Erin Gets Married! What Being The Bride Taught A Nashville Wedding Photographer (part 1)

nashville bride goes has destination wedding savannah georgia, dove photography

 

Erin's Wedding – The Highlights

Erin and Taylor decided to get married in Savannah, GA at a rooftop venue that doubled as a condo where their guests could lodge.  They then invited a small group of family and friends to celebrate with them all weekend.

Their wedding ceremony was held in the beautiful Forsyth Park where they were officially married.  This took place before most of the guests arrived.  Only a few family members were in attendance.  With the formal ceremonly behind, the couple were less anxious.  When their larger ceremony took place two days later, in front of all of their guests, Erin and Taylor could just have a fun filled, no stress day.

For their reception, they headed to the roof to take in the Savannah sights.  Their sole goal was to have a night to remember with loved ones.  

nashville bride goes has destination wedding savannah georgia, dove photography

nashville bride goes has destination wedding savannah georgia, dove photography

nashville bride goes has destination wedding savannah georgia, dove photography

nashville bride goes has destination wedding savannah georgia, dove photography

Above photos: The day of the official wedding ceremony 

 

~~~

What Erin Learned:

There's no way I can summarize all that she learned or even all that we discussed.  However, here are my key takeaways that I think you will appreciate.

Location, Location, Location

There were many reasons that Erin opted for a destination wedding.  Erin and Taylor knew most of their guests would have to travel and they wanted them to have a vacation.  She also knew if they came to Nashville, she might be stressed wanting to be their tour guide.  

Another major reason was she wanted a destination wedding was that she wanted a wedding that was unique to her.  She'd photographed so many Nashville weddings and in her mind, they all belonged to one of her couples.  Erin wanted her big day to be all hers, without the memories of what other brides had done in that same church.  Plus, Savannah is gorgeous! It fit the idyllic style that Erin and Taylor envisioned for their day.

Based on Erin's experience, I too say find a place that you love & get married there – whether it's Nashville, your hometown, a favorite city, childhood church or magical venue, it should be a place that speaks to you.

nashville bride goes has destination wedding savannah georgia, dove photography

nashville bride goes has destination wedding savannah georgia, dove photography

nashville bride goes has destination wedding savannah georgia, dove photography

 

Manage YOUR Expectations

Erin planned her wedding in less than 6 months.  How did she do it?  By prioritizing and managing expectations, especially her own!  She was realistic and did what she could, asked for help and accepted help.  

She had to care less.  She had to realize that much was out of her control and to focus on what was.

When Erin decided on an outdoor ceremony and reception, she knew weather might not be on her side and that she didn't want to spend money on a tent.  On her wedding day, there was an 80% chance of rain!  Weather was out of her control.  She accepted whatever might happen.  In fact, her friends didn't have the reception fully setup until 30 minutes before the reception because of the high winds.  She let go of some of her wedding design details and focused on what was most important.

nashville bride goes has destination wedding savannah georgia, dove photography

nashville bride goes has destination wedding savannah georgia, dove photography

nashville bride goes has destination wedding savannah georgia, dove photography

nashville bride goes has destination wedding savannah georgia, dove photography

nashville bride goes has destination wedding savannah georgia, dove photography

 

Pick Your Priorities

You can't buy everything, hire everyone, do everything.  In life and in wedding planning, you have to prioritize if you want to keep your sanity.  Here were Erin's priorities: Photos, Hair & Makeup, Destination Wedding; Rooftop Venue.

Planners Are Invaluable

Erin worked with Nashville wedding planner, Sara of Fete Nashville.  Sara helped Erin devise a plan and created an exhaustive checklist that included items that Erin would have never considered, like linen, cake server, napkins.

With all of the help from Sara, Erin still needed someone local.  In fact, based on my conversation with Erin, one of the most stressful aspects of her wedding planning was finding a local officiant.  She called all around the city, randomly, until she found someone!  A local expert can help you navigate weddings in their city and do the heavy lifting so you can enjoy your day.

She had to organize everything in Savannah so she put a couple of friends in charge. She drew up a timeline when everything should be done and drew out diagrams of what it should look like just so it would be easier for them. They did everything the day of, including working with guests to clean up after the reception. 

Erin also advises that if you do not have a planner, that you designate someone as the main point of contact.  Think about it, do you really want to be in charge on your day?  Everyone – from bridal party to vendors – should have that person's info so you can turn off your cell phone off without worry. 

nashville bride goes has destination wedding savannah georgia, dove photography

nashville bride goes has destination wedding savannah georgia, dove photography

nashville bride goes has destination wedding savannah georgia, dove photography

nashville bride goes has destination wedding savannah georgia, dove photography

nashville bride goes has destination wedding savannah georgia, dove photography

nashville bride goes has destination wedding savannah georgia, dove photography

nashville bride goes has destination wedding savannah georgia, dove photography

nashville bride goes has destination wedding savannah georgia, dove photography

 

Guest Count Me Out

You cant talk to everyone at your wedding, especially if you have a large guest count.  For Erin and Taylor, spending quality time with family and friends was important. With only 45 guests, they were really able to interact.  Plus, guest count is the easiest most effective way to reduce your expenses.  You can give guests a more meaningful experience when there are fewer to feed!

Erin notes: Don't think a destination wedding is a way to reduce your guest count.  It may not.  Be realistic about how many people you want to attend and only invite those people.  Don't invite people and hope they will not come because many will; people like a vacation.

Budgeting & DIY – Everything Has a Price

One of Erin brides gave her glass drinking glasses and other decor items from her wedding.  Nashville wedding pros jumped in to help Erin and Taylor with planning, photography, cakes, florals, and lighting from Bright Event Productions.  Some items were gifted, others discounted.  Their generosity allowed them to stick to their budget and maximize the result.  Even still, Erin ran into the challenges of any bride and had to prioritize to make the most of their dollars.  They traveled with just about everything they needed for their wedding, flowers, cake, decor, dress.  She DIY'd many aspects wedding and kept to a small budget.

What's important is this all goes back to expectations.  Erin had to accept that as a non-paid customer, she couldnt demand anything.  When you hire friends and family, know there is no contract.  You can't reasonably expect anything. You have to know your friends too.  Some will care and help out, others will not.  It's not their job.  Be respectful of anyone you ask for help.  

Same with DIY.  Projects that you do on your own will almost always cost more time and money than you estimated.  Even worse, DIY projects sometimes cost MORE than hiring a pro.  Erin said that her DIY projects took more time and energy than she expected, and that was with pros helping her pick the right projects and giving instruction.  She didn't get to see Savannah like she wanted because she was putting together her DIY projects.  

Hillary, friend and owner of Brocade Designs, helped Erin figure out what flowers to buy, how many vases to put on the tables and in what groupings, and most importantly how to keep them alive. Erin even called her at one point to figure out what the right temperature for the refrigerator that would store the flowers at their venue. She also made Erin's bridal bouquet, which no one could DIY bouquet!

There was no money for a DJ so she spent a lot of time creating a playlist.  Pro DJ's not only create music playlists but they also monitor the crowd and keep the energy high so people want to dance.  She knew that without a DJ, her guests may not dance.  It's something she had to accept.  The result, the playlist didnt go smoothly.  A friend tried to manage but it wasn't the smoothest transition from song to song. But again, the couple was completely ok with it all.

Without a local planner, she had to organize everything in Savannah so she put a couple of friends in charge. She drew up a timeline when everything should be done and drew out diagrams of what it should look like just so it would be easier for them. They did everything the day of, including working with guests to clean up after the reception. 

Erin also advises that if you do not have a planner, that you designate someone as the main point of contact.  Think about it, do you really want to be in charge on your day?  Everyone – from bridal party to vendors – should have that person's info so you can turn off your cell phone off without worry.

If it has to be right, Erin's advice: hire a pro.  Period.  Only DIY or use friends for things that don't matter and won't ruin your day.  Hire a pro for everything you can.

If you still want to DIY, let go and be ok with the outcome.  You simply can't sweat the small stuff.

nashville bride goes has destination wedding savannah georgia, dove photography

nashville bride goes has destination wedding savannah georgia, dove photography

nashville bride goes has destination wedding savannah georgia, dove photography

nashville bride goes has destination wedding savannah georgia, dove photography

nashville bride goes has destination wedding savannah georgia, dove photography

nashville bride goes has destination wedding savannah georgia, dove photography

All incredible photos courtesy of Dove Wedding Photography

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