I'm Joelle, an international Lifestyle and Wedding Photographer based in St. Joseph, MI. I'm also an educator and Photo Editor for photographers interested in growing their business and living life more.
Photo by: Nicole Balsamo Photography
I married the love of my life less then 9 months after meeting him. Our friends were not surprised, but I definitely hear that pause when someone stops breathing for a minute while they try to process what they just heard. Dorollo and I have been married for 5 1/2 years, we have a beautiful 1-year-old redhead boy, a second baby on the way, a Great Dane, and a cat without a tail. We love our life and the story of how we met, so I’d love to share a little bit of it in hopes that it helps you overcome the wedding jitters & plan the day of your dreams on a budget, in no time!
When Dorollo proposed, we both knew we didn’t want a long engagement. Everyone has their reasons; we wanted to get married quickly because we would not live together until we were married, we lived in different cities at the time, and we wanted to save money. We got married within 90 days of getting engaged, which is just a little over 12 weeks! (Just to get it out of the way, NO, I was not pregnant at the time, and we waited 4 years before starting a family).
So, you’re engaged! Congratulations! What an exciting time in your life. Definitely take a moment (or a couple of weeks) to soak up all the joys of being a fiancé!!
Once the ring doesn’t feel so new and the need to have your hand out to show everyone begins to wear off, its time to get planning. Below are some tips that helped me keep organized, on track, and on time!
There are a lot of websites that give you a detailed checklist for planning a wedding. I personally recommend to pick 3-4 things that you want to remember from your wedding the most.
It is your special day, so you as the couple should pick out what you want to keep with you forever! My fiancé and I each picked 1 or 2 items that were super important to us and that’s where we spent the most money, time, and effort! Once you decide what’s important to you, book their services and put down the deposit as soon as possible.
Our picks: Venue, dress, photographer and table center pieces. My fiancé picked out the venue which had a chapel, an outdoor area for cocktail hour, and the reception hall. We were very happy with our choices and to this day I have beautiful wedding pictures to look back at because we took time to interview photographers and find someone we really felt we could trust to capture our story!
When you are planning a wedding with 12 weeks to the date or less and you don’t want to compromise on your dream, you need to consider an alternative day like Friday or Sunday.
Most wedding venues book out a year in advance for Saturday, as it is the most popular day. I called our top pick for a venue and asked them for the first weekend they had open, and it turned out that they had several dates open for a Sunday wedding. It saved us $1,000 because Sunday is cheaper to rent the chapel/reception hall.
Another option is to call around for an unconventional venue, a place that’s meaningful to both of you but that won’t be as booked. Ask your favorite restaurant to cater a buffet style menu, and hire college students to serve tables with drinks that you purchase yourself.
Maybe this one should be at the top of the list, but I believe that when you have high expectations at the very beginning, you will get farther along in your planning just because you’ll hustle more!
I was very aware going into the wedding planning process & our wedding day that something, or really all of it, could go wrong. I was expecting for some fires to put out and wasn’t surprised when it came time for it.
My sister who was supposed to be a bridesmaid woke up with a swollen face, one of her eyes completely shut. It turned out to be an allergic reaction to a spider bite and she ended up at the emergency room all morning! She wore sunglasses the entire day and in all of the family photos, wore my clothes due to lack of time to go back for her own, and I had to find a new bridesmaid! (There should be an online service, bridesmaid for rent!) Of course with 2 hours to the wedding ceremony, no one was available and my little sister’s best friend stepped in. The girls had to switch the dresses around, sow some of them in, and the problem was solved!
There were other issues that came up during planning or the day of, but nothing that couldn’t be fixed or replaced! So my advice: prepare for the unexpected and be ready to let go of things without letting it bring you down.
But when it comes to the top 3 on your wish list for the wedding, then you fight and make sure its a fireproof plan!
I am pretty sure that every couple has that fight where the expectations weren’t communicated at the beginning and half way through the planning there’s a big argument over napkin color schemes.
If your guy is like mine and he likes to be involved, you need to communicate in the beginning who is planning what. In my opinion, guys like to be involved – it makes them feel important! So give them a specific list of things they need to take care of for the wedding. It can be a list like: officiant, music, Tux rentals, buying stamps and licking envelopes.
I hope you find some helpful ideas for your wedding to be stress free and just as dreamy as you always wished it to be! We loved our special day and cherish those moments!
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