My husband and I just celebrated our four year wedding anniversary in August. While driving to Québec City for our anniversary getaway (itinerary coming soon!) we were discussing some of best decisions we made for our wedding. Here is some of my best wedding planning advice, inspired by our experience and expert advice I’ve learned since running Vermont Weddings (which I wasn’t when I got married).
Wedding Advice I’m Glad We Took: Do A First Look
I’m so glad we did a first look! For starters, seeing each other in a private moment was so calming and special. Also, doing a first look and portraits before the wedding allowed us to spend more time at cocktail hour with our guests!
Plus…it rained right before we got married, which pushed our ceremony inside. While the sun came back out after, and we still got out later for pictures, I’m glad we got our main portraits done ahead of time!
Wedding Planning Tip: Get Ready at Your House (Or Make Where You Are Homey)
I loved my wedding morning so much, I wrote a whole blog post on how to have the best wedding morning! While I know it’s not possible for everyone to be in the comfort of their home (I see you, destination couples!) you can try to make wherever you’re getting ready feel comfortable.
Food, music, and a strong timeline are a few great keys to start.
DIYing Your Wedding Can Be Fun
Admittedly, this isn’t for everyone, but because I genuinely like to do crafts and design work, this was so fun for me! I DIY’ed pretty much everything from the signs to the bouquets.
If you decide to go this route, I highly recommend giving yourself plenty of time to complete your crafts. Also, just because you’re doing it yourself doesn’t mean it will be cheap; keep track of your receipts so you can stay on budget.
My Favorite Wedding Photo: Get A Full Group Photo of Everyone at Your Wedding
We asked our photographer to take a photo of our whole wedding and it’s one of my favorite photos from the day. We printed it poster-size and framed it over our living room sofa, and every time we have friends visit they love to look and find themselves in it! It truly makes me smile every time I look at it.
If you want to pull this off for your wedding, it takes a bit of planning. First, definitely let your photographer know this is important to you. Try to scout a location for the photo ahead of time (ex. a large area for guests to stand and/or a high point for your photographer to stand to get the shot). Secondly, know it’s not going to be perfect. It’s likely that someone will have their eyes closed or will be looking off to the side, or cut off on the edge. You’ll still get the essence of the day!
We scheduled this photo at the very end of our cocktail hour and used it as a way to round everyone up and move in for dinner.
Wedding Budget Advice: Budget for a Videographer
I am so glad we have both pictures and a video to look back on and remember our day! While I felt very present during our ceremony, memories do fade over time, and it’s nice to be able to rewatch it together.
I’m really glad we budgeted for a videographer in addition to a photographer for those memories.
If your budget truly doesn’t allow for a wedding videographer, I would recommend asking a trusted friend to at least capture your ceremony for you. You could have them sit in the front row with a tripod and ipad/iphone. It won’t be the same quality as a professional wedding film, but at least you’ll have your vows on video.
Hire a Creeme Truck for Dessert
We got married in August, and it was HOT on our wedding night. We hired a local creeme truck to serve up maple creemes and it was a huge hit, especially with our out of state guests. Four years later, guests still talk about the creeme truck!
Wedding Planning Advice I Give All Couples: Give a Toast
I rarely make universal suggestions but here’s one: get up and thank everyone at your wedding. Your guests are there for you, and a public thank you goes a long way to showing your appreciation! (This also takes the pressure off if you miss thanking someone during the evening.)
This took all of two minutes, and we slotted it right after our first dance and before the dance with our parents.
I really think this makes an impact on your guests, and I wish every couple would do this!
Choose Your Last Dance Song Intentionally
A friend suggested this to me during my wedding planning, and I am so grateful! Thinking about how I wanted our reception to end, rather than trusting our DJ to instinctively guess, was so smart. (What if they close it out with a song that you secretly hate?)
Our pick was “Dancing in the Moonlight” and I still think it’s a great choice!
Delay Your Honeymoon by a Month
After months of intensive planning and looking forward to our wedding… I had the post wedding blues really badly. Having our honeymoon to look forward to was so helpful to get past that.
Plus, it was good to a few weeks to recover from the wedding and finalize our honeymoon plans. I think a month was the perfect amount of time; we had enough time to recover, but we were still feeling that newlywed energy.
(We went to Portugal for our honeymoon and I’m obsessed. If you’re considering it, please DM me and I’ll send you our itinerary!
Do we have any wedding regrets?
You bet! Stay tuned for what we’d do differently!
Overall, we’re really happy with how our wedding turned out and think these are the best decisions we made that may help you while planning your own wedding!
Photographer: Danielle Allendorf Photography | Venue: The Mansfield Barn
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I created the Ultimate Wedding Planning Guide based on the spreadsheets I created to plan my wedding, the lessons I learned, and TONS of invaluable advice from our community. It’s the guide I wish I had when I was planning my wedding!