Archive for June 4th, 2012

June 04, 2012

today is our 7 year wedding anniversary and this morning while I was looking for a wedding photo to post on facebook it got me thinking… if I had it to do over again, would I change anything? the answer is yes and I thought I’d share my experience here for monday moments.

what I wouldn’t change:

  • my groom: as obvious as this may sound, it took me until my early 30′s to find someone who made me laugh every day, loved me for me, thought my quirks were charming, appreciated my ambitions and completely ‘got’ me. I wouldn’t have cared if we got married at a drive threw chapel in vegas – he was my absolute best decision that day and always.
  • our location: here in snow hill on the banks of the pocomoke river with a gorgeous handmade arbor (an amazing “something borrowed” from one of my couples who were married beneath it shortly before us – I still think of them every time I look through our photos. love you steph+jeff!)
  • our photographer: it was kristie… nuff said! :)
  • my bridesmaids and their dresses: all of my girls traveled in from as close as baltimore to as far as california and colorado. I know I’m biased, but I have the best friends on the planet! when I was thinking of what they should wear, I opted to just pick a color (chocolate brown) and have them wear whatever dress they wanted – whether they already had a dress in their closet or bought one for the wedding didn’t matter to me. they varied so much in height and one had just had a baby and it was important to me that they all liked what they wore and that they would indeed wear it again.
  • my flowers: sue ann hudson is an artist and a creative genius. again, I just gave her some colors and left the rest up to her. the result was magical
  • having our dogs in the wedding:  jake, our older pup at the time, walked down the aisle with my best friend heidi’s daughter sky and stayed up front the whole ceremony. he even decided to bark when the statement was read ‘if there is anyone who can show just cause why this couple should not be married, speak now or forever hold your peace.’ and although I’m certain that it was a bark of joy, it got a lot of laughs. sampson who was practically a puppy back then acted as our ring bearer and thanks to the mad knot skills by our friend randy to the flower wreath around sam’s neck, it took 3 of us to get the rings untied when the time came. again, spontaneous laughter filled the ceremony and our hearts. I realize that we had the luxury of only living 3 blocks away from our ceremony location and it was easy to have someone bring them home before the reception, but I simply couldn’t imagine spending such a big day without them.
  • my dress: it literally took me 1 minute to get into, it was beautiful and I could actually move, sit and dance as though I was wearing comfy jeans and a t shirt.
  • our reception food: we choose a large selection of tapas (small plates). that way, mingling was encouraged, people got to taste a lot of different foods and our guests could basically graze the entire night. we didn’t want a formal sit down dinner where we would have to sit down for a long time and miss out on seeing all of our friends and family.
  • our rehearsal dinner: we had it at baywitch in greenbackville on the screened in back porch. since so many of our guests were coming to the shore from out of town, we thought a big ‘ol eastern shore seafood feast would be perfect and it was.
  • our wedding ceremony music: click here to see my blogpost on that
  • our officiant: chuck strickler was a minister in snow hill for decades and he married my parents, baptized me and presided over both of my grandparent’s funerals. I always love it when you can feel a special connection between a couple and whoever is doing their ceremony be it a minister, priest or special friend and with chuck there is so much history and love

what I would have changed

  • our wedding date: 3 weeks after we got engaged my mother got diagnosed with terminal cancer. my first thought was that we were going to move the date up but you had to know my mother to understand why we didn’t. one, we had already sent out the save the dates and my mother was a hearty practitioner of proper etiquette. two, by moving the date she said that we didn’t have faith that she could fight and win this battle. although I was a realist and knew that given her prognosis a year was a long time but I honored her wishes and kept it as we had planned. and for the first 9 months she was responding so well to treatment that it appeared that she may indeed be there in the front row, but sadly she passed 2 months before our wedding. however her spirit was indeed there – in the beautiful sunshine we had at the perfect time, in the gentle breezes though the river tree branches and during the many moments of laughter and love.
  • a wedding planner: if you know me at all, you know that I am a bit of a control freak and I just knew that because I had been in the wedding industry for a few years, that I could handle our relatively small (80 guest) wedding by myself. I had my good friend ann by my side, but I still felt compelled to set all of my tables, make all of my favors and programs, arrange the burlap on our hay bale seating, etc… myself. I even ran down the road mid-reception to get a copy of our first dance song because the DJ couldn’t find it. I know now that I would have enjoyed myself more and would have been able to spend more time with my friends and family had I handed all of those duties over to a professional. even if you don’t have my ‘issues’ I can’t recommend a planner enough – it takes the potential wedding day stress off of everyone from the couple to the vendors.
  • speaking of a DJ: we would have had a band – there’s just something about the energy that comes with a live band that can’t be duplicated.
  • a first look: I am fairly sure that I hadn’t photographed a wedding where a couple did a first look before the ceremony before we got married – because if I had, I know we would have opted to do that. don’t get me wrong, turning the corner while holding onto my father’s arm and seeing roland waiting down the aisle for me was a wonderful moment that I cherish. but I would have loved to see him before the ceremony, soak it all in and share our excitement together, just the two of us (well, and kristie obviously. never forget the photo ops lol) since then, many of our couples do a first look and they are by far some of my favorite photos that I have taken.
  • our wedding day would have been on a friday or sunday: if all of our guests were local this wouldn’t have been a big deal, but because so many were from out of town, I think getting married on a friday and then having the rest of the weekend to spend with everyone would have been great. same with a sunday, everyone got to maryland either late thursday or early friday. I would have loved having all day saturday with them just chilling out at a cook out.

having said all of this doesn’t take away from the single most important part of this day. I married my best friend and it was the beginning of our life and journey together. nothing will go exactly how you want it or plan it. ever. it’s better to know and accept that before your wedding and focus on what’s important – your new marriage. trust me, as a bride and as a wedding photographer, I love all of the ‘stuff’ and details as much as anyone but don’t let it distract you from the big picture and soak in all of the happiness that being surrounded by your friends, family and your beloved brings. xoxo