What I Learned as a Bride!

Oh, friends!  It feels like this Spring is already going by SO fast!  Maybe because we went from winter to summer weather and life just speeds up like that – plus it’s wedding season!  This weekend Derek and I attended a friend’s wedding, and then I attended a dear friend’s bridal shower.  It just brings back ALL the feels from being a bride myself last year.

I’ve wanted to write this post for many months now!  I know a lot of people wonder what my perspective was being a bride since I’m also a wedding photographer!  And with wedding season in full swing, I thought it would be the first time to share :)

Being a bride was SO different than being a photographer.  Of course I had the perspective of a photographer, when it came to details and timing and lighting…but how it FELT on the other side was totally different.  I feel that I understand with even more empathy how my brides feel and what they need.  And for all of my sweet clients who haven’t made it to the big day yet…I hope this post helps you!

Here are the greatest lessons I learned from the other side this past October!!

red_maple_vineyard_wedding_bridal_tips_from_a_photographer_kerri_lynne__00011. You can’t control the weather – so embrace it!  

As a wedding photographer that focuses on natural light, I would have laughed if you told me last year that our wedding day would be 100% chance of rain and a Nor’Easter!  I have helped so many brides to plan for weather, to go out with umbrellas and rain boots and have fun no matter what.  But I didn’t think that bride would be me.  The week before our wedding, we realized that we had to stop hoping for it to change and embrace the way it would be.  We bought rain boots, umbrellas for us and our bridal party, and stopped thinking about the rain.  We started thinking about each other, what really mattered, and how happy we were to have made it to this wedding day together.

The day of, one thing I was SO happy about was that I truly trusted our wedding photographer.  As I was getting ready and listening to the rain come down on our tent, when Katelyn James and Michael walked through the doors I almost cried a tear of relief.  I realized that this decision to hire them was not at all what I thought – glowy, beautiful outdoor lighting as the sun set – but it was putting them to the test on a day that we didn’t have any of that.  And I realized in that moment that I could totally relax because they were advocating for Derek and I – and creating beauty no matter what was happening around us.  I realized that this feeling I had is the same feeling that I hope my brides have when I arrive – I hope they breathe that sigh of relief and know that I have it completely under control.

Derek and I went outside with umbrellas, put a tarp down on a tree swing lined with flowers, and we did what we always do together – go out into nature and embrace it together!  It couldn’t have been more us.

And I know that your day can be just as beautiful for you too, no matter what comes.

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2. Some details will not come together – and that’s okay.

Because there are just SO many details that go into a wedding, some details will slip through the system.  Something you wanted to give your guests, or happen in a particular moment, or wear – something will inevitably go wrong.  And I think knowing and anticipating that will help you when it does.  This is a small detail, but really funny and the first time I’ve shared it online!

I bought these gorgeous Badgley Mischka shoes and the morning of our wedding, while I was giving my bridesmaids their gifts, I stepped on my toe and hurt it so badly that it started bleeding!  (I’ll spare you the rest of the details)  My bridesmaid Sarah Beth is a doctor and immediately started wrapping my toe in tape and it was wrapped until the moment I tried to slip on my shoes.  I realized quickly that these shoes were not going to work – I couldn’t even fit in them!  So I ended up wearing – no joke – $15 velvet flats I bought at Target that were supposed to be “dancing shoes.”  I took photos with these gorgeous shoes, but never ended up wearing them!  Oh well!

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Oh, and my mom made a dream of mine come true and had this flower crown made for me that I never ended up wearing!  Derek and I went to go do our first look in the pouring rain and we only had so much time and that crown never made it!  I was so grateful my mom did that for me but unfortunately, that detail didn’t come together either.

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3. Focus on the moments shared with your spouse – and savor them.

One thing I feel I did well was to focus on the fact that this day was about Derek and I.  Yes, there were so many people there that we know and love – and that felt like such a dream! – but it was our day.  It was about our vows – and that is why everyone else was there.  So I really did savor each moment he and I had together.

We did a first look – which I so recommend to all of my brides!  I know it’s not always logistically important (if the ceremony and reception are in different locations) – but for us, this was a moment that I still treasure.  And as I look through our wedding album, I tear up when I remember how I felt the moment I walked toward him and the moment we first saw each other.  The rain was coming down on the tent and everything felt so still and beautiful.  I’ll never forget these moments as long as I live.

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4. Savor how sacred your ceremony and vows are.  

A part of the wedding that was so important to me was the wedding ceremony itself.  The time when we declare our vows to one another and listen to what our pastor spoke over us.  Of all the memories I have that day, I think I honestly remember these the most.  I remember the rain falling and how intimate it felt and how each one of our guests was listening.  I remember breathing heavy and realizing the impact that these vows would have on the rest of our lives.  I remember laughing when Derek almost kissed me before our pastor told him to.  I remember the words our pastor spoke that cut right into our hearts and what we would need most in our marriage.  And I remember how joyful it felt when he announced us husband and wife.  This part of your wedding day is so sacred, and realizing that was so important to us.

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5. Let your guests approach you that want to say hello – because they will find a way!  And don’t forget to dance!

Before we were married, one of my sweet brides and grooms gave us this advice – and it was some of the best we got!!  They told us that our guests would come up to us because everyone there would want to say hello to us.  It wasn’t our responsibility to make it happen, we could let it happen and feel relaxed and trust it.  So we did!!  And it’s true – everyone came up to us that wanted to and we spoke to so many people over the course of our evening.  It felt like I was in a dream with all those people we loved in one place!

But – don’t forget to dance.  That’s one regret I have!  We danced away when the music started but then I got so distracted saying hello to people that we didn’t get back on the dance floor until our last song!  If I could do it over I would have remembered to spend more time with Derek, and our friends, out there!

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(SEE my burgundy flats from Target??)

6. Eat as much as you can and savor it!

This is such hard advice to give because I know how difficult it is to eat at your wedding!  I know it’s busy, people are coming up to you left and right, and then there are toasts!  But remember – every bite you put in your mouth may be your only bite of that particular thing – so savor it!

During our toasts was the time we were able to sit and eat – and I was eating away when I realized that our photographer was taking photos of our faces as our friends were giving toasts!  So as a photographer I didn’t want my mouth to be full of food in these photos so I stopped eating – and gosh I never finished!   We’re so thankful our venue Red Maple Vineyard packaged food for us to take on our mini-moon – those are the best tastes I had of our wedding food :)

And our cake!!  Something told me right after we cut it to eat 2 bites – and I’m so glad I did because I never ate another one!  And it was delicious – spice cake with brandied apple filling!

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7. Let your joy shine through – THAT is really what you and everyone else will remember after it’s all over!

THIS is seriously the best advice I can give, as a bride and as a photographer.  I can’t even tell you how many of our guests, when we talk about our wedding, forgot it was raining because of our joy!!  The emotion that you have translates to everyone else there to celebrate you.  I had no idea how much our joy would impact others.  And I’m so grateful we had it, stayed in it, and shared it.  Because that’s not only what our guests remember, but we remember too.

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I hope this post was helpful and helped give you perspective from being a bride!  To all the sweet brides reading this, enjoy your wedding day no matter what, cherish these moments and each other, always!

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