So if you’re following me on any social media channel, you’ll have seen A LOT that Jason managed to surprise me with a proposal last week. It was incredible and the best, most surreal feeling ever. I’m not going to share our proposal story, purely because I feel like it’s Jason’s story to tell and it’s something that I’d rather tell friends and family in person.
But from instastories it’s clear that a lot of you would like to hear about our wedding planning, and I’m more than happy to oblige with that.
Picking A Date
So it’s only been a week, but Jason and I have been together several years, have two children and have discussed getting married a lot (ie I’ve went on about it for ages). We always said we didn’t want a long engagement, and a date was pretty easy for us to choose.
Both our kids were born on an 18th – in different months – but each on Friday’s. I have a thing about dates and numbers, so I really wanted our wedding to happen on an 18th. So it was pretty easy to pick a date. We looked at the calendar for next year, looked for 18th’s that fell around a weekend and then narrowed it down based on the season we preferred. BOOM…DONE!
Once we knew our date, it made time of the essence a little bit, because it’s not that far away. If you’re flexible in what you want, then there really isn’t a rush to plan things. But we knew what we wanted and had a list of priorities.
Firstly, we want a local wedding because our home town means a lot to us both. It’s also better for the kids to have familiar surroundings (especially Tyler with his Autism). We also like the thought of a lot of our friends not having to travel.
This priority immediately meant our choices were limited. Portrush has 3 main wedding venues, all which can hold a varying number of guests. So we had to pull together a rough guest list to see how big our wedding was going to be.
I originally thought I wanted a super small wedding, like 10 people. But when we looked at our families, and friends, there was just no way that was going to happen. And we soon realised that our guest list ruled out 1 of the venues. We thought we had everything set for our first choice, which would mean we would literally just have a giant party, with no real formalities, but logistics meant that was quickly ruled out too.
So then we came to our final option, which I’ll be honest wasn’t the first venue to jump into my head. But after a good chat with my friends, a lot of looking on pinterest and most importantly, a walk around it with the wedding coordinator, I can’t imagine getting married anywhere else. It has everything we need. The best views, perfect location, lots of space, the food is amazing and it fits into our budget, meaning we’re not going to have to hold back on the other things that mean a lot to us.
One of those things, which probably actually means more to me than anything, is obviously photography.
How I chose our wedding photographer
The second we decided our date, before our venue was confirmed, I emailed our photographer. Because if she wasn’t available, it’s very likely I would have changed the date – that’s how much I value photography and wanted Remain in Light .
I love Mairéad’s work. I love the colours, the tones, the composition, her style. EVERYTHING. I love every single image I’ve ever seen of hers. But not only that, I can imagine being a part of them. Her images say everything I would love my images to say.
I also really like Mairéad. We met briefly at an awards workshop last year and she was so nice. I also could imagine Jason being comfortable in her company, which is so important. Often brides pick photographers, and we automatically look at who we like, but it’s as important, if not more that the groom feels comfortable. If they’re not comfortable, the photos won’t look comfortable.
And that was my criteria for choosing. I didn’t care how much she would cost, I knew we would adjust our budget to meet her pricing. I didn’t care whether an album was included, because if we have to we will make one ourselves (OK I know I’m at a slight advantage with that). For me photography is my top priority. I know that the food will be eaten, the flowers will die, the makeup will be washed off, the dress will never be worn again. But our photographs will keep our day with us forever.
So by Friday, after consultations with both our venue and photographer, we had our two main things booked and secured…5 days after we got engaged.
And now I can breathe kind of.
The Downside of Being a Wedding Photographer
So if you follow me, you know I’m always pretty busy. It’s part of being self employed, you don’t get days off. But from May onwards my diary goes CHAOTIC for the rest of the year. I’m pretty much fully booked for weddings and that’s before I take on any more family sessions, commercial work and editorial. As well as raise two little humans.
So whilst we have just over a year, 9 months of that is entirely ruled out for wedding planning.
On top of that, when you’re in the industry and surrounded by a crazy amount of inspo, it can be a bit head frazzling. So before I’m fully immersed in wedding after wedding, I want to have my own ideas set in stone. I don’t want to be influenced or swayed by what I see.
So I have 6/8 weeks to finish off all the big bookings. Band/entertainment, dress and styling are next on our list, but for now we’re going to take a few weeks to just chill and enjoy being engaged.
This really is the best time and we really want to cherish it as much as possible.
Did you take a while to plan your wedding? Did you have a long engagement or short engagement? I’d love to hear your experiences of wedding planning, so please feel free to leave a comment. Lx