How to Make the Most of Your First Look

How to Make the Most of Your First Look

A wedding day first look is an excellent way to start your wedding day together and cap off the excitement and anticipation of seeing each other all ready for the first time. Though many couples still opt for the traditional down the aisle first look, many more are opting to see each other before the ceremony in a private moment. This doesn’t have to be a two minute quick moment (though it can be if you want that!), but there are ways to make it a little more special and meaningful. After photographing so many first looks over the past years, I wanted to share some tips on how to make the most of your first look.

If you’re unsure if you want to do a first look, check out some reasons to do one here.

make most of first look

Make It Private

Though it’s completely your call, I find private first looks to be best to make the most of your first look. Usually one of the reasons a couple chooses a first look is to curb some anxiety of having that big moment in front of their friends and family at the ceremony. When parents or friends are looking on (sometimes not from a distance either), it can create a performative atmosphere instead of just having that private moment for yourselves. Your photographer and videographer should be shooting with longer lenses to give you the space and privacy you need as well.

make most of first look

exchange Gifts

Many couples choose to exchange gifts on wedding days, which is a super cute way to make the most of your first look! Sometimes it’s nice to exchange the gifts in person instead of sending them along to be opened during the getting ready part of the day. If you’d like to see your partner’s reaction to your gift, this is a great idea!

make most of first look

exchange letters

Gifts not your thing but love notes are? Make the most of your first look by writing letters to each other to read either out loud or privately during the first look. Sometimes couples choose to do this separately (similar to gift giving) to build anticipation, but it can be really nice to share that moment of reading these letters together. Plus, you can keep the letters and look back on them on each anniversary.

make most of first look

Share personal Vows

Some ceremonies do not allow for personal vows (many religious ceremonies do not allow deviation from their specific ceremony scripts) or perhaps you are not comfortable sharing personal vows in front of your guests. That’s okay! The first look is a great time to read those vows to each other. Marriage is between the two of you anyways so really no one else needs to hear the vows but you two! Usually vows are read aloud to your partner as you face each other. Have some tissues on hand!

make most of first look

Choose a Meaningful Location

It’s not always possible to choose a meaningful location for a first look due to timeline or transportation circumstances, but sometimes it’s possible to decide on a first look location that is meaningful to the two of you. Perhaps it’s where you met (nearby to your venue) or a spot you went on dates. Perhaps you’ll incorporate that location into your portrait session. Either way, it can be really special to appear in your wedding attire for the first time in front of your partner at a location you’ve frequented or is extra special to you both. If that’s not possible, don’t put pressure on yourself, first looks can happen just about anywhere!

First looks can be a great way to ease wedding day jitters and provide a private moment. You don’t NEED to make it any more special than that, but if you want ways to make the most out of your first look, one of the recommendations above are great!

11 Creative Wedding Exit ideas

11 Creative Wedding Exit ideas

There’s nothing better than ending your wedding on a high note with a send-off! It’s one last chance to run through a tunnel of love and celebrate the joy you’ve been feeling all day long. I’ve compiled 11 creative wedding exit ideas to help you decide which best fits your day!

 

 

A note about creative wedding exits

Not everyone opts for a wedding day exit and that’s totally fine! I think they are really fun and I enjoy photographing them but sometimes they don’t work into your day.

When should you plan your creative wedding exit? A creative wedding exit is best right after the ceremony or at the end of the night. Some couples have taken to the idea of a “grand re-entrance” to their reception where after they take sunset photos, their guests gather outside the venue to welcome them back and to get the party started. Really, it’s your wedding so do what you want!

creative wedding exit motorcycle exit

1. Motorcycle Exit

One of the most unique wedding exit ideas I’ve seen is to ride off on a motorcycle together. A few of my couples have done this, and if you’re a motorcycle-loving couple, it’ll fit you perfectly! You can decorate the motorcycle or just hike up your dress and go for it! See this wedding in action.

creative wedding exit ideas rose petal exit

2. Rose Petal wedding exit

Gone are the days where you throw birdseed or rice at the couple. Rose petals are biodegradable and don’t require ANY clean up outdoors! Rose petals also happen to float down nicely and don’t get stuck in your hair as much as other flowers. Ask your florist if they can put together little cones filled with rose petals for your unique wedding exit!

 

3. Confetti

Similar to rose petals, confetti can be a beautiful way to celebrate your marriage! Confetti makes for a colorful, creative wedding exit in the daytime. Make sure you buy biodegradable confetti so that you don’t litter or have to clean up lots of small pieces. 

creative wedding exit ideas dried flower exit

4. Dried Flowers

Maybe rose petals are too pricey or you have some dried flowers laying around. Use those to create a similar creative wedding exit! I recommend lavendar (it smells great!) or some people use hydranga petals to get the job done. Dried flowers work best for daytime exits and requires no clean up. Just remember that the smaller the pieces, the more likely it gets caught in your hair.

 

5. Lanterns

Looking for a creative wedding exit for after dark that isn’t sparklers? Releasing lanterns can create a dreamy atmosphere. This type of exit works best at outdoor venues, think golf courses, barns, or farms. It’s a more expensive wedding send-off, but oh so beautiful.

creative wedding exit ideas streamer exit

6. Streamers or Ribbon Send-Off

If you’re crafty and you want to do a send-off that is pretty inexpensive, streamers or ribbons work really well! Use your wedding colors or metallic colors work well and glue streamers to sticks that your guests can wave in either the daytime or nighttime! The same goes for pom-poms.

 

7. Vintage Car

One of the most elegant ways to exit your wedding is in a vintage car! Maybe you know someone with a really cool ride! This works as a creative ceremony wedding exit or at the end of the night. In Detroit, I highly recommend Motor City Vintage Rentals, but there are so many options depending on your vision. A vintage car isn’t just a creative wedding exit, but also makes an amazing photo opportunity for you!

creative wedding exit ideas bubble exit

8. Bubbles

Not a super duper creative wedding exit, but it works because it’s quick, easy and inexpensive! Give your guest little containers of bubbles (available at any craft stores in bulk or Amazon) and have them blow bubbles at you while you walk up the aisle or exiting from your wedding ceremony. Bubble guns also work well for creating a lot of bubbles quickly. Bubbles photograph really well and kiddos love them!

 

9. Sprinkles

Another colorful creative wedding exit that is great for daytime and requires no clean up is sprinkles! Grab a big jar and make little baggies for your guests to throw into the air at you. They may get caught in your hair but the colors should be beautiful!

creative wedding exit ideas glow stick exit

10. Glow Sticks

Looking for a night-friendly creative wedding exit without using fire? Glow sticks are really popular. They are a little harder to photograph but they are inexpensive. My advice is to grab the largest glow sticks you can so they show up better. It’s a colorful way to celebrate your marriage.

creative wedding exit ideas sparkler exit

11. Sparklers

Lastly, the most popular creative wedding exit is sparklers. At the end of the night, is there anything more romantic than running through a tunnel of fire and cheering friends and family? Nope! Make sure you buy the longest sparklers you can–you want 2 minutes or so to do the exit– and that you buy smokeless sparklers – they photograph best!

creative wedding exit ideas
just got engaged? 10 things to do first

just got engaged? 10 things to do first

 

Just got engaged? You’ve decided to say yes to a lifetime together – you’re engaged! Now what the heck do you do next? After you’re done soaking in that just-got-engaged excitement, it can feel SO overwhelming to think about the next step: planning a wedding. Wedding planning is a whole new world, especially because you probably haven’t planned one before. No worries! Here are the top 10 steps to do FIRST after you get engaged.

 

what to do after getting engaged

 

1. Just got engaged? CElebrate your engagement

 

Before you do anything else, make sure you take a moment to celebrate. Before you dive into the abyss known as wedding planning, take a moment to share your happiness with your loved ones. The first days after getting engaged are some of the best in the wedding planning process because you’re spending a lot of time going, “OMG IS THIS REAL?” Make sure to enjoy those moments.

 

insure your wedding ring

2. Get your ring insured

If you haven’t already (and you have a ring that is!) make sure to immediately insure it and have it sized. Usually a good jeweler will encourage the person who bought the ring to bring the wearer back to check on fit (at least that’s what happened to us!). They resized it in a few days, no biggie, and this is the PERK to using a LOCAL jeweler (in Metro Detroit, I love Miner’s Den).

Add your ring to your homeowner’s insurance policy — they’ll ask for an appraisal to do this and likely you have one from when it was purchased — or you can get a separate policy if you prefer that. It was easy to add to my homeowner’s policy and the piece of mind is super important! I have heard stories of ring loss and you just want to be able to replace what is usually a large value item that you wear daily!

 

3. next, after you get engaged, Figure Out Your WEdding priorities

 

Asking yourselves, “What type of wedding do we want?” and “What’s important to us in a wedding?” are important questions that will inform your wedding planning. Weddings can be small and simple, large and elaborate, or something in between. There is no right or wrong way to get married.

Having frank discussions with your partner about what priorities you have for your wedding day can help create a wedding vision before you even book anything. Knowing what you want to focus on will help inform your budget.

For some people, they want a traditional larger wedding with everyone special to them in one place. There’s something to be said for that! But others would rather just keep the focus on the two of them and have an elopement or intimate wedding. Whatever your priorities, make sure to keep that at the center of your planning.

 

 

 

celebrate getting engaged

 

4. Think Through a Wedding Budget

 

No matter how you get married, it does usually cost money. Even a courthouse elopement costs something. Figuring out an overall wedding budget is helpful before you start diving into wedding planning. It keeps you honest when looking for vendors.

After setting your priorities, I recommend first setting an overall wedding budget, maybe after consulting your parents (if they are involved in the planning/paying process), and then allocating estimated budgets for each vendor: venue, photography, videography, planning/coordination, florals, decor, cake, attire, entertainment, invitations, etc. Doing some basic research in your area or where you’re thinking of being married can give you an idea of estimated costs.

There are a wide variety of wedding vendors in every budget and some DIY options too. In my experience having planned a wedding and being a vendor in the industry, you truly do get what you pay for when it comes to wedding vendors. If you’re more on a scrappy budget, go back to your priorities and decide where you want to allocate the most funds. If you’re able to, find professionals who will be worth every penny!

 

5. Just got engaged? Vision board Away

 

You just got engaged, but maybe you’ve been pinning wedding pins on Pinterest since you’ve been a teen. Or maybe you have never even thought to do that. Either way, use Pinterest or don’t, but it can be fun and helpful to get inspired by looking at other weddings and ideas!

 

Check out some real weddings→

 

This might seem overwhelming for some or create unrealistic expectations for what weddings look like. I’m a photographer and I know it happens all the time. But if we view Pinterest and other weddings as INSPIRATION and let it inspire our own vision, that’s perfectly acceptable! One of the best blogs to look at REAL weddings is A Practical Wedding. These posts include budget breakdowns and most of these weddings are NOT high, luxury events. It can also be helpful to search venues in your area and look at photographer’s blog posts, just to see what other people do locally.

 

follow me on pinterest!→

 

fall engagement session ideas

 

6. Decide on a season

 

After you just got engaged, I don’t recommend going into the venue hunt with a strict date. No one wants to fall in love with a venue, then they don’t have your intended date and it’s a huge bummer! Some couples are attached to certain dates due to anniversaries or other milestones. That’s totally fine, but my recommendation is to pick a season you’d like to be married in and be a little flexible with the exact date.

In Michigan where I mostly work, our peak wedding season is May through October. Every Saturday is usually filled with weddings during this five month stretch as late spring, summer, and fall are usually the most gorgeous times to be married in our state. However, winter weddings are still beautiful, you may just have less options. Spring tends to be cooler, but in summer there’s endless daylight. Fall tends to bring beautiful colors (that never last long), but also rain in Michigan. For winter, there’s less competition for venues and vendors, and snow is magical, but some people hate the cold! There are pros and cons to every single season.

 

 

wedding venue ideas

 

7. Find a venue & pick your date

 

You may have your eye on the perfect florist or the most incredible photographer for your event, but likely they won’t send you a contract when you don’t have a date or place to hold your wedding. The very first vendor to book is your VENUE. Obviously if you’re opting for a backyard wedding this is super easy, but if you’re hoping to host your wedding at a venue, this (in my experience) was the heavy lifting part of wedding planning.

I was someone who explored over 20 venue options when I was engaged. I had a spreadsheet that included information about the venue and the average cost so that I could quickly compare. I did not visit every venue on my list and was able to eliminate some of them based on certain criteria (i.e. they didn’t fit my intended guest count, they were too expensive, or they weren’t really fitting our overall vision). Set up visits at the top spots first. Make sure to ask questions you might have and ask about availability! It’s okay to ask about costs and talk numbers. The venue is usually one of the more expensive parts of a wedding.

I will say if you’re planning on hiring a wedding planner, it can be helpful to hire the planner BEFORE finding a venue as they do can do that work for you!

 

8. Start researching other key vendors

 

After you have the date and venue locked down, it’s time to start finding other key vendors. Usually, for most couples, this is the photographer, the officiant, band, and sometimes videographer and planner/coordinator. These vendors can usually only book ONE wedding per day (sometimes officiants can do more than one), so reaching out to them first can be helpful. Usually florists, rental companies, DJ companies, photobooth companies, etc. can either do several weddings per day or have more than one person on staff!

When you find a vendor you love, book them! Photographers like myself usually start booking 12-18 months out. My calendar is usually full for the following year by the end of the current year. Key dates in May through October always go first, so if you’re having a Friday or Sunday wedding, it’ll probably be easier! And if your favs are not available, I bet they can refer you to someone just as incredible.

 

 

just engaged detroit wedding

 

9. Create a guest list

 

I think no matter the size of your wedding, creating a guest list can be difficult. Perhaps you already did this exercise before venue shopping (it’s always good to have a general idea of headcount BEFORE you book a certain size venue). The easiest way is to create a spreadsheet and first list everyone you initially would want to share this day with you. Your partner and you should do this TOGETHER FIRST. Assume that about 80 percent of those invited will be able to come.

If you are choosing to involve your parents or others in your decision making process, consult them and ask for their list. Compare it with yours. Discuss changes with your stakeholders (partner and parents). Take deep breaths.

Refer back to your wedding priorities. If you do not want a large wedding and an intimate vibe is important to you, stick to that. If you really want everyone who has ever known you there, then do that! There are no right and wrong answers, and keeping your desires as a couple at the center of the conversation is key.

Use your spreadsheet to track addresses and RSVPs. I used ours after the wedding to keep track of our family and friends’ addresses, and I get it out every holiday season for our cards!

 

 

 

detroit engagement photographer

 

10. Take engagement photos & Send save the dates

 

There is no right or wrong time to take engagement photos, but most couples usually take them around 9-12 months before their wedding. This gives plenty of time to use photos on wedding websites and save the dates. But if you are having a shorter engagement, you can take engagement photos any time!

 

See engagement photo sessions →

 

Taking engagement photos is one of the most fun parts of wedding planning. Maybe I’m partial because I’m a wedding photographer, but it’s a great time to focus on each other and it’s always super fun! You get to hang out with your photographer (highly recommend using the photographer you’ll use for your wedding so you can really establish a relationship) and you get great photos that document this unique chapter of being ENGAGED! I personally love our engagement photos and used them to decorate our house too.

After you get your photos back, send save the dates to your guest list so everyone blocks off that date on their calendar! Some great places to get Save the Dates include: Minted, Costco, Shutterfly, Etsy (print at a local shop or Vistapint works), or check with your photographer as they often offer them too!

 

 

 

 What’s Next? Get My Free Wedding Planning Checklist! →

 

 just got engaged 10 tips to start wedding planning

 

 

Love in the Time of Corona – Wedding Policies

Love in the Time of Corona – Wedding Policies

What a time to be alive! It’s still totally possible to get married right now, in the midst of a pandemic, but it’s important to think about safety of all involced.

To protect myself, my clients, and their guests, I have instituted the following COVID policies in my business:

 

1. I will be wearing a mask at your wedding, both outdoors and indoors. It has to be this way for the safety of everyone present. Please be patient with me as working in a mask is something I’m adjusting to, and it can sometimes be hard to hear me. 

 

2. I cannot hug, shake hands, or otherwise touch anyone present. I know that stinks, but it’s important for me to keep my distance as much as possible. I am hugging you all in my heart! I am comfortable fixing trains, but ask that your friends or family fix your boutonniere, pin your veil, or move straps, etc. so I don’t get too close.

 

3. I’m currently not putting myself in the middle of crowded dance floors. I will photograph from the sides, and promise you won’t really notice too much of a difference.

 

4. Regarding group photos, I am currently unable to force anyone into a group photo together. I won’t be asking random groups of people to pose for photos and will only take them if they ask or I already see a group posing.

 

5. Please talk with your family and friends (particularly your wedding party) to gauage their comfort in posed photos. This is especially important for family formal photos. I do not know your family’s comfort level so you have to communicate that to me. Please let me know about the comfort level of the groups so that I can try to accomodate or make suggestions about possible alternative photo ideas. Note that photoshopping groups together or someone in a photo is not a part of our current contract and will incur additional editing costs. Thank you for your help and understanding. 

 

6. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. If your venue is telling you that you can have 150 people indoors while we’re in Phase 4 in Michigan (which is 10 people indoors gathering) because they’re onsidered a restaurant, changes are they are not being totally honest. I know it is hard to keep up with all of the legal changes regarding events, which is why I have been doing that for you. Please be sure that your event is following the current executive orders and guidelines to ensure the safety of all. Vendors that participate in unlawful gatherings can be fined up to $2,000, charged with misdeamonors, and have their business license revoked. I understand completely that you want to be married, and I want you to as well, but the law is the law.

To review the specific executive order regarding weddings, please click here. 

 

7. No matter what, your wedding will be amazing. You’re getting married! It may not be what you originally envisioned but what in life ever is? It’s usually better than you can imagine. 

 

If you have any questions about my COVID policies, please email me!

What to Do with Your Wedding Photos | 3 Ways to Back Up Your Wedding Images

What to Do with Your Wedding Photos | 3 Ways to Back Up Your Wedding Images

You’ve spent many months (maybe years) planning your wedding. Every detail was perfect. You’ve invested thousands in your wedding photography experience. The day comes and goes, and you enjoyed every single moments. When you get your wedding photos back, what do you do with them? You look at them over and over again (maybe on a screen), change your profile photo every week, and post to Instagram for weeks. Any chance to show those lovely photos to the world, you’re on it. But after awhile, you go back to married life and move on. What should you do with your wedding photos? I want to share three simple ways to back up your images so you never lose them and can enjoy them for years to come. 

The digital age is fantastic and has made sharing and storing images easier than ever. But we’ve all heard the horror stories: dropped hard drives. Fried computers. The blue screen of death. A house fire. All nightmares if you’re not backing up your images. 

Backing up your images isn’t your wedding photographer’s job. Most photographers have clauses in their contract stating how long they backup images. And though many probably back them up much longer, do you really want to take a chance with all that’s left of the happiest day of your life? Probs not. 

 

Back Up Wedding Images

1. Download your images to an external hard drive.

One of the simplest things you can do to back up your images is to grab an external hard drive and download them all to it. 

The more places your images live, the better! That’s called redundancy, meaning you have multiple copies of your images. If you download them to a USB and your laptop and an external, that’s three places. It’s not super likely that all three will malfunction at the same time.

I recommend using two external hard drives to backup your wedding images. Keep one at your house and one at someone else’s. Or if you want to be extra, keep one in a fireproof safe at your house (that’s where I keep memory cards while I’m editing!). It’s scary, but there’s always a possibility of a fire, and though you’d hope you’d grab your hard drive, maybe you won’t. 

I think most external hard drives have similar ability to fail, as I’ve used almost every brand. But my recommendation is to get an SSD (solid state drive) which are much less likely to kick it. This one is super tiny and portable, or if you have more cash to spend, you can grab this fancy LaCie. 

Back Up Wedding Images

2. Use the cloud

Though it sounds super nebulous and weird, the cloud is another place you want to use to backup your wedding photos. Again, what if your house catches on fire or floods or there’s a tornado, etc. Events industry professionals are always looking for contingency plans and the cloud is a great one that’s affordable and worth the cost. Most cloud backup systems are automatic so that means you don’t have to think about it at all. Totally recommend setting up your entire laptop to backup (and those iPhone photos…you don’t want to lose those, right?). 

It’s not okay to think of Facebook or Instagram as a cloud platform. Those websites reduce quality of your images. Have you ever tried to print a Facebook image? Yeah, it’s not great. 

Here are some cloud backup recommendations:

1. iCloud (50GB for .99 a month)  — I use this for my iPhone photos

2. Amazon Drive (up to 5 GB with Prime)

3. Backblaze  ($6 a month or $60 for the year) — I use this for my business! 

There is NO excuse not to protect your images (and all sort of personal files too). Storage is cheap! Fixing a hard drive is not. 

 

Back Up Wedding Images

3. Invest in an Album or Prints

If you’re my client, you’ve heard me say this a million times, but investing in an album is another great way to backup your images. It’s the most expensive thing on this list, but I truly believe that your photos were meant to live in print rather than on a screen. Technology is a beautiful thing, but sometimes getting back to basics is ideal. A wedding album doesn’t require the internet and it doesn’t corrupt or crash. It lives so long as you take care of it (and it’s not in a fire lol).

There is something special about flipping through a hard copy of your wedding memories. There’s no subscription required and an album is an heirloom you can pass down. Who knows if external hard drives will be a thing? I can already tell you that USB drives aren’t a thing anymore (looking at those new MacBooks). 

If you were recently married and your package didn’t come with an album, I bet your photographer offers them! I sure do, and you’re always welcome to purchase one, even a year later.

Sometimes we promise ourselves that we’ll get around to creating our own album, but allowing a professional to just take the reins (and get better quality items than consumers can!) is sometimes the best way to go. An album is an expensive investment, but you want to make sure it’s a quality item that will last. This ain’t Shutterfly, y’all. 

Here’s more information about my heirloom albums.

And, of course, if an album isn’t your thing, at least print your images and display them. I love looking at the images I’ve printed and displayed of our wedding throughout our home. It reminds me of what a great day that was and how much I love my husband. 

It’s even nicer if you can purchase professional prints from your photographer. I guarantee they’re better than what you can get yourself – and they’ll always be proper colors. Printers do vary, believe it or not, and your photographer isn’t responsible for knowing them all honestly! That would be CRAZY TOWN. So trust your professional and if you’re ordering prints, try to get them from the professional! Plus, it’s always nice to support a small business when you can, right?

 

Final Thoughts on ways to back up your wedding images

There you have it: three ways to back up your wedding images! There’s never too much of a good thing, and this adage applies to backups. In summary:

1. Remember that redundancy is your friend.
2. Don’t wait to backup your images! Back them up as soon as you can!
3. Your photographer isn’t responsible for archiving your images forever. That is YOUR responsibility.
4. Invest in hard copies of your images if you can. They never go out of style.

 

what to do with your wedding photos

How to Make an Intimate Wedding Special in the Age of COVID-19

How to Make an Intimate Wedding Special in the Age of COVID-19

With COVID-19 wrecking havoc on life as we know it, many weddings and events have been postponed. Despite the circumstances, many couples are deciding to get married now in intimate weddings, saving the big party for later in the name of safety. The question that continues to come up for those considering a smaller intimate wedding NOW is: how can I make my intimate wedding special? Below are six ways you can make a intimate wedding special in the age of COVID-19.

Throw out all the rules

First things first, there are NO rules when it comes to weddings right now, except legal rules. Yes, you need a marriage license and witnesses. Yes, you have to abide by whatever legal guidelines there are in your state/county. But etiquette rules are out the window at this point.

Large weddings aren’t bad, but sometimes they can become slightly impersonal as you go from hugging one guest to the next as quick as you can. Intimate weddings are usually more personal and thoughtful. Instead of pleasing many guests, you’re usually just planning to please yourselves, making more intentional decisions about the day.

You can make the intimate wedding whatever you want it to be. If that means just the two of you reading vows with your witnesses and officiant, that’s perfect. If it means having a legit ceremony in your backyard as your parents look on, that’s great too. You don’t have to do a unity ceremony; you don’t have to toss a bouquet. You can completely personalize your day to fit your relationship and make it an incredibly personal experience.

how to make an intimate wedding special

Wear Different Attire

Though you may want to wear your wedding dress twice (umm, who else gets to do that?), maybe you can’t get your dress altered in time or you just want to wear something more casual. Either is totally fine! But if you feel like you want the intimate wedding ceremony to look a little different from the big sha-bang next year (or whenever it’ll be), consider ordering a more casual gown from Modcloth, BHLDN, David’s Bridal, Nordstrom or Rent the Runway. Note: you don’t have to wear a white dress. You can wear WHATEVER you want!

For the gentlemen, you could opt for a more casual look, skipping the tux for a suit or just sticking to a vest. Even a nice dress shirt with a tie can go in a backyard. Remember, there aren’t any rules. If you want to wear a tux and can get one, wear it!

how to make an intimate wedding special

Broadcast your ceremony live

There are a few ways you can involve everyone in your ceremony. You can livestream the ceremony on something as simple as Zoom. You can also (if it’s possible), get married in a parking lot and have everyone in their cars watching. Kind of like a drive-in ceremony. This may sound cheesy, but getting creative with the circumstances can not only be fun, but goes back to being intentional about your day. Maybe you really wanted as many people there as possible. Having a drive-in ceremony is safe way to do it.

how to make an intimate wedding special

Make an intimate wedding special with 15 Toasts

At traditional Western weddings, toasts are usually relegated to the best man, maid of honor, and father of the bride. Though couples now decide to have more toasts or even forgo them, a way to make an intimate wedding particularly special is doing 15 Toasts, an activity developed by gathering specialist Priya Parker. The idea is to ask those gathered to share a story around a common theme (in this case you’d probably ask them to share a memory of the couple or about marriage/love), and then end their story in a toast. The great part about this activity, other than how personal and heartfelt it could turn out to be, is that it can be done virtually. I recently read a story about a couple that was married on their front porch and invited guests to participate in 15 Toasts via Zoom. How special would it be to hear from your nearest and dearest in such a personal way!

how to make an intimate wedding special

Cut the cake and dance (if you want)

Who says you can’t do things twice? If you want to commemorate your “official” wedding day, you can still cut a small cake and have a first dance. And there’s no problem with repeating these things again when you’re celebrating with everyone. Dancing in your living room, or in your backyard under the stars can be very special, even if it’s not in front of 200 guests. I’ve been married three years and every time Josh decides we need to dance in our living room, I get a little teary eyed. For me, it’s more special than the dance we shared while nearly 100 people were watching us, but we are both introverted.

how to make an intimate wedding special

Make the day an adventure about you

Who says a wedding has to happen in a certain order or at a certain time. When there aren’t strict timelines and places to be, you can make the day completely about what you want to do. This opens up a whole realm of possibility! You can visit your first date spot, have a picnic lunch on the lake, share a drink in front of the fire pit, whatever you want. Think about what the perfect day would look like (again, just the two of you) and do it. You’ll never forget it.

Want to learn more about what an elopement can mean? Read this blog post!

How to make an intimate wedding special: wrap-up

If you’re sad about what’s happening in the world and how it’s impacted your wedding day, that’s okay. You’re allowed to feel that. And if you’re making the decision to still honor that original date with an intimate wedding, that’s great! There are many ways you can make it feel special, even if it’s plan B. Letting go of what you think you HAVE to do to make something feel like a wedding is the first step to feeling completely free to celebrate your nuptials in however you choose. The beauty of this circumstance is that the rules are yours to break and to make.

There is a beauty to making a day that celebrates your commitment to each other completely about each other rather than about everything and everyone else. Once you embrace that, I doubt you’ll regret getting married now. The party will always be there and it’ll feel completely different with everyone else there to celebrate you. If anything you get to have two celebrations, which doesn’t often happen. There will always be a way to honor your love and commitment, no matter the time or place.

how to make an intimate wedding special