Everyone dreams of that special moment when you see your partner for the first time on your wedding day. Some people want that moment to be very intimate and not rushed. Others want that special moment to be when walking down the aisle to get married. There are pros and cons to each scenario. The fun thing is, it really is up to you and your partner to decide what you want to do. I am here to give you all the first look advice no matter where you want to have it!

If you want to have a first look before the ceremony: Great! You are going to knock out almost all of your pictures before the ceremony even begins. I encourage you and your partner to find somewhere private with just you two and your photographer and/or videographer for your first look. This is a great time to read a sweet note or your vows to your partner. Not only will this make for beautiful pictures, but it will make your first look very intimate! Once your first look is over, get started taking all of those pictures so you will only have to sneak away for a little bit after your ceremony! If you want to have a first look at the ceremony: Also great! Although you can't get as many pictures done before the ceremony, you can still knock out a few! Your photographer will probably take the lead, but try thinking of all pictures you can get out of the way so your guests aren't waiting on you all night after the ceremony. You could get your bride and bridesmaids, groom and groomsmen, bride and bride's family, groom and groom's family, and all solo pictures out of the way! That way when you're done with your ceremony, all that is left is your full family, full bridal party, and couple pictures! 

You can also have a really special moment praying or reading a note/your vows to your partner without seeing them before the ceremony. This gives you another way to have a special moment before you two see each other for the first time at the ceremony!

No matter where you end up having your first look, just enjoy it. Don't worry about the pictures or the endless details of your big day. Just enjoy that moment between you and your partner. It is a moment you will cherish forever ❤️

I am now blogging for The White Dove Barn also! You can find this post & other wedding-related ones on their website: thewhitedovebarn.com - check it out :)

Your best friend's wedding day is going perfectly. The lucky couple looks beautiful. The reception is in full swing... but now it's time for the wedding speeches. Wedding toasts can be a way to honor the couple and bring a laugh or tear to the crowd, or they can quickly turn into one big cringe (especially if there has been a little too much alcohol consumed). No need to worry though, we are here to help! The next time you have to give a speech at a wedding, you will be ready as ever! I want to give you my wedding speeches do's and don'ts list!

The Do List:

  • Do compliment both partners

  • Do plan your speech before the wedding

  • Do talk about why the couple is so good together

  • Do be authentic

  • Do practice your speech

  • Do keep it short and sweet

  • Do have a drink or two if you need to loosen up

  • Do take it slow and talk clearly

  • Do thank everyone for the beautiful day

  • Do enjoy your speech and this special day!

The Don't List: 

  • Don't forget to talk about both partners

  • Don't come up with the speech as you go

  • Don't bring up past relationships or wild nights

  • Don't talk about touchy subjects

  • Don't talk longer than 5 minutes

  • Don't drink too much before the speech 

  • Don't talk about inside jokes

  • Don't make the speech all about yourself

  • Don't make it a comedy stand up

  • Don't let yourself get too nervous! You got it!

It's an honor to get to speak at someone's wedding. Make sure to take your job seriously, but have fun with it too. The couple will be so appreciative of you! 

Photo: Shelby Cook Photography

I am now blogging for The White Dove Barn also! You can find this post & other wedding-related ones on their website: thewhitedovebarn.com - check it out :)

One part of the wedding planning process that people often dread is making the guest list. This can be daunting for many different reasons. Should you invite that friend you haven’t seen in a couple of years just because you were invited to their wedding? What should you do if your in-laws have a large number of people they want to be invited? What about children and plus-ones?

I'm here to break it down into some simple steps to get you started on making your ultimate guest list.

• Always stick to the numbers and your budget

Although it can be hard to decide who gets to be present on your big day, each decision should come back to your budget and the number of guests you have given to your vendors. Don’t try to push this number. You should even consider leaving some wiggle room in case someone brings an unexpected plus-one.

• Split the list (if you want to)

Guest lists can get messy, especially if multiple people are financially contributing to the wedding and have their own expectations. If you have in-laws or multiple people helping pay for the wedding, consider keeping things fair with a set percentage split. Here are some examples:

  • If one set of parents is contributing, the couple gets to choose 75% of the guest list and the parents get 25%.

  • If two sets of parents are contributing, the couple gets to choose 50% of the guest list and each set of parents gets 25%.

Everyone's situation is different. No matter how tricky this part can be, remember it is your big day. Have those tough conversations and figure out how to split the list if you want to. This step isn’t absolutely necessary!

• Set ground rules to follow

It can get tricky when picking who gets to come and who doesn’t. It’s a smart idea to set some ground rules from the beginning to be as fair as possible. Here are some examples:

  • If you haven’t talked to someone in more than a year, they don’t have to be invited.

  • If in-laws are getting to invite guests, you must know them personally.

  • If you haven’t talked to a non-immediate family member in 3+ years, you don’t have to invite them.

These are just examples, and they will be different for every couple. Take some time to think of some ground rules before diving into that guest list.

• Make a decision about plus-ones and children.

It is completely up to you and your significant other to decide if you want to allow plus-ones and/or children. Just remember that these people need to be included in your overall guest list and your budget. We suggest making a decision and sticking to it so you don’t hurt people’s feelings.

• Make it fun!

Yes, guest lists can be daunting at first, but these are the people who are going to be celebrating your big day! Try to keep a positive attitude about it, and think about all the fun your guests are going to have. In the long run, these details won’t matter as much as you think they do right now. Enjoy this entire process while you can 💗

I am now blogging for The White Dove Barn also! You can find this post & other wedding-related ones on their website: thewhitedovebarn.com - check it out :)