Getting engaged is one of the most significant times in a woman’s life. Oftentimes, they’ve been dreaming of their proposal and wedding their whole life. It isn’t uncommon to hear that a woman already has her wedding planned out in her head before even being engaged or meeting “the one”. Girls dream of these moments from the time they’re little. The knight in shining armor kind of story where a man sweeps them off their feet and they have a gorgeous wedding with all their favorite things and people.

However, once receiving the ring and dream proposal, the wedding they had planned in their head often changes. Why? Because everyone, literally EVERYONE, close to the married couple-to-be starts to have opinions. Where you should get married, how much you should spend, who you should invite, what should be important to you and what shouldn’t. Some of the opinions are logical and things to take into consideration. The rest of the opinions are often in an attempt to veer the bride-to-be from her original plans to better fit the vision of the person giving the opinion.

If this is the case for you where you have friends and family members giving opinions and changing your wedding before your eyes, I have a newsflash for you: IT’S YOUR WEDDING, NOT THEIRS. That being said, do what you and your fiance want. Forget what anyone else has to say and follow your original vision (assuming it works with your budget). At the end of the day, this is your big day. This is your time to plan your wedding. You deserve to own it and make it all about YOU… and your fiance of course.

I had the pleasure of photographing a wedding in Savannah, GA at The Mackey House where the bride did just this. She did her wedding her way (with input from her lovely fiance) by wearing a GREEN DRESS. White dress? Not over here! Instead, this beautiful bride took her wedding planning by the reins with help from her wedding planner, Coastal Vintage Events & Rentals, and ceased her wedding moment the way she wanted. Here are five tips to help you do the same on your wedding day:

1 – Trust Your Gut

This tip is simple. If you have a gut feeling about a particular aspect of the wedding planning then trust it. If your gut is telling you your wedding is best suited to take place on the beach based on the essence of who you and your fiance are, then trust that gut feeling and run with it. If your gut is telling you that you and your fiance are better suited for an elopement, then do it! We are always told to trust our gut and this doesn’t change with wedding planning. Regardless of wedding style and location though, I do recommend a wedding photographer aka Lisa Staff Photography 😉

2 – Think About What Suits Your Personality

Your wedding should be a reflection of who you and your fiance are – what you enjoy, your personalities, sentimental values, and more. That being said, you should tap into your personality when planning your wedding. Do you and your fiance really bond over and enjoy food trucks? Then why not look into food trucks as your catering option? Do you and your fiance like an adventure in the mountains? Then why not host your wedding in your favorite adventurous spot? Use your wedding as a reflection of you and what you enjoy.

3 – Take Into Account Your Comfort Level

This is one that most couples don’t think about. Instead of thinking about what they’re comfortable with, they fall in line with past traditions that maybe don’t even make sense for them. For instance, if you aren’t religious, it isn’t a mandatory thing to have your officiant include a prayer in the vows. Also, just because a cake cutting is tradition, doesn’t mean you have to do it if you and your fiance don’t even enjoy cake. Tap into what you’re comfortable with and again, what you enjoy, and have your wedding be a reflection of that. If you’d rather have your bestie marry you or enjoy some donuts instead of cake, then go for it. It’s what you’re comfortable with!

4 – Don’t Forget About Your Budget

Yes, you should definitely plan and have the wedding you’ve been dreaming of however, it’s super important to not lose sight of what you can afford. I’m telling you – a wedding IS NOT worth going in debt over. If a family member or friend is recommending an outrageously priced idea for your wedding, remind them of your budget and stick to it. Don’t let anyone steer you off this course…that is unless they are forking up the money themselves.

5 – Aim for No Regrets

If you want to look back on your wedding day in five or ten years and have zero regrets, then it’s best to plan the wedding you desire. If you plan the wedding you want, then you’ll look back in five or ten years and be happy with the outcome. You won’t be wishing that you hadn’t listened to your mom about the dress you chose – remember, you can do a green dress 😉 – or the unnecessary decor you spent a fortune on that really wasn’t worth it. If you plan your wedding your way, you’ll look back on the moments and smile rather than… cringe.

Being a wedding photographer in Hilton Head and Bluffton, SC and Savannah, GA for over a decade, I’ve seen and heard of many brides going through struggles during wedding planning and it’s mostly due to the opinions of others. Based on those experiences, the tips above are straight from me – Lisa Staff Photography – and strategies that I think will work like a charm.

Take it from this gorgeous bride wearing green. You can tell in these wedding pictures she is loving her day and the choices she made. I’m confident she’ll think back to this day or look at these pictures and feel like the badass woman that she is that she did what she wanted. She followed her desires and stuck to her guns and it turned out fabulously. As a wedding photographer, these are the moments I live for. The random, unique moments that mix up the typical wedding traditions. Where a bride and her groom followed their wedding dreams and did it the way they wanted. These moments are priceless and I’m happy to capture them, not only in Hilton Head, but around the globe.

Have you pushed the envelope and truly planned the wedding YOU WANTED? I’d love to hear your story! Tell me about it in the comments!