It’s true, I didn’t exactly have the time of my life planning our wedding… but on reflection of my experience, I figured someone might benefit from hearing my story. Having seen so many brides go through the process I think I had a kind of warped view of how easy it would be to nail my style and create a day that was clearly both mine and Theo’s. I’m hoping to ease your mind slightly about wedding planning and I know for sure that there are people who will resonate with every word!
When we first got engaged the questions started rolling in; ‘Whats the date?’, ‘Have you picked a venue?’, ‘WHO IS YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER?!’. Every time I caught up with someone I would dread the next question! I sort of lost sight of the fact I was meant to be excited about planning our day and started feeling drowned by the details. I would pour myself a glass of wine every time we managed to settle on a decision about anything at all. It wasn’t that we couldn’t decide, it was the process of elimination and the dread of making the wrong choice or going with a vendor we wouldn’t click with.
It’s funny thinking back, because being engaged was, for the most part, heaps of fun. All the anticipation of starting our lives together on this big adventure of marriage was awesome and really made the process of planning the day that much more worth it. But it didn’t make the to-do list any smaller!!
I had a bit of a wake up call when we got to December (Wedding on track for Feb). I realised, like a tonne of bricks falling on my head, that I had only 2 months to go and still a very long list of things to do. I started keeping a diary (I don’t do diaries…) just for the wedding so I could monitor how much I was getting done. My biggest concern at this point was that my dress was onto the 3rd attempt at being made and all of the boys had nothing to wear, not to mention the fact we still hadn’t finalised our menu for the day… or even heard from our caterer at all. At this point Theo and I quite seriously considered eloping. We quickly changed our minds and continued persevering as we concluded that the wedding day we were planning wasn’t for us but for our nearest and dearest. It’s a funny concept, creating a so-called ‘dream wedding’ but not really feeling like it’s your dream. In saying that our day ended up being nothing but the perfect day for us, the venue was us, the style was us, and the atmosphere was us. It was just the journey that wasn’t.
Aside from the planning issues the biggest mental challenge for me was battling with the pressure of being a wedding photographer and creating not only a day we would never forget, but also something that would be visually appealing and inspiring for my future brides. The wedding industry is full of these outer beauty, idealistic ‘goals’ types of expectations and I, quite honestly, wasn’t ready for what it threw at me. My number one biggest topic of conversation, with every single person who knew I was in the midst of wedding planning, was about who I would choose as a photographer. I completely understand the intrigue, especially considering we had chosen a destination wedding in high summer (and the obvious!). However, I struggled with the scrutiny and quite frankly became tired of the conversations to the point I came up with a very standard answer of;
“We have chosen an amazing NZ photographer who also happens to be one of my best friends, I couldn’t imagine a stranger shooting our day”.
This experience has now moulded the way I approach conversations with friends/brides in the planning stages. I’ve realised there is a line between being supportive and annoying (I was previously more than annoying about anything wedding related). I even think my mindset about weddings has changed. There was also the added burden of being a person who is very proud of my personal style! I should have thrived with the opportunity to build an entire day around something I am so fond of… it turned in to a proverbial pain in my backside! All I could think of was that I wanted to bring the outside in, embrace the natural feel of getting married on a high country station and leave it at that. Thank goodness my wonderful family and friends, (not to mention Lucy’s – Christchurch Weddings incredible co-ordination and venue styling) they saw my ‘vision’ because they all made it happen!
It’s not an easy journey… but its worth every challenge and excruciating decision. Not everything goes to plan either (we had a few whoopsies on the day) but its all part of what will become the best day of your life and the start to the most fulfilling adventure with your best friend. The number one thing to remember is ASK FOR HELP!!!
Photography by Acorn Photography and Hannah Bird Photography