Tips for Planning your dream day | Wedding Wisdoms | Virginia Wedding Photographer | Sarah Houston Photography

Planning a wedding can be super stressful and get a little overwhelming. I remember flipping through stacks and stacks of Bride Magazines and being pulled in a million ways because everything looked amazing. If we had chosen the whole soiree route and not the-pick a name off the officiant list for $50...-I probably would have had 10 different styles going on making it look like some sort of ADHD ceremony. Now that I've been in the industry for awhile I have more clear ideas of how to streamline-or put the blinders on-so you don't head down the fast track to gaudy land. 

Make a wedding inspiration board on pinterest. Pinterest is great for "inspiration boards" and has TONS of ideas. When are you trying to think about what exactly you want-think about your style, what type of venue compliments you and your fiance. Is your style classic, elegant or edgy & modern. Are you a DIY kind of gal or do you like shopping for things already made....there are so many questions you can ask yourself to narrow down the huge insane field of wedding designs.

Start your own trend. Mason Jars and Burlap have been overdone...instead of following the masses of brides planning Shabby Chic weddings, break away and think of NEW ideas to bring to the table. Be a leader-not a follower and your wedding might just be the next thing on the cover of Southern Weddings magazine. Plus your photographer will thank you-new and exciting decor always, always makes a photographer excited because it's fresh and it's unique.

Don't let the budget crush your vision. You can have an amazing gorgeous wedding-even on a budget! ok ok...don't roll your eyes. Granted you won't have Champagne and Swan's with bow ties...but you can still have a classic, elegant wedding that looks like you spent thousands. It's all about presentation. Did you know that you can find really nice second-go-round items from other brides online? there are sites set up just for wedding decor and wedding related consignment....& you can find some really really nice stuff for half the price. Goodwill and Thrift stores are other great choices! Did I mention Target and Michaels? there are gems all over the place!! 

Designer Gown...but have a bargain budget? that's totally doable! I love Kate Spade, but I only shop the outlet or the sales...well guess what- there are similar options for those Vera Wang & Lazaro gowns. Church Street Bridal is one option...and the proceeds help women + children in the area!! Those gowns are sold from $200-$900...making that dream dress a reality, but also helping the community. Another option is Borrowing Magnolia, here you can RENT the designer gown for your day and then send it back once you're done! That means you're not spending a fortune on a dress that will just get packed away! Granted you won't have a dress to pass down for generations....but it's still a really awesome option and let me tell you-the Lazaro Ballgown with the tulle skirt-it looks amazing on!! You can rent a few to try on and then pick the one you like's a really awesome idea and the girls of Borrowing Magnolia are the sweetest!

Opt for DIY florals. Style Me Pretty has some articles on how to create stunning floral arrangements. You can purchase flowers from your local market or even from costco and create your own arrangements at half the cost. If I can make bouquets...anyone can! Also look for local vendors, this cuts out the cost of travel!

The Cake costs how much?! So they are gorgeous but your going to smash it in one another's face anyway right? I bought mine from our local grocer, Martin's and they made a 3 tier cake exactly like the picture I pinned on Pinterest for $75. It was beautiful and it tasted amazing...don't under estimate your local cake designers.

If I could do it all over there are some things I would definitely allocate more money to, like the following:

Photography- I know, I know your thinking I'm saying this because I am one....NO. I have NO PHOTOGRAPHS that commemorate the day, the same goes for my Great Grandparents and Grandparents...there are snapshots of my day but nothing I would frame. 

The Dress. Had I known of the options (renting, buying at a discount) I would have jumped at the chance! I wore an American Eagle white lace sundress....(my defense it was 97 degrees on our "wedding day") I would LOVE to do it over and have a designer gown and pretty portraits.

The Details. I am a detail junkie...I love, love, love detail shots oh-so-much and lord knows I wish I had pretty ring shots and other pretty pictures of my shoes, perfume, veil...but I don't have any of that.

The Venue. I was married in the officiants a tiny town and it wasn't even picturesque. Oy Vie. I'd definitely choose a location that reflected my style and who I am...Most likely Salubria or Rixey Manor if I had my choice now. (Isadora makes some pretty amazing mac + cheese) The location we chose...I don't remember much about it and it didn't really make the day anymore special.