Once upon a time, my partner and I were planning a unique wedding. It was tough finding wedding inspiration we could identify with.
When we got married online wedding planning was just getting started. We couldn’t identify with the styled pictures in wedding magazines. I didn’t feel right in the wedding dresses I tried on. My husband-to-be didn’t even want to plan, because we felt so uninspired. We thought about Vegas or the North Shore. But we wanted our grandmas at our wedding and they couldn’t travel like that.
We decided what was most important was our marriage ceremony and cake (because we both love cake). We got a really awesome retired judge to officiate and had ourselves a tiny wedding with our closest family. We splurged on the cake. It was a tough decision but worked out well.
So what to do when you’re trying to plan a unique wedding?
Back in 2018 I attempted to start planning a vow renewal for us. Because 2020 was coming up and that was a big anniversary for us. We wanted to do something special. I thought it would be fun to make little Pinterest board for our dream wedding vow renewal. I had a heck of a time finding things that felt like me and my husband. In the vast space of the interwebs, we should be drowning in inspiration. Right?
One thing I realize after I spent way too much time looking for wedding inspo is this:
The best way to plan a unique wedding or vow renewal is to let the inspiration come from your soul. Not from what the wedding industry is selling you.
I started to think while I was pinning stuff. Do I need to be less picky with my vision for this? Does the dress I’m looking for even exist? Because I’m really critical sometimes. An awesome trait to have as a photographer, but not so much when planning something for me and my husband.
It’s easy to fall into this trap when you’re constantly viewing other people’s wedding pictures. Your brain goes into a mode where you believe that if you buy the stuff and make the plans so it looks like the pictures then you’ll be happy. Even if it feels stressful or inauthentic. It doesn’t work this way.
I realized I had to let go of those other weddings on Pinterest. They were not ours. Buying the stuff to imitate them wouldn’t make us happy.
Ultimately we decided to let go of planning a vow renewal at all. Our inspiration kept coming up empty when we focused on this vow renewal as something we should do. We let go of all the “shoulds” that were not from our own hearts. We decided to take that energy and redirect it to planning a trip to take with our teenager. We wanted to celebrate ourselves as a family and experience new things together. We took a trip through The Dakotas, Montanna, and Yellowstone because we’re really into hiking, history and geology. (See some of the photos from Montana here)
We have memories forever from that trip. I learned what I was craving from my marriage wasn’t a vow renewal at all. It was a renewal of our bond, and experiencing new places as a family did that for us. (Also, after going through the misery that was 2020 I’m really glad we took that great big trip!)
A lesson learned: Your marriage is YOURS so celebrate that.
You’re going to put time into planning your wedding. Time is a valuable thing, so spend it in a way that maximizes joy for both of you. There comes a point when you need to take a deep breath, look at all your wedding dreams, and include only the ones that light up your soul. Toss out everything else. This includes the million social media accounts and Pinterest boards you started following because you thought you should.
I’m a wedding photographer in Minneapolis, and I’m committed to serving you, not selling to you. Every time I work with a couple my wish is for them to look back at their photographs and be immersed in what makes their marriage amazing. Your relationship is a journey, and marriage is one of the big stiops along the way.
I’m a wedding photographer located halfway between Minneapolis and Mankato and travel in Minnesota for wedding photography. If you like what you see in my portfolio, we should chat about your wedding plans.
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*This blog was originally written in 2018 and has been updated for 2022.