Episode 56: You're Going To The Chapel And You're Gonna Get Married: Top Bridal Do's And Don't's
You GUYS, you are in for such a treat this week. We are joined by wedding photographer Hannah Higgins and she is sharing all her wedding wisdom with us. Whether you're reflecting on your own wedding day, in the trenches of planning, or considering your future trip down the aisle, this episode is for brides of all kinds. Hannah shares her top do's and don't's for brides to be and her hope is to inspire and encourage you not just in wedding planning, but to leave you a little more uplifted about life after hearing her. And since Hannah is the expert and packed SO MUCH WISDOM into one episode, we let her take the reins on this whole show note writing thing. So, without further ado, here are Hannah's top bridal do's and don't's!
DON’T…BE SHORTSIGHTED // see beyond your wedding season
- Your engagement is such a short season of your life. Say no to instant gratification. Say yes to planning for the future. Pay mind to your physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, financial, relational health and set boundaries so that you will not only survive your wedding planning season but thrive in your marriage afterwards.
DO…PLAY THE LONG GAME // plan for the future
- Only commit to wedding decisions that you will be proud of years from now. If you can live without personalized place cards and fancy favors, do it! Those are short-term investments that can often add thousands of dollars to your wedding total. Say no to anything you don’t absolutely have to have.
- Protect your budget! Every stamp, every flower, and every piece of cake counts. According to The Knot, the national average of a wedding in 2016 (when I got married) was over $35,000. We spent less than half of that on our own wedding, protecting my personal savings in the process. This allowed us to transition into marriage wedding- debt free and buy our first house a year later.
DON’T…SACRIFICE QUALITY FOR QUANTITY // keep your guest list and your wedding party as small as possible
- Real friends will understand that you’re trying to keep your wedding simple, and they will be so pumped to attend as a guest. Asking selfish “friends” to be a part of your wedding party out of fear or obligation will always backfire.
- Every bridesmaid will cost you something. Paying for extra bouquets, getting-ready outfits, and gifts will add up quickly.
- Each person you ask will also have a lot of expenses as they help plan your showers + bachelorette party; buy you lingerie and a wedding gift; buy a dress, shoes, and jewelry; and pay for a manicure, hair, and makeup on the day of. Before they agree to be a bridesmaid, make sure they are aware of what they are signing up for.
DO…KEEP IT SIMPLE // ask only your closest friends to be your bridesmaids
- It is an honor to stand up with a friend when they say “I do”. Ask the girls who will truly treasure that role and help you and your family in any way they can while minimizing anxiety/drama and maximizing morale.
DON’T…COMPROMISE ON A GREAT PHOTOGRAPHER // if you only prioritize one vendor, make it this one
- A great photographer can make the most simple wedding look amazing with a knowledgeable use of lighting, a positive attitude, and their own creativity. Do not spend majority of your budget planning the perfect party and expect an amateur photographer to perfectly capture your once-in-a-lifetime event. Tighten up your budget around the temporary details of your wedding (food, desserts, decorations, etc.) and hire someone who will capture your day at its absolute best.
- Your photographer will interact with almost every guest at your wedding. Hire someone with a friendly personality who will treat your family and your guests with respect while adding to the celebration of your wedding day!
- While finding a friendly photographer is absolutely necessary, hiring one that can command large groups and capture quick moments in stressful environments is just as important. Your photographer should have the confidence to speak up and command a room full of bridesmaids, family members, and guests when necessary. Your photos will be the only memories you have decades from now, and they should be beautiful.
DO…INVEST IN YOUR FUTURE MEMORIES // hire an experienced photographer and take their advice to heart
- A great photo/video team will help you plan your day, no matter the budget, to be the best it can be. A great photographer will help you write a timeline for all the important photo-ops on your wedding day, taking things like lighting and the layout of your venue into consideration. Wedding days are crazy, but the photos last forever. Hire someone that knows how to navigate a stressful event while creating beautiful images you will treasure for a lifetime.
- Your rings, your photos, and your marriage are all you will have when you return from your honeymoon and embark into real life together. Choose a photographer that will document this monumental day in a way that you will adore for DECADES to come. A great photographer is an investment you will never regret.
- Photographers who run their business with class and integrity are not going to rip you off. Wedding photography is an expensive business to be in. The equipment, software, and business expenses cost a fortune. I bring home less than half of the money that I am paid. If you trust the person behind the camera, don’t question their prices. They are just trying to make a living.
- Check out my blog post: Why is wedding photography so expensive?
DON’T…FORGET THE REASON FOR THE SEASON // invest in your relationship and plan for your marriage.
- Do not plan a wedding if you are not ready for a marriage. An incredible event will not secure the success of your relationship. It will last for a day, and you will have the rest of your life to live up to the vows you make in a matter of minutes. Keep making time to go on dates. Take breaks from wedding talk and dream about the future together. Set up accountability partners in the areas of finances and physical boundaries.
DO…MARRIAGE PREP // invest time and energy in a solid pre-marital counseling course
- Planning for a marriage should always take priority over planning a wedding. Discussing and agreeing on your expectations for married life is SO crucial to your relationship. Each one of you should know, before the wedding, what the other desires and expects regarding your time, your finances, your careers, your sex life, your roles around the house, and your future raising of children. If your expectations do not line up, take a step back and consider your decision before moving forward into a lifelong commitment.
- Listen to the wisdom of a married couple you trust who is several life stages ahead of you. They know what it’s like to plan a wedding and prepare for a marriage. They can share their own experience with you, warn you about common relational hurdles on both sides of the wedding, pray with you, and encourage you as you prepare to transition into married life.
DON’T…OVERDO IT // know your strengths and set boundaries
- Planning a wedding can feel like a second full-time job. Recognize your strengths and ask for help with the tasks that overwhelm you. Hire a reputable wedding planner if you can afford it.
- Delegate mindless wedding tasks to your family and your bridesmaids. (ex. addressing, stuffing, stamping envelopes for save the dates, invites, and thank you notes…)
- Don’t try to DIY all your decor. You will either pay for your wedding details with money or with time (read: sanity). Be very selective about your wedding decor as most of it will only be used for one day. Hire a great florist and look into renting, rather than buying, specific items that you need on the day of.
- I was sick on our wedding day because I was trying to get so much done for other brides during our 5 month engagement while planning most of my own wedding myself. I should have been taking better care of myself, but I didn’t know how. I worked out and looked so healthy in our pictures, but I only slept an hour the night before our wedding because of the different symptoms I was struggling through. I was exhausted, sick, and hoarse for most of our honeymoon, and I will always regret that I didn’t let myself rest enough during our engagement.
DO…TREAT YOSELF // prioritize self-care
- Take at least one day a week to step away from wedding planning. (mental health)
- Exercise/stretch to relieve stress. Harness your stress and use it as fuel for a weight circuit, a run, or a yoga session. You will never regret a workout. (physical health)
- Journal through the craziness and read God’s word to be reminded of who you are, where your worth comes from, and what marriage is TRULY about. (emotional + spiritual health)
- Make time for bubble baths, face masks, diffused essential oils, sunshine, massages, meditation, pedicures, exfoliation, yoga, prayer.
- Learning how to care for yourself before marriage will help you remember to care for yourself after your wedding. Taking care of yourself will allow you to care for your spouse that much more.