It finally begins - OUR wedding plans!

"How's wedding plans going?", "Who will be your photographer?", "I bet you have so many ideas from seeing all these weddings!", "When you getting married?", "Do you know where you want to get married?", "What date you getting married?", "What month?", "How many bridesmaids you having?", "BUT WHO WILL DO THE PHOTOS!!!!!!". Fellow brides will totally relate with most of these questions....I hope? Otherwise everyone is very over excited about our wedding. These questions have been asked to me pretty much every week since we got engaged at the end of 2016.

When we first got engaged we knew that our priority was buying a house before planning a wedding. We just felt that was the best decision for us. Both are expensive & it was more important for us to have a home to call our own, & then this would be somewhere to come back to as husband & wife! With this in mind we had an engagement party in March 2017 to try & calm all of the hype, questions, & it gave us a good excuse to have a bloomin good party - which we did! Little did we know that four months after this, we would be in a brand new house! It all happened so fast & unexpectedly, I still can't quite believe it. We moved in the middle of wedding season, so due to being so busy & moving house, our own wedding was completely out of our minds cause we didn't even have time or money to think about it. So whenever I would get one of the listed wedding questions, I think I just resorted to making a high pitched thinking noise as I was fed up of repeating myself with boring information & almost felt embarrassed we had NOTHING planned. It wasn't until the last couple of months that we have really started thinking about it & I find it rather funny that I have been saying to Rob "we have the house now. So we have no excuse!" as he always said "we must have a house before a wedding". I think we got the house a lot faster than he thought!

I think nowadays there's so much pressure when you get engaged to get the wedding booked instantly & get everything moving. But for us, we were happy to just be engaged until we were ready. I didn't ever want to plan a wedding due to pressure, I wanted & still want it to be an enjoyable experience. I feel as though Rob & I also have added pressure because of what we do, we see so many weddings so I think people expect ours to be 'amazing', & I agree due to how fussy our jobs have made us, I WANT to make it amazing! I think I have also been putting it off so I can get mentally prepared for what it could potentially bring out of me - 'Bridezilla', cause I want to have full control, mainly because we know exactly what we DON'T want. So anyone even trying to help or offer suggestions or advise on what the traditional or lucky way to do things are, could hit a nerve. I know, it's terrible but this is what being a wedding photographer has done to us (mainly me). I sit here laughing as I'm typing as I am making myself sound horrible, but it isn't that. I suppose I have seen plenty of weddings (some include close friends) which I know from them actually telling me, has been tailored around everyone else's needs, suggestions & some decisions are made to make others happy. What we have learnt most of all is a wedding should be about the couple & what makes THEM happy & if people love you, they will love it regardless. You shouldn't do something cause it's 'tradition' or cause 'that's what you do at weddings', unless that certain tradition is specifically important to you. For us it's more about planning a 'party' rather than a 'wedding', as I think sometimes this is where people can get lost in "that's what you do at weddings isn't it" motto. 

So after a few months of Rob & I debating, going to bed with a plan & waking up changing our minds we have done a full circle & booked a venue we have already photographed at. This is something I thought I would never do, but as there's only two venues in the UK I would get married at - HA!, (this being one of them), there wasn't much narrowing down to be done. We have been close to going abroad alone so we could just concentrate on each other & wouldn't have to worry about anyone, but this didn't feel right, especially with us being so young. Then we were going abroad but only with a few people, but again something didn't feel right; which was a sign to us that we obviously did want EVERYONE there. So then we decided to go back to the venue we fell in love with whilst photographing & see how we would feel there as a bride & groom. We needed to go & look at it from another perspective. So this is what we did last week, & instantly we looked at each other with the 'mutual nod'. This. Is. It.

 Image by Kate Hopewell-Smith

Image by Kate Hopewell-Smith

I'm not going to go into details of where it is & what we are planning as I would like it to be a surprise & keep some things close to my chest for now. However if you are an avid follower of mine you might be able to work out the venue! But this is a place unlike anywhere we have been & we have picked it for this reason; but also because it's ours to do with as we please. We didn't want a venue which does lots of weddings over one weekend & where we would HAVE to have their caterers, wine, follow their structure & be out by a certain time, (again I think this is cause we see so many that we have the benefit of knowing where this happens). We wanted somewhere where WE could be in control & use the time (or weekend as we have it!) as we wish. We will be breaking most of the traditional wedding rules, for example a sit down meal, this is something we both have decided isn't right for us. We just want an all day party where food will be coming out sporadically & we can just eat & party throughout the day & mingle with everyone. I will talk about our day in more detail once it's been & gone as I will really be able to explain why we have made certain decisions. Unfortunately you'll be waiting a while to read as we get married next September! However this won't stop me sending Save the Dates soon otherwise we will just end up telling everyone to their face!

Although our job has made us super fussy, I suppose it's a blessing in disguise as we have all the tools & knowledge about weddings including talented friends & family, some of whom work in the industry. I feel like it's also made me some version of a wedding planner so I really think I am going to enjoy planning our day. I love my job & all the weddings I go to, but I couldn't let ours feel like work, so we definitely have our work cut out to make it completely different but I am so so excited! I may give an update mid wedding planning, but if not, there will be a very long post after the wedding. By which time you probably would've totally forgot it was even happening.....but as I have said before, it's therapeutic for me to ramble this all down anyway! So message to future Jessica "I hope you didn't have a nervous breakdown & had the best day ever!??!" .....I think I've gone mad.

For perspective brides who enquire with me or who have already booked me - I am now completely in your shoes on my own little wedding journey. I know how expensive everything is & how stressful it can potentially be. BUT you must prioritise what's important to you & invest in those things over others. Everything else will fall into place. Enjoy the planning experience & don't let anyone tell you what you should or shouldn't be doing!

Next job for me - Florist!

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Source: www.jessicaraphaelphotography.com