Special Podcast Episode part 1- Relationships are the Foundation.

Weddings from the Pros

Episode 67 with Nathan and Preston

As a wedding is a celebration of a couple’s relationship, on this episode Preston and I evaluate the core values that are important in making a wedding meaningful and the significance of prioritizing relationships on the decisions you make for your wedding.

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In This Episode We Cover:

  • How  your Relationship is the starting off point of your life.
  • How Relationships and emotions affect your wedding day.
  • How you are connected with your partner and to your family during your wedding day.
  • How your Emotions are transformed on your wedding day.
  • How  we infuse these extraordinary events happening during the reception that would resonate with the people who is going to be there

Listen to the Full Podcast Here!

Read the Full Transcription Below!

Here at Angled light photography, we believe marriage is an amazing adventure and your wedding is the jumping off point. We'll explore planning an authentic and meaningful wedding experience as we connect with real life couples and the industry's top professionals. We're here to inspire and encourage you as you begin this journey of a lifetime. Hey guys, welcome back to another episode of weddings from the pros. I'll lead in this time. We are so glad that you guys are here. You know, this is something that has been just an epic joy in my life, trying to bring lots of great information to couples who are really intentional about trying to create the most meaningful and fulfilling wedding experience that they possibly can make.

And this podcast has been such a huge part of that and you know, something that Preston and I have talked about a lot lately here in the studio as we're going in between editing and writing one wheels and having just general fun as a couple. How do you plan a wedding that at the end of the day you walk away from at the end of the night and you just don't feel like it could have been any better. Like how do you plan that kind of event?

How do you plan that kind of celebration? Because Preston and this is where I want you to come in. Gosh man, like it happened more in the early part of my career. But every once in a while I still kind of see when a couple gets to the end of the night. They walk away from it, You can just tell their energy. It just wasn't probably as meaningful as I think that they hoped it would have been. Right. So it's for people who don't know Preston is a wedding filmmaker.

Damn good one at that. He thinks he's really good at what he does. And so we've had these experiences where we actually get to know the couple more so than just about anybody else. Right? And so I feel like as a photographer, myself and as a filmmaker, you like, we're probably a little bit more in tune with seeing how the couple's reacting to things. And I consider myself to be a bit of an extreme in path. So you definitely are. Yeah, I can feel people when they're excited and I can feel people when they're disappointed. Right?

And it's not to say that I have experienced a whole lot of couples who walk away necessarily disappointed with their wedding, but I think that I have seen several times, probably more than several across my career. I've seen where couples walk away and there is some disappointment. They're not necessarily about the entire wedding, but maybe about a few things in the wedding day. Right. So have you had a similar experience, Has that ever happened to you? For sure? Yeah, I think, you know, we as media people other than the bridal party and the wedding coordinator.

I mean we kind of spending the most face time with a couple on the day, right? Because we are typically there from start to finish and I've had the privilege to go to maybe just over 100 weddings and my kind of lifetime career of being involved in the wedding industry and I've definitely seen a whole spectrum, right? You have, you know, I really haven't had that many weddings because at the end of the day, weddings are typically, they're just fun, they're exciting. There's a lot of, you know, the closest people to you that are around that day.

So I haven't been to necessarily a bad wedding, but I definitely know what you're talking about. I've experienced that too, where there's kind of a spectrum between folks that are really, really satisfied with how their wedding day comes across, They felt like it really lined up with who they were and kind of was this dreamy idealized day. I have been to weddings where the couple really felt that way and then they also, you know, there's folks that, you know, we're happy with the wedding, but if they could go back, they would do some things differently, right?

There would maybe be a little bit more thoughtful and I think that that is one of the keys that separates those folks that really have, you know, kind of their dreams, stellar wedding experiences that those other couples that tend to be a little bit more thoughtful in the planning process right there asking better questions around the decisions they're making, when they go into planning the wedding. And so, you know, that was kind of part of where we wanted to start when talking, you know, having our conversation around, how do we help people plan their weddings is how do we help people to ask the right questions and kind of filtered through and figure out what are the values behind the wedding, right?

What is going to make it fulfilling and meaningful? And so, you know, that's kind of the conversation we want to have. Yeah, that's so well said, you know, because I think what happens in most cases is that the couple gets engaged, they're very excited. And then the first thing that they end up doing invariably is kind of thinking about all the problems that they got to solve, right? It's like, okay, so I gotta get a photographer, you know, in our case, like, I've got to get a photographer, I gotta find the right style that appeals to me.

I've got to figure out what I'm gonna do for a timeline, like what's my wedding day going to look like they've got to figure out where they're going to have this thing. Like, they tend to go to the checklist, right? Like the laundry list, laundry list of tasks that they've got to do without really having any major guiding principles a lot of times other than budget, right? Like sure, that's something that people kind of keep coming back to, But when a couple is planning their wedding, I think what we've discovered is that, like you said, and you said it so well, the couples that tend to get to the wedding, It's a meaningful experience.

It 100% aligns with who they are and they feel like their wedding was probably the most epic celebration that they could have had. They were very, very intentional throughout the wedding planning process, right? And I don't want to, you know, and I don't want this isn't you know, you and I have had this conversation a lot, like, we don't want to replace wedding coordinators, wedding planners, that's not what we're trying to do, right. We actually think that a wedding planner and coordinator, as I've said it many times in this podcast, I think that they're crucial.

They're so important. But what I am advocating for is for the couple to have really kind of an underlying framework that there really making a lot of their decisions based on, right? And I think that's what you and I have been spending some time really trying to create, right? I mean, that's kind of our passion is documenting the human story that is within the wedding day, just as, you know, documenting human story in general, but that's the arena in which it plays out, right? And, you know, we aren't event planners, but we spend so much time thinking, you know, especially when we're considering the craft of photography and videography.

The question we're asking ourselves like what is meaningful in order for us to be able to capture it. And so that's hopefully what we want to kind of do is foster not necessarily exclusively philosophical or some sort of, you know, we really want to kind of provide people a philosophy about how to think about weddings so that they know how to make an informed decision when it comes down to the details, right? Yes. Look, I'm a firm believer. No bride, no couple wants their wedding to be average, right?

Like they want a remarkable experience. They want an unforgettable experience. You know, this is something that you only get to do one time in your life for most people, right? There's one, you got one shot at it. And so to make it something that people will always talk about, right? Like you want your wedding to be something that your friends are going to be talking about for the rest of your lives, like when you guys get back together in 20 years, you haven't seen each other in in 10 years.

You know, there's still stories coming up of the wedding and how your wedding made them feel if you could create an experience like that. Like, I think that's what every couple strives for fundamentally, totally. Alright, so this project has been a lot of fun working with you on it and really I'll give total credit to you because you're the one who's really spent kind of a lot of time sitting down and thinking about this and trying to come up with again, some kind of philosophy, some kind of framework that people can use in order to really funnel their decisions through like that tasks list that we were talking about, that checklist that we were talking about before you make a decision on that task.

All right, Before you check off that task, ask yourself the bigger better question. That's going to influence your decision on that particular thing. Right. So, can you kind of take us through what's the overarching framework? And I think today for this podcast episode we're gonna be talking about the number one part which I'm excited to dive into because I think that is the most important part. Right? Yeah. Can you give us the overarching 100%. Yeah, I think today we're going to be focusing and talking about relationships. You know, we've kind of separated the laundry list of tasks that go into planning a wedding and a couple different sections but relationships is we're going to talk about today and that's where we really start.

That's kind of the starting point because, you know, our philosophy here at angle light photography is documenting who people are and documenting the connection between people, right? Real human relationships, real human emotion. And so when we ask ourselves, like what makes a meaningful wedding. It all centers around, you know, people and the relationships people have with each other. Obviously the couple being in the center, but this is a big day, you're celebrating with other people. And we drew up a few core values to kind of give us a heading right, give us a direction to kind of move forward and those core values, I think kind of prompt us to ask some really, really good questions about what goes into making a wedding fulfilling and we have, you know, I think the four things, if I can sum it up that make a wedding fulfilling would be that it's memorable, right?

Something that you're not going to forget meaningful, right? It has meaning, it has connectedness to you and your values and the values of your family. It's something that reflects you and your personal identity connected, meaning a good wedding is what facilitates those relationships, right? Something whether it's, you know, down to the venue you're choosing and how the space is designed to, how you're arranging people in groups who you choose to stay next to you. And then the last core value is just fun, right? We want to go to weddings that we enjoy, we want to go to weddings that really embody that celebratory spirit typically, right?

Because marriage is this beautiful thing and that's part of what weddings are for us to celebrate them. And so we're going to kind of keep those four core values memorable, meaningful connected and fun kind of in the back of our mind and as we go through these different sections, we're going to have some questions that help us help kind of guide us to be thinking about the most important things and the reason that we want to start in the category of relationships first is like I said, we want to keep people at the center right?

Like we're not choosing flowers and logistical details because their primary right? We're doing all of these things were decorating the space in a certain way. We're inviting the people that we're inviting. You know, we're designing the entire event around how that events going to facilitate the connection between people. So that's kind of the starting point. Yeah, so I think that and I can tell you this from my experience, documenting stories and documenting couples, what you're saying, I see a direct correlation to because the couples that I've documented and I feel like walk away at the end of that, I must say that a lot, right?

Because I think that that's in my head, that's the litmus test, right, litmus that's the litmus test for how fulfilling and how meaningful wedding was to that couple when that couple walks away at the end of the night, the ones that I've seen Happiest, right? The ones I've seen happiest I know for a fact because I was there within the entire day, they kept the relationships at the forefront of all their decisions that they were making, right? So a good example of this would be and there's tons of examples, but the first example I could think of was I worked with a couple one time and they really wanted their experience for their guests, the people that they were having their at their wedding, their friends and their family.

They wanted the experience to be something that felt extraordinary, right? And what does that mean? Extraordinary means something out of the ordinary, right? It is extra ordinary. So they intentionally sought out things that could go on during the reception that people had never experienced before. People had never seen before. 100%. But a lot of that funnels back to the relationships and keeping the relationship at the center. And so they were thinking about, okay, what would our people, what would the friends and family that we're inviting? What would be the things that would resonate with them the most right?

How do we infuse these extraordinary events happening during our reception that would resonate with the people who is going to be there. And I think looking at what you're doing through the lens of those relationships really does enhance the experience for both the couple, like the couple themselves, but then the people that they surround themselves with two, can you think of another example, like when for instance, let's talk about schedule for a second, right? Like the schedule that's that's a big thing to try to nail down and try to figure out that's probably one of the things that's most squarely for most couples because like, there's so many different directions, there's so much going on, there's a lot, there's a lot going on during the day, frankly, there's so many different options.

Like, do you do a first look, do you not do a first look right? Like do you want to spend some significant time in the getting ready part of the day with, you know, the people that mean the most to you, the bridal party, the wedding party, Are you just going to see them when you show up to the venue? Like, there's so many things as a part of the schedule for the wedding day that is very different from couple to couple, right? There's some similarities, but there's some things that are very different.

So how would a couple just using timeline as an example, how would a couple think about their timeline through the lens of answering those bigger questions about the relationships? 100%. Yeah, it just kinda depends like, I mean, I think the starting place would be to kind of sit down and take some time to process like, what are all the relationships that I want to involve in this day right down to your relationship with your fiancee and what kind of investment do you want to make in terms of having time with them.

This is just related to the schedule piece that you just asked about and then my bridal party, right? And then also the entire kind of broader wedding audience, you know, I've been to weddings where they specifically designed the schedule and the layout of kind of where everyone is at different times during the day and they built that in a very small inner circle, right? Because that was the nature of their friendships. They had some people coming from out of town, but what was really important to them was quality time with their bridal party, right?

There is an old group of friends that were, you know, had known each other since high school and so they said, we're going to invest the most time into having time with our bridal party beforehand, right, That's the most important thing, right? We're going to go on a honeymoon after and so we'll have plenty of time as husband and wife, but this is what's most meaningful to us. And those couples typically, you know, they'll put more time in before the wedding in a communal space that's really thoughtfully planned so that they have, you know, three or four hours to go do some activity outside, play corn hole in the backyard or share space, you know, before the wedding because all of their friends are in from out of town, right?

Like that value of them saying, hey, this is these are the people we want to get quality time with and this is what we bond over, that informs how they're going to play in the first half of their day, right? And so it might lead them to go book an Airbnb right before the wedding and carve out a space with a big room and a pool in the backyard, because that's what they bond over, that's what they bonded over in college and so they're going to recreate that, experience the people closest to them.

Like that's just a silly example, but figuring out, you know, do you want to have the more small intimate wedding that would inform you to spend your time and spend your budget enhancing those parts of the day. And if you relate to your broader audience, you want to have a really big wedding and you're more on a guest focused mindset, then maybe it's worth carving out more time to get the dance floor going afterwards and more time to do those kind of more high energy activities at the end of the night, because you're facing thinking more about your broader community.

So it really just depends person to person that's so well said. But you know, even on a deeper level and I'm sitting here thinking about relationships and honestly the character of a relationship from couple to couple, like all the couples that you've worked with, could you really say that that there's two couples side by side that the character of their relationship, it feels the same, You know what I mean? Like I've met couples that are more playful and they're less serious. I've met couples that are very serious.

They don't really like to get, you know, cuddly and hold hands and they're not super affectionate, outwardly affectionate, right? I've met people who are outwardly affectionate, they're very loud. I've met couples that are very quiet, right? And they are very sociable, but they're not the type to be the center of attention. And so what's interesting though, is that the decisions that you're making about your wedding should be taken into consideration the character of the relationship that you have with your significant other, that person that you're getting married to.

That doesn't form a lot of decisions when you think about the character of the relationship that you have, right? For instance, I've worked with couples before who did not like being the center of attention, right? That was not the character of their relationship. That was not the nature of their relationship. They both as individuals and as a couple, they wanted to constantly shift the light onto other people. And so that act in itself meant some different things, right? They didn't do a lot of events during the reception that focused on them.

They chose not to do a bouquet and garter toss, they're not stopping to the games and that sort of thing. They're not doing the games, they're not doing those things, what they did do is they stood up and they acknowledge the people that was significant to them in their life and they gave thank you to the people who had made them who they are. Right, going back. I think from a fundamental level, really kind of taking the time to figure out and I would encourage couples to do this with pen and paper right?

Like sit down and think about it right? Like I think your significant other should have pen and paper, you should have pen and paper. Do this exercise separately where you sit down and you think, okay, who am I? And I want you to write down like four or five characteristics of who you are as a person. They'll do the same thing. And this is just a great exercise to do anyway, just to discover more about the other person and then write down underneath that. So like do four or five characteristics that you feel like really resonate with who you are as an individual.

And then underneath that do like 234 characteristics that you think characterize your relationship, the relationship that you have with the other person. This exercise of writing it down allows you to then be able to come back together in the match notes, right? Like discover what you think, discover what the other person thinks and then kind of define the best way that you can what the nature of your relationship to your significant other is because I think during that exercise, I think that's going to give you a great foundation to then be able to take into the rest of the wedding planning and decide, you know, like, for instance, schedule, like what you were saying, you can make some definitive judgments on what you should do for scheduling.

Too often, I encounter couples that are like, I don't know what, what should I do for schedule, Like, what is the best schedule? And I tell people there's no right and wrong, right? Like, like when it comes to designing your wedding, it feels that way right? Because, you know, you kind of have the standard mold and a lot of folks just kind of jump into a prefab schedule, right? It's like, these are the things we do, but, you know, that's part of what we want to do here is to is just kind of play the devil's advocate and say, how can you tailor this to fit you in the nature of your relationship 100%.

I mean, because fundamentally, and I think that this is really important fundamentally. I think that every couple wants a unique and special celebration, something that's very different in this, reflective of who they are right, but too often, that's not what happens, right, and that's kind of the problem, right? You walk into the wedding planning process without giving a whole lot of forethought or effort into defining who you are defining the nature and character of your relationship and defining the nature and characteristics relationship to the other significant people that's in your life, right?

The people that's going to be surrounding you on your wedding day and you too often just kind of do what you think is right based off of what you've seen other people do, right or what a blog tells you online or you know what you've seen in a magazine or whatever. And don't get me wrong, like a lot of wedding planners, a lot of wedding coordinators that are going to say, hey, this is a good place to start, but that's just what it is. It's a place to start, right?

There's no set schedule, that's like the gospel truth. But what necessarily will work for you in your wedding? That's when you got to got to bring, you know, that's when you work with the wedding planner and the wedding coordinator and a great wedding coordinator guys, this is a red flag. If they don't try to discover who you are and they don't try to figure out through asking great questions what it is that you're searching for, what would be fulfilling to you and your wedding, what your vision is and trying to figure out how to bring that to life.

That's a huge red flag because that's probably going to lead you down a path of having unfulfilling wedding something that you get to the other night and you're gonna feel like, hey, I don't really feel as amazing as I thought it would be. Yeah, I definitely think it's can be helpful to have those starting places to kind of give you an idea of what gets you on the right path of, you know, kind of creating that vision of what you want your wedding to look like. But I think it's interesting that you draw us back to really the first step being examining the relationship between you and your fiance and then, you know, subsequent relationships that are just outside of that, right?

Starting to ask about family and bridal party and things like that. One of the idea that we've been chatting about back and forth is kind of this concept that the process of wedding planning is as important as the day and you know, like you suggested sitting down with the journal and going back over some of those things, like it really does create some cool opportunities for you and your fiance to sit down and not that you have to treat it like work or like you have to treat like marriage counseling, but to be intentional like during your engagement to number one say, we're going to just try to have fun during this process and because you're only engaged once, but using the engagement process as kind of like a preemptive season where you're setting aside time to, you know, a get to know each other better, but strengthen the relationship through the engagement process and can make the whole thing so much more enjoyable with the added benefit of when you get to that wedding day, you've been really thoughtful about what really defines you, what defines the nature of your relationship, what's the most important to you as a couple, because then the wedding day and all of the subsequent planning is going to match up to who you are a little bit better.

So I think that's a really important starting point to start to do some of that work. Yeah, and that's super important because I could just see in my mind's eye, you know, somebody hearing right down the characteristics that you feel like you are as an individual and what you and I can see there might be people out there who kind of roll their eyes at that, that's like, I don't have time for that, like I don't want to do that, like, you know, that's not the kind of thing that we do, we come home at night and we watch dancing with the stars and then we chat for a little bit and we go to bed like what I would challenge everybody listening to this with is the engagement season that you're in as you're planning the wedding, it is a massive opportunity, totally, it's a massive opportunity.

Hey guys, this is Nathan, I just wanted to jump in here really quickly and tell you if these concepts that you're listening to right now resonate with you the idea that maybe I should be asking myself some of the bigger questions in order to craft a really meaningful wedding, I want to encourage you to go to weddings from the pros dot com and check out an upcoming event that Preston are gonna be putting on is called the weddings from the Pros Guide to crafting a meaningful wedding experience.

We really want this to be at the forefront of people's minds when they're making all their decisions and when it comes to crafting a really unforgettable wedding. And so if you're interested in that, just head over to the website, www dot weddings from the pros dot com right at the top, you'll see where you can sign up and get email notifications for the upcoming live training that we have, let me know if you have any questions and now back to the show, you know, we see all too often, which is actually kind of sad, but we see all too often when the guy or one of the people that's in it because it's not always the guy, like sometimes it's not always the guy, right?

And you know, it could be a same sex marriage or whatever, but there's one or the other of the couple that is disengaged, right? And I think there's a lot of reasons for that, but this is an opportunity. Wendy Rivera, we had her on for a couple of episodes and she's really, she's really awesome. But she made a point that really stuck out to me one time and I think this was in our last recording that we had with her. So go back and check that out if you would like to.

But she said that the engagement is where you learn the habits that's going to show up consistently in your marriage, right? So like this is kind of like the grounds, so to speak for where you're developing relationship habits, you're developing habits as a couple that isn't going to be just confined to the engagement. And I want to challenge people with this because I have been married now for 12 years and I can see direct correlations thinking back 12 years ago when we were doing our wedding planning that it was a lot of stuff that was going on during that time did carry over, right.

There was some awesome things that developed like my wife and I have always felt like we've always worked really, really well as a team from the time that we were dating, we would go and we would paint bathrooms together and we would do lots of projects together and that was one thing that we enjoy doing and so we got to a wedding planning that was a natural extension of that. So we actually enjoyed doing that together and a lot of the lessons that we learned through that process did carry over to marriage.

There's also some things in there. I could see going thinking back that I could have done better, right? There were places that I did disengage and that I wish I didn't, I wish I had leaned into, right? But what I can say for sure is that there's definite parallels, right? Like there are things that you're learning, there's habits that you're grounding in the engagement season of the process that will carry over after you guys get married. So use it as the opportunity that it is right? It's a massive opportunity to learn how to work together, how to pull each other closer, how to lift each other up, how to help each other make what are really important decisions, right?

Like a wedding is not trivial, you know, like number one is a gigantic investment for most people. It's one of the biggest investments they'll ever make right outside of maybe buying a house. It's probably the biggest, the second biggest investment they'll ever make. And there are a lot of implications, you know, when you go back and think about relationships, which is the foundational level that we're talking about here. There's a lot of implications for either honoring those who are important to you first off honoring each other, you know, but also honoring those who kind of again made you who you are throughout your life and you know, that's important.

Like there's things there that I would encourage any couple who's intentional to think about again in order to create a fulfilling, to craft a real fulfilling wedding experience for yourself totally. And I think sometimes on the front and it can feel like a hard sell because you know, one or both of the people in the engaged couple might say, well, I just don't really care that much about the floral arrangements, right? Like I don't really, I'm not too concerned about what the centerpieces are. I'm good with either venue and while certain details just may not be as pertinent to any one person, what we wanted to draw attention to is just that the wedding planning process can be so much more than that, right?

It's not a logistical exercise. It's not event planning and event planning is not your thing. We're not asking you to get excited about event planning. What we're asking you to consider getting excited about is this process where you're really setting the tone for your entire marriage, starting to unpack more of who you are and basically creating an experience for your friends and family and maybe you're not as concerned with the details you're not as concerned with the suit that you're wearing, but to try to capitalize on this special season of life that you're never going to have.

Again, that really leads you up to having a day that feels different than just another event you're planning, right? Because we really believe that weddings should be personal and special and that they all have their unique take And so leaning into that and just being a little bit more thoughtful, I think can really transform the outcome and how you feel at the end of your wedding day. And I want to give every couple the one word that I would encourage you to use a lot in this process, right?

And that one word is why, like you need to be asking why a lot. If let's say for instance that you're talking about florals and that the other person is disengaged, they don't really care a lot. Ask them why, right? Like why don't you care, right? And then explain to them why you care, right? I mean fundamentally, and it's so funny, like every person who's been married for longer than two or three years all say the same thing. If you ever ask anybody who's had any length of time and marriage, what the most important thing to the success of their marriage has been, they will all say better communication, right?

It's laughable how often it comes up, but it's the truth though, right? And again, like if this is an opportunity for you guys to be able to hone in those communication skills, like let him know or let her know why it is that you care so much about this thing. And then if it doesn't seem like the other person cares, ask them why they don't care, right? Not in a challenging judgmental way that's important, right? Like this has got to be from a pure state of curiosity, right?

They cannot feel challenged and they shouldn't feel like you're looking down on them or that you think negatively of them because they don't care. But to try to figure out why isn't this something that they think is important, right? I promise you if you share with them, why it's important to you if they love you and they care about you, I do think nine times out of 10 they're going to develop some empathy for why you feel the way you feel and they will lean in more, they will care more.

But communication is the stepping stone to allowing that to happen. Right. 100%. Yeah, I really think that, you know, couples will be wise and really see a lot of benefit from doing a little bit of analysis, doing a little bit of thinking and being together and examining both the relationships with them and those who are closest to them, but also the couple's relationship to themselves because it really sets us up once we let's say we get those five adjectives, but beyond just kind of that core profile of, you know, how we kind of essentially describe our relationship.

It leads us into some really good questions like for instance between my fiance and I, what do we bond over most? Do we bond over? Like quiet, intimate time where there's not a ton of stimulus and we have space away, Like is that where we really connect, like, over, you know, a glass of wine on a picnic in the park? Or do we feel energized and fueled when we get to dance together? And it's really, really high energy? Like does that make us feel more invigorated in a relationship?

Right? And those are two kind of opposite examples, but that very well might inform what kind of activities you choose to have in your wedding day. So, when you clearly identify, like, yes, this is, you know, we bond when we're able to just be totally alone because our energy levels are typically a little bit. We just maybe have a more gentle side of our relationship. So a lot of those couples will carve out time specifically where after the wedding they have a little picnic basket and they go off to the side, right?

And they take 45 minutes in the middle of their wedding day has just been together, because that's what's important to them. That's what makes them feel connected. That's what allows them to share special time together. Whereas the other couple who, you know, are more of the kind of the life of the party type. What makes them feel alive and connected is dancing together in the center of a big dance circle while your cousin Eddie is like doing the worm behind you, You know, it's like that informs the practical decisions, right?

That's such a great point. And then I think also on the topic of relationships. The other thing that occurred to me is that I've said it often. I think this is a direct connection here that I haven't thought about before is that I think that one of the biggest things that influence the experience you're going to have on your wedding day is the people that you choose to surround yourself with, right? I have seen far too often that a bride or groom or a couple does not have a great time leading up to the wedding ceremony itself, because they ended up surrounding themselves with people that weren't really of a like, mind and character in a like relationship, right?

So, like, a lot of times, I think it's good to honor people who has had a significant impact on your relationship. There's ways to do that in your wedding. Perhaps having them in your wedding party doesn't have to be it, right if they're not of kind of the similar mindset that you currently are in the state that you were in your life, right? I was having a conversation just yesterday with a new couple. They looking to for us to document their story and it was funny because he was kind of laughing, he was like, I usually always ask about the wedding party and has it been tough?

Like, tell me a little about your wedding party because I'd love to try to figure out like who's going to be the people that you're going to surround yourself with. And he was like, yeah, you know, he was like, I really had trouble and he said I was thinking about having 15 and then I realized that six of those probably wouldn't make it to the ceremony because they'd be drunk already. Like and he came to the realization himself, like I didn't say anything, but he had come to the realization himself that those people were special to him in a previous part of his life, right?

Like those people were a part of his story for sure. And he's doing things to honor them throughout the wedding, which is really cool, but they're not going to be necessarily the people that he's surrounding himself with in the hours leading up to the wedding. So again, thinking through like the people you're surrounding yourself with again, pencil and paper press and I have been on this kick a lot recently about writing things down and write it down. You got to write it down that mechanism. There's something about the ability to write things down and to don't try to edit as you write, just write, write, have thoughts and write it down.

That's the most important thing and then you go back later and organized. But when you write this down right down, The people that you think you'd like to have in your wedding party, I want to encourage you, I want to encourage you don't add a person to your wedding party just because you got to make it even for the other side. And it's so funny how like the sense a sense of obligation for people that are planning their own wedding, you know, many of them paying fully for their own wedding, that there's this kind of expectation that you do a lot of things out of obligation.

Like, you know, we went to high school together and I'm not disparaging old friendships and there's nothing more treasured than an old friend. You can't create new old friends, but a lot of folks do assemble the kind of, their core group. And I do think the bridal party is crucial, right? Because it's crucial. The bridal party that you choose sets the tone for the wedding right there, looking to the dance floor, your guests are looking to the dance floor to see what it's all going to feel like, how they are up there next to you during the ceremony.

Like everything about the tone of the wedding is set by the bridal party. So I do think it's a hugely important decision, but not kind of making a quick assumption and I know people are very thoughtful about their bridal parties, but to really put extra time assessing like, what kind of group do I want to set the tone, not just for my wedding, but for my marriage, right? And you made this point earlier, like, a lot of times we're looking retroactively and considering those relationships when it comes to assembling our bridal party, I just, after having had a lot of conversations with couples over the years, I do think it's wise to consider, primarily who do you see being a part of your life moving forward?

Because that that is what a marriage is, that you're forging a new relationship moving forward and you're kind of setting the tone for your marriage, right? So not just assuming that? Well, because I just always envisioned this person being a part of my wedding. So now I feel obligated to, but I was in their wedding or they asked me to be a part of their wedding, so I've got to ask them to be a part of mine, right? That's another common one that we see. A lot of selfishness is not the right word, but just intentionally building your wedding for you, right?

You're not building it for your extended family, you're not building it to keep someone happy, you have an obligation to be thoughtful about what you really want in addition to whether people around you want, you know, and I think if we can empower people to do that, you know, there's a lot of tradition going on in weddings and there's a lot of decisions that we feel like are already being made for us, and again, even here, we're not saying there's a right and wrong right? We're not saying that you have to make these people friends and there can't be family, right?

I'm just saying that I have experienced weddings where they were not close to their sisters, they were not close to their brothers, they were not close to their father, but they still chose to have those people in their wedding party, right? And they were there just to honor kind of their place in their life, but they weren't close to them, you know what I mean? And likewise, I've also seen people whose had friends being their wedding and they weren't necessarily close to those people either. Like that wasn't a valuable relationship in their life and instead, like they should have packed it out with family, that is the center of their life is their family and relationship that they have with their family is the biggest thing to them, right?

Way more so than the relationship with their friends. I'm not saying that there's a right and wrong, but what I am saying is right down those people that you think you have the biggest connection within your life and then write down what the nature just like with your relationship with your significant other, what is the nature of your relationship with that person, right? And write down some of those words, some of those adjectives that you describe that relationship to really try to hone in and figure out is that because again, Preston, I have both seen it, this is like one of the biggest influencing factors on the success or failure of the wedding party.

So like what are the nature of those relationships and is that really what you want to surround yourself with the person? I want to commend you for that point, because I think it's really important, like, I would advise, I would encourage a couple who's choosing wedding party members, make sure they're people that's going to be a positive influence on the rest of their life, right? Moving forward, not necessarily who was an influence in the past, but who's going to be a positive influence, moving forward, That's so important, Yeah, maybe this is anecdotal evidence, but usually the most settled columnist, you know, in the moment, present in the moment, brides and grooms have a bridal party that supports that when your bridal party is dysfunctional or disjointed, or they're stressed out, or they're not coming together to kind of help support you during your big day, because there's a ton of details to think about, like for instance, like the happiest bride that I've ever gotten to work with are ones that have really been thoughtful about who they kind of curate to put in their group and those girls are behind them, right, that's the squad right there, helping manage all the details, they're creating the space for the bride to be able to be a bride on her wedding day and not be a wedding coordinator and not be a problem solver.

And so it really is super critical and also to, you know, you mentioned this a second ago, like there isn't a specific mold, right? There's tons of other roles for people during the wedding day. They might fit them better. But the one thing that I'm thinking about is the wedding, we did a while back, you know, the groom had some work friends, right? And he was close to the work friends and they were, they had a lot of fun goofing off together. They would go out for beers after work and they had a really special unique relationship, but it wasn't something where they felt like they really fit into the bridal party, right?

So they created a special role in the, his work buddies got to be flower boys, right? So they got there early and they're dressed up in camo and dance down the aisle to a country song and so they got to participate in this like totally unique way that's not part of the wedding script, right? That's actually a real reflection of who they are. Exactly. It totally, it totally brought out like the nature of the relationship. They got to participate. They got to be a part of the fun and kind of play this special role that fit better for them than being in the bridal party, right?

I can't agree with you. That's like just a silly example, but there's all sorts of ways to orchestrate those roles during the day. But a more concrete are less silly example of this is, you know, allow them to be the ones who are ushering in your family or allow them to be the ones who are greeting. And if you happen to do programs, they could be passing out programs allow them to possibly be an officiant. You know, like some of the best officials that I've ever seen have been not.

You've got to be very careful, right? Like you have to be very careful about who you choose your officiant for a lot of reasons, but maybe the relationship that you have with that person that doesn't necessarily fit with the wedding party, but they would be a perfect person to speak into your relationship and to officiate your wedding. That's a possibility. Right? Like I've seen all kinds of things where, you know, they say this person is special to me. I think highly of this person, but they're not really a good fit for the wedding party.

Finding something else for them to do was immense, totally. In another application is just like the quality of the speeches and the toast, right? The quality of those words shared about the bride and groom or the couple are typically directly correlated to the substance of the relationship right between those people and a lot of times, you know, we've probably all been to weddings where it's like this person and obviously I understand there's always politics and there's certain hills that are not worth dying on. But you know, if someone means something to you, like ask them to give a toast, like that's a great way to express it.

And if you're choosing people to share about you that you really have a deep connection with in real life, then the guest experience of witnessing those toasts and them getting to speak to your relationship and represent you through their speech. It's all going to feel more authentic, more real and more satisfying. You know when you're thoughtful about like who's getting to speak and there's all sorts of roles throughout the wedding day, whether it's helping set up for spending time before the wedding ceremony where you can fit all these different people.

So you know that kind of, you know, organizing that matrix of relationships and I don't want to use the word hierarchy, but prioritizing where you want to spend your time, you know, what makes time with each of those different groups of people or each of those different relationships fulfilling will inform where you want to spend your time, What do you want to spend your time doing? What kind of space you want to have, right? All of these logistical decisions flow out from that kind of core question of who are we and what defines our relationships, right?

So there's a bit of like work there to be done on the front, but I think that worked really, really pays off, right when you start to have those conversations and put pen to paper and figure out these language for these big questions about identity, who are we, what's meaningful to us, What characterized their relationships, It's immensely helpful and not just making the decisions on the back end, but being able to articulate to yourself. This is why I'm doing this right. This is why it's important to me, you know, I couldn't have said it better myself.

I know you just communications rocking it over and so I think to wrap up, you know, relationship to us is probably one of the foundational things. That's the thing that's really going to influence, not only influence everything else, but if you get this part right, even if you get some of the other stuff wrong totally, you're still going to walk away from your wedding filling fulfilled. I mean you're still going to walk away from your wedding knowing that it was really an unforgettable experience to you and your significant other, which is really what we want for people there tonight.

It breaks my heart when I see otherwise. Yeah. And there's a reason we talk about relationships as a category first in this series, you know that wedding I did a couple months ago in Savannah was a great example, right? These are salt of the earth people, Maggie and Tyler, they're friends of mine from when they were living up in Greenville there in Savannah now, but they had such a really impressive cast of characters that surrounded them. They're just wonderful people. And one of the things that I think their strengths are really facilitating just healthy relationships.

They really are servant leaders. They love people, they spend a lot of face time with people. And so that was reflected in their bridal party, right? They had a crew that was behind them, that was cohesive. They had carefully picked out all those people. And so the social culture around them, like they're 20 people or so that was in their bridal party. We're just all rock stars and you could tell the sense of connection between them was awesome. Well it started raining at eight in the morning and it didn't stop raining until 10 pm at night and the wedding was kind of a logistical nightmare, right?

And then there was mud everywhere. They had furnace heaters trying to keep people from going into hypothermia. I mean it still ended up being an absolutely beautiful wedding, but it's really just a testament to like the quality of the relationships and thoughtfulness of the relationships can withstand anything, even if it's a typhoon on your wedding day where you know, there's mud on the dance floor and everybody's shoes are wet. There really isn't anything that can throw off a strong network of relationships that's thoughtfully put together on a wedding day because people are at the center and people that are in love and supporting each other, right?

It's kind of hard to rain on that parade. And so both figuratively and literally that was such a fun wedding. So what we're gonna do is we're going to do this first episode in this series was all about relationships kind of that first part, tell us what 2nd and 3rd, what's going to be the next episodes coming up? Yeah. So the steps that we're taking through, you know, we start with the category of relationships and then we're gonna move to organization and style and what that means is we really want the process by which we talked about the wedding planning to kind of mirror naturally what people have to think about in terms of logistics, right?

Most people, if you ask them, where do you start with wedding planning? They say, you know, you start with the budget and the guest list, figure out how many people and how much money you have because that's going to inform all of the other practical decisions you have to make. Typically the next decision is making venue and then starting to book kind of big things like catering, just getting everyone house, getting everyone seated, getting everyone fed right. So next week we're going to talk about organization, right, that whole category and it's really just how do the big meaning driven questions inform kind of those core logistical decisions like venue catering, all the big vendors that you have to hire and then subsequently we'll talk about style and style is really where we get down into the details, right, dresses, flowers, how do we take, you know design and the aesthetic and kind of the details of the day and take all of those other court decisions and tailor it to something that really reflects who you are.

So we'll finish, they're kind of at the details and that's really the way we want to set this up instead of working from the details backwards. We want to start with the people because the people are what's at the center of it all. That's what's most important. Then we figure out just the kind of functional elements that have to go into planning a good event right? To just to make it work to get the ship off the ground in organization and then we'll finish with the details right?

Because the details follow suit. They reflect who you are right. They don't dictate how your wedding is going to be. So interesting. Yeah, I think that was one of the first pieces of realizations that we had when we started talking about this topic is that that's the way most people do flow the wedding planning process like that is very detailed driven first, right? When in reality it should be thinking about the relationships and then really defining the relationships and the people that are closest to you and then working that way.

So I agree with you and I think what you've come up here with here is something really, really special man. So if you're interested in hearing more about the organization, that will be the next episode and then the third episode in this series, we'll be talking about style guys. Hopefully you've had a great time with us here for the last what, 40 30 40 minutes that we've been recording this and hopefully maybe there's been a few things that popped up that's made you think that's really what we want, right?

We just want to present something to you from our experience as wedding photographers and wedding filmmakers here and like photography, we want to present to you a few nuggets to kind of ponder to engage a little bit with. How do I create a more meaningful wedding experience for me and my significant other. So guys, thank you so much for being here. We hope this was helpful. Preston Dude, I can't thank you enough man. Thank you. Thanks for Yeah, Alright guys, until next time. Have a stupendous day here, angle life photography, we believe marriage is an amazing adventure and your wedding is the jumping off point.

We'll explore planning authentic and meaningful wedding experience as we connect with real life couples and the industry's top professionals, we're here to inspire and encourage you as you begin this journey of a lifetime. Mhm.

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Ep. 68: A Fresh Approach to finding the Perfect Wedding Dress with Sara Threatt

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