Wedding planning tips by me, a photographer.
Happy New Year and congratulations on getting engaged! It’s fairy tale romantic, until the gargantuan task of planning a wedding hits you. Fear not, what you perceive as big issues are just brimming with possibilities. You may not want to hear some of this, but trust me things will go more smoothly if you consider the following wedding planning tips.
- It’s not all about you and your dream wedding, at least not in every situation. Recently I had a bride who wanted to dress like a ‘boy’ but she didn’t, because she wanted to make her terminally ill dad happy by wearing a dress.
Let’s talk about moms. It is about them too, like it or not. They also want to look gorgeous, and they often have a dream of what the day will be like. Humor them. They love you more than you’ll ever know. Unless you have kids, then you know.
- Choosing a bridal party is often a sensitive task. Especially if you want a big group and you have a lot of friends. Personally, I think people will get over it. And in many cases, be relieved that they weren’t chosen. But don’t be surprised if someone outside of your bridal party ends up being your angel on your big day. There is always, always someone who comes out of the blue and saves the wedding day. It may be your sister or your maid of honor, but often it’s a random friend who sews your dress back together, who finds your earring, who decorates the last minute indoor setting plan B. Just appreciate it and know that angels do exist. Not wedding planning tips, but a fortuitous aspect to consider.
Please please don’t fret about the weather. Just be zen about it, not just on the outside, but deeply. We all know that there’s nothing you can do to control the weather. I have been to dozens of too hot, too rainy weddings, and nothing was lost. Rain is like a special effect. So is fog and wind. Some of my prettiest pictures were from rainy weddings.
Pick vendors you personally like. A snobby florist, a pushy photographer, and an inflexible caterer has no place in your special day. Save all your compromises for your loved ones, not vendors.
Cut costs wherever possible, but realize that you will pay in other ways. Sanity, time and money. Pick two. Even if you’re uber-organized and can DIY like no other those projects are very time-consuming. If you love it, go for it! But beware of the dream that you can do all flowers yourself. Once, as guests were arriving at a wedding the bridal party was still arranging the centerpieces. Avoid that kind of hustling whenever possible. And know that everything takes more time than you think.
Related to #5, don’t worry about every little detail. I hereby give you permission to dump those ideas you just saw on Pinterest. No, you don’t have to make cookies in a handmade bag as a parting gift for each guest. Before Pinterest, before the sea of wedding blogs, people still got married. Weddings don’t have to have a theme. I’ve gone to weddings where essentially nothing was done to the table settings. Just some nice cloth napkins and a simple centerpiece. And I’ve been to weddings that were more elaborate than the Taj Mahal. While it’s wonderful to have those special touches it’s not essential for a festive wedding.
When things get stressful, repeat after me, HAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHHA! Don’t take it too seriously. Watch a lot of comedies on Netflix. I won’t go so far as to say your problems are first world problems, but they are. Remember what you’re doing, marrying that love of your life, that person who is on the same team as you, who will always go up to bat for you. Now knock it out of the park and happy wedding planning. Call if you have any further questions or would actually like solicited advice.
Bonus piece of advice. Dress for the season, and make sure your shoes are comfortable or at least broken in.
Fall, oh how I love thee, as illustrated beautifully in this Prospect Park wedding. Djamila and Aaron did it all right, in my opionion. One of the most amazing things about this wedding is that the BRIDE did her own flowers. The rustic natural looking cord around the bride ~I have never seen that before~ is something that she probably devised on her own. This was BEFORE Pinterest! Thank you, Djamila! Aaron, the groom, didn’t make the cake or anything, but he was adorable just being him.
And, the amazing dress is by Kimera on Atlantic Ave had a gorgeous raw silk feeling to it and a fresh, warm green lining underneath. Also, something I have never seen. And of course there were Pear tartes. What Prospect Park wedding in Brooklyn wouldn’t have pear tartes? : ) Made by Almondine in DUMBO (Brooklyn). The rest of the food was by Rice, in, you guessed it, Brooklyn.
These photos were taken with a vintage camera. This is why all of them are square, and have a special wonderfulness without the use of computer manipulation or chips or bits or bytes. Analog all the way. Scanned digitally, of course.
A Brooklyn Wedding, replete with retro industrial buildings and bridges. Even the venue, 501 Union, is an old Garage or something or other, but you’d never know it by the way they’ve fixed it up. It’s got cool skylights, huge glass doors, chandeliers that look like they are from the 50s, big open space, small, cozy space which is the bar area. A lot of it is original but the way they upholstered, and lighted the place just makes it, well, chic. It’s a good look, having a wedding in an industrial spot. Location is a reflection of who the couple is. They could have chosen Colorado or Michigan or a golf club. But they chose to have a Brooklyn Wedding. The place where they prepared for the wedding was a loft space. The air conditioner was broken and the sun was pouring in the huge wall of windows. They had to walk along the waterfront and deal with security guards who tried to tell them that they couldn’t get their picture taken at a given spot, because they didn’t have a permit. Always, when there’s a pretty spot in NYC, you have to buy a permit to take photos. He didn’t seem very serious about punishing us, so I took a chance and took photos anyway. It was hot and sunny. But it was them. They are Brooklyn and wouldn’t have it any other way. 501 Union had a similar issue with sun/heat pouring in from the skylight in the main room, and the lack of ceiling in the room with the ceremony. It’s an open space that only feels like a room. No ceiling. Just sun. Anyway, we all carried on and it ended up being one of the most enjoyable, elegant, stylish and heartfelt weddings I have ever witnessed.
They passed around their rings to friends and family in the audience, to open the ceremony. Each guest held the rings tight, and thought good thoughts for the couple, before they passed the rings to the next person. Heartfelt.
I happen to love these photos. I wouldn’t have it any other way, either.
David and Amanda Get Married: a lovely Sunday afternoon in Red Hook and DUMBO Brooklyn. Thank you for sharing. I’m so happy to have been able to document the day!
Who would have ever thought 15 years ago that Red Hook wedding would be the hot spot for NYC nuptuals? I walked to Red Hook in the morning, from the subway, for this wedding that started early in the morning. It was a desolate walk, over the expressway, no coffee shops in sight. No retail. Just barren industrial buildings that are secretly beautiful, albeit raw, loft spaces. The insides of these buildings are warm and woody and iron-y. This is where my Red Hook Wedding began. And this photo of the girl in the blue dress is where it ended. 501 Union, Gowanus. This blue dress picture tells the story of a wedding, but not in a typical way. This is the type of picture that I search for at a wedding. The things that people don’t immediately see, but when they get them along with the rest of the collection, they treasure, and the parent of the child appreciates. I offer pictures in full resolution of all photos that I take, so these types of photos, I deeply hope, get to the right people, mom in this case, in high resolution.
red hook brooklyn wedding
I always say the same thing after engagement sessions, “this is the best bride and groom ever.” Then I keep meeting more best brides and grooms ever. This session took place in beautiful Brooklyn Heights. It was a gorgeous day, as it often is in New York.