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After photographing and attending more weddings than I can count over my lifetime, I can confidently say I’ve figured out what makes the best wedding.
It’s not the amount of money that goes into the day. It’s not the size of the wedding party or the trendiest dress or reception venue.
It’s not the weddings with the best flowers, centerpieces, the personalized napkins or chair covers- the things that most couples (including myself) spend their engagement stressing out about. It doesn’t matter if there are 10 guests or 200.
The best weddings come down to the people- the bride and the groom and the people they choose to celebrate with. When the day is focused on making their love and relationship the center and creating moments that revolve around their joy of getting married, those are the weddings that stand out.
I remember personalized, heartfelt vows that give a glimpse into the relationship. The time the reception stopped for the guests to sing happy birthday to the bride’s 90 year old grandma.
The couple wiping happy tears from each other’s eyes during the first look and the ceremony like at this wedding (see below). Or the couple who decided to get ready together because they didn’t want to spend any of their wedding apart.
The log cutting tradition during the ceremony using their grandpa’s saw honoring their German heritage that is way harder than expected, leaving the bride and groom sweaty and laughing with their guests.
Those are the things I will always remember over the bride’s shoes or the lavish amount of peonies in the centerpieces.
When you’re looking at the photos below, remember these things-
- Yes, the decorations are gorgeous.
- No, everything did not go as planned.
But look at these photos. They don’t look stressed or worried. They show the amount of love Joe and Lisa have for each other and their family and friends have for them. See how excited his mom is to see her new daughter in law?
And how everyone around the bride and groom was relaxed and having fun because Joe and Lisa were setting an example of being laid-back?
This mom could have angrily yelled at her son for photobombing this photo. But instead, the groom found it hilarious and everyone followed suit instead of getting worked up.
When you spend your wedding day worried and preoccupied about the details or the timeline, I promise it will show in the photos and that’s the only tangible thing you have left to show for your wedding day.
Technology has come a long way but there isn’t a way to photoshop JOY into your photos.
Seven days out from her wedding, one of my brides said, “I’ve stopped caring about decor and perfection with the wedding. I’m sure I forgot a ton of stuff but I don’t care. All I want is to be married to the man of my dreams!! And to dance the night away with him and all my friends and family!”
Make the decision to wake up on your wedding day with the realization that you’ve done all of the planning and prep you could and though not everything is going to go as planned, your are going to have one of the happiest days of your life celebrating the start of your marriage with your favorite people.