I’m going to come out and say it. The wedding industry sucks.
Yep, you read that right! I don’t mean that I don’t love weddings or marriage or flowers or celebrations or vendors who do an incredible job serving their couples – because I do!
What I don’t love are the wedding magazines and Instagram posts and Hollywood movies that have created a sense that there is only one “right” way to get married. I don’t love the pressure that is put on couples to plan the “best day ever,” even if their idea of a best day looks nothing like what we’ve been sold. The stress that goes into making decisions that no one is really going to notice or remember (roses or peonies, dusty blue or stormy blue, Chantilly or Vanilla?) Not a fan.
It breaks my heart that so many couples feel pressured to go into debt to pay for one day. (Did you know the average couple spent $33,900 on their wedding last year?!) Seeing how many couples don’t actually get to enjoy their wedding day, let alone see each other for more than a few minutes at a time makes me absolutely heartsick. Between dealing with family drama, worrying that the day they spent months planning goes perfectly, and being sure they greet everyone from Great Aunt Sue who they haven’t seen since they were five to their mother’s best friend’s cousin, it’s enough to stress anyone out!
After working at a wedding venue for three years, planning my own wedding, and photographing countless others, I’ve seen too many couples (including myself, unfortunately!) fall into the trap of lies that the wedding industry has told us a wedding should look like.
Enough is enough.
I’ve made a commitment as a photographer to help my couples focus on authenticity and the significance of what the beginning of a marriage means over creating a “picture perfect day.” I strongly believe that weddings aren’t about the ceremony or the party or the food. They’re about celebrating the commitment that you’re making to your favorite person in the world, and then every single day after.
Does the thought of having a big wedding causes your palms to start to sweat and your heart to pound?
You have another option.
I am giving you permission to want your wedding day to be one of the best days of your life, and also recognize that as long as you end up married at the end of the day, you were successful. You have permission to say no to a big, fancy reception, and instead choose to celebrate your marriage with only the people who truly mean something to you both. You have permission to be surrounded by fifty people, or ten people, or absolutely no one as you share your vows, so long as you feel like you can be your authentic self at that moment. You can say no to any tradition that doesn’t fit your relationship or your values, and invent new ones that reflect who you are and what you believe as a couple. You can get married in a chapel or on a mountaintop or at your favorite bar – it doesn’t matter, as long as it’s an accurate reflection of your priorities and your relationship.
You don’t owe anyone anything, especially on your wedding day. Yes, I’m sure your friends and your family are important, but this is one of the very rare days in your life that should be entirely about YOU. I am giving you permission to plan the wedding of your dreams, whether it’s just the two of you and an incredible view, or surrounded by the thirty people in your life who support you both whole-heartedly.
Saying “no” to a traditional wedding removes the stress and the pressure for things to have to go perfectly.
It allows you time to actually hang out with your spouse on your wedding day and spend time with the people who matter most instead of rushing from one thing to the next. It provides more flexibility for you to create an entire day, or even weekend of celebration, full of hiking, camping, kayaking, exploring new places, bar hopping, sitting around a campfire, or any other thing that allows you to revel in that newlywed high with the people who matter most. You get to spend your money on things that actually matter – memories and experiences and adventure – instead of stressing over flowers that will die or cake that will be eaten or tablecloths that will be stained. Every single moment gets to be an intentional reflection of your values and priorities.
You deserve to get married in a way that reflects who you are and what you believe.
And I will be there to support you, cheer you on, and capture your wedding in the most authentic way possible, so when you’re sitting on your couch 50 years from now flipping through your photos, you can honestly say, “that was the best day of my life.”
Are you ready to plan your most authentic day? Let’s make some magic happen!