People, this is going to be very important information. I have been married for 2 months and two days. I have been to about 5 weddings in my whole life and I consider myself a pro. So listen up.
A friend of mine got married today. I was in the wedding. I will compare and contrast and offer helpful tips.
This is part 1. I will be discussing photographers and flowers.
With BC and I, the MOST IMPORTANT THING we have to offer advice-wise, is to figure out EXACTLY what you want, and what you refuse to compromise on. Ultimately at the end of the day, this is YOUR wedding and you want to look back on it with fond memories. Want a specific kind of flower--GET IT. Want a certain photographer--GET THEM. Want a certain color dress--FIND IT. Don't compromise.
We searched out certain people because we wanted to work with quality people. HIGH quality people. The kind you don't have to check up on and worry if they have a clue about what they are doing. We spent the majority of our money (probably a little over half) on the photographer and the flowers. People were surprised that food didn't take up a large amount, but I will get to that later.
There are two AMAZING photographers in my hometown. I wanted one of those two soooo bad. UNTIL I found out that both of them start off at pretty much the entire amount of our budget. (Which, I will share was $10K.) We decided, you know what? We will look around until we find someone equally talented for less price. And we did. We found a photographer in a nearby county who did not charge for travelling. It worked out perfectly. You never know until you meet the person, and after we met with her, we felt really confident in our decision and knew that we had made a sound compromise.
Why is a photographer important? Well darlings, one of the only things you will take away from this day, besides an expensive dress and a frozen cake topper, are pictures. Pictures to take up the space when your brain forgets about that day. So, PICTURES ARE VERY IMPORTANT. By the same token, a good photographer is even more important.
Now, at the wedding I went to today, my friend had a delicate situation to deal with. Her husband-to-be had a cousin who decided he wanted to be a photographer when he grew up (like 95% of the people out there these days). So, she decided to take her chances with his cousin, whom she had never met. I say all that to say this...PEOPLE: THIS IS NOT A DAY TO TAKE CHANCES WITH. This is not a birthday. You will not have another one of these days next month. This is a wedding. In all fairness, I haven't seen the pictures yet, and they may be amazing, in which case I will have to eat my words. But I stand by my advice.
I freaking loved our floral arrangements. Again--quality people put out quality work. I knew that I wanted something more than what my hometown neighborhood florist could give me. I wanted amazing, inspired arrangements. My wedding coordinator worked with a florist in a town about 30 minutes away and suggested him to me. We met with him in the summer, probably about 4 months before we got married. This, of course, was risky. You MUST get your florist early. The only thing that saved us was the fact that November weddings aren't like May and June weddings. We had a little more flexibility. But not much. Now, I'm not that creative, but I knew my colors. You MUST know what colors you want, or at least the theme you are going for. Now, the beauty of working with talented people (read: expensive), is that you can tell them your colors and your overall vision, and trust them to do an amazing job. And that is EXACTLY what I did. Our flowers, bouquets, boutonnières, arrangements, everything looked great. It wasn't over the top. And that is another thing to think of..do you want people to remember the stuff? Or do you want them to focus on why they are there? The ONLY flowers we had in our ceremony were two big arrangements. Now...before I offend, to each his own. Really. If you LOVE flowers, go for it. Just keep in mind, everything in moderation. Case in point: I know a girl who got married in November at an outdoor pavilion. She used the same florist as me, and had TONS of flowers and decorations. Of course, they were stunningly beautiful arrangements. But they were EVERYWHERE. I mean...everywhere. Thats all I saw in any of her pictures. And even then, I had a hard time distinguishing what her colors actually were. It was a hodge-podge of colors.
At the wedding today, my friend picked red dresses for us to wear. I found out our bouquets were red roses, with red ribbon. The arrangements were red roses with pink calla lilies. She had tons or candles and candelabras, with long strands of beads and tons of faux rose petals all over. Not my taste. I went for a much simpler look, and I think she was trying to embrace the late afternoon ambience. I talked to my wedding coordinator about it today at church and she said, "well, he can only do so much with that person's ideas." And that is exactly true. If you yourself aren't clear on your colors or theme, then a florist isn't going to be a miracle worker. And I remember talking to my friend about this. I tried to tell her: sit down and figure out exactly what you want. What do you want your day to look like? And go from there!