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3 Things I’d Do Differently Planning Our Wedding

Life with The Carneys, Wedding Tips, Weddings


Being in the wedding industry, I have an in-depth view of what it takes to pull off a seamless, joyful, fun wedding day. From the benefits of doing a First Look to flower delivery and assembly, to restrictions at ceremony locations, there’s not much I haven’t read or seen about the craziness that is wedding planning.

But it hasn’t always been that way. I remember being a starry-eyed 23-year-old with a shiny new ring on my finger, being handed a wedding planner and told to have fun. Now, I’m a Type-A person and that wedding planner full of lists was like my mothership calling me. But once I dove into the details I quickly realized I had NO idea where to even begin. Venues, dates, colors, dresses, vendors…this was a momentous occasion that I had no experience planning and was now in full charge of making become a reality? It’s almost laughable I didn’t drive myself insane. I’m positive I DID drive Jon and my family crazy.

Being a part of helping my couples plan their perfect day often gets me thinking…what would I do differently about planning our wedding day?? Here’s a look at the top three things I would want to do differently!!

1. Do A First Look

Now you might be seeing this as my number one and thinking “Well yeah, Courtney, you’re a photographer…of course, you’d say doing a First Look is number one!!” But being educated now on all the amazing benefits makes me definitely wish Jon and I had done one. I remember sitting in the church’s bridal room, getting more and more anxious as we got closer to ceremony time. Wondering what Jon was doing. Praying I didn’t fall on my face as I walked down the aisle. My nerves were so high that when the ceremony did roll around, I was a nervous ball of energy. As the processional music started playing, I walked through the glass doors of our church on my dad’s arm. He reminded me to breathe, we shared a laugh, then I finally looked down the aisle only to exclaim “Holy crap!” as my introvertness balked at being the center of attention for SO many people. Luckily only my dad, the back few rows of guests, and the wedding coordinator heard me. Probably not the reaction they’re used to in a Catholic church.

But imagine if Jon and I had taken time to spend a moment alone before the ceremony. I could have surprised him with my dress. I know full well he would have cried. We could have shared an intimate moment together, laughing, hugging, and kissing. And best of all, we would have approached the ceremony brimming with excitement instead of a ball of nerves. First Looks are simply the BEST!!

2. Worrying About Things Being Perfect

I’m not sure what it is about wedding planning that brainwashes us brides into worrying that every single detail must be perfect. Nothing is EVER perfect on a wedding day!! Timelines run behind, someone forgets something important, and there are hiccups with vendors…it’s just inevitable. I remember in the few days leading up to the wedding yelling at Jon, my sister, and my brother-in-law, Chad, about our reception music playlist. Chad was owning this for us and when I handed over the iTunes playlist, some songs ended up out of order. Everyone kept telling me it was no big deal and I snapped. I’d planned most of the wedding details on my own and had it set in my mind what the perfect order was. I made the evening incredibly awkward at that point, being so worried about everything being perfect. And you know what? The evening of our wedding, I hardly noticed when Chad made some small, but way better than I’d planned, changes to our playlist during the reception. Luckily the day of I clued into the real reason for the day, and that was marrying my best friend. Not worrying everything was perfect. Our family and friends had a great time, we were married, that’s all that mattered!!

3. I’d Shop Around

I went to the husband’s recollection for this one, as I didn’t want this to just be from my perspective. One thing Jon wishes we had done differently was taking the time to shop around for our formalwear. There are so many large, well-known shops (although now I must say RIP Alfred Angelo) that we went straight to them without ever shopping around and visiting smaller boutiques. Don’t get me wrong, Jon looked like a stud in his Men’s Wearhouse tux and I fell instantly in love with my dress the moment I saw it, but I had only one day to experience the fun of trying on dresses. And trying on all those pretty dresses and modeling them is FUN! I should have filled my calendar with several days of looking around even if I found my dress at the first stop, just for the experience!! Especially since I did not go to a single location that served me bubbly champagne and snapped my photo to document finding my dress. I am TOTALLY all for that fun!!

It was fun looking back at our planning and seeing what I would do differently this time around. Especially since I planned our big day pre-Pinterest LOL!! Married friends, is there anything different you would do about your big day?? I’d love to hear about it!!

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