Wedding Tips

Five Things I Wish I Would’ve Known When I Got Engaged

January 23, 2019

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Hi I’m Morgan! I’m a photography educator and Raleigh, NC newborn photographer and family photographer.

Meet Morgan



Getting engaged to Justin was one of the most exciting times of my life. I had been anxiously awaiting the day when he would pop the question, and when it happened I was absolutely on cloud nine!

Shortly after, though, the stress of wedding planning set in. When would we get married? Where? Was the wedding photographer we wanted available on the dates that were available for the venue we wanted? Could we find both a ceremony location and reception venue we wanted for the right dates? The list of stressors goes on and on and on.

If I could travel back in time six plus years, though, there are a few words of advice I’d give myself…

The initial wedding stress will wear off

Right after you get engaged you feel like you have to book ALL of the things immediately. And to be fair, you kind of do if there are certain venues and vendors you’re set on booking. This initial stress was overwhelming to me. “Is this how it’s going to be until our wedding day?” I thought to myself.

The good news, though, is that it’s totally not like that until your wedding day. Once you complete all of the initial bookings, there’s definitely a lull. And let me say, it’s a welcomed lull. Sure, you’re thinking about colors and decor and all of that fun stuff, but there aren’t any huge things you’re taking action on for a while.

Book the one use vendors first

You’ll find out rather quickly that there are some vendors who will only book one wedding per day, and there are others who will book two or more. The vendors who only book one are the ones you need to book first, because once they’re gone… they’re gone.

Your one use vendors are typically your wedding venue, wedding photographer, videographer and the band or DJ. Vendors providing florals, cakes and stationary will generally book more than one wedding per day, so you can hold off until round two of booking with a little more peace of mind.

Go with custom stationary

I lost actual sleep over trying to piece together our invitation suite. I incorrectly assumed that custom stationary would be too expensive, and I went through a website instead. This would have been ok, except there were no premade suites available that contained all of the pieces I needed.

Enter me trying to fanangle together a suite that looked cohesive by combining pieces from different suites, changing fonts and having nightmares on more than one occasion. Don’t get me wrong. You can spend a lot on a custom invitation suite, but you can also find something that’s close in price to what you’ll pay on one of the bigger websites. And if you do pay more, let me tell you that it’s worth the extra few dollars to be given exactly what you need and avoid wedding invitation nightmares.

Hire a calligrapher or have your envelopes pre-addressed

Yes. Another invitation suite thing. Y’all. I thought that I had to hand address all of the envelopes. It was proper etiquette, and I wasn’t about to slap a label on those bad boys and call it a day – especially after the nightmares I had endured just to create those things.

Let me preface this by saying I’m not a calligrapher nor do I have especially beautiful handwriting. So naturally I lost precious hours of my life hand addressing each and every invitation. Do. not. do. this. Hire a professional or have the envelopes addressed before they even arrive at your doorstep. You’ll thank me later when your hands aren’t cramping and your sanity is still intact.

Hire a wedding planner

I lived a flight away from my hometown while we were engaged and planning our wedding, so my mom ended up taking on the majority of the planning. And to be honest, she loved it, and I wouldn’t necessarily change that part of how we did things. On the other hand, if you don’t have a parent or loved one who sincerely wants to take on the responsibility, you should definitely hire a wedding planner lest you want to completely lose your mind, but I digress.

The one thing I wish we had done differently when it comes to this, though, is hiring a day of coordinator. Unfortunately, the coordination of the events of the day fell on my parents. We still had an incredible day, and it wasn’t a huge deal in all actuality. But having a planner or coordinator there would have definitely relieved some stress for them and allowed them to enjoy the day more which would have been great.


They say hindsight is 20/20, and I think almost every bride would tell you a few things she wishes she would’ve known when the planning started. That being said, there are a few things I’m glad that I did do and wouldn’t change for the world, but we’ll get to that another time. For now, I hope you can learn from my experience to make your wedding planning journey the absolute best it can be!


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