3 Months Engaged: A Few Thoughts on This Whole “Getting Married” Thing

In the three months since becoming engaged, AG and I have: chosen a date and secured a venue, hired a photographer, picked “the colours” and only rolled our eyes a little bit, hired caterers and done a taste-testing, tasted wines and ordered them, hired a day-of coordinator, hired a hair & make-up person, gone outfit shopping (I’ve ordered my dress, he’s still looking), ordered and mailed out save the dates, found an officiant, bought his ring and my wedding jewelry, made a wedding website, and started working on the playlist. I read A Practical Wedding. We’ve been busy.

Through it all, I’ve had some… thoughts. Here are a few of them:

1. I’m sorry. I’m sorry on behalf of everyone who’s ever been emailing a vendor for information because THEY ALL SUCK AT GIVING INFORMATION. So many clients (and even non-clients) over the years have thanked me for my “quick replies,” but I had no idea you guys were waiting a week or more to get emails that contain absolutely no useful information, and omigod I am sorry.

2. What’s up with people questioning every decision you make? To you? Outdoors, well what if it’s cold? Food, are you sure because I ate at that restaurant once and it wasn’t good. And the guestlist… There’s nothing we can do about this, but I want to commiserate. I’m sorry about this, too.

3. Wedding dress shopping: I expected to hate this and already had a dress picked out. Instead I had a great time and ended up buying something that is not at all like what I had in mind.* Weddings are funny that way. Similarly, I ended up hiring a day-of coordinator when, prior to actually planning this thing, a coordinator was the last thing on my list.

*Edited to add: literally right after I posted this I discovered that the shop I ordered my gown from has closed its doors with no notice and is also apparently legendary for not delivering dresses on time. Okay! Back to being sorry.

4. I hope you feel as passionately about your wedding photographer as I feel about mine (um, especially if I am your wedding photographer). Besides the fact that she is ridiculously easy to deal with (exempt from gripe #1 above), every time we make a decision I get more and more excited about how she might capture it.

5. Everything is sexist! So much advice to “let” my fiancé do things like “pick out tools and camping supplies for the registry.” You know, small, manly things like that which he can handle. Occasionally ask his opinion so he “feels involved.” Yikes. (Sadly, the heteronormativity of the whole thing is almost a given.)

6. Why are “the colours” so important to people? Colours are great, there are a lot of them, why limit yourself? We have technically picked three colours (based on the natural landscape around our venue and season) to have an answer for people, but have only technically bought one thing that fits into that scheme (some ribbon). Nothing else we’ve thus far purchased fits in any way into our theoretical colour scheme. So far nothing bad has happened.

7. Tasting wines and champagnes is super fun. Tip: if you’re in New Brunswick and fall in love with a wine from Quebec or Nova Scotia, you can ask ANBL to import it for you. Give them lots of notice.

8. Yes, everything is expensive. The key to your budget is not to simply choose whatever option works perfectly for the number amount you’ve allotted to it, but to pick your most important elements, buy them, and then adjust your remaining budget. For us, photography, venue, and food & drink are the most important things (and of course the guests, but I’m thinking more of the experience we’ll give them). To have those things at the quality we want, we’ll have to DIY flowers, entertainment, decor, and stationery. Worth it!

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Being at the same life stage as my clients has been so interesting. Fun (sharing ideas, getting a stack of magazines), eye-opening (like I said above: I’m sorry), and instructive. I hope it’s been obvious that I was already a photographer who cared about their clients, starting with speedy and informative email responses all the way to swift delivery of great images, but now that I know what kind of crap you guys are dealing with on a regular basis? I’m extra committed. Now I know how many ideas you’re juggling at once, and how much excitement and apprehension goes into each inquiry. Knowing how badly you just want one thing to be easy. I’m thinking about the kinds of photos I want. I’m excited to make them for you.