Last year was incredibly amazing, I worked with some phenomenal couples. I feel like I say this every year but they were some of my absolute favorite humans! There is nothing that I love more than showing up on a wedding day and feeling like I get to hang out with friends and capture some of the best moments of their lives! We got to travel to Vermont, New Hampshire, Rhode Island; and visit some new gorgeous wedding venues and also some of my favorite frequent spots.
Personally, my fiance and I travel to Costa Rica…can not say enough good things about this trip…be on the lookout for a blog post all about it. We traveled to the Florida Keys with my fam and got to feed sharks, snorkel, fish for exotic fish, and eat our weight in Key Lime Pie. My brother got married in South Carolina, and I had the honor of being in his bridal party…I danced and cried the night away! And, more importantly, I got engaged…so check out the gram for more behind the scenes planning of my own wedding!
If you’ve started planning your wedding, I’m going to guess your friends and family members who are already married (and maybe even some who aren’t yet married!) have shared tons of well-meaning advice with you. Some of it has probably been helpful, some of it… not so much.
Wading through the sea of wedding advice, tips, and best practices can be a job in and of itself. It can be enough to make you reconsider whether you actually do want to elope after all!
The last thing I want to do is add more fuel to the fire. However, I think it’s super helpful to get advice from people who don’t know you. You know, objective advice that doesn’t make you wonder if there’s an ulterior motive or veiled criticism hidden somewhere in it.
Below, you’ll find some real, helpful bits of wedding day advice from married folks who want you to have the best day ever and save your sanity in the process! Curious what they have to say? Let’s dive in!
Be an Overachiever
“Write thank you notes as gifts come in. Do not get behind, unless you want to spend your honeymoon crafting odes to the lovely Waterford from Aunt Mildred.” – Kelly Faircloth
I love this suggestion! Many times, you’ll receive gifts before your wedding from guests who can’t make it, or you’ll have a bridal shower for gifts. Start those thank you notes early so you can truly enjoy your first few months of being a newlywed without this task hanging over your head!
Guys, Make a List
“Bridesmaids are great at helping a bride remember everything. Groomsmen are less helpful in this regard, though they are more likely to bring beer.” – Mike Spohr
While I never like to make generalizations, Mike is not totally wrong here. For the most part, women tend to be more on top of things whereas a lot of men just like to go with the flow. Guys, if you want to make sure you don’t forget anything on your big day, make a list ahead of time! That will allow you to really enjoy every moment of your wedding without that dreaded “oh no… did I forget something?” feeling.
Shiny Shoe Syndrome
“I wish that I had broken in my shoes like I was told! I had a different pair, but the glitter shoes called my name—two days before we got married!” – Ellie Rohlck
Have you ever gotten shiny object syndrome over a pair of shoes? It happens! If you haven’t worn your wedding day shoes at all — or you decide to swap out your shoes last minute — you’ll want to make sure you give your feet time to get used to them before your wedding day! Guys, I’m talking to you, too! Who wants to limp around on their honeymoon because they have painful blisters on their feet? No one. That’s who.
A Wedding Day Scent
“Have your favourite scent as a room diffuser, natural oil or candle ready to go, and as you’re getting ready, a lovely aroma will fill the space. After the big day, that scent will always take you back to that morning – an added bonus!” – Karen Louise
I just love this piece of advice. Your sense of smell is closely linked with memory, perhaps more than any of your other senses. Choosing a scent for your wedding day will not only help you calm down and stay in the moment, it will also always bring you back to one of the best days of your life. Even when you’re 80 years old, you’ll have that little bit of your past to reconnect with.
Music for Everyone!
“Be inclusive and age-conscious with your setlist. A good rule of thumb is to select songs that are representative of the music each guest enjoyed during their teenage years, as well as a mix of current top 40 hits and classic crowd pleasers.” – David Baird
If you’ve hired a DJ or a band, you can probably leave this task in their capable hands, but if you’re putting together a playlist, this advice is priceless! If you’re not familiar with the hit songs from your grandparent’s teenage years, you can always search the charts online. Your guests will appreciate that you took the time to include their preferences in your playlist and you never know what kinds of memories will come rushing back to them!
A little known fact about me, I grew up in the wilds of Maine…okay, that is a slight dramatization. But I grew up in the middle of Maine, where we had to drive over an hour to get to a movie theater, clothing store, or mall. I spent so much time outside with my brother, exploring, building dams in the stream in our backyard, and picking wild blueberries. We spent lots of summers vacationing in Acadia, the only thing I really recall is the wind at the top of Cadillac. My husband and I decided to make a trip to Acadia last year, I hadn’t been almost two decades and was so excited. Also, in my type A/ OCD vacation planning, I researched all the best things to do there! One of the best choices we made was to stay at the Mount Desert Campground, this place is GORGEOUS! It is set on the harbor amongst the tall pine trees, and all of the sites are stunning….especially the waterview sites! It is only about 10 minutes from the gate to Acadia, so it made our trips into the park super easy!
After our trip last year, we decided to plan a week long camping trip this summer, the weather approaching our trip looked ominous…rain forecasted every day. Thank goodness, we only had rain one night and lots of fog….I looooove fog, it kept us cool on hikes and made from some stunning undercasts! I really hate crowds, and national parks are notorious for big crowds in the summer so we planned lots of hikes off the beaten path. The first day we just did the park loop drive, and stopped at the Thunderhole, which my daughter has claimed is her favorite place in the whole world. We also love the cobblestone beach, no one knows about it 😉 We were one of the five people on the beach and my boys love building with the rocks!
After heading into Bar Harbor and talking to a sweet local girl, she gave me a list of great hikes. We spent the next day on the quietside of island doing Mount Mansfield, it was breathtaking. My kids love any hike with ladders, so they were happy as clams!
We got up early the next day to do the notorious Beehive Trail, my kids have done this twice already so we weren’t worried about the ladders or heights. But this is a must do hike if you are an adventure seeker, it is fairly short with lots of ladders and iron rungs on the side of the mountain. Make sure to get there early though, the rungs get hot in the sun and waiting in lines of people stinks! After the Beehive, and a quick stop at the Bowl to take in the fog…we headed over to Jordan Pond. The parking was bananas, but we really wanted to do the Jordan Cliffs Trail…well, little did I know that this trail was close because of falcon nesting. We took another trail up Penobscot, and I was in love….this was my favorite hike of the trip! It is very similar to the west trail of Cadillac with lots of granite climbing, but doing the hike through the clouds was magic!
The next day was our rainy day, so we spent the morning at the Dor History Museum, holding cockroaches, sea cucumbers, and star fish. Perfect rainy day spot, and the team there was so patient with my kids. We had lobster and mussels from Thurstons Lobster Pound for lunch, because there is nothing better in Maine than the seafood! On the way back we stopped at Wonderland, home of the best tide pools on the island. The tide wasn’t quite out far enough, but we climbed all over nevertheless.
Then we took in the sites of the campground, the kids got crab nets and caught crabs for hours. My oldest took off paddleboarding in the Harbor, and we just enjoyed the rainy Maine day.
The next day was my kid’s favorite hike of the Park, the Precipice. Usually this is closed in the summer, but it was surprisingly open this time and we were super excited to do it again! This one is not for the faint of heart of the unprepared….please, bring water and proper footwear on hikes…I couldn’t believe the number of unprepared folks on the trail. The views from the top were phenomenal!
The next day we did the Gorham mountain loop, this was a fun trail. It is so versatile with the cliffs at the beginning, the granite climb at the top, and the ocean walk at the end. I feel like this hike encompasses everything that Acadia has to offer! We had to head on home after this one but we can’t wait to get back to Maine soon!
Last year I had the privilege of photographing three very different and equally as stunning weddings at the Wight Barn. Not only does this venue have a killer indoor ceremony space, it is right down the street from my house!
About the Barn: The Barn at Wight Farm is the picture-perfect choice for a Sturbridge wedding and reception. The Barn offers couples a rustic elegance unmatched in the area. The Barn is a fully renovated post and beam building hosting receptions up to 175. Our new Alpheus Wight room is ideal for brides seeking a climate controlled on-site ceremony and also offers a rustic feel with a floor recovered from an old New England mill. The Alpheus Wight room is also a great choice for your shower or rehearsal dinner. The Barn and the Alpheus Wight room are set on nearly four acres of manicured grounds in a colonial village setting which includes a patio, fire pit, and gazebo. A spacious bridal suite in The Barn is included with all weddings which provides the bridal party the opportunity to have pre-wedding photographs and a beautiful setting to start the most important day in any couples life.
Why I love it: I absolutely love the indoor space for ceremonies! As much as I love an outdoor ceremony, New England weather is CRAZY, you never know when a freak rain or snowstorm will sneak up on you…the Barn gives you a rustic space with lots of natural light that is just as beautiful as an outdoor ceremony. I love the string lights and white chairs. It feels so romantic and rustic! I also really love how each wedding that I photograph there feels different, the team at the Barn works with you to create a space that is unique to your wedding!