Whether you are planning a Key West wedding, a Knoxville wedding, or a wedding in a romantic castle (yes, please!) anywhere in the world, there is nothing more informative and helpful than advice directly from other recently married couples.
Wedding planning is hard. It can be overwhelming and frustrating and that is where hiring seasoned vendors who freely give their expertise is never a bad idea.
I send out of a ton of information to my clients to help them best prepare for their photos on their wedding days but I thought I could start sharing some advice from my prior couples on how to BEST enjoy your wedding day. Hearing directly from former brides and grooms is a great source of information!
Maddie and Matt were my last wedding of 2019 and these college sweethearts knew how to end the year with a bang. With classic colors of reds and greens and excited wedding guests from all over country, this couple got married at the stunning Southernmost Beach Resort in mid-December.
My favorite things from Maddie’s wedding were the bridesmaids robes (I just adored the colors) and the couple’s sincere excitement for getting married. They were just ecstatic which shows so clearly in all of their photos.
I talked to Maddie some and asked her some questions about planning her wedding and any advice she had to give to couples planning a Key West destination wedding. Here is what she had to say:
On Wedding Planning Frustrations: For Maddie, getting an accurate guest count was the most difficult aspect of planning a wedding. Like most destination weddings, the commitment you ask from guests is a lot greater than a local wedding. There can be more obstacles that interfere with guests being able to come, allowing for a higher number of last minute cancellations. Following up on all RSVPs before your final count for the caterer is one way to help avoid any surprises. While you should always account for all RSVPs in the caterers final count (because what would be worse than not having enough seats and food!), just be prepared mentally for some people not coming.
On The Memories From the Day: When the wedding day is over, we have our marriage, our photographs and memories. I know what I remember most vividly about my wedding day (taking photos on a fishing boat and seeing all of the people I love most in my life) and I love asking my brides what their most favorite memory from their wedding day (or weekend) was.
Maddie said one of hers was the time spent alone with Matt after the wedding, taking photos. I agree that this is a really special time that allows you to decompress and just enjoy each other for a few minutes. To help facilitate this time, I try to shoot in an unobtrusive way that allows you to interact with each other in meaningful way. I don’t just pose; I direct and allow you to be yourselves. This creates the opportunity for more candid wedding photography.
Another special moment for Maddie – dancing! I mean – YES! Wedding dancing is always just the best and I am always a fan of weddings where most of the guests dance! It just makes for the best photos and great memories.
On Finding a Photographer: When asked what she looked for in a photographer, she said she looked for portfolios that showed a lot candid images from real moments during the day, not just images of big moments, like the first kiss. This made me so happy to hear as I this is EXACTLY what I go for in my wedding collections. As a wedding photographer, you wear a lot of hats. You need to be able to photograph classic formals, direct more casual photos, capture candids, create schedules, manage people and be a friend/helper the day of the wedding. However, we all have our areas that we think are more important or that we focus more on. For me, that area is candid photos. I LOVE the editorial images that really capture your wedding, the emotion and the true story of the day. Whether it be a look, a hug, a squeeze of the hand, to me these moments are the ones that need to be remembered and cherished. My favorite part of Key West candid wedding photography are at the receptions. I think the dance images are the best.
What Were Your Biggest Sources of Inspiration: Mainly The Knot, some Pinterest and Instagram.
I like to ask this question because I think it is important to know where to get you ideas and even where to find your vendors. There are a ton of important resources out there. I may have my favorites but I think that kn0wing where ‘real’ couples got their ideas is super helpful.
Best Piece of Advice for Couples Planning Their Wedding: Maddie wisely says to focus on the fun, not worry so much about all of the little details. For Maddie, the playlist, the food and the guest list of people they loved, were the most important details about the wedding.
I think design and decor are super important to the overall vibe of the wedding but I absolutely agree with Maddie that you can let the little details overwhelm your focus on the important parts of the day. AND, even more importantly, I think you have to let things go sometimes.
Maybe a centerpiece doesn’t turn out like you thought it would or maybe you somehow have the wrong color linens, but, in the long run, it doesn’t mean your wedding is ruined or anything.
So, what do you think? Do you think hearing advice directly from the couples will be helpful?
Venue: Southernmost on the Beach
Planner: Just Save the Date
Party Rentals: Prestige Party Rentals
Florals: Karro Events & Floral
Hair and Makeup: Bella Luxe Hair and Makeup
***Megan Ellis is a Key West wedding photographer and a Knoxville, TN wedding photographer, specializing in working with destination weddings. Having over 10 years of experience working mainly with a destination clientele; she understands thoroughly the unique challenges that come with planning a wedding from afar and has designed her client experience to directly meet these needs. ***