Welcome to my blog take over! My name is Kelsey and I am Courtney’s main second photographer and assistant. I live with my sweet husband Hugh and our crazy dog Rory on a boat in the Pacific Northwest. I met Courtney a little over two years ago when she shot our wedding and I am so thankful we did! I recently started working with her as her assistant (YAY!) and she asked if I would share some of the things I learned while planning my wedding, and after some reflection on the day itself to help out all you lovelies about to walk down the aisle. So, lets get started on some helpful tips for planning a great wedding.
So you might think engagement photos aren’t 100% necessary, and sometimes money is tight, but if you get the chance, it is so nice to have engagement photos taken by your wedding photographer. The session provides time to get to know your photographer, and for your fiancé to feel more comfortable in front of the camera. Also it’s just a LOT of fun. And it just never hurts to have more beautiful photos of you and your love. Courtney put together a helpful guide for planning the perfect engagement session. I consider myself fairly traditional, but I’m SO (I can’t emphasize this enough) thankful we did a first look! The day goes by so fast, and it was so incredibly special for us to have that time to connect and focus on us before our ceremony. Especially since we were both nervous about being in front of 200 of our friends and family and being the center of attention (which is not our jam). Doing the first look really took those nerves away for us! Plus it provides time to get some really sweet photos as well. They’re just so intimate and dreamy and you can really make it special by reading personal vows or even pray together.
I’m sure this isn’t anything you haven’t heard before, but it’s incredibly important to get good rest the week before your wedding. Things can get crazy and can be a little chaotic, but nothing can replace a good night’s sleep. You’ll be able to think clearly the day of your wedding and really be able to soak everything in. My body was wearing out so much I almost lost my voice the night before the wedding… not good. I would hate that to happen to you! Be sure to take some time out for yourself to be alone. I love to journal, and you could write a letter to your groom, use some essential oils (my saving grace), do yoga or workout, or whatever you need to do to rest and de-stress. Self care is so important and often it’s the first thing to go when we are in wedding countdown mode. It also helps you love those around you so much better.
Plan to unplug.
One of the best choices I made was to have an unplugged ceremony. I chose to work with my photographer because of her amazing photos and I didn’t want anything to get in the way of that. Now as Courtney’s assistant I have already seen people using flash and even asking the photographer to move so that they can get their shot (ahem, rude). A simple sign for your guests will suffice or you can have your officiant announce it at the beginning of the ceremony. You will get lovely ceremony photos, your guests will be more present during the ceremony, and they can take as many pics as they want outside of the ceremony!
Take care of your guests.
It’s easy to get caught up in the dress, flowers, and photos. And there’s nothing wrong with that! But as you are planning your wedding, make sure that you are taking care of your guests. Plan for plenty of everything… no one wants to miss out on those appetizers or not get to try the signature cocktail. If your reception is outside and it may get chilly at night, provide some blankets for them to snuggle in. Don’t worry about being fancy, just to show you care about their comfort as it’s a way of thanking them for making the trek to celebrate with you!
Spend good time with your girls.
You picked these ladies for a reason. Remember that they are there for you and this is emotional for them as well. Many bridesmaids have purchased plane tickets and made sacrifices to come love on you on your big day, so make sure you take some quality time with them, thank them, let them know how much they mean to you. I included a heartfelt letter to each of my bridesmaids with their gifts, letting them know how grateful I was for their friendship and that they were there to help give me away. This goes a long way in making them feel appreciated.
Don’t sweat the small stuff.
Engagements don’t have to be stressful, so let the small stuff go. It’s just not worth it to have fights with your mom or your fiancé over things that last for a day, whether they are big or small things. What’s more important is your relationships and being loving towards each other throughout the planning process. It’s okay to disagree on some things, because let’s face it, it’s going to happen. Just try not to dwell on it, move past it quickly and you’ll be back to planning your dream wedding.
Spend time with your fiancé.
As silly s that sounds, do your best throughout your engagement to take time for you and your fiancé to spend time together that doesn’t revolve around the wedding. Totally serious about this! Game nights with your friends or going on hikes together helped me a ton when I needed a break from planning.
Courtney has put together this very helpful wedding planning guide that I wish I had when I was engaged. You can check it out here.
Thanks for reading!