5 New Rules for Weddings ~ Midwest Wedding Photography

I used to think a wedding was a simple affair. Boy and girl meet, they fall in love, he buys a ring, she buys a dress, they say I do. I was wrong. That's getting married. A wedding is an entirely different proposition.
- George Banks - Father of the Bride


 The other day I was talking to a Type A bride about my own wedding. How, when I got married in 2006, "Asian decor" was really in style. And God-forbid we NOT be at the height of fashion, right? HA! So, our wedding looked like Happy Hour at China Buffet, if I'm being honest.

And neither of us are Asian. 

The complete joke of a pasty Irish gal and a German dude marrying surrounded by take-out boxes, Lucky Cats, and a bridesmaid donning a Cheongsam was lost on us then. Looking back now? It's a little embarrassing. We full on appropriated an entire culture because The Knot told us it was cool.

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Lesson learned? Sometimes places like The Knot and their ilk are full of bull-dookie. Their job is to SELL. SELL the idea of a hip, stylish wedding. The more they sell the idea, the more money they make. 

But, weddings are an affair steeped in tradition. In cultural significance. And these days, your wedding can be ANYTHING.......

So here's FIVE NEW RULES for your wedding. 



1. SEE Each Other Before the Wedding

I'm a big fan of what's become known as a the "First Look". This means seeing one another before the "big walking down the aisle" moment. Reasons why a first look are so great are many: You just got ready and you are looking the best you are going to look all day. You have a chance to share a quiet, special, just the two of you moment together away from prying eyes (except, you know, me....but I'm a ninja). If you're a crier, you can get that out of the way and still have time to fix your makeup. You can share letters you wrote or just a quick hug and good-luck. Everyone I've spoken to who has had a first look has really enjoyed it and not regretted the moment.

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2. Don't Be Afraid to Eliminate Things
Here's the deal: Wedding are freakin' expensive. We all know this. I wrestle with being a frugal lady and being in the wedding industry on a daily basis. Because I know when it came to my own "big day", we cheaped out on a LOT of things that all the bridal magazines will warn you are MUST HAVES. 
I also run the risk of alienating fellow vendors if I say their wares are not necessary. So, I'll just say this: Only you can say what is a "must-have" for your wedding. Don't let trend or other's opinions persuade you to drop major ducats on something you don't see value it.
We skipped out on flowers all together. For one, I'm allergic to most flowers. Two, I couldn't keep them around. I guess you could argue I could press some in my wedding album or something equally crafty. But, that ain't me. I carried a parasol down the aisle. 
We also skipped out on cake. I had a strawberry shortcake trifle made instead and it was all kinds of awesome. 
My point is, you don't HAVE to have anything you don't want to have. You get this one day. If you don't want to drop money on something, you don't have to. 
(Side note: I wouldn't RECOMMEND cheaping out or eliminating photography, but duh.....that's a given.....) 

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3. Think Outside the Fashion Box
When my Grams got hitched back in the 1940s, she wore a suit and a corsage. The war was going on, she didn't want a big white, frilly dress, and she looked smashing. 
You do not HAVE to go the "big white dress" route. Your partner doesn't have to wear a rented tux. There are SO SO SO many options out there these days that you can pretty much do anything you want. 
If I could go back in time, I would totally wear a black wedding dress. I wear ALL black all the time. It's me. People know I only wear black. A white dress really made no sense for me other than that's what color I figured wedding dresses were. I mean, what would people SAY about a black dress!? 

Who cares. Wear the damn black dress. Show off your arm sleeve tattoo or rock shorts and flip flops. Be comfortable!

Take Nicole's black and white beaded gown below. I have to tell you, I got MORE complimentary comments on her dress than any I've ever photographed a bride in. It stood out and she looked rad. 

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4. Why So Serious?
People take weddings SO seriously. And they are super serious, I get it. You are hitching yourself to another person for life. 
But, like George Banks said, that's MARRIAGE. And it should be totally taken seriously. That's not A WEDDING.
A wedding is a party. A wedding is a series of events celebrating your decision to marry. In order to MARRY, all you really need is a few hundred bucks and a JOP. 
So new rule? RELAX. Go into your wedding day ready to let the good times roll and let the bad things roll off your back. Because, I guarantee you this, something WILL go wrong. It may be something really small....but if you make a mountain out of a tiny molehill, you only have yourself to blame. 
Approach your wedding like the party it is.
Approach your MARRIAGE with seriousness and reverence it deserves.
Learn the difference.

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5. The Most Important Rule:  Break All the Rules 
Well...maybe not ALL of the rules....but some rules, especially completely ridiculous rules created by the wedding industry, are just made to be broken. (Maybe follow the rules that keep you out of jail. At least on your wedding day.) 

I am all for clients that are willing to be risk takers, the dreamers, the merry-makers, and the creative types. I'm all about a dog with a bowtie. I am all about photographing a wedding in your backyard with only your best friends to witness it and a barrel of beers to celebrate. 

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This year? This season? I'm about seeking out my tribe of lovable weirdos. Is that you? Then let's chat! 

I still have a few openings for 2018 and 2019 is booking now as well. I can't wait to hear about YOUR "new rules" for wedding splendor!