So… he popped the question and you said YES! You’re busy enjoying that extra sparkle on your left hand and it’s hard to think about anything else! You are stepping into one of the most special and exciting seasons of your life. There is so much newness and joy in store for you – soak every single bit of it in!

      Maybe you’re the gal who’s been excited to start planning her wedding since you were a little girl. Maybe you are just now realizing the major task at hand. Either way, don’t fear! When I was thinking about what to include in this post, I knew I wanted to be as helpful as possible to all you newly engaged brides – without being overwhelming! So I asked myself… if I had 5 minutes to give my best advice for a newly engaged couple, what would it be?

      So, for the next five minutes, here are my best pieces of advice for you. I could give you tons and tons! But, here are some of the most important – take it from me. 🙂

      Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

      Before I start sharing any BIG advice, I want to remind you why you’re walking through this season in the first place! At the end of all of the wedding planning, you get to marry the man of your dreams – the one you’ve waited for your whole life! When you spend your entire engagement remembering that one thing, it doesn’t seem like such a big deal if the flowers don’t turn out exactly as you envisioned. With that in mind, it doesn’t seem like the end of the world if the caterer you wanted is already booked. Those might seem like a big deal at first, but when you realize that those things pale in comparison to marrying him, they start to look like small things after all. Trust me, don’t sweat that small stuff!

      Set Your Priorities

      There are so many details, big and small, that come with planning your wedding. You have to book big vendors – like your photographer, planner, DJ, florist, and venue. But you also have to keep track of the little things – like buying a garter or deciding what your vows will be. Before you even think about planning a single detail, I recommend you make a list of your priorities from top to bottom! This is especially important for your big vendors because it will help you when you’re faced with tough budget decisions. If your venue is first priority (many times it is) then put that at the top. If your photographer (yay!) or planner is second, then put that next. Continue until you have made your list! Every now and then, look back on the list to help keep your priorities in order.

      Get the Right Team on Board

      I always tell my brides, “when you know, you know.” When you meet with potential vendors (aka, the people you’ll be spending your wedding day with!), sometimes you immediately connect with them and you just know. I’ve had many couples tell me that when we finished our initial consultation, they got in the car, looked at each other and said, “she’s our photographer!” They knew they wanted me to spend their wedding day with them and they got the right photographer on board for them. Find vendors you like. Find people you trust. Find people who care about you. And get them on your team!

      Take Breaks from Wedding Planning

      Once you get a little deeper into the wedding planning process, it may start to feel like a whirlwind that just won’t quit. It may keep feeling like that until you’re honeymooning with your new hubs… and you may look back and regret the fact that you never really took time to enjoy the process. So, don’t forget to take a break every now and then! Go on a date and set a strict “no wedding planning” rule! Just enjoy being engaged to your man. Trust me, he will be thankful for the break too!

      Give Yourself (and Everyone Around You) GRACE!

      Sometimes, things just don’t go as planned. Life happens. Things get hard. And you may end up getting disappointed! I know you’re thinking… “Yikes, thanks for being a bummer Kieran…” But seriously, I want to share some truth with you!! Wedding planning – like anything else – will never be absolutely perfect. I’m not saying you won’t end up with a beautiful wedding, but I am saying you can’t expect everything to go exactly how you planned! Give people grace. Give yourself grace. This is meant to be such a sweet and special time and I hope you are able to sit back and enjoy it all! Go back to what I said at the beginning and remember that your wedding day is all about the two of you getting to spend the rest of your life together. Breathe. Enjoy this whole process with family and friends and it will be the best ever!

      If you are looking for more of my advice to brides, you can follow along here! Each Wednesday, I post a new tip or trick to help make wedding planning for enjoyable. 🙂

      Kieran Claire is a photographer based in Greenville, SC who specializes in romantic, elegant, and timeless weddings & portraits.