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  • Writer's pictureTamara Merri

5 things we did different for our wedding

Updated: Apr 5

My husband, Paul, and I got married in July of 2021. I had been in the wedding industry for about four years before we got married and while it's such a joy to play a part in a couple's day, I decided there were a few changes I wanted to make for our wedding!

To start, we had a micro-wedding! I'm not sure if it's because I had already been to so many weddings already or if I would've chosen this path even without this profession, but it just felt so right to only invite those who are the absolute closest to us. We invited 25 people and said "I do" on a Thursday on the coast of Maine in Acadia National Park.

Almost everyone was family but we also invited each of our two best friends. We chose Acadia because it was one of the first trips we took together when we started dating so it's a really special place for us. We feel so grounded when we're exploring the beautiful coast, hiking the different mountain trails, and eating our way through Bar Harbor. We chose a Thursday for our celebration with family because there was fewer people in the park on a weekday, we had the whole weekend following to spend with our family in the park, and it was also when our ideal photographer and all of our people were available.

5 things we did different for our wedding

Having a small wedding aside, here are a five of the things we did different than what you normally see at weddings:

  1. We took our couples photos and shared our private vows the day before our wedding

  2. We helped each other get ready

  3. We stood next to each other while our officiant was off to side for the ceremony

  4. Paul wore a pocket square 'boutonniere' instead of a flower on his lapel

  5. Our MOH / BM shared their speeches during the ceremony rather than the reception

1. Why we took photos day before our wedding:

It's all too common for couples to miss out on some of their wedding day due to photos. I didn't want to leave our celebration even for a minute. Not before the ceremony, and not after. I wanted to be with all of our people the whole time and really soak in every minute of the day. It goes by so fast!

We wanted photos somewhere adventurous, and I knew that in order to get the photos, we'd have to leave our guests for several hours. It just made sense to do them the day before in order to have the best of both worlds! It also provided us with a moment to say our vows privately, just the two of us, in the place we loved so much.

Also, I didn't want to have to feel like I had to stay photo ready and perfect all day. I'm not a very prim and proper girly and I knew my hair would probably be messed up before the first hour, I'd be barefoot, would probably spill on myself, etc. So it was nice to know we had all our 'clean' photos done and I could actually just live. For instance, my pup walked over my dress with dirty paws and it didn't matter a lick. I actually LOVE that I have his little pawsies on my dress now.

Plus, by doing photos the day before I got to have two different hair styles in photos, and just more photos overall.

couple kissing at acadia national park elopement
Photo By: Kelsey Converse Photography

2. Why we helped each other get ready:

We helped each other get ready for our photos the day before. I've always pictured him helping me to tie up my dress and me help him with his tie so it was really special when the moment came.

On the wedding day, I had this whole vision that we were going to get ready together and then the wedding party (the only friends that were invited were invited as bridesmaids + groomsmen) to play drinking games. Well, my hair and makeup ran late so we didn't have the opportunity to hang out beforehand like I wanted, but I still helped him with his cufflinks and got to chat with the groomsmen.

I'm also not one for a "big reveal" so I didn't want to have the anticipation of a first look. I just wanted to see each other naturally and as our outfits progressed. It didn't make it any less special and honestly I think it really enhanced the moment for both of us. A wedding day is between two people, so sometimes I find it strange that we're "not allowed" to see each other until a certain time. In my opinion, I wanted to spend the most time possible with the person I'm about to marry.

3. Why we stood next to each other at the ceremony:

- We got to look at our guests more than just each other

- The ceremony photos have us actually facing camera without someone between us

- However, for our "I do's" and ring exchange we went to the traditional setup

- It was easier to have our dog with us

Acadia national park wedding ceremony at otter point
Photo By: Kelsey Converse Photography

4. Why we opted for a pocket square boutonniere:

- We loved the look of it

- It wasn't hard to put on (I always get stuck with having to pin bouts at weddings!)

- Longevity (I still have it on my desk shelf as decor)

- We also got magnetic bouts for the groomsmen for ease

5. Why our MOH / BM speeches were during the ceremony

- It allowed all the formal + emotional aspects at one time

- It prevented as much of a nervous lead up for them to wait all day for them til the reception

- My video team wasn't at dinner so it ensured we'd have their speeches recorded

- It made the reception feel more go-with-the-flow and informal (which was our goal)

Other things we did differently at our wedding

  1. Instead of cutting the wedding cake we shared a cupcake.

  2. We didn't plan for a dance floor. However, our sunset sail got canceled due to weather and so that resulted in a longer open bar with spontaneous drunken dancing from everyone!

  3. My brother officiated our ceremony. It's becoming more popular to have a love one officiate but I still see many couples opt for a professional or a priest.

  4. We had both a welcome party and a newlywed brunch with everyone invited. This isn't quite SO different from other weddings, but it was really important to us to spend as much time as possible with our guests since they were flying in from all over the country.

  5. Our pup wore a little tuxedo harness and stayed by our sides (on leash) for the whole ceremony. We wanted our best buddy to be right next to us as we became a family.

Acadia National Park shoreline with sailboat
Photo by: Kelsey Converse Photography

Three things I'd change about my wedding:

  1. For the reception we had a farmhouse, family style table. I thought that not having a seating chart would make it fun so that everyone intermingled between the families. Kind of a "sit where there's a spot" kind of thing. Well it turns out that it made it more stressful for people trying to find a seat near the people they wanted to talk to and people got moved all around. So I wish I made assigned seats.

  2. I would have insisted that my hair and makeup start earlier so I could hang out with the wedding party before we left for the ceremony.

  3. I can't control this, but it would've been nice if it didn't rain so we could've experienced the sunset cruise.

I've photographed so many beautiful weddings but it's inevitable that something small goes wrong throughout the day. The most important thing on a wedding day is mindset. Having a positive mindset and being present will ensure that you have the best day ever no matter what happens!

I hope this blog has encouraged you to embrace what you truly want for your day and to customize the events to better fit your personalities! If you want to see more about our wedding planning process, I wrote a blog about that too!

Craving more? Here are some weddings I've photographed where my couple also chose to do something unique during their wedding day:

  • Jessie + Joe took a boat ride in the middle of their wedding day

  • Lauren + Danny had a prolonged rooftop cocktail hour in Boston

  • Elsie + Mike had their speeches during the ceremony which is where I got the idea!

Note: All photos in this blog were taken by Kelsey Converse Photography.



Tamara Merri Photography


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I'm Tamara!

I'm a Massachusetts wedding & elopement photographer. I'm the voice behind this blog and the girl behind the camera. 

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