{ Pictured Above: My wedding ring after 15 years of marriage. }

I’m a wedding photographer with a secret.

I love weddings, I live for them.  They make me feel like I’m walking on air when I’m in the moment with my camera.  It wasn’t always this way. After second shooting multiple weddings for an amazing wedding photographer I discovered I love weddings.

My secret:  Planning my own wedding over 15 years ago felt like a chore.  It was miserable.  Looking back, I’m thankful for my wedding. We had a small wedding with our closest family and friends, less than 25 people.  It will always be one of the biggest milestones in my life, and I will never forget how nervous and excited all at once I was as I took my husband’s hand and said my vows.

I do regret some of my wedding choices, so here’s some timeless wedding planning advice from me to you.

Outdoor Ceremony at the Minneapolis Marriott Southwest with 3 wedding officiants!

Pick A Wedding Officiant You LOVE.

Our officiant was amazing.  He was a retired judge who regularly preformed weddings.  The clerk who helped us with our marriage license gave us his name.  We talked with him about what our ceremony meant to us.  He worded everything perfectly, we felt like it was “our” ceremony and our guests enjoyed it.  My parents weren’t thrilled about our ceremony with a judge instead of a pastor, but even they complimented him.


Invitation DIY. Designed by the couple who met working at a tea shop.

Make your own decisions so you have no wedding regrets.

We had so many people giving us advice on officiants, wedding clothing, and cakes.  We had a small at home wedding, so really those were the only things we wanted.  Everyone we knew had an opinion and I became really overwhelmed.  I lost track of the fact that this was me and my husband’s wedding, and made a lot of choices based on other’s opinions and people pleasing.


An intimate evening wedding ceremony at St. John Lutheran Church in Belle Plaine that was followed by a family dinner.

Don’t Let A Small Budget Deter You From Planning

This was the mistake that made me not enjoy planning the wedding and get lazy about things.  I took the concept of “small wedding” and “tiny budget” way too seriously.

I felt embarrassed that I couldn’t treat my family to a raging party or have the giant guest list all my friends had for their weddings.  I avoided looking at wedding ideas because I thought all of it was too expensive and unattainable.  If only I had taken those ideas and made them my own.

Do what you can do and be proud of your wedding!


Cake by Muddy Paws Cheesecake.
Cheesecake with strawberries by Muddy Paws Cheesecake.

Have Yummy Cake

What we wanted most was special time with family, followed by a chill weekend to enjoy each other’s company alone.  So instead of a meal we had DIY buffet of fresh fruits, cheeses, and meats.  It was better than average.  But the cake…. it was freaking amazing!   We ordered way too much of it, and our guests loved it.  People STILL talk about that cake today.


Get a professional photographer.

I didn’t hire a professional photographer.  Even though I trusted my friend to take pictures, and she was good  at taking pictures, my wedding photos didn’t turn out.

Who ever you hire for your wedding photography, talk to them.  A lot.  About everything.  Make sure you trust them completely.  Make sure you are on the same page.  Tell your photographer exactly how want to remember your wedding.  Tell them why your wedding is what it is.  Open up and let them in on what’s important to you.  Do this from the start of your photographer search, because it will help you find the right wedding photographer.

Don’t assume your photographer will know what you want simply because they’re married or planning their own wedding.  No two couples are a like.  Weddings have a different meaning to every single couple.   As a wedding photographer I now ask my clients tons of questions so we are on the same page come the wedding day.

If you are planning a non-traditional wedding or elopement I’d love to hear more about it and see if I might be the photographer you need.  Wedding of all sizes are worth celebrating!

Connect with me via my contact page and let’s chat!