5 Things I Wish I Knew Before Planning My Own Wedding

June 13, 2015.  

Today is our three-year anniversary and WOW!!! What an amazing ride our marriage has been! Our wedding day was the very first wedding I had ever been to since moving to the US from Haiti.  So, needless to say I wasn't very familiar with the cultural traditions of weddings in the U.S., which was great because that wasn't a big deal to Matias, who grew up in Finland. In some ways, a lot of our decisions were unconventional, but it was our day and we wanted to make it personal to who we were as a couple. It was beautiful and memorable in every way. However, as a first time bride, there are some things I wish I could have done differently leading up to my wedding day and even after the wedding. Hopefully you find this helpful too as you plan your wedding! But before we go on, here are a couple of photos of us from our wedding day! I married a VERY handsome man...! #hearteyes You can clap to that! :)

A photo from our wedding in Simi Valley, CA. 

A photo from our wedding in Simi Valley, CA. 



So here we go, 5 things I wish I knew about planning a wedding...

1. I Would Have Preferred to Elope...

Matias and I talk about this a lot. That if we could do it over again, eloping would not have been such a bad idea-in a somewhat serious and simply just daydreaming way. Although, we did consider it at the time but it just didn't seem reasonable with our large family dynamic, and we really wanted as many of our families there with us as possible. Then again, when we think about all the money that went into that day, a nice elopement on top of a mountain attended by a few family and friends, followed by a small intimate reception sounds so nice now. Not only would it have made the planning more simple and enjoyable, but I think we would have also been able to spend the extra money on an amazing and adventurous honeymoon destination, more on that later. 

2. I Wish I Knew that the Wedding Day is Really Only One Day

THIS. I wish someone would have reminded me of this. Frankly, some of the things that we were so fixated on took our focus away from what the day was really about. But at the same time, it was so hard for us to imagine what our lives would be like together after the wedding, since this was our first time ever living together with someone else. We wouldn't know that the giant white balloons I was so keen on having as part of the wedding decor wouldn't have mattered as much as spending a regular day at home with each other cooking and watching our favorite shows. But poor Matias, he had to make multiple trips to the party city store just hour before the wedding to pick up the balloons that I don't even remember enjoying at the wedding. SMH. Yes, it was a very important day. But I am learning that when you sow into a great marriage, the reward is a A LOT of important and memorable days. I think the goal is to always make time to relax and enjoy each other the days leading up to your wedding, but it rarely ever happens because, well, life happens. But we can always try to reach this goal.

3. I Wish I Realized the Importance of Hiring a Wedding Planner

It's funny, now that I am wedding photographer, I have gained a lot more perspective into wedding days and wedding planning. A wedding planner would have been an amazing resource to have had. I didn't have the best fashion or design sense back in 2015 and Pinterest was my best friend. A lot DIYs, some fake flowers, a confusing theme, and a somewhat consistent color palette made up our wedding day. I think we did a pretty good job considering that we planned everything from Florida, and we still had a blast. But after having worked with wedding planners now shooting weddings and knowing what I know about the amazing things they do, DANG did we miss out! Imagine having someone else harassing a rental company for you to make sure you have the right chairs, supervising the arrival of vendors and rental equipment, and setup of the equipment. They don't leave until the last guest is gone, the mess is cleaned up, and the vendors have been paid. I think even your family members might raise a glass to that one. Because, to be honest, I had no idea what the breakdown plan was after our grand sparkler exit and Matias and I were on our merry way to our honeymoon suite at the Four Seasons. While our family did an incredible job taking care of everything, it doesn't mean that it didn't leave me with some guilt knowing that they had another very late night to make sure we weren't worried about anything. 

4. I Wish I Would Have Known More About Wedding Photography

This, ladies and gentlemen, is a big one. You may have seen our wedding photos before, there's nothing majorly wrong with them. I like our photos. What I am talking about is the process of searching and hiring a photographer based on criteria that I now know of. Knowing what I know now and the process I have invented for my brides and grooms to have a seamless and great experience with me, it brings regrets to the process that we went through. Maybe this will help some of you out there. Photography is so important to me! When the wedding dress is hung, the cake is eaten, the guests have left, all you have left forever are pictures to jog your memories of one of the most important days of your life. Here are some mistakes I made:

  • I hired a family friend who is not exclusively a wedding photographer. This person mostly did portrait photography with models.

  • I hired someone who's work is a style I could not relate to.

  • I hired someone without ever asking them to share their wedding portfolio with me.

  • I hired someone without asking tough questions about timeline for gallery delivery, number of images I would receive, if they would be edited (most of them were not).

  • I hired someone who wasn't very responsive to what we wanted, that time I spent creating a Pinterest board was all for nothing. 

  • I hired someone who gave us a huge discount...you're probably like, 'how is that a problem?' In my experience, a huge discount or going for someone who offers the cheapest package deal means that's the kind of service or product you will get in return. If you don't pay for quality, don't expect quality.

I could go on and on on this topic, but that will have to be another blog post. Needless to say, do your homework, and only choose the photographer that you feel most confident about. Let's move to the final item, number 5!

5. I Wish We Went on our Dream Honeymoon

This one we could not have prepared well for, for several reasons. It was kind of a whirlwind. After flying a red-eye from LA to FL the day after the wedding, we had rush to our new home, do laundry and rush to the port to get on our cruise. Once we got on the cruise boat and were headed to the Bahamas, it was pretty much smooth sailing (ha, pun intended). But what we didn't take into consideration was just how tired we would be after going nonstop with wedding planning, traveling, late nights, etc...WE PASSED OUT FOR HOURS in our stateroom. We were so far gone that we missed our dinner and the person in charge of our hall had to wake us up to make sure we were ok. I am sure he thought we were doing something else in the room for five hours straight, but then again our confused and sleepy looks told a different story. And don't get me wrong, I LOVED our honeymoon, we had an amazing time traveling together for the first time. BUT, originally we wanted to go to France and Switzerland for our honeymoon. however, I was in the process of getting security clearance to intern at the U.S. Embassy in Paris, so we thought we would wait to do a real and long honeymoon then. Little did we know that the clearance wouldn't come until a year later on our one year anniversary. Which kind of worked out, because we got to spend our one year anniversary in Paris. But, all this to say is I wish we had gone on our dream honeymoon for longer than four days (going back to work after such a short trip and all the amazing things that had happened was so weird for me). We have our whole lives to make up for it though, so win win. 

In retrospect, these would have been helpful for us to know. But not having known them doesn't take away from the fact that we had an amazing day celebrating with friends and family! And here we are three years later about to embark on another great adventure-becoming parents in just 3 months and 1 week! EEEEEK :). And I am sure this territory comes with even less "know-how" for us haha. Be on the lookout for Part #2 of '5 things I wish I knew about... becoming a mom' lol. 

Photo by Savannah Brown Photography

Photo by Savannah Brown Photography

If you've made it this far, here's your reward! Watch this hilarious video: https://youtu.be/tP_OF9vWs84