OKINAWA BRIGHT + VIBRANT PHOTOGRAPHER FOR HAPPY, KIND SOULS
Ahh!!! You just got a shiny, beautiful, new piece of jewelry to add to your left hand!! I bet you are jumping for joy and also can’t stop staring at your hand. I know the feeling!! Just six short months ago I was doing the same exact thing, it was and IS the most amazing experience! But after the initial shock was over on that day all I could think was now what? I’m here to share my ten tips of the next few things you should cross off your newly engaged to do list & some little stories about our engagement too!
#1: CALL YOUR PEOPLE!
Whether that is your parents, grandparents, siblings, best friends, or extended family, make sure to call the people you would hate to have find out via social media. Let them jump for joy & scream and shout with you! They will feel just as blissful for you & will definitely feel appreciative for hearing the awesome news directly from you!
Our Story: When Evan and I got engaged we made a lot of calls to our people. One person I didn’t call was one of my best friends & second shooter, Bri. I was going to be picking her up the next day so we could fly to Las Vegas to shoot a wedding. I am sure glad I didn’t just call her because the genuine excitement and overwhelming love she had for us was out of this world! I also wish I would’ve recorded her reaction because I swear she jumped 10 feet in the air and then almost tackled me! It was so awesome 😀
This is something that is so incredibly special. Someone just asked you to be their forever person. To be their number one fan, supporter, and love line for the rest of your lives…and you said YES!! You just committed to one of the greatest gifts that life has to offer & so you better go CELEBRATE!! Take your fiancé (I bet it is still super weird to say that!) and go do something you guys love. Whether that is dinner & a movie, dancing, hiking, or just hanging out enjoying each others company – do something that you two can enjoy together and really soak in the first feelings of being engaged!
Our Story: If you were looking from the outside you would probably say we were pretty lame, but to us our celebration was perfect. We hit up Pizza Hut and really splurged on the menu. I can even remember what booth we were in! We sat there and laughed and really just enjoyed each other’s company. We drank some beer, ate some wings, pizza, and breadsticks and I also kept getting distracted from the pretty thing on my hand! 😀
#3 WRITE DOWN your STORY!
When you are 85 do you really think you will remember all the little details about how he asked? How you felt? What you did? Who you called? Most likely you won’t. So I am a firm believer in writing down the story! From every detail leading up to the proposal to the last thought before you close your eyes to sleep. You will thank yourself later when you are sharing this story with your grandkids!
Our Story: I wrote down our story in specific detail into a notebook I deemed my “Wedding Planning Notebook”! I even asked Evan about his feelings, emotions and what is going on in his head for the whole experience so I wouldn’t miss a thing! Then a few months ago, as we were packing up my apartment to move to North Carolina my notebook went missing. I was bummed all my plans & guest list went missing but I mostly bummed about our story. I recounted the story as best as I could in a word doc but some of the details were blurry. Such as what I was thinking as we drove into town & my initial wedding plan thoughts. I was bummed to say the least. BUT THEN a few weeks ago I opened a random drawer and my wedding notebook appeared! I’ve now copied what I wrote into a word doc and have it saved in multiple places. So learn from my mistakes: write that bad boy somewhere safe and save it in multiple places!!
#4 SET A BUDGET
Weddings can easily spiral out of control with the costs of everything. There are so many ways you can do this and honestly I am not the person to tell you how to (numbers have never been my thing). So I did a little research and found some links that might help:
The biggest advice I can give you is prioritize what you are willing to splurge on (such as venue, flowers, food or photographer) and what you are okay with spending nothing or very little on (such as plastic plates instead of real, buffet style verses plated). These will be different for everyone and probably everyone you consult with too! So make sure you prioritize what YOU AND YOUR FIANCE think is splurge worthy – not what everyone else thinks!
Our Story: I have always known I was willing to spend a bigger price tag on a wedding photographer than anything else. I started saving before I even had a boyfriend because I knew I wanted to have enough money saved when the day did come – (a little crazy, I know, but being in the wedding world will do that to you 😉 )! Evan’s only real input for the wedding was that he wanted to wear jeans & he wanted a live band. So we prioritized those things for him! Something we both didn’t care to spend a lot on was table decorations because we personally believes not very many people remember them. They are still going to be pretty – but there isn’t a whole lot of moolah thrown into them!
#5 SET A DATE & CONNECT WITH VENDORS
These two walk hand-in-hand in my mind! Picking a date will help secure a lot of your future plans and depending on what you prioritize in your budget, this date may have to change. I want to stress to you how important it is to contact your ideal venues as early as possible! Too often do I have to tell brides that I cannot photograph their wedding day because I am already booked. It’s heartbreaking! So make sure you contact whatever venue/creative/object that you cannot live without on your wedding day. Contact them FIRST THING!
Our Story: Evan was leaving for active duty just a few short weeks after our engagement. We knew he wasn’t going to get a lot of time off and with his future plans with the military, and my crazy summer schedule, we knew we had a very limited time frame. We picked March because it was a good off season for me & it was in between trainings for Evan! I also got ahold of my photographer the night we got engaged because I knew I HAD to have them! That was our number one priority and then the rest just *thankfully* fell in line!
This is wear the fun happens! I think is incredibly important to just sit there, without Pinterest or any other source giving you ideas, and just really picture what you want your day to be like. Think about the people who surround you, your colors, your dress, your florals, your hair. Are the men in tuxes or more casual? Do you have 20 people there or 300? Do you see yourself dancing the night away or ending it early so you can spend time with your new hubby? There are so many things to just simply THINK about! Once you get an idea in your head then take to social media and Pinterest to help pull YOUR ideas together.
Our Story: I had a vision that was really hard to explain to people but now as we close in on the wedding day it is all coming together. My thoughts and ideas that I knew I would love, whether they went together or not, really have pulled together with help from my friends in real life & on Pinterest and Etsy! Don’t be afraid to do something even if it doesn’t fit your “theme”. As long as you love it, it really won’t matter on your wedding day. You will just be in happy bliss that everything you daydreamed about is there!
#7 PICK YOUR PEOPLE!
Picking the people you want to stand next to you can be one of the hardest things to do! You want to think about your relationships & friendships and what those people mean to you. Personally I don’t believe there is a “special” number of people. You have who YOU want to stand next to you. Whether both you and your fiancé’s number is the same or not. If they are YOUR people, they are YOUR people! I was chatting with one of my best friends about this and she said something that just resounded in me about this topic. She said, “I am going to pick the people that when we are 60 years old they are still by my side having fun”. Isn’t that the perfect definition of your people?!
Our Story: We have a 22 person bridal party. We couldn’t choose. It was everyone or no one for us. Every name we had written down we knew will be our friends until the day we die. So we just said that is what we are going to do and we don’t care what anyone says. Although we did apologize to our photographers because that is going to be one rowdy crowd to handle! 😀
#8 PREP YOUR GUEST LIST!!
It is really hard to decide who will be invited to your wedding. Most venues have a capacity that the building can hold & that makes it really difficult to decide who makes the cut. No matter what size of guest list you think you will have, just start writing down names. Ask your parents and your fiancé’s parents write down the family members & friends’ names they would like to see invited. Think of your friends you couldn’t imagine your day without & write them down. I would then go through all your social media just in case you forgot someone (just don’t tell them you forgot them :D)! Once you have all the names you think you possibly would want there, prioritize them. Put them in groups of FAMILY, FRIENDS, PARENTS FRIENDS, MAYBE, & MAYBE NOT lists. This will help you when you count your final numbers. It is OKAY to have a maybe & an maybe not list. You don’t tell them who they are but it is helpful to have a backup plan if you do need to cut people from your list!
Our Story: Planning a wedding in a small town is hard. Especially when your family alone is almost 100 people & your venue only seats less than 300. We did exactly what I laid out above. We made A LOT of lists and then again in Excel sheets with final numbers and names. Whenever I got to someone I wasn’t sure if I should send an invite to I flopped the question on it’s head and asked myself, “If they were getting married or having an event, would they remember to put my name on the list” or “When was the last time they reached out to me? Or me to them?” The answers to those usually answered most of my questions!
#9 INSURE YOUR RING!
This is just a minor step but I think a lot of people forget about! That beautiful, wonderful, perfect piece of jewelry on your hand is super important to you & your fiancé. Wouldn’t it be terrible awful if it was lost/stolen/broke and you couldn’t afford to replace it? Yeah, downright awful! So talk to your insurance agent about getting it added on right now!
#10 HAVE FUN!!
Throughout this process you are going to feel a lot of things. Extreme happiness, maybe some fear, anxiety, lots of butterflies and a whole lot of joy! There is A LOT that goes into planning the big day. It is okay to be overwhelmed, it is okay to ask for help, and it is okay to not know everything! But every step of the way try to have a lot of fun! You don’t want to look back at your engagement and remember being super stressed out and worried about whether or not your napkins were paper or linen. You want to remember the feelings of finding your wedding dress, cake tasting with your fiancé, finding your borrowed and blue with your mom, and group texting with your bridesmaids. THOSE are the memories you want to make. So have fun with it and CONGRATULATIONS!
Annnnnnnnd to add a little picture interest for those of you who just came here for pictures – here are some fun fall shots from Kady & Tyler’s engagement shoot in October. These two are tying the knot this September in Cabo – I cannot wait for all the pretties & fun that will be had there! Already stocking up on my sunblock! 😀
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