When I got married, I had very few ideas about my wedding or what it should look like. I wanted things to be bright and colorful, and I wanted to get married at a vineyard or at the beach. I really didn’t care much about the rest of it.

      Being the first child in my family to get married, we all just mucked about in confusion, planning a wedding from opposite sides of the country. One of my family members had strong opinions that weddings should take place in church. I was 24. I didn’t know how to stand my ground or really even be my own person. So where did I get married? In my dark, ugly church. 15 years of a beautiful marriage later, despite all the blessing and joy of my marriage, I still feel remorse over that * (read to the bottom for my happy ending!). But ultimately, it helped me to become my own person, and to stop giving so much of a flying whatever about what others think.

      I can guarantee that this is probably happening to you on some level. There’s something you’re waffling on in wedding planning, and friends and family are coming at you from all sides. If it’s not friends and family it’s the internet, other wedding vendors, who ever. I know this feeling. It’s frustration, sadness, joy and excitement all rolled into one. It’s the umami of wedding emotions. You can’t put your finger on it, but it’s there. I know this feeling well. You are not alone it it.

      So my one piece of advice for you today is that to think about the one thing about your wedding you really want to be true. To be real. Think about 20 years from now, when you look back on your day, what’s the one thing you want to be true and to really FEEL from that day? Scents of roses? Laughter of happy people? You dress? Your venue? Be honest with yourself. Don’t let yourself feel bad or guilty for it- just say to yourself that this is the ONE thing you want.  This one thing is your big emotional investment in the day after your vows, so don’t let it go if you don’t absolutely have to.

      You’ve got this thing. Don’t be afraid to make it happen.

      *Earlier this spring, one of my favorite photographers, Tim Coulson, announced he was coming from Australia to America. I told my husband I did not care how much he charged, we were having a session with him if he was open to doing one on his trip to the US, and that we were going to stand on the beach on Tybee Island, and read short, heartfelt, handwritten notes to each other. So on July 15th, I get my wish; and while there’s definitely a lot I wish was not happening right now personally, this the thing I’m holding on for this summer. This session is basically my emotional redo, where we and the kids run around a place we love and be photographed professionally for the first time as a family. I know that I’ll look back on those images and that short 90 minute session as the one of the highpoints (after each of my children joining our family) of my 30’s. It’s worth it to plant your flag. You won’t regret it.