Kristen and Mike are two of the most creative people I have worked with this year. When Kristen first described her wedding vision during our initial consultation, she mentioned hula hoops, camping, old film cameras, and their desire to make their dog the videographer. Mike told me about how instead of buying a standard engagement ring at Kay Jewelers, he decided to make their rings- not just the design, but the actual metalwork! From the get-go I knew they would be a fun couple to work with, and their creative ideas throughout the planning process really influenced the photography in a positive way!
Since photographing Kristen + Mike's wedding has been such a collaborative process, I wanted to highlight that in their blogpost by collaborating with them in a Q&A. Kristen took the time to graciously answer my questions, and I love what advice she has for other nontraditional couples here!
1. You and Mike are both creative people and had lots of wonderful ideas for your wedding. What was the planning process like? What resources did you use to help bring your ideas to fruition?
We started planning years out (thanks to nursing school) and I just used Pinterest to collect a lot of ideas. We also followed offbeatbride.com and greenweddingshoes.com to get some inspiration. Off-Beat Bride was a great resource because they had a ton of creative alternative ideas for a wedding. They gave us the inspriation to do a wedding the way we wanted, not just the way that they are done typically. Green Wedding Shoes had such pretty weddings - so I used them for a lot of the decoration inspiration.
When we started, neither of us had any experience putting together a wedding so we just did what we thought would sound fun and meaningful to us. We loved the idea of playing games with our friends and families and spending as much time with them that we could. Other weddings we had gone to, we barely spent any time with the bride and groom and we really wanted everyone to feel like their treck to come see us get married meant that we really got to spend quality time together. Having a potluck style dinner allowed us to share the food we love with our families and made people feel like they were really a part of our wedding day.
When we were planning this, a lot of our ideas came way ahead of our realization that we actually had to execute things - so as the wedding got closer we realized that having a day-of wedding planner would be essential so that we could enjoy and relax and not stress about how it was all going to come together.
2. You and Mike structured your wedding day a little bit differently than most couples. Can you describe the schedule and speak to what led you to make this decision?
Having done photography in my undergraduate degree, I knew how awesome the lighting would be if we did it at "golden hour", so I made the ceremony (and consequently the invitations) with that time. I wanted the ceremony pictures to be in the best lighting out of all, especially because we were planning on having the ceremony outside. Then, I realized, looking at the rest of the time we had we'd be rushed for dinner and dancing - my two favorite parts! So we ended up deciding that since we were doing a potluck anyway and had limited ways of keeping food warm, we'd just have dinner before the ceremony. It was awesome, we had plenty of time for poker, lawn games, dinner, the ceremony, and just celebrating and dancing after! And we still managed to be out of the venue and to the bonfire at midnight!
3. What did you enjoy most about your wedding day?
The most awesome thing was having every single person we knew and loved there in one place!! Everyone was able to meet each other, friends from different times and places in our lives ended up bonding and creating their own friendships! It was so amazing to just be with every one we loved for a full weekend in one place just to celebrate something awesome! At the end of everything, this was all we ended up caring about the moment that the wedding day started - I couldn't care less at that time about the decorations or the small details (also thanks in a large part to our amazing Wedding Planner Sonya with It's a Bridal Thing, Too - her team made our ideas come to life!!)
4. After working with me and seeing the results, what in your mind made it the right choice for us to collaborate?
Your sense of humor first! We have a bunch of crazy awesome people in our family who love to have a great time and just be silly. Having someone who is able to document that kind of fun was important. Also your sense of light in photographs was outstanding as was your use of color. Having done documentary style photography in college, you had the eye that I had for images. You weren't afraid of getting up close to get the shots, and documenting what actually unfolded. We didn't want a whole bunch of beautiful photos that had little meaning, we wanted to look back at the photos and really re-live the day. And you were also experienced with weddings and able to direct us in order to get the shots we wanted for the wedding.
5. What is the first thing you want to do with the images?
As our Thank You cards, we are making a cook book with everyone's potluck recipes they sent in with their RSVP. The photos are going in to that as well - so we're stoked for that! Then? Putting them up on the wall and making a book out of whatever else we can't fit. I love prints and having a physical photograph is just so satisfying.
6.. For couples out there who aren't interested in having a traditional wedding in a church, what advice do you have for them?
Do it exactly how you want it - don't do things because you're told they are necessary to have a wedding. Know that the day is going to be amazing because the people around you, not because of the decorations. Don't get caught up in making it so detailed that you miss the experience. Find a place that lets you do what you want - and that everything you want to do takes at least 1 1/2 times longer to do than you expect. Sixty people is a LOT of people, surprisingly. Stop looking at Pintrest for new ideas about six months away from the wedding. DIY projects take so much longer to complete than anticipated and you can get a little burned out. Ask your friends and families to help, and be specific with what you need them to do. So many people love to help and having people put their part in makes the day that much more awesome for everyone! Oh, and if you have an outdoor wedding, plan on renting a tent - you can cancel it days before (we still had to pay some money) but not be worried about the one thing you really can't control - the weather!
Kristen and Mike, thank you so much for being so great to work with every step of the process! Your wedding was unique to you, and I enjoyed every minute of it. :)
To view all of the photos from Kristen + Mike's wedding, please visit their gallery on my print service.
Venue: Spruce Pine Lodge
Shoes: Vintage Gucci
Bridesmaid dresses: Sofitdress (etsy)
Groom's Clothing: Jos. A. Bank
Florist: Renee at Wild Scallions Farm
Cake: Miel Bons Bons
Coordinator: Sonya Fogle- It's a Bridal Thing, Too
Photography Assistant: Layson Peters