be vulnerable if that’s how you feel. It’s also ok to not say everything perfectly if you’re saying your truth.
Planner Tip: Something you might forget about when wedding planning is the option of practicing your vows or toast in front of a trusted friend who will encourage and build up your confidence! If that still feels too emotionally charged, think about doing private vows prior to your ceremony so you can have an intimate moment with your spouse. An intimate wedding can also help create room for you to be your best self on your wedding day!
This might seem incredibly obvious, but for those of us with the teensiest tendency toward people-pleasing *raises hand bashfully* it is so easy to do what everyone else does or to follow convention. Couple that with the reality that we all have an idea of what a wedding is or “should” be based on books, movies, and TV, and it’s very easy to set your creativity aside and do what’s familiar or seemingly safe.
There are so many inventive and original ways to celebrate your love, and doing what is right for you may look totally different than anything you’ve seen before. That doesn’t mean abandoning traditions that feel meaningful to you. Take the time to make conscious choices that reflect who you are as individuals and as a couple.
It turns out the most important lessons in wedding planning, are unsurprisingly the most important lessons in life. And the things you might forget about when wedding planning can be remedied along the way.
While I have no doubt some of these lessons are due to my admittedly anxious and perfectionist-leaning personality and may not apply if you don’t share those particular traits, they are all offered with love and my very best wishes for your big day.
Whitney Brade is a writer and soft pretzel fanatic in Los Angeles. She shares a home with her husband and their ginger cat Tumbleweed. She can typically be found at the theatre where she is likely to be singing along. You can follow her adventures (and many feelings) at WhittyWords.com.
Photography by Danto Photography
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Sarah is a Los Angeles wedding planner ready to
elevate all your relationships through small and intimate weddings.