Distinct-to-You Wedding Details | Yup. | Newlywed Post

We believe that wedding details should be meaningful, suit your personalities, and fit you as a couple.  For some people, personalized themes and prop-like detailing will simply not work for them. But, when we say “create meaningful details,” we don’t just mean knicky-knacky stuff. We mean what are your priorities? Where will your focus go? Where are you throwing those wedding dollars? What do you CARE about?

We have shot the gamut of weddings from trad to non-trad. We don’t shoot your wedding for us. We shoot it for you. We enjoy when weddings are personalized because that way the pictures will come out being honest, genuine, personal, beautiful, and moving.

The wedding should be, first and foremost, about you as a couple vowing to spend your lives together (and doing so in whatever way feels right).

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We recently had a conversation with a wonderful couple who mentioned that their wedding will not be detail-heavy. As they explained how the flow of their wedding day will go, with a very laid-back and natural ‘vibe’, we were SO HAPPY that they were designing their wedding how THEY wanted it. There is a recent trend happening where couples may feel pressured, after looking at wedding blogs and magazines, to create a seemingly blog-worthy wedding. To us, all weddings are meant as a personal keepsake for the couple and their family, first and foremost. We never want a couple to apologize to us for NOT having details. Instead, we want to encourage couples to design a wedding day based on what they want.

Here are our suggestions on organizing your thoughts and tackling your overall vision, as well as some tips that may make your process easier. We will discuss how we went about prioritizing aspects of our wedding and how we created details that were meaningful and relevant to us. Our personal decisions in no way mean that’s how you should do it too. When you are in the wedding industry, it can be hard to sit back and think “how would we do this if nobody else could see it?” We suggest you start by asking yourself that question. It helps! This is not a perfect compilation of wedding planning advice by any means, but after shooting weddings and having a wedding of our own, we wanted to try to contribute. {These pictures are all from family/friends, as we can’t post pro photos from our wedding here}

1. Figure out your priorities.

It helps to first decide where you want bigger parts of the budget to go and bigger parts of your time/energy/focus. You don’t need a big budget to get the wedding you want. Once you choose your main priorities, you can get creative and make it happen! Make a list (here’s ours):

a.) These things matter(ed) to us: Small wedding, his & hers personalized vows, personalized ceremony layout, all hand-picked songs, laid-back dinner party reception.

b.) Worth spending $ on: Venue near water, photographers, the dress (ugh. this was NOT on purpose.), and personal diy details (diy does not always = cheap. Go buy materials and you’ll see what we mean.)

Well, some of our priorities ended up being a little different than what we had originally planned. But, once you decide where you want your budget to go, try your darnedest to stick to it. Focus your energy on the elements that need your TLC and try to delegate the rest. (We will expound on this later.) For some people, this may be super simple: grab your fiance, run to courthouse, badda-bing, badda-boom. But, even then, if you’re reading this, the ceremony or reception probably mean SOMETHING to you, so there has to be some cute element that deserves your extra thought and attention. That said…

2. Get organized.

For us, after I found the gown, the rest started coming together in it’s own whacky way. For this reason, I made a trapper-keeper (yup. I just said that) to keep every decision we made organized. I kept notes on vendors we met with as well as their contact info. I used an excel sheet to track expenses for us and my family. Now, I wish I had known about this cool thing called Pinterest for my inspiration-scrap-booking-issue (I now have an addiction)… But, seriously, find a way that works for you and get organized early on (especially if “wedding planner” is not in your priority list..which, honestly, you  may want to consider that). There are awesome online-organizers on the knot as well, which help for doing things on a timeline.

3. Find inspiration. Look outside the box.

We are both artistic people (we met in art school) and knew that diy elements and personalized stylization would be a big part of our day. That said, diy projects don’t always work and it can be a struggle to create things that are one-of-a-kind, AND special, AND heartfelt, AND match. I changed our colors a lot. I had made tons of inspiration boards. Most of them didn’t even FIT who we are.

The obvious thing to do would be to look at wedding blogs, magazines, and other people’s weddings for inspiration. These are excellent resources set up to help you. However, they are also created in order to advertise the vendors in the posts, and they are also viewed by thousands of other engaged couples. In order to make your wedding unique-to-you and genuinely special, you have to think about things a little differently, which we highly encourage! Find what works for you. Hire a stylist. A planner. Use Etsy vendors (they are terrific at doing custom pieces). Sure, you can absorb ideas from the internet. But, make sure to occasionally ask yourself why those cute things are special to you.

Consider writing down some words to describe the “feeling” you want your wedding day to have, as well as a few movies, songs, quotes, or styles that you feel are special to you as a couple. Use those to design your details.

a.) Words to describe our wedding: fun, personal, vintage (heirlooms), diy, one-of-a-kind, slightly rustic, down-to-earth, simple, quaint, artistic, focus on ‘love’

b.) A few things that inspired our wedding decor (movies, songs, stuff we liked): Big Fish, Pushing Daisies, Water for Elephants, and the lyrics “love will not betray or enslave you, it will set you free” (this is where the bird theme came from), family heirlooms, differently colored bridesmaid dresses.

You make your own rules on what works! Again, you decide the amount of stylization you want to incorporate. Blending a few different styles is also a fun way to make your wedding unique-to-you because many people don’t fit one cookie-cutter theme. You don’t have to be fancy, high maintenance, or fill your wedding with details unless you specifically want to.

4. Don’t care what people think about your vision.

We love nontraditional. We love traditional. We love thought-out details. We love no details. We really do. You shouldn’t be trying to impress anyone but yourselves. Once you make your decision and it feels right, stick to it. After people come to your wedding and see you in the natural habitat you created for yourself on your wedding day, they will get it. Or they won’t. Whatever. “Ali, why are your wedding colors red, blue and black. That’s weird. Oh, and what’s with the birds?”  Um..well…they don’t have to get it! Once the wedding day came, every detail ended up screaming “Ali and Josh” and we were happy with how it turned out. Aunt Sally may have great advice, but it ain’t her wedding. If you want to elope: ELOPE. If you want to have a courthouse wedding: DO IT. Talk as a couple and be honest with what you want.

5. Make it a fun process. It really can be. Really.

Keep reminding yourself what it’s about. Go on little dates. Don’t allow yourself to be consumed by silly details. Enjoy every step as much as you can. Tour different venues. Drink champagne. Try the food options. Try on dresses/tuxes. Have bridal showers/engagement parties/etc. This is a one time thing and you should be allowed to celebrate in whatever way you choose. Whatever your reason is for having a ceremony and/or reception, publicly or privately, you should enjoy what you’re doing and feel you made the right decisions. Not to mention, sitting with your honey while watching an episode of 30Rock and shoving confetti into little baggies can be a bonding experience!

6. Hire people you trust. More specifically, find people you like, who see your vision and support it, and who you feel good about paying (or having mom/dad pay). This sounds weird, but it’s so true. We believe in supporting local businesses, small businesses, creative businesses, and businesses who deserve the support. Weddings are expensive. Make sure the pennies are well spent on good people who do good work and who care about you personally. The more you trust your vendors, the less work you have to do!

7. Delegate. Delegate. Delegate.

Once you have vendors in place who you trust, find friends. We had our friends and family as our own personal little elves the day of the wedding (we were so lucky). We made lists and put together bags with pictures of how we wanted our tables set up, and our friends and family made the vision happen. This took the place of the florist, planner, and stylist but it worked for us and the priorities we set for our day. Find friends before and during your day who are willing and eager to help you out. I turned away a lot of help because I was so certain I wanted everything done a certain way. The day of the wedding I could care less, and everyone did such a good job anyways! We had a small wedding with people traveling to Seattle from out of town, so we did most of the wedding planning ourselves. It was stressful, but we tried to enjoy every bit of the process. Wedding planning is a weird beast, but it doesn’t have to turn you into one. :)

8. Shit happens. The day goes fast. Care about your marriage first and foremost!

We will say this a lot, but mostly because it’s just TRUE. You are getting married or having a ceremony because you love this person and want to spend your life with them. YES, you should be allowed to have an excellent party that is special, memorable, and as perfect as it can be. But, you can’t control everything. Josh was sick on our rehearsal dinner, I was sick the whole week of the wedding, and on the wedding day I was blowing my nose and hopped up on dayquil. There may have been issues with details here and there come the day of the wedding but all I can remember is thinking how beautiful it all looked and how I was glad we did it exactly as we wanted to. The day was fun, the elements we cared about were amazing and so special to us, and we had FUN. And overall, I was just happy to go home with my husband. One of my favorite moments from the week was having our first married breakfast together! Best of luck to you in your planning process and we hope seeing pieces of our wedding was fun/helpful to you! //Ali

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