What I Would Do Differently if I Had Another Wedding

Wedding Program photo by Allison L. Goodman, Boutwell Productions, at Sunny D Farms

I mostly work with “budget brides,” and huge reason for that is because I was a budget bride myself. I wanted to have a nice wedding without breaking the bank. After attending and filming a ton of weddings, I realize what is important and what is not. Vision is 20/20 in hindsight, you know. So I’ve decided to share my findings with you!

No Programs

Wedding Program photo by Allison L. Goodman, Boutwell Productions, at Sunny D Farms

Programs are not necessary. When someone asks me “Did you have programs at your wedding?” I respond with “yes,” but I quickly follow up with “But I wish I hadn’t.” Here’s why:

  1. People might read your programs, and a lot won’t. So what’s the point?
  2. They get thrown in the trash. After your guests spend a whopping 5 minutes reading your program, the leave your precious programs around the venue for your family to clean up, and where do they all go? In the trash. Yes, you’ll save a few for your scrapbook, but very few others care about them, and then you have $500-$1000 in the trash. (That said, those of you with outdoor summer weddings – BUY FANS, now those are practical and a MUST!)
  3. Essentially, you are throwing away money.

Artificial Flowers

boutineers and corsages
Photo Credit: Lindley’s Photography

Artificial flowers for weddings seem to come and go like fashion trends. My parents used artificial flowers, but my sisters and I did not. Now I am seeing more and more brides using artificial flowers, which is a GREAT idea!

  1. You can’t tell a difference if they are real or not, particularly from a distance (like from the guest seating area). Oftentimes fake flowers look real.
  2. Reuse them later – think parties, house decor, showers, friends’ weddings. You could even split the cost with a friend if you both use them, because there will be more than you need leftover.
  3. Decorate your house using the flowers out of your bouquet! They will be used and not thrown away – preserved in their entirety, not just in photos!
  4. They will retain their beauty for years not just a few days.
  5. You aren’t throwing money in the trash (again)!

13731810_923003201142548_4098080659337192825_oA Few Ideas for Reuse

I mentioned earlier that my mother still has the flowers from her artificial bouquet. She took the individual blossoms and put them in an apothecary jar. It makes a nice touch to her house decor. My sister uses artificial flowers to decorate her home and office – they’re in bloom constantly, so why not? My sister-in-law used cotton stalks from someone she knew, and while those weren’t fake, she decorated her fireplace mantle with the stalks. Another of my brides used artificial flowers for her wedding, and I didn’t realize until I was editing a photo that the flowers were fake! There are some really convincing artificial flowers.

No Bridesmaid Dresses or Tuxes

I bought a black maxi dress for when I film weddings. It looks nearly identical to a bridesmaid dress that I own except that it is floor length instead of knee length, and it is made of a cotton fabric with a crocheted top instead of satin and expensive lace. When I wear it I feel so pretty and elegant. The first time I tried it on I thought “This would make a great bridesmaid dress!” It’s cotton so it’s breathable, comfortable, and relatively-speaking cheap. To complete the idea, the groomsmen could wear regular business suits, instead of paying $200+ for a tux they will rent to wear for one day.

Hire a Professional Wedding Videographer

I know you’re probably saying “yeah, yeah, she’s a wedding videographer so she’s gotta throw that plug in there for herself.” That is…partially true, but hear me out! When I got married three years ago, a media friend of mine offered to film our wedding as a present since my husband had filmed her wedding as present one year earlier. I gratefully accepted, but she messaged me through Facebook the night before our wedding day and backed out. I thought, “Well, I guess I won’t have a wedding video after all.” It was too late in the game for me to figure anything else out because my wedding was the next day! Long story short, an inexperienced family member offered to film just so we could have it documented. I am SO grateful that he filmed our wedding for us.

But here’s the deal. We got married in a large wedding venue which echoed. We couldn’t record separate audio, so all we got was the quiet, echoey, distant sounds of the officiant and our vows and a bunch of loud, close, what-should-be-background-noise in the forefront. The quality is standard def, not HD, with only one camera angle. The prep wasn’t covered, the reception wasn’t covered, the cake cutting and first dances weren’t covered, and the departure wasn’t covered.

I think you see the problem. Friends might back out on you. And if they don’t, they probably don’t have the equipment or the skill to give you a professional quality video that you would want to show to your family. Just speaking from experience, I would hire a professional wedding videographer, or at least a poor film student with experience. 😉

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