Spoken Bride’s Vendor Week begins on January 13 and continues through January 20. Every day, our vendors will be featured through Instagram takeovers and written contributions on the blog. We invite you to learn more about the gifted wedding industry professionals who partner with us through Spoken Bride’s Vendor Guide.
In anticipation of Vendor Week, at the start of this engagement season, we asked a group of Catholic wedding vendors to share their insider’s perspectives and opinions for this special edition Q&A.
What is one tip you would offer a bride on her wedding day?
Steve Dalgetty, Photographer, An Endless Pursuit: Be present. It's hard to let go of perfection when you've poured so much time and money into a wedding. I've seen lots of couples miss out on truly experiencing the joy of the day because of stress around maintaining expectations for logistics, weather or details. Establish the mindset beforehand that no matter what happens you are going to let go and just be present to experience the mind-blowing awesomeness of the sacrament and what's happening in the moment (pro tip: this will also translate to better candid photos).
Derek Hall, DJ, The Block Party: Wind it up and let it go the day of. One way or another your new vocation starts and the rest is what you make of it.
Try to smile, laugh, and dance your way through all of it, joyful or otherwise.
Claire Watson, Photographer, Claire Watson Photography: Use vendors that will make your day easier—don't try to DIY everything in effort to save money so you can have a bigger wedding. It's A-okay to cut your guest list to have a smaller, but more relaxed wedding where you're not in charge of baking the cake, decorating the reception site, and making your own bouquet.
Kate Costello, Photographer: Trust and lean into the professionals you've hired. They pour their hearts into their work on a daily basis, and and their talent and passion will help you create a beautifully unique day.
If you could plan your wedding now, what is one thing you would be sure to do?
Steve: I would have hired a dream team for photography and video, and maybe even gone into debt over this. To save money, we paid a friend (currency used: Starbucks gift cards and cigarettes!) who had never photographed a wedding before and it's so regrettable. If I did it today, I'd hire Brad & Jen Photography and We Are The Parsons for video.
If I got to pick a second thing I would have bought my own custom suit. This is more of a recent wedding trend, but in 2009 I ended up with the cliché Men's Warehouse tux, complete with groomsmen in shiny vests that matched the bridesmaids dress colors. It's painful to look at. My bride looked like the most stunning person in the entire world, and I looked I was dressed to go to prom.
Derek: Our biggest priority when we planned our wedding was to put as much love and thought into the Mass as we did the reception. This is a rare opportunity to share our faith and its importance to our relationship with lots of family and friends who have never been to or not been to a mass in years. We wanted to let the beauty of a normal Mass shine. This would still be our biggest hope.
Claire: I'd cut the guest list down. We wanted a par-tay and ended up with a guest list larger than most local venues could accommodate, so we found a bare-bones reception hall that we spent all this effort decorating. We could have slashed the guest list (many people that we haven't seen since) and booked a place that had décor and catering locked down instead of having to piecemeal everything. It would have been a more relaxed engagement and wedding day.
Stay focused on the the things most important to the two of you as a couple.
What is your favorite moment of a wedding day?
Steve: It's different for every single wedding. I’ll go with the groom reading a letter from the bride before the wedding. It's so moving and fun to see everything sink in and watch his face covey, Oh my gosh, this is really happening and I'm the luckiest man alive!
Derek: The last few minutes of the day as last hugs are given, things are cleaned up, and people breathe in a different way. You see families and close friends help finish things up, the exhaustion of a great, long day, and the beginning of marriage after the wedding. It's not always perfect or great, and I'm always feeling like I just crossed the finish line of a marathon and praying it was enough, it was what my couple hoped for, but it tells you so much about the couple and their tribe.
Claire: After shooting a ton of weddings, I've finally come to realization that there is no one, perfect, gotta-have-it moment across the board.
My favorite moment in each wedding takes me by surprise, and it’s why I've always got to be on my feet and on my game to capture it.
Kate: Those few minutes when the bride and groom reach the altar and realize, this is it. They can't stop smiling—or crying.
What are your recommendations for ways grooms-to-be can become more involved in the wedding planning process?
Steve: Wedding receptions can be so customized now that a groom might be surprised how much opportunity he has to personalize the experience based on things he loves. What is he passionate about? I
f a groom loves music, then let him run with the reception entertainment. If he's creative or artistic, encourage him to go research photography or videography vendors. If he loves craft beer or bourbon then let him figure out how to incorporate that into the drink menu. I think most grooms think of things like flowers and stationary when they think of wedding planning.
Like most things in marriage, a couple should figure out their complimentary strengths and passions and then align planning responsibilities to that.
Derek: Flowers and frills may not be a groom's thing, but there are many areas where he can support his future bride. So much of a wedding day is ultimately a thank you note to the people who got him to this point: to marry an amazing woman. Jump in. Put together a Spotify list of songs you both love for reception inspiration. Pick a song that means a lot to both of you as a first dance suggestion. Work on the readings and dig a little bit deeper. There are many day-of items where a little effort will go a long way.
More importantly, take the preparation seriously. Honestly discuss things that come up. Be vulnerable. Be a leader. Say lots of thank you’s to those who help put everything together, especially your soon-to-be wife. Ultimately, it's just the two of you, as partners, each other's first draft pick to get them to heaven. That's what really matters.
Claire: Fellas, realize that when you participate in wedding planning, you are essentially saying to your bride, What can I do to celebrate you becoming my wife? What can I do to make that day one step closer?
Is it to call the church and set up meetings? Is it to price out caterers? Is it to get some recommendations for DJs from friends that got married last year? Is it to make a date night out of sitting down to choose your readings? Remind each other often that the labor of planning a wedding is from a heart of service to your future spouse and family.
Kate: Brides-to-be, invite him into the process. Go for a cup of coffee or make it a lunch date, and make it a point to ask him what his top three priorities are for the day. Then, ask him to be charge of orchestrating those priorities.
If you could make one song suggestion for every wedding reception, what would it be?
Steve: I'm going to go with the opposite of the question and say that all line dances should be made illegal.
Derek: “Can't Stop the Feeling,” by Justin Timberlake. Little kids know it, adults and grandparents will dance to it, it has such an easy beat to dance to and can mix into so many directions. I can jump into a ton of other great songs and genres, but this song has been a staple near the beginning of my sets since it came out.
Claire: It is nearly impossible to remain seated when "Uptown Funk" comes over the speakers.
Kate: Lionel Richie's "Say You, Say Me."
Follow along with more insights next week on Spoken Bride’s blog and social media. Are you recently engaged? Search Catholic wedding vendors by region and category here.
Images & calligraphy: Sea & Sun Calligraphy