This post is a little different than the usual content...

but I think it's important. When I was a bride, I had no idea what I was doing. Keep in mind, I started wedding planning before my career shift into wedding photography, and by the time I started shooting full time my wedding was fully planned. I'm not afraid to admit that I didn't know what I was doing. I mean think about how much thought, stress, and money it takes to plan an event for 150 people. Why do things cost differently? Why do I have to rent separate linens from the ones the venue provides? Real or silk florals? Not to mention how EVERYONE has an opinion on what you do. It's a lot to process and know what's right & what's wrong for you, plus what's traditional and what traditional things are ok to skip (looking at you garter/bouquet toss). So I thought I'd assemble a list for my couples on resources to use to plan their weddings. These are things that helped me back then & even now as a photographer helping my couples. Don't forget this is YOUR day and YOU should do what YOU want. Don't let your family or friends give opinions on things you don't want help on- saying "no" is a complete sentence.

Things that DID NOT help me:

  • The Knot website
  • I didn't know about this until after, but a lot of vendors steer clear of this website because they are expensive to advertise on and they are known to send false leads (like legit fake couples) to vendors. These websites then charge a fee to connect with the lead (and if they get a fake's basically wasted money). So as a bride I got ghosted a lot by vendors I reached out to (knowing the issues now, I don't blame them). A better idea would be to reach out to vendors directly through their own websites if you find them on The Knot!
  • Facebook groups
  • I want to start this by saying I love all my couples that found me on Facebook. I'm so thankful for you. But I joined some bridal groups as a bride and they were not for me. There are some vendors in the group that promote themselves by commenting on anything & everything, even if the original post isn't relative to their business. Some people get really judge-y when people ask questions. I'm just not about that. I was more of a silent participant as a bride. I went through comments on others' posts.

Things that DID help me:

  • Podcasts
  • Ever heard of The Vendor Table? It's a podcast by 2 NY photographers and I love it. The stuff they talk about is relevant not just to all types of vendors, but couples as well! You may even get some insight into how your vendors work behind the scenes! I especially recommend episodes 16 & 17. They discuss the importance of engagement sessions & wedding day timelines in these episodes.
  • Wedding Expos & Shows
  • These are kinda hit or miss for me, but they essentially did help me. I've attended as both a bride & vendor. As a bride, I did feel some of these vendors were just there to close a sale and it felt...gross. However, a lot of these vendors at these shows are established and probably preferred vendors of the venue (not always but many are). It's also a great way to get your hands on things to see how they look. Overall, I didn't book any vendors I talked with at these expos but I walked away having a sense of what I wanted in a vendor and didn't want. Also, there's lots of catering places giving free samples!
  • Zola website
  • Zola is similar to The Knot, but better! The experience talking to vendors was much better. They allow you to do registries & honeymoon funds through their site. They also have a website builder for you to make your own wedding website. Your guests can RSVP on the wedding website if you set it up that way- it's super easy for everyone involved! I had all our info for hotels, things to do, & the general wedding day timeline on our website and am happy to report I had no guests texting me to ask. You can also buy your Save-The-Dates & invites through them!
  • Pinterest
  • Is Pinterest still a thing? It was all the rage when I was in high school but now I don't hear anyone talk about it much. I still love it though. I used Pinterest while wedding planning but I have a disclaimer. The beautiful things you see on Pinterest will most likely cost a lot of money. Did you pin floral arches or gorgeous drapery and then reach out to a vendor for a quote with that as inspiration? You 100% will be shocked at the price. I was quoted $3,000 for a floral arch. With the work it takes to do it, it's definitely justified but it was a learning moment for me. Pinterest is a great tool to use for inspiration for your wedding. I did all my own florals and table decor for my wedding and you know I used Pinterest for inspiration. As a vendor, I have couples send me inspiration from their Pinterest boards. I always say that I don't copy others' work but I am happy to put my own spin on it.