If you’re reading this, it means you’ve recently said YES to the person of your dreams! Now, the next step is planning to celebrate.
I’ve worked with many couples on their wedding day – and I can tell you that every couple is different when it comes to the details of their big day. But I’ve asked my former brides all the details after their wedding day to now help take some pressure off you.
Step 1: Brainstorm Your Vision
Everything starts with an idea. I suggest dreaming up your big day and imagine all the possibilities. Make a mood board on Pinterest. Write down what’s important to you and what your dream day would look like. The sky’s the limit, so go BIG! I actually encourage you to do this process together with your fiance. Focus on the things you love and that represent you. There are so many wedding traditions and expectations around planning weddings because “that’s the way it’s done.” But I challenge you to not settle for that! In fact, I encourage you to rethink wedding traditions.
Step 2: Make a Guest List + Set a Budget
Once you’ve dreamed up your day, set a budget and get realistic about what things will cost. Start by making a guest list to know your number. (My brides have helped you out with that below!) Your wedding costs will obviously vary depending on how many guests you invite. Next, decide what’s super important to you – is it the venue? Is it the photographer of your dreams? Is it flowers and centerpieces all over? Everyone has their nonnegotiables, but it’s important to remember that this is about the two of you deciding to spend the rest of your life together. Make it unique to your love story and prioritize the things YOU care about.
Step 3: Set a Date
Setting a date can depend on several things. You may have a season you love. It may depend on the dates available for the venue. Or maybe you’re choosing your date based on your photographer or other vendors’ availability. Setting a date is the final step to set things in motion.
Over the years in the wedding industry, I have learned there are a few things to keep in mind when setting a date…
First, if you care about daylight pictures with your groom, be aware of Daylight Saving time.
Next, if you’re getting married in Louisiana, chances are football season will play a role in your date decision. Check the dates of big games — especially if your guest list is full of football fans. You’ll want people tuned into your wedding – not the game updates on their phones.
Other “Louisiana” things to consider are Mardi Gras and St. Patrick’s Day. Think about parade routes and even hotel accomodations in those areas. You may want to book your rooms super early and check that routes won’t cause traffic problems for your guests.
And you can’t talk about Louisiana weddings without considering the temperature. If you don’t want to pass out from the heat during your photos, I suggest not getting married from June to September in Louisiana. But one option is to pick a hotel or Airbnb with amazing natural light for before-wedding photos.
My best advice from past brides and shooting 130 weddings:
Now that you’re here and getting the ball rolling, I’ll have several tips coming your way during your journey. But as promised, I’ve gotten some of the best feedback and advice from my brides to share with you. It’s only the beginning so get excited and enjoy the process!
Best Way To Narrow Down The Guest List:
Give yourself a max number and start with family and friends first. Continue to add until you hit that number. “Don’t worry about Betty Sue who you spoke to three times in high school and let you borrow a ponytail.”
“If you haven’t seen or talked to them in a year, take them off the list.” Or if your fiance hasn’t even met them yet.
Don’t be afraid to cut people based on feelings getting hurt. Remember your day is about you.
Best Place For Printing Save The Dates or Invitations:
Best Local Places To Shop For Wedding Dresses:
Ashley Renee Bridal in Livingston
Pearl’s Place in Metairie
Bliss Bridal in New Orleans
Bustle in Baton Rouge
Bridal Boutique in Baton Rouge
Blush Bridal in Baton Rouge
My final BEST piece of advice when it comes to your wedding day and getting ready…
When looking for a place to get ready before the wedding, I highly suggest checking out Airbnbs instead of hotels. This gives you a lot more room at a better price. Getting ready with your girls is crazy enough, so plan ahead and make it a fun experience. Having the extra space or even an outside area to all hang out can make a huge difference.
Also, keep in mind when hiring hair and makeup that each girl could take over an hour. Make a list of everyone getting their hair/make up done and the order everyone will go in. This saves you time! And the more stylists you can have, the better. If you have 8 bridesmaids, that could take 8 hours for hair and makeup. Having an extra stylist can cut that time in half. Plus, it doesn’t cost anybody extra money — and it gives you more time for photos! 🙂