As a wedding photographer, I always have information to share in regards to planning your wedding. I thought that I would take a spin on things, so a few weeks ago I posted on Facebook that I was interested in interviewing past brides. I was seeking someone to share firsthand experience regarding their entire wedding from beginning to end. I was so excited when Dale responded, offering a groom’s perspective!
Beckie, you and Dale were engaged for a few years before you finally put wedding plans into action. What made you decide it was time to start?
I think from the beginning we knew it was going to be a long engagement. We had other plans and life goals. The biggest one was buying our first home. That was very important to us as a first step towards our new life together. As anyone who has purchase a house knows that eats up a lot of your finances. We payed for our entire wedding ourselves and without taking on any additional debt. So it took some time to save up enough money to have the wedding we wanted. But it was all worth it.
What did you find to be the most difficult part of planning?
Beckie: Finding a photographer. That was absolutely the worst part. I did so much research online and called so many people. We had a pretty tight budget and that didn’t allow for a $4,000 expense just to have our pictures taken with no album or prints. The photographer we went with was amazing and worth the search. I knew Kerri was the one when I spoke to her with a lot of attitue after hearing a dozen other photographers tell me how wonderful they were for 20 minutes only to find they didn’t fit in my budget. She took it all in great stride and responded with what do you want and what can you afford. In no time she made an affordable package with everything I wanted. She was amazing from the first moment….and bonus she is a Devil’s fan!!!
What were you absolute “must haves” when it came to the wedding?
Beckie: It was important that we have our friends and family there to celebrate the day with us. We wanted one location for both the ceremony and the reception. Once we found the perfect place the cheaper room just wasn’t what we wanted. So we pulled a lot of strings to get a bigger room with an amazing view of the lake and the mountains. Dale: I absolutely wanted to have the ceremony, rooms and reception all in one place. Other than that all i wanted was a good time with friends and family. When interviewing photographers, what were the key points you were looking for? Beckie: Price was super important. Our budget didn’t have a lot of wiggle room so we had to stay on top of that. But we wanted someone with personality and charisma. As well as someone capable of getting the good shots without being in your face all night. And we absolutely got all that and more. Dale: We really wanted someone laid back who would not be in our faces. Also, price was a big factor for us since we paid for everything ourselves.
When it came down to decisions, who called the shots?
Beckie: We both called the shots for just about everything….well he didn’t care about the flowers LOL. But my Mother-In-Law was super helpful with the more girly things. Even then the decision was left up to me with her input.
Dale: I would have to say that for the most part we seemed to be on the same page. Decisions were very easy for us as a couple.
Beckie, while you were waiting atop the steps prior to the ceremony, what thoughts were running through your mind?
Oh My God this is taking forever. LOL! I was so ready to do the ceremony. I was a little worried I would get all nervous and pass out (totally a problem I have). So I was really trying to stay calm and not think about all the people watching. I had my fiance in my mind the whole time and couldn’t want to be his wife.
While you were for Beckie’s entrance to the ceremony, what thoughts were running through your mind?
I was wondering what was taking so long. I really wanted to get the ceremony finished because i was very nervous in front of so many people.
We all know that Beckie isn’t much of a crier. How did you feel when you saw tears forming in her eyes as you said your vows? I might be bad but it made me proud. I knew that i had truely expressed my feelings for her.
How do you think seeing each other prior to the ceremony impacted the day?
Beckie: It completely calmed me. It took off that nervous edge. It also let us share a private moment. There wasn’t 100 people watching and we could be totally candid with each other and enjoy the alone time.
Dale: I thought it was nice to have a few moments to ourselves to just enjoy the moment before the hectic day began.
What moment surprised you most during the ceremony? Reception?
Beckie: I was very surprised during the ceremony when the Pastor almost dropped his wedding ring off the deck and into the pond below. I was surprised at how calm and collected I was. I had spent so long planning that a few days before and all through the night I had the mind set of “If I didn’t buy it or plan it then we don’t need it, and if it doesn’t go perfect, it’s just a day” That really helped me enjoy all the moments of the day and not get caught up in the nit picky things that weren’t just as I said they should be.
Dale: The ceremony was pretty straight forward but we had a lot of late comers and that prolonged the ceremony. For the reception i was most surprised by how fast it went by. I couldn’t believe the night was over so quickly.
What was the most important picture to have taken?
Beckie: Before the wedding I would say it was pictures of us during the ceremony. I knew that was going to be very fast and I wanted to remember the emotions we felt. After the wedding it was the picture our photographer took of EVERYONE! She worked with the DJ and got everyone onto the dance floor for a big group picture. I love looking back at that picture and everytime I see a different face I overlooked before “Oh look there’s Aunt Nancy”
Dale: I wanted the picture of our whole bridal party. That was the best day of my life and that picture in particular has all of my favorite people there with us.
What was your biggest concern before and on the day of the wedding?
Beckie: I was concerned I would trip down the stairs to the reception or pass out in front of everyone and then fall down the stairs. I was also concerned about our vendors. I found our photographer online and met her a few times and saw her photos. That was reassuring. But our DJ we found online, met with a few times but never actually saw/heard their work. They were a small business and didn’t have video of past weddings. It all turned out wonderful and they were amazing. I am still get compliments on both the photographer and DJ.
Dale: To be honest I wasn’t worried about anything other than rain and on the wedding day there is nothing you can do about it. We had so many great vendors though that I had no concerns.
Brides are beginning to plan much closer to their wedding. (For example, April brides don’t begin to search for their photographer until the end of December.) What are your thoughts on this?
Beckie: Don’t wait that long. The more you plan in advance the more time you have to sit back and enjoy the time with your fiance. It doesn’t hurt to start early and get ideas. Even if you don’t have the money to make any purchases you can still pick out a few invitation, favors, or other ideas. We spent a weekend with some drinks listening to music and picking our important songs. It was a fun relaxing night for the both of us.
Dale: I guess it’s up to the individual but for us it was nice to have everything planned and paid for far in advance to the day. That way as the big day approached we had nothing to worry about.
If you could do everything all over again, what would you do differently?
Beckie: Nothing! Maybe slow time LOL! Everything wasn’t “perfect” but everyone had a fantastic time. We enjoyed ourselves so much.
What would you tell a newly engaged couple regarding their planning?
Beckie: Don’t lose sight of the big picture. It isn’t about the cost, the over the top expenses, the dress, or the guests. In the end you marry the man you love.
Dale: Don’t listen to anyone. Plan YOUR wedding not anyone else’s.
Dale and Beckie: Thank you so much for taking the time to do this interview. I’m sure many brides will benefit from this information!