How to plan a wedding you'll actually enjoy

As someone whose job is to create, I find myself frequently grappling with the constant pressure to create something that other people will like. I experience fear that what I am working on won’t be enjoyed by others. When I sit in this fear of opinions of others while creating, what is ultimately produced is nowhere near my best work because it wasn’t something I loved to create. I didn’t enjoy the experience and I’m left feeling disappointed. If the resulting product or experience lacks my enjoyment in creating it, then it is even less likely that others will enjoy it. No matter what, what I love is not going to be what everyone loves. But when it comes to creating something beautiful, it is always best for both me and the receiver when I make something I deeply enjoy both the process of making and the resulting product. Then, the people who matter will love it too.


Weddings are much the same. As a couple, it is so easy to give in to pressure of family, friends, the internet, and the wedding industry. You may find yourself planning something that matches what’s expected, rather than something that looks, tastes, sounds and feels like your story. Google or search on Pinterest for anything that has to do with weddings and you are immediately influenced to believe that their version of wedding is the only right one. It’s confusing and stressful to plan the average wedding when you feel conflicted about what you want versus what you feel compelled to do.

Shelby Payne Photography | www.shelbypaynephotography.com

I’m here to tell you it doesn’t have to be that way. It’s okay not to be average. It’s okay to make intentional choices and create a wedding that is yours. The definition of wedding is the marriage ceremony and the celebration that follows. This broad and vague definition provides space to create within. You get to define what your ceremony and celebration will be.


Every single element of your wedding is up to you to decide how to define. There are many details you could include and make your own. You can get married for as little as the court fee for a legal marriage ceremony or any figure beyond that is sensible to you. Whatever you decide is what you want your marriage ceremony and reception to be and no matter the amount of money you want to spend to get married and celebrate, that is your right way to have a wedding. It's what you are going to enjoy the most.


Each of the elements that you decide to include should be on purpose. If you have an intention for everything you spend time, money, and energy on, you are far more likely to enjoy planning over being stressed and uncertain. More importantly, your wedding day is going to be moment after moment of being fully immersed, enjoying a wedding experience that is everything you enjoy and nothing you don’t.

Shelby Payne Photography | www.shelbypaynephotography.com

Start with declaring the intention of your wedding. Your intention doesn’t need to be anything profound. It’s possible that “to get married” is what comes to mind first. But, why? Why are you choosing to get married, and how is your wedding and celebration going to achieve that intention?


When you plan your wedding with clear intentions for what you define your wedding to be, it’s easier to be aware of outside influence. You’ll have an easier time drawing the line between yes this is us and no we won’t include that. Creating a wedding that is something you’ll enjoy together will result in an experience that is perfect for you. Not everyone is going to love your wedding. Many people are going to offer unsolicited advice and opinions. Your devices and social media feeds are going to advertise the industry expectations and pressure you to buy something you may not need. You will face challenges and frustrations because of it. But if there is any one piece of advice I want to give to every couple it is this:


You are allowed to have whatever wedding is right for you. Your wedding is about and for you. You do not have to do what others expect, and you have permission to offend some people.


Guess what? Not everyone is going to love your wedding. And that’s okay.


If you plan your wedding in the fear of making choices that someone else doesn’t like or fear of not meeting someone else’s expectations, then the result may be an experience that no one enjoys. Plan a wedding that is everything you love, enjoying the process of creating it and at least two people will love it. You! It’s your wedding. If you love it, then the people who matter will love it too.

Shelby Payne Photography | www.shelbypaynephotography.com

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