5 Things I Wish I Would Have Known When I Planned My Wedding


My wedding ring after 15 years.

I am a wedding photographer with a secret.

I love weddings, I live for them.  They make me feel like I’m walking on air.  It wasn’t always this way.  I caught the wedding bug after second shooting multiple weddings for an amazing wedding photographer.

My secret:  Planning my own wedding over 15 years ago felt like a chore.  Looking back, I am thankful for my wedding.  It will always be one of the biggest milestones in my life, and I will never forget how nervous and excited all at once I was as I took my husband’s hand and recited my vows.  We had a small wedding with our closest family and friends, less than 50 people.  This is the advice I wish someone would have given me, and I think it can apply to any size wedding.


Amazing Ceremony at the Minneapolis Marriott Southwest.

1: Pick A Wedding Officiant You LOVE.

Our officiant was amazing.  He was a retired judge who regularly preformed weddings.  The clerk who helped us with our marriage license gave us his name.  We talked with him on the phone about who we were and what our ceremony meant to us.  He worded everything perfectly, we felt like it was “our” ceremony and our guests enjoyed it.




Invitation DIY. Designed by Jon and Yola for their wedding.

2: Do Follow Up On Referrals From Your Vendors

We had so many names in the hat for officiants.  Everyone we knew had an opinion on who to call.  WeddingWire and the Knot did not exist.  We had referrals and a phone book.  We called the officiant the clerk recommended first and loved him so much our search was over.  It was the easiest part of planning.


St. John Lutheran Church Belle Plaine, MN.

3: Don’t Let A Small Guest List or Small Budget Deter You From Planning

This was the mistake that made me not enjoy planning the wedding and get lazy about things.  I took the concept of “small wedding” and “budget” way too seriously.  I had an all or nothing attitude.   I was embarrassed that I couldn’t treat my family to a raging party or have the big guest list some of my friends had.  I stayed away from bridal magazines thinking all of it was expensive and unattainable.  I could have used them to help me be creative about doing things myself.  I was a DIY bride loooong before Pinterest.  Use Pinterest, don’t be afraid!


Cake by Muddy Paws Cheesecake.

4: Have Yummy Cake

The cake was the saving grace of my wedding, and much easier to splurge on than the rest of the food.  The rest of the food was good.  We had a small buffet of fresh fruits, cheeses, and meats.  It was better than average.  But the cake…. It was freaking amazing!   We ordered way too much of it.  It was so good we had cake for breakfast many times after the wedding.  People STILL talk about that cake.




Pre-wedding photos at the Como Conservatory.

5: Communicate With Your Photographer To Make a Plan For Capturing Your Day

Who ever you hire for your wedding photography, talk to them.  A lot.  About everything.  Make sure you trust them completely.  Make sure you are on the same page.  I was the bride who said “Whatever you do is fine, as long as it’s on black and white film, because I love black and white film.”  And that was my mistake.  That’s all my photographer had to go on.  Even though I trusted my photographer, and she was talented at taking pictures, I didn’t tell her enough to make her understand how I wanted to remember my wedding.  I didn’t let her in on what was important to me.  I assumed she would get it, because she had been a bride herself, right?  No two couples are a like.  No two weddings are a like.  As a wedding photographer I now ask my clients questions so we are on the same page come the wedding day.