Each wedding I go to is different and unique. I’ve been to a ton over the years, and I’ve seen some really cool stuff and some things I didn’t really care for. All of it, though, has made me look back at my wedding and really evaluate what we did and didn’t do. It’s been 11 years since we got married, and I still feel bad for my wife. Our wedding wasn’t horrible, but it definitely wasn’t a dream wedding by any means. We were just young, poor college kids back then, and the first to get married out of our group, so we had no idea what we were doing. I’ve asked my wife several times if she’d like to redo our wedding at some point, but she’s over it now. So I can’t really help her, but I thought I’d share the Top 5 Things I learned from my own wedding, so other people can learn from it.
Top 5 Things I learned from My Own Wedding
I am by no means saying my wedding or that if your wedding is similar to mine that it was horrible. These are things that I just wish I could have done differently and things I’ve learned from my years as a wedding photographer.
1. Get into the Experience
Life is really funny. So, when I was getting married, I didn’t really care about weddings at all. I honestly didn’t like the idea of a wedding and wanted it to be over as quickly as possible. Pretty funny considering my career is connected to weddings now. I was a pretty big buzzkill about the whole thing. I left everything up to my wife and really didn’t get involved. I should have been much more involved in the whole process.
If my attitude had been different, I believe the whole experience would have been better. Most likely, I would have fixed a bunch of other things on my list. One big thing that sticks out in my mind is I didn’t care about any kind of traditions. I saw my wife before the ceremony, and it wasn’t a big planned thing. It was still emotional seeing her coming down the aisle but it would have been better if we had not seen each other or done a first look. We also didn’t do any kind of dances. Back then I didn’t really want a bunch of attention, but I didn’t even ask my mother about doing a dance. I might have taken away a very special memory from her.
2. Don’t Let Money Be the Deciding Factor
I know money is a real issue when it comes to planning a wedding, but you can’t let it control everything. I don’t know the exact number, but I think our total budget for our wedding was around $5000. That’s pretty low. The sad thing is I could have easily contributed more money to the budget. At that point, though, I just didn’t care.
I think that when it comes to weddings, you need to consider things for the long term. There are parts of the wedding that really matter and will last a lifetime, and there are things that are just there for that day. You have to prioritize things and put the money toward those. For example, your photos are going to last a long time, hopefully 75 years or more. So, if you pay a photographer $4000, that’s only $67 a year. When you look at things that way, it seems like a great investment.
3. Make it a Party
Weddings should be fun. Ours was pretty bland. All we did during the reception was walk around and talk. It was still a good time, but it definitively could have been better. What you decide to do is up to you and your personality, but there should be something for everyone to do. You could have a DJ and dancing, a photo booth, or yard games for people to play or maybe all of them.
4. Hire a Videographer
We’ve looked at our wedding photos several times, but we have never watched our wedding video. We probably would have but our video, like several other things, was done cheaply, actually for free. We had one of our ushers hold a camcorder, so the video was shaky and we couldn’t actually hear anything.
Videos are a great thing to have, and I wish we had one. They capture audio from the day, like the speeches and are also something you can watch on your tv in a few minutes. It’s definitely worth it.
5. Spend Time Doing Couple Portraits
Photos of the wedding details and the ceremony are good, but are those the pictures you really want to look at over the years? One thing we did do well is we did spend some time doing portraits of just the two of us, but I really wish we had spent more time doing this. I think couples should spend at least 45-75 minutes doing couple portraits. This should be a fun experience for the couple and also the photos they enjoy the most throughout the years.
I still had fun on our wedding day, but I really wish I had done more for myself, my wife, and our guests. Unfortunately, I can’t go back and change things, but I hope by sharing my Top 5 Things I learned from My Own Wedding helps other people out.