5 Keys to Have an Authentic Wedding Experience

Did you daydream about your wedding when you were a little kid? Did you imagine the perfect color palette, what you’d want your attire to look like, make a killer playlist for your guests to dance the night away to? So many kiddos did this growing up, I, however, was not one of those kids (OK except maybe the playlist making part). AND THAT’S OK! Whatever elements stand out to you when you imagine marrying the person you love more than anyone on the planet will give you major insights on what your priorities are and how your wedding day should be.

Listen to your gut.

I always dreamed of the way I’d feel on my wedding day, and I felt because I didn’t have a dream dress or care if my nails were naked or a perfect blush pink that something was wrong with me. And it seemed no matter how much time went by, this stuff never seemed to climb up my priority list. But I started to feel way less weird when I told my then partner that I didn’t care about a lot of the typical things that get lumped in with weddings and that my ideal wedding would be to go into the woods and exchange vows just he and I, and he said, ‘yeah me too, let’s do that.’ 

When my husband and I eloped, we planned a very intimate elopement on the Oregon coast, and while that’s not ideal for everyone, it was perfect for us. It reflected who we are individually and as a couple.

And that’s the point, it was perfect for US.

We spent the weekend at an amazing AirBnB, the morning of our wedding, Brian made French toast, we went for a hike, came back to the AirBnB to get ready, finished up writing our vows, then went into the woods down the road and exchanged vows. I couldn’t have imagined anything more Us.

All of this is to say, you can do whatever you want! Your wedding should be as unique as you are. 

If you’ve daydreamed of the most YOU dress (maybe it’s black, or floral, or not a dress at all), custom velvet suit, florals surrounding you and your partner, a 30 layer cake (yikes), having THE best meal of you life for your sit down dinner, those go on the priority list.

1. Communicate

Think about how you want the day and days leading up to your wedding to feel. Sit down with your love and write out your ideal wedding scenario. How does the day play out? Where do you wake up? Who are you with? What’s nearby? What’s the weather like? What do you want to eat? Do you want lots of people present or just your closest peeps? Do you want a big wedding, intimate wedding, or plan to elope? Do you want to have one day of celebrating or make a weekend out of it?

Once you and your partner have decided the basic shape your wedding will take, stick to it. Be transparent with your family and friends about your wishes and what is important to you.

2. It’s OK to set boundaries. 

There is an uncanny thing happens when people get engaged and start planning how they’re going to get married: everyone has an opinion and they are more important than anyone else’s. NOT! Well, everyone does seem to have an opinion, but the only people who matter in the decision making are you and your partner. Clean and simple. It’s near impossible to please everyone, and trying to will give you the biggest case of stress induced burnout. No fun at all. 

Remember who this day is about – the two of you. You and your partner are commemorating a historical day in your lives together, and whether you use Aunt Rosie’s cake serving set or not won’t be remembered three months after the cake has been devoured. 

Stay centered. Lean on each other. Communicate with each other, communicate with your family and friends, they will get on board. And if they don’t, again, this day is about you, celebrate in a way that is authentic for you. YOU’RE getting married. No one else.

(OK so #1 and #2 kind bleed together.)

3. Reels ain’t real (avoid comparisons)

PIT. Pinterest, Instagram, Tiktok. Awesome resources for inspiration, terrible soul suckers if you start comparing what you’re planning to what everyone else seems to be doing. You’re going to create your own spin on whatever you see on the gram, and it’s way better that way! Why would you want exactly what someone else did anyway? And remember that the reels you see are only highlights, they’re not real life. It’s the most condensed, edited and curated take on what the wedding day looked like. Only the very best images and snippets. And that has nothing to do with the love that your wedding will be soaked in. Don’t do anything for the gram, just be you. You’ll feel lovelier and more at peace for it.

4. Choose vendors you LOVE

OK I may get a little ranty here. Specializing in intimate weddings and elopements, I’ve seen how big of a deal it is for you to feel comfy with the people you work with on your wedding day, especially when you’re aim is to get married with intentionality. You shouldn’t feel like you’re working with them. You should get each other, vibe together. Your wedding coordinator, photographer and videographer should be people that you actually see yourself potentially forging a friendship with after (or before) your wedding.

Here’s why: these are the people you’ll be working the closest with for the biggest chunk of the day. Your coordinator will touch base with you often, you should like this person that is such a presence on the biggest day of your life. Your photographer (and videographer) is there not only to document the way the day unfolds, but will be responsible for keeping your memories for you. These images will be how you remember everything, almost replacing the memories you replay in your head 20 years from now. They are there with you to help you remember how the day felt. They bring emotion back, to let you relive, re-feel, re-cry.

Make sure you vibe with your photographer. Make sure they get your vision. So get to know them, not just their approach and practices, but what movies they love, music, books, all these things influence their work and will be reflected in the photos you get back of your wedding day. Therefor, TRUST is key when hiring vendors. Ask tough questions so you know that you can trust the people you hire for your wedding or elopement. Do research, read reviews, and get to know how they operate. This will allow you to let go and relax on your wedding day.

5. Let go and enjoy

Ultimately, no matter what happens, you and your partner will be married, and that’s beautiful, that’s the whole goal! However, how you get there matters too, you should love every step of it, whether it’s short and sweet or you plan for three years.

Hopefully this helps you have the most authentic wedding experience, from when you get engaged to when you crash on your bed after a gorgeous wedding day adventure.

To sum up:

1) Be you. You are not beholden to any traditions or what anyone else thinks is proper or necessary. Only you know what’s right for you. It’s okay to set boundaries and be firm with friends and family.

2) Trust the vendors you work with, whether it’s just a couple or a whole team. This will allow you to be able to let go and enjoy the day, however it unfolds.

And as always, get in touch with me if you have questions or want to chat about your wedding. I’m always here <3