Don’t be the bride saying, “I’m so glad it’s over…”

I’ve heard SO MANY brides and grooms say (on their wedding day), “I’m just glad it’s over. Now I can go have fun!” They’re SO glad to be done with their ceremony-with all the planning, the preparations, and the stress that comes with it. Some brides (and grooms) are more shy, so the thought of being in front of a crowd for 30-60 minutes is agonizing. And throughout it all…I can’t help but wonder,


WHY this has dreading your wedding day become so “normal,” way before and even after it happens!?


This blows my mind. Honestly I’m convinced that we’ve all come to believe that weddings need to be an expensive production, that every detail needs to be perfect, and that there are certain “do’s and don’ts” that someone, somewhere, came up with. All of this, has led to the dreadful,”traditional” wedding.

My goal as a wedding photographer and as a friend, is to help you understand that there are OTHER WAYS… you do NOT have to go the traditional route with your wedding. You can be creative!! You can switch things around, and you can (and should, in my opinion) be completely un-traditional. It’s not about pleasing everyone else or paying big $$ because that’s what your cousin did when she got married. Plan a wedding that lights you up and that doesn’t feel like a burden or an expectation. My sincerest hope is that you’ll throw away everything you think you know about weddings, and START. FROM. SCRATCH.

I promise it will make a world of difference-one that you’ll feel from the minute you start planning, to the second your wedding is over.


So, here’s what you need to do:

Get out a piece of paper and a pen, and ask yourself these three questions:

  1. If I could use one or two words or one phrase to describe how I want my wedding day to feel, what would I use?
  2. Who are the most important, supportive people that I’d like to include on my wedding day?
  3. How much money do I actually want to spend on my wedding? (NOT how much do weddings cost-remember, you’re making this about YOU and YOUR real needs.)


Your answers to these three questions are now your road-map to planning your amazing, un-traditional wedding. Once you’ve got your answers, it’s time to start dreaming and planning. Don’t be afraid to dream big, even if you think it might be too expensive or too “out there.” You’d be surprised at what you can actually make happen with a little determination and elbow grease. 😉

Start with your first answer. Knowing how you want your wedding day to feel, fill in the gaps of the where, the when, and the how. Any detail that you add or subtract from your wedding needs to pass the test of, “does it fit with how I want my wedding day to feel?” If it doesn’t fit, don’t include it.


Here’s an example.

Trevor and Makenna want their wedding day to feel adventurous and laid-back, so they are going to hop on a plane to get married AND have their honeymoon in Hawaii (because they’ve never been there!). They’ve mapped out an amazing hike for the morning of their wedding that they’re excited about, and the rest of their wedding-day plans will be kept simple-relaxing on the beach, enjoying the sun, and Makenna is even going to get a massage on her wedding day. Their parents, siblings, and a couple of best friends will be joining them on the island for their wedding day-to swim, snorkel, (and maybe get a massage too), or whatever else they feel like doing. Then, as the sun starts to set, Trevor and Makenna will slip into their wedding clothes for their ceremony. Makenna’s mom will help her do her hair and Makenna will do her own makeup, and then Trevor and Makenna will get married at the same beach they’ve been playing at all day. The ceremony will be short, just vows, rings, and the actual marrying (which will be performed by Trevor’s brother, who got ordained for free online ahead of time). They will spend the majority of their money on their own plane tickets and hotel-they had planned out their wedding with enough time so that their friends and family could save up for their own plane tickets and hotels-and the rest on Makenna’s dress. Trevor is using dress pants, and white shirt, and a tie that he already owns, and will pick up brown suspenders. Since Trevor and Makenna will already be in Hawaii for their wedding, they’ll stay there for their honeymoon-planning out more hikes and adventures to go on, as well as plenty of time to relax on the beach. Their family and friends have made their own plans and will head back home at their own time.


Here’s another.

Rachel and Sam want their wedding day to feel intimate and unique, so they’ve decided to elope in a foreign country. Since wedding laws are different in other countries, and often involve a lengthy process, they’ll be “officially” married at their local courthouse, and then hopping on a plane to Argentina and Chile to visit Monte Fitz Roy. Even though they want their wedding to be intimate, they still want to include their family, particularly Rachel’s grandma. Rachel invited her mother and sister to help her pick out a wedding dress, and then asked her grandma to write a letter for her and Sam to read together on the morning of their wedding. When they arrive at their pre-designated, pre-researched area, they’ll changed into their wedding clothes and read their vows with Fitz Roy as their witness. They’re elated at the idea of such an intimate and unique experience that they’ll always cherish.


A third:

Mikey and Sarah want their wedding day to feel family-centered and joyful. Knowing they needed to be careful with their budget (they are saving for a down-payment on a house!), they decided on a camping weekend wedding at a local state park. They did their research and got a permit and campsites reserved. Then they asked each family member to help contribute to meals during the weekend. Sarah decided to find a pretty, inexpensive white dress on Amazon, and asked her favorite florist make an artificial bouquet. Mikey and Sarah also found gorgeous wedding rings after spending a day perusing local pawn shops, which helped keep their overall wedding costs low. Their wedding weekend will be spent around the campfire, jumping into the lake next to the campground, wandering around the little nearby town, and enjoying a mini vacation with their families. Their ceremony will be held nearby (State parks usually have lots of amenities!!), and then they’ll end the night roasting marshmallows and snuggling around the campfire.


And one last one, just for kicks and giggles.

Rebecca and Steven (after soulful examination, mind you), have decided that they really love the idea of a traditional wedding, but they’d really like it to be short and sweet, with a few un-traditional aspects. Their guests will be seated in a semi-circle, with a row down the middle, so that they can all see well. They’ve taken plenty of time to research and will be married at the sweetest garden-esk venue next to a lake, which perfectly suits the look Rebecca had dreamed of. They’ll place water bottles under every chair for guests to drink during the ceremony, and they’re asking their bridesmaids and groomsmen to dance down the aisle. Rebecca will be doing a “first-look” with her father (who she’s particularly fond of) before he walks her down the aisle. Their reception will be a mixture of good-organization and fun, and Steven has asked his brother to be in charge of announcing the next activity (cutting the cake, dances, send-off) in order to keep everything running smoothly. At the end of the reception, Rebecca, Steven, and their bridal party will be jumping into the lake as a final “celebratory” act on their wedding day.


No matter which example resonates most with you, I want you to know that there is no reason why you can’t thoroughly enjoy the planning AND the execution (that sounds great, huh!?) of your wedding, whether you’re deciding to be completely un-traditional or just weaving a few un-traditional aspects into your day. I’m BEGGING you not to give in to pressure, to expectations, or into traditional values that will make you say, “I’m so glad it’s over,” on your wedding day.

You’ve got this. And as always, I am HERE for you friend, encouraging you and cheering you on as you ditch tradition. May you design a wedding that you’ll never want to end.






Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Join The List

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore aliqua.