How to Have the Wedding YOU Want from a Reno Wedding Photographer’s Personal Experience
As you have started planning your wedding, you have undoubtedly noticed that every person you know, from friends to family to that person you can’t even remember why is still your friend on Facebook, has something to interject into your wedding plans. You might be the type of bride who welcomes everyone’s suggestions with open arms, or you might find yourself becoming offended at the onslaught of suggestions that never stop. Either way, I have some tips that share how to have the wedding YOU want, because let’s face it, planning a wedding is giant feat and saying no to others and yes to yourself can be pretty hard.
Deciding what YOU want. First, something that will be greatly beneficial to your wedding planning process is coming to solid decisions about how you want your day to be. Do you want your wedding to be a great big party, first and foremost? Or do you want your day to be intimate so you can enjoy the one-on-one time with your guests and husband? Answering these kinds of questions will put you in a position to stick to your guns about how your wedding day goes down. For example, my biggest wishes were to
1) have an outdoor summer wedding that represented and showcased my fiancé and I as a couple – creative, a little silly, and family-focused
2) make sure it was a good time for our guests, who we kept at a reasonable number
3) make sure the day was documented beautifully so we would remember all the hard work we were putting into this ONE day
Once we decided those things, we knew that we had to put time into creating the day as an experience for everyone, including us. Starting out of the gate, we knew where our budget needed to go in order to provide the wedding (and memories) we really wanted – photographer, caterer, personalized DIY projects and the DJ.
Choose a theme. You don’t have to think of a crazy theme like ‘1960’s hippie bus party with vintage flair’ to have a great wedding, but choosing some sort of theme (even loosely) is a great way to get all your future wedding plans on track, which will help you say no when your crazy friend (or foe) barges in with a box full of things she insists you display on your gift table. We’ll elaborate this point in the “saying no” section below. My wedding theme, for example, was “summer picnic.” This theme helped me choose colors, design elements, types of food, and even the location of our wedding. Some other examples of themes: Modern Masquerade, Art Deco, NYC Chic, Winter Wonderland, City Summer Nights, Spring Floral. Just make sure whatever you choose is something that is totally YOU.
Be selective with who you ask for help. Asking the wrong person for help with your wedding day will lead to feelings of distress when they try to take your day over. Make sure that your maid of honor, bridesmaids, and anyone assisting you with any aspect of your wedding planning is respectful of your wishes. If you do this in the beginning, you will eliminate issues later on with people who think they know best. In fact, early on in my wedding planning process, I decided to only have one bridesmaid, despite the fact that old friends of mine were coming out of the woodwork declaring that they should be my maid of honor. Sigh. I had to let some people down, and I am okay with that because my wedding was happy and wonderful, and I know that if I had chosen to muddy the water with people who shouldn’t have been involved in my day, it would have been disastrous. Your friends will forgive you – it’s okay!
Saying No. After you’ve figured out the basics of your wedding, now you start getting into the gritty details and suddenly everyone has a better idea – even people who aren’t even COMING to your wedding. You have to be able to say no, or your wedding will be overrun with things that deviate from your theme and the experience you are trying to create.
Here are examples of how people start taking ownership of your wedding day and how to politely say no to their suggestions (which in some cases sound more like demands). You tell a friend that you’re worried about the catering budget…and they give you an hour-long lecture about how you should just get Uncle Joe to grill some burgers in the back and ask everyone to bring a dish. What? That might ruin the whole vision of your wedding reception. So you tell them, “I’m sorry, but my while I have budget concerns, my reception needs a better dinner option than Uncle Joe’s burgers in order to complete the vision I have for my wedding day.”
Here is another example. You tell a coworker that you’re having a hard time finding a dress and they come to work the next day with the one they wore in 1972. You have to politely tell them 1) how pretty it is, of course and 2) that your theme just doesn’t lend itself to that style of dress.
You just HAVE to say no. Try to put a positive spin on it, but say no. Trying to make everyone happy makes no one happy, especially you. There will always be someone who thinks your wedding would have been better if you had done X, hired Y, or traded Z for A. It’s your wedding, girl, so above everything, make sure you are happy with the decisions being made – even if it does happen stem from someone’s suggestion.
When I was planning my wedding, I was having one heck of a time finding the right wedding shoes. My colors were seafoam and peach, which was a crazy palette in the 2011 summer season. Finding orange shoes was straight up impossible – unless I wanted patent leather (aka bright and shiny) 5-inch heels. I remember trudging through the Sun Valley Mall in the California San Francisco Bay Area (which is huge) going from shoe store to shoe store with my Maid of Honor. I felt so lost. What if I change my mind? Then I’ll be in Reno stuck with shoes I can’t return until my next visit? Are heels even the right choice? I’ll be walking on grass and down dirt paths all day. Ugh. Ugh. Ugh. Why was this even so important?! I was just tired of even thinking about it.
After heading back to Reno, sans shoes (or anything else wedding accessory related for that matter), my fiancé and I talked it over and thought it would be cute and fit our personalities if we wore sneakers. Yes…sneakers. So we decided to go buy green and orange converse chucks. But – I felt that some people were sort of horrified at this choice when I told them. I was torn between feeling like I was disappointing people, and feeling like I was being talked into doing something I didn’t want to do. So, to stick to my guns and alleviate any unwanted responses about my shoe choice, I just didn’t even tell many people about the sneakers. Potential problem solved!
I had, throughout the course of my wedding planning, learned to politely say no to many other things. Your friends and family will be okay when you say no – and if they aren’t – then that is totally their problem. They WILL get over it, anyway.
Because I took the steps above in choosing wonderful people to be involved with my wedding, when I drew the lines in the sand, even though I might have temporarily hurt someone’s feelings because I didn’t like their idea, they still respected me and helped me with other ideas that I did like because they love me.
Well there is my personal experience in a nutshell with wedding planning and what I had to do to make sure it all went the way I had envisioned. I hope this helps you if you’re a bride on the wedding planning rollercoaster of love, and if you need a creative way to say no to someone, explain your situations in the comments and I’ll try to tell you how I would approach the matter!
Jentry is a Reno Wedding Photographer who wed Matt in August of 2011. She has a deep and recent understanding of the wedding planning process, so if you have any questions about YOUR wedding planning in Lake Tahoe, Reno or other Northern California and Northern Nevada areas, email her and ask away! Our lovely wedding photos above are by Courtney Aaron.