You’re engaged! Pop the champagne! Open up Pinterest and get to work pinning ALL THE THINGS!
Or should you? While I love Pinterest as much as the next gal, let’s have a conversation. Keep reading to learn 5 ways to ruin your Michigan wedding.
As Michigan wedding photographers serving both the upper and lower peninsulas, Rob and I have had the honor of photographing a wide variety of events – from simple backyard ceremonies to parties with over 200 in attendance. We’ve experienced days that went practically perfect and also experienced days that went completely opposite.
I tell every bride, “No wedding ever goes exactly how you plan. As long as you’re married at the end of the day, it’s a success!” It’s crucial to find the balance between planning your dream day while also allowing the day to unfold naturally. As a Type A personality myself, I love order and organization (proudly displays color-coded planner), and I love working with similar brides. But is there such a thing as too much planning? Absolutely.
Step 1 – How To Ruin Your Michigan Wedding: Spend Too Much Time On Pinterest
Ahhh, Pinterest – the app that allows us to be digital hoarders and save ALL the ideas. You won’t find any hate for Pinterest from me – over the years I’ve spent far too much time creating outfits, designing meal plans, and decorating my future dream home. (Soft blues, whites, and grays with a nautical/lake theme because – #Michigangirl 😉 )
While Pinterest is an incredibly helpful tool when planning your wedding, keep in mind that you’re pinning ideas from 50 different weddings, not 50 ideas from one wedding.
We’ve attended weddings where the bride tried to incorporate so many ideas from Pinterest that nothing stood out. The day was a blur of signs, places to sign your name, and pictures to look at. It’s much more special to have a few details and decorations unique to the two of you as a couple for your guests to enjoy and remember.
One of our favorite details was the Brazilian chocolates included with the place settings at Eduardo and Kristi’s northern Michigan wedding!
Step 2 – Don’t Hire A Wedding Planner OR A Day-Of Coordinator
While a full wedding planner may not be in the budget, or even what you need for your day, please assign someone to be the day-of coordinator. This can be a business (Wedding Wishes and Northern Enchantments are both on our recommended vendors list!) or even just a well-organized family friend.
Trust us, you and your mom are going to be far too busy that day already. Leave answering questions about how to arrange the reception tables, chasing down Grandpa’s cufflinks, and corralling the bridal party to line up for the ceremony to another pair of capable hands.
Step 3 – How To Ruin Your Michigan Wedding: Don’t Follow The Timeline
Now, you may be saying – Veronica, a timeline? That sounds really stressful – I just want to enjoy our wedding day, not follow a schedule!
Having a wedding timeline in place doesn’t need to be a big stressful experience. It doesn’t mean someone is going to barge in with a megaphone and start barking out orders. It doesn’t mean you will feel like you’re on a treadmill, running through the day without a chance to stop and catch your breath – there is still plenty of time for spontaneity and FUN!
A timeline will help you know what is happening next. It will keep you on track, knowing what time your hair should be done by, what time you need to be in your dress. It will be a helpful bit of information to forward to your bridal party so everyone can coordinate together. Most importantly – it will make the day feel less hectic because you won’t be left to wonder what time your photographer is arriving, when your flowers will be delivered, and a million other little details!
(If you have booked your wedding with us, you have probably already received a starter timeline to help you plan your day. Click to read my full blog post about timelines here!)
Keep your timeline simple. Similar to the first point, trying to add in too many things to your wedding day will stress out your photographer, coordinator, bridal party – and especially you!
Finally, consider your guests. Having a timeline and following it is a courtesy to your guests. Your friends, family, and coworkers sometimes travel hours to attend and celebrate your wedding. Don’t leave them sitting out in the hot sun for much longer than they anticipated – be a good host.
Step 4 – Tell Your Bridal Party The Wedding Rehearsal Is Optional
Your wedding rehearsal is the time for everyone to get on the same page. From where to meet, who to walk with, where to stop for pictures, and where to stand during the ceremony – plan to go over it at least three times the afternoon before.
Emphasize to all members of your bridal party – even parents of ringbearers and flower girls – that this isn’t a “come if you can” event. Plan to serve/go out for dinner and drinks after the rehearsal. (This will motivate everyone to get it right the first time!)
Step 5 – How To Ruin Your Michigan Wedding: Don’t Have A Backup Plan In Case Of Bad Weather
Rob and I are big fans of outdoor weddings! When you live somewhere as beautiful Michigan, there’s no need to spend a day cooped up inside if you don’t have to. However, Michiganders say, “Don’t like the weather? Just wait 5 minutes – it’ll change.” We’ve seen this saying prove true time and again.
Even if you’re planning an outdoor wedding, we recommend renting a tent. I shot the picture above an hour before the couple’s ceremony was due to begin. Approximately 30 minutes later we started hearing thunder in the distance and the sky grew dark. It was all hands on deck as every vendor and available guest started grabbing chairs and pulling them into the reception tent nearby. Despite the last-minute change of plans, everything went smoothly – and the guests didn’t have to wait the rain out in their cars!
Bonus! Step 6 – Keep Your Entire Bridal Party Up The Whole Night Before The Wedding – Even The Kids!
One final story from the worst wedding we have ever photographed. We arrived to start shooting the bridal party getting ready at 2 p.m. as scheduled. Despite having a day of coordinator who had outlined and communicated the timeline to all involved, no one was even close to getting ready. While making small talk we discovered the entire group had stayed up until 4 a.m. that morning partying. Even the small children were kept up far past their bedtime with scary stories, etc.
Although it is certainly within your rights to party as long and as late as you choose, consider the ramifications. The wedding ended up starting an hour behind schedule due to all dragging around trying to get ready. The kids were so exhausted (poor dears) that they could barely muster a smile for family portraits. While we always make the best of it, it is not our favorite wedding memory.
In summary, learn from the mistakes of others so your Michigan wedding day is smooth!
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Rob & Veronica are Michigan wedding photographers serving the upper and lower peninsulas of MI.