Advice for Brides: How to stay organized while planning your wedding

                                                             Image from  Southern Weddings Shop

                                                             Image from Southern Weddings Shop

Would you say you're big picture kind of girl? Or one who loves the little details?

Obviously you need both the small elements and larger frame of things to come together when planning your wedding. And whether you identify with the first or second description, there is a way to stay organized during your engagement and now want to pull your hair out!

I am definitely constantly looking at things from the macro perspective and this could not have been more apparent when we planned our wedding in 2013. When Dean proposed, I immediately because crazy obsessed with finding the perfect wedding venue - and photographer - such that I totally neglected the other, smaller details that also needed to be discussed and dealt with simultaneously during that time.

Having a fiance who is the opposite of you - in case, Dean is really, really great with all things details! - really helps to keep you on track. And having one place to store all your dogeared magazine pages, fabric swatches, receipts, timeline and vendor info.

Enter The Southern Weddings Planner.

                                                             Image from  Southern Weddings Shop

                                                             Image from Southern Weddings Shop

Isn't she pretty??

Where was this when I needed it? Instead of a sleek, prepared gold and white binder, picture more of a watercolor mix of pinks, purples and blues with a painted cursive F for Fairweather on the front and you'll have an idea of what I came up and really loved using. However, if the SW Planner had been thought up, designed and for sale at the time of our engagement, I would have bought it faster than you can blink. And it would have saved me so much time and energy that I could have put into my planning my wedding, instead of designing a binder to fit my needs.

The planner is a perfect place to write down your weddings dreams and watch them turn into a reality. Not only will this beautiful binder help you stay organized and on track through the planning process, there is tons of incredible inspiration tucked throughout. Just a few of the meaningful wedding and marriage planning sections include:

First Steps After You Get Engaged
Planning for Your Ceremony
Dress Shopping Journal
The Gracious Southern Bride

Anniversary Gift Guide
Marriage Planning

If you don't already have a physical way to organize your wedding details and the big picture of the day, hop on over to Southern Weddings and order your planner! P.S. Check out my Instagram post for a fun Southern Weddings Planner giveaway!

I'd love to know - for all my engaged readers (or now married readers), what has been your favorite aspect of your wedding - or marriage - to plan for?

4 Ways You Can Help Your Wedding Photography Go Smoothly

Columbia South Carolina wedding photographer | Lorin Marie Photographyy

There is so much planning & preparation that goes into a wedding! Hours & hours & HOURS that all come together for one 8-10ish hour celebration - that a lot of prep work, right?! Having been both a bride who poured nights & weekends into planning my own wedding & as a photographer capturing weddings, I know there's so much to be processing, thinking about & staying on top of. all. the. time.

And the last thing you want is for something that could have been discussed before your wedding day to not turn out great simply because it wasn't discussed. So here are 4 simple things you can do to help your wedding photographer help you have a stress-free wedding day:

1. Gather all bridal details to be photographed before your photographer arrives - When a bride has her dress, shoes, jewelry & all her details ready to go when I arrive on the wedding day, that just kicks things off to a spectacular start! No photographer wants to be rushing around asking, "Sorry, do you have the wedding bands?" & "Excuse me, but have you seen the bride's veil?" By printing off & checking over a Bridal Details List, that's a great way to remember everything & have it all in one corner of the hotel suite, easily save your photographer time & energy which leaves MORE time & energy for your photos. Win WIN!

2. Have your florist deliver your bouquets to your getting-ready location - You found the perfect colors & blooms to grace your bridal bouquet so having them in place with your bridal details before any portraits are taken gives your photographer the opportunity to photograph them, along with your bridal details, which helps to connect the beautiful moments of your day & tell the story as it unfolds. Plus, if your bouquets are with you & your bridesmaids before you get dressed, they will be in place & ready for bridal party portraits! For your DIY brides, I'd suggest having a flower point person so that you aren't the one stuck doing last minute stemwork. And give way more time than you need for them to be put together. Depending upon the type of arrangement, have them finished the night before if possible.

3. Consider the natural light available when choosing a getting-ready location - If you have a choice between a room with no windows or sunlight pouring in & one that has at least one window, definitely choose the room with a window! Your photographer will thank you for allowing some of the sunshine in as he/she is capturing these once-in-a-lifetime moments of you stepping into your dress, laughing with your girls, holding back happy tears & slipping on your wedding shoes. Soft, natural light is just heavenly when it graces the lines of a bridal gown & is much more skin-tone friendly than tungsten or fluorescent bulbs buzzing overhead. 

4. Pass along the time & location for Family Portraits in advance - By letting your family know when & where they are needed for Family Portraits, you're setting up yourself for Family Portrait success! It can be difficult to wrangle a missing aunt or uncle when everyone else is in position for the photo, plus that can very quickly eat into the precious minutes set aside for portraits. As a photographer, I cannot keep the sun from setting (although it would be nice, only God has that kind of power!) so doing what you can to pass along that Family Portraits will start at this time immediately after the ceremony is so, so helpful! Less questions for your relatives to be asking you day of, less running around trying to find your missing cousin & more beautiful portraits!

Happy planning!

For even more advice for brides, check out my past posts here.

Wedding Florals | Columbia Photographer

Pink bridal bouquet | Lorin Marie Photography | Columbia photographer

"I must have flowers, always and always." {Claude Monet}

Pastel bridal bouqet | Lorin Marie Photography | Columbia photographer
Floral wedding altar | Lorin Marie Photography | Columbia photographer

From a gorgeous bridal bouquet to romantic aisle decor, your wedding flowers truly impact the tone & feel of your wedding day. Whether you prefer classic elegance roses, whimsical arrangement or romantic blooms, your bouquets, boutonnieres & centerpieces are a fantastic way to incorporate what most reflects your style.

Pink wedding roses | Lorin Marie Photography | Columbia photographer
Spring wedding bouquet | Lorin Marie Photography | Columbia photographer

Hiring a fantastic florist, who really understands what you want, your budget & in-season flowers, is such a wonderful way to make your floral dreams come true. They will guide you to the arrangement style & color scheme you've always dreamed of.

Swoon-worthy peonies.

Bunches of long-stemmed roses.

Sprawling wild flowers.

DIY boutonnieres | Lorin Marie Photography | Columbia Photographer

I always say the bigger the bouquet, the better!

What better way to add a beautiful pop of color to your wedding photos with bright bouts (can we all agree with bout is SO much easier to type out than boutonniere??) or tone down your colors with soft, pastel centerpieces.

The combinations of beauty & photograph-worthy moments are endless.

Peach floral arrangement | Lorin Marie Photography | Columbia Photographer
Bull Run Golf Club wedding  | Lorin Marie Photography | Columbia Photographer

Advice for Brides: Keeping perspective

Advice for Brides | Lorin Marie Photography

Throughout our bridal advice series, I've talked about making decisions, deciding on your bridal party, The Top 5, seeing your groom & more (to see past blog posts, check on this link!).

And now, let's chat about when things go wrong on your wedding day.

It sounds like just about the worst thing I could share with you, right? Way to bring us all down to Debbie Downerville, Lorin (I don't think that's a thing but we're going with it!). But the truth is, there will probably be something on your special day that doesn't go according to plan/gets left behind/doesn't quite work out like you had thought it would.

Here's the secret: When something does go array, it's likely that only you, your groom & wedding planner/coordinator will even know about it!

Having been a bride who planned her wedding day down to a T, I couldn't have anticipated the few small not-according-to-plan things that happened on November 11 almost 2 years ago.

As part of our ceremony, we had decided to tie 3 cords together to represent the strength & unity of the relationship between Dean, myself & the Lord & asked our pastor to read Ecclesiastes 4:12: "Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken."

Well. In the midst of transferring boxes & boxes of decor to our venue, the lovely Cloverdale Barn, the beautiful woven rope Dean & I had picked out online & had shipped to us. somehow. went. missing.

Ahh! What's a bride to do? Insert incredible wedding planner! She pulled together 3 long pieces of beautiful gold ribbon that we were able to tie instead. And none of our guests knew the difference. Just another reason that having a planner/coordinator/day-of coordinator is so crucial to making your wedding day a success!

So what if something happens that your guests do notice? It can make for a great story to laugh about later on!

Like I mentioned in this post about remembering your wedding day, as my sister was carrying the train of my wedding dress, she lost her footing and fell, scraping her knee in the process. Just seconds before she was supposed to walk down the aisle. Once again, incredible wedding planner Sam to the rescue! She quickly wiped off Chelsea's bloody knee & set her on her way.

Because the bridesmaid dresses fell just to the knee, however, Chelsea's freshly scratched leg was visible for our guests to see. I was later told that one of our guests sitting near the bridal party kept trying to pass along a handkerchief for Chelsea's wound. Right after the ceremony we were all able to laugh about the situation & give my sister a big hug for being such a trooper. And to this day, it's still one of the highlight moments of our wedding.

Another not-as-planned moment: after I finished walking down the aisle with my dad, our ceremony playlist continued playing, switching from A Fine Frenzy's sweet ballad "What I Wouldn't Do" to our upbeat recessional song, "Ho Hey" by The Lumineers. After the music was quickly shut off, our witty pastor addressed our guests saying, "Ho hey ho, everybody!" Such a fun, nerve-squashing moment that really helped to set the mood for our ceremony. Otherwise I know I would have cried my happy tears the whole time, instead of just most of the way through.

If something on your wedding day doesn't get delivered in time, or goes off schedule, or gets lost between your getting-ready location & the venue, or if your music continues on, or if your MOH trips & scratches her knee, don't sweat it.

It secretly happens to most of us brides & makes for the most memorable stories to share & laugh about for years to come!

Advice for Brides: Bridal details checklist

Advice for Brides: 8 Fabulous date night ideas

Advice for Brides: Making Decisions

Advice for Brides: Get more sleep

Advice for Brides: Seeing your groom

Advice for Brides: Your bridal party

Advice for Brides: Putting the wed in wedding

Advice for Brides: 8 Fabulous Date Night Ideas

Advice for Brides

Since wedding planning while you eat does *not* count as a romantic way to spend time together, I asked a few of our past LMP brides & grooms to share their favorite, go-to date nights. If you're looking for some Valentine's Day inspiration for you & your boo, here are 8 fantastic, tried-&-true ideas:

Steve + Bekah {See their engagement session + wedding day}
Married for 16 months

Luray barn wedding

Date Night Idea #1: Pack a picnic

"Our budget-friendly date night is in the spring & fall, we like to go on long walks & share a mini-picnic in one of our favorite downtown Leesburg spots, like the garden where Steve proposed to me. We enjoy the flowers & trees surrounding us & munch on some cheese & crackers & other goodies."

Date Night #2: Enjoy a movie night in

"When the weather isn't cooperating, we like to have Mexican night followed by a Redbox or Netflix comedy. We make sure not to talk about anything too serious & just enjoy cooking together and laughing at a good movie."


Dan + Lara {See their engagement session + wedding day}
Married for 15 months

Virginia Theological Seminary wedding

Date Night Idea #3: Snuggle together at home

"One of our favorite things to do is to come home from work, change in to PJs, cook dinner, & then snuggle on the couch while watching TV or a movie."

Date Night Idea #4: Cheer on your fave sports team or head to the theater

"This year instead of getting each other anniversary gifts, we bought season tickets to Philly's Major League Soccer (MLS) team & for Christmas, we bought each other tickets to the Nutcracker (including dinner before & drinks at a jazz club after)."


David + Jesica {See their engagement session + wedding day}
Married for 6 months

Meadowlark Botanical Gardens wedding

Date Night Idea #5: Go for fondue

"David & I spent our most recent splurge date night at the Melting Pot. We had a glass of wine & ordered the three-course special. It was delicious & so much fun to cook fondue together. Our absolute favorite was the dessert. It felt like we were spoiling each other & it felt really romantic and fun!"

Date Night Idea #6: Explore the city on foot

"The weather was beautiful last weekend, so David & I got outdoors and took a nice long walk from our apartment to downtown Bethesda. We walked for about an hour, did some window shopping, talked about our future plans & even got to enjoy some music from an electric street cellist."


Charlie + Laura {See their engagement session + wedding day}
Married for 6 months

Bull Run Golf Club wedding

Date Night Idea #7: Go for a romantic stroll

"One of our favorite dates is a simple, peaceful walk around Roosevelt Island, which always generates fun & important conversations between Laura & I."

Date Night Idea #8: Sit back & enjoy the view

"If we're feeling adventurous, we'll bring picnic foods & climb out onto the rocks in the Potomac River to enjoy the contrast between the busy Georgetown Waterfront across the river & the wooded island behind us."


Thanks to all our amazing couples who shared some of their favorite date night spots & activities with us! Here's to a wonderful Valentine's Day weekend with your love :)