While planning my wedding, I searched the internet for inspiration. Pinterest was my friend in the beginning, but quickly, the endless scroll of content became a curse. There was so much inspiration for me to absorb, I felt like I would dissolve into a puddle of overwhelm.
After I said “YES” to building a marriage with Garrett, I instantly started dreaming up what our wedding day could look like. After all, I’ve seen over 130 weddings, so I believed planning my own would be simple. Quite the opposite! It was information overload, and I immediately felt like I was in a sea of chiffon and wedding cake. (Fair enough, that’s not a bad sea to be in).
I know first hand how it feels to begin planning your wedding day, but not where to begin. To see so much beauty, but realized that it doesn’t connect with you. I also know how it feels to realize that everyone else’s opinions have crept in and clouded your judgement.
So how do you make your wedding day truly feel like yours? Here are my five tips to help you get started:
1. Determine what you value most about your day:
Plan a date night with your fiancé to your favorite restaurant, bring a notepad (or notes on your iPhone, but I do love tangible paper!) and write out your top wedding “must haves.” What is most important to you? For Garrett and I, it was all about the experience. We wanted our wedding day to be a treat for our guests. After all, they were flying out to Hawaii for us! We were so thankful they were a part of the start of our marriage, so most of our decisions were made based on providing an experience that our guests would always remember. Our solution was to create an intimate dinner setting with a scenic view, treat them to a specialty cocktail and provide an unforgettable meal. Garrett and I also planned a few excursions throughout the week so that the fun didn’t just happen on the wedding day! Next to that was, of course, photography, followed by Mai Tais because when Garrett proposed, we celebrated with Mai Tais overlooking the San Diego skyline.
2. Write your own vows.
I love personalized vows! Simple or detailed, as a wedding photographer, I’ve seen first hand that wedding ceremonies with personal vows garner the most beautiful reactions from your fiancé and guests. And hearing your fiancé read their own vows to you out loud? There’s nothing like it. If you’re not a fan of public speaking, reading your personal vows during your first look is a perfect option. It’s what Garrett and I did! And I still keep his vows in my wallet to this day (and read them often!)
3. Skip traditions you don’t connect with.
Some traditions aren’t for everyone, and that’s okay! Choose what means the most to you and your fiancé, and let everything else go. Even better? Make your own traditions! I’ve had several couples who don’t eat cake, so instead they shared Dip’n’Dots. It was precious! Garrett and I threw out several traditions on our wedding day.
4. Consider your details.
At the end of your wedding day, you’re left with your wedding photos, dress, paper goods and special mementos. Whether you bought your own dress or tied your grandmother’s handkerchief to your bouquet, wedding heirlooms have a way of staying with us forever. Take time to choose details that mean the most to you. Garrett is a talented woodworker, so he made my ring box. It was the centerpiece for many of the detail images my photographer captured! I also commissioned my friend at The Impressionist to create a map of O’ahu with important destinations from our wedding week. We included this in our invitation suite to our guests and it set the perfect tone to the adventures ahead!
5. Look around you:
We spend most of our time at home. It’s where we retreat at the end of a long week. We love to relax, unwind and invite our friends over for some fun! Our home is a great reflection of who we are. Take a look around your home and write down some notes. What have you collected and displayed? What is your favorite color palette? Is your design minimalistic, bohemian or eclectic? Are there a lot of wood, natural elements or are your home accents sleek and modern?
Your home decor is a perfect place to begin when determining your aesthetic and a great place for design inspiration! And if you’re not a fan of your current home aesthetic, take a walk around your favorite store. Pottery Barn, Anthropologie, West Elm (or sneak a trip to the Magnolia Silos). What speaks to you? Bring your wedding planner along to help you infuse some of your favorite elements into your wedding design!
At the end of the day, you’re married!
No matter what your wedding day looks like, you’re walking into a marriage with the person you love most. And there is no better detail than the way you both look with new rings on your fingers! Enjoy the moments as they unfold!