Keila Marie Photography
In 2012 I found myself in the most intensive year of employment. I had become a event planner, cake aficianado, decorator, family counselor, floral expert, dress designer and financial adviser all while working my regular job. If someone had told me this would be where I would find myself 1 month into my engagement I would have told them where to go. Especially once I determined that all these new freelance positions were unpaid and required more hours and energy than I had. If you have ever planned a wedding, even on the most intimate of scales, it requires real thought, research, coordination, money and a large chunk of what I consider my most precious commodity: time. Planning a wedding is a commitment. So much so, that we often forget we are planning the beginning of our marriage. So how do we engage this on our own terms?
How do I know what kind of bride I am? This complicated question has the simplest answer. You are the same person in a wedding dress. Yep, I said it. You are not meant to transform into this distorted and perfected version of yourself for 14 hours and then sink back into your rags after the clock strikes midnight. There is a photo I have of myself from when I was 12. I am standing on the beach in my moms straw gardening hat, hands held out to the wind. I look at the photo and I feel beautiful. I feel timeless. I feel hopeful and wild. Is there a picture you have of yourself, the one that captured a place in time that felt effortless and special? What are you wearing? How is your hair styled? Is it styled at all? How did you feel in that moment? Why did you feel that way? Try to stop looking at yourself as a character in a performance and embrace who you are. That is who your someone is marrying after all. If you like the ease of soft fabrics, the smell of lavender and mac n cheese for snack than you have just ticked off some major planning boxes. A starting point for your dress search, an element of the florals and your late night snack of choice. Your dress should always feel like an extension of you. From the fit to the function, it should meet all your needs and speak your name.
Inspiration does not have to come from the internet. Daisaku Ikeda said, "If we look at the world with a love of life, the world will reveal its beauty to us." It is easy to forget that all of our lives we have been creating beautiful things from our memories, our experiences and our desires. We have been imagining all sorts of things since we were small. Look to the parts of life that bring you joy in your everyday life. My best friend loves the idea of meals and the communal act of eating and sharing food. We have been having Sunday dinner together for over 5 years. Her centerpieces are going to be beautiful wooden boards filled with delectables. Flowers did not speak to her. But cheese? Cheese speaks to her. Is there a song that floats through your mind, that warms you and carries your secrets? Choose that. Don't google "top twenty wedding songs of 2019". One of our brides had us customize her Grandmothers vintage hair piece into a modern day comb with a complimentary veil. Find the pieces of your world you have cherished by keeping them around you and expand on those.
Stephanie Hodgson Photography
Guidelines are not go-tos. If I had a nickel for every time a bride told me that a vendor or sales assosciate gasped a her wedding date, I wouldn't have to work 50 hours a week... There are a lot of infographics, checklists, blog posts and magazines that give you step-by-step instructions on how to pull of this full scale event within a years time. This information is treated as gospel and sends most brides into a state of urgent anxiety. Lemme spill the tea on this common industry sales strategy: timelines only matter if you are viciously specific about what you want. Venues, photographers and caterers may book up quickly but there are hundreds of qulaified options. So unless you have had your mind set on one since the day your were making hearts around Andrew-somethings name in 9th grade, finding the right fit is not as limiting as you think. The absolute same goes for the gown. Off the rack options are available in endless variety. From samples to trunk shows, sales, online retail, custom made and of course consignment and resale (hey there, how can we dress you today?) there is no limit to finding the frock of your choice when you are ready. Use the tools available to you to help make informed decisions, but don't get bullied by them.
In September of 2018 Pearl & Birch traveled to Paris with a simple $300 dress we had customized with vintage lace sleeves, an upcycled headpiece and a vision. The gown was a creative collaboration, designed with values and expertise and captured with artistry. These things are possible. And we shared them here. If you have found yourself recently rocking a ring and sucked into the vortex of Pinterest, glossy images of weddings flying faster than your bruised fingers can scroll with decisions and timelines mounting know this one true fact and believe it with all your heart: you are on a journey to celebrate the love you have forged with another human spirit. And with that noblest of missions in mind embark on your task to create the space for that to happen knowing that at its core, this marks the beginning of the real journey. An eternal partnership. Full of endless possibilities.