Master May 2018

Afternoon Church Wedding Pro bam (very long... i have no self control)

A.Magill.Since.May, on June 10, 2018 at 6:19 PM

Posted in Married Life 54

This is going to be very long because my photographer sent me a highlight reel of her favorites and I love them all and don't have the self-control to choose only a few so I'm hurrying up to do my BAM post before she sends me the full gallery and my problem is amplified lol. Advice and stories will...

This is going to be very long because my photographer sent me a highlight reel of her favorites and I love them all and don't have the self-control to choose only a few so I'm hurrying up to do my BAM post before she sends me the full gallery and my problem is amplified lol. Advice and stories will be sprinkled throughout.

So Background Details:

We got married 5/19 in Tallahassee, FL.

Total Headcount: 45

Venue: Saint John's Episcopal Church (priest and organist included)

Photographer: Brittany Morgan

Florist: Hilly Fields Florist and Gifts

Caterer: Fran Doxsee LLC

Bar Service: Top Shelf Events

DJ: Fire Entertainment

Bridesmaid Dresses: Azazie

Tux Rentals: Men's Warehouse

My dress was my MIL's. I had it altered by Debbie Cortese Bridal Alterations and cleaned and pressed (and now being preserved) through Bobbie Williams (Prepare THE Dress) I strongly recommend both to anyone in the Tallahassee area.

Hair and Makeup were semi-DIY. My best friend/ MOH did my makeup and my sister/BM did my hair. I know DIY makeup and "friendors" are both highly discouraged here. Normally I agree. My budget came down to providing a proper bar or having a proper HMUA and I made the right call. My girls volunteered to help because they love me and they are skilled in ways I am not. We did two trial runs of each to make sure everything was going to work out.

Advice #1: If the budget is tight, Cut corners where it won't hurt your guests' experience. I went for an afternoon wedding with a shorter lunch reception (1pm-5pm) to make sure I was able to provide for my guests' experience the whole time. We had a lunch buffet (still had two meat options and a silent vegetarian option), We had open beer, cider, and wine instead of a full bar, we only had five hours of photography, we limited flowers, and as mentioned above we skipped professional hair and makeup. Our wedding was still amazing and nearly all of the guests told me so. Some of them mentioned it was much better than expected (they are used to cash bars on one side of the family, and dry weddings on the other lol)

Advice #2: Don't be afraid that a small wedding means a boring wedding. I mention this now because this was my greatest fear. That the church would look empty and the reception would look empty and there wouldn't be enough people to really have a party and everyone would get bored and leave. This is NOT a problem. If you invite your nearest and dearest, your ceremony will be beautiful and meaningful with them there. If you know your crowd and provide them with good music, good food, and some drinks, the reception will be a party!

Advice #3: Hire a photographer you click with, then trust them. You will spend more time with the photographer during your wedding than basically anyone else. If you find a photographer with gorgeous work but you don't like them when you meet, don't go for it. You need someone who you like both their work and their personality. Then trust them!! My photographer helped us navigate a very tight timeline and took phenomenal photos (in my opinion at least, scroll down and judge for yourself). She took so many creative shots and arrangements we never could have figured out on our own. Trusting her and listening to her helped our day smoothly and our pictures turn out well.

Invite and hanging dresscfb_973850.jpgDetails and Invitecfb_973852.jpgFlowers and Jewelrycfb_973854.jpgThe bouquetscfb_973856.jpgDress Bodice close upcfb_973858.jpg

We actually did our hair and makeup before getting to the church and before starting photography because of our limited photography time, but we did do some adorable getting ready shots!

Robe and Petticoatscfb_973862.jpg

Getting Ready Sillinesscfb_973864.jpg

Finishing getting ready with mom and the girlscfb_973866.jpgMom zipping the dress, my girls fixing my petticoatscfb_973868.jpg

Finishing touches with the earringscfb_973870.jpgMOH fixing my veilcfb_973872.jpg

Next I did a brief first look with my father. It was a really special moment for us and I'm so glad my photographer remembered me asking for it during our first consultation (by the time the wedding came around it had totally slipped my mind.

Surprising my Dad with a first lookcfb_973876.jpg

First look with Dad. I almost cried when he teared upcfb_973878.jpg

First Look with Dadcfb_973880.jpg

We only had our one photographer, and I honestly cannot tell you how she managed to get all of these getting ready shots done. It's like she was in two places at once! Here's my groom Smiley heart

My handsome husband Smiley heartcfb_973882.jpg

MOG pinning the bout before the first lookcfb_973884.jpg

Advice #4: I'm going to pause here and STRONGLY recommend considering a first look! It made perfect sense for us time wise and was so incredibly special to have this private moment. I promise it does not ruin walking down the aisle. It gives you a chance to hug and see each other up close when you don't have tons of eyes on you and a ceremony to be getting on with!

Waiting for the First Lookcfb_973886.jpg

The First Lookcfb_973890.jpg

The first look: seriously his smile when he turned around made me meltcfb_973892.jpg

Pre-Ceremony Portraits in the churchcfb_973894.jpgPre-Ceremony Couples Portraitscfb_973896.jpgShout out to my MOH for fanning my veilcfb_973898.jpg

Wedding party portrait in the churchcfb_973900.jpg

Advice #5: Ask only exactly who you want to be in your wedding party, everyone else will get over it. As is obvious in this picture, our wedding party is both uneven and has ladies on the groom's side. This is the perfect bunch of people to stand with us and I am so glad we decided traditional opinions about genders and matching sides did not matter a bit.

Me and my bridesmaidscfb_973902.jpgUs againcfb_973904.jpg

Groom and Groomspeoplecfb_973906.jpg

Wedding party portraitcfb_973910.jpgWhole Wedding party portraitscfb_973912.jpg

Last Pre-Ceremony Portraitscfb_973918.jpg

Moving on to the ceremony! We got married in a church that put a lot of restrictions on where the photographer could be. She had to stay in the back of the church or in the balcony. She got around that for the bridal entrance aisle picture below by taking a staged one. I assume there will be more pictures of the processional before my entrance in our full gallery when we get that back in the next few weeks.

Bride's Entrancecfb_973914.jpg

Bride's procesional (staged photo left)cfb_973916.jpg

Advice #6: Talk to your officiant and make your ceremony your own. This bit of advice is most relevant for me with the below photo. We were married in the Episcopal Church and had to use the established wedding liturgy from a 40 year old Prayer Book, so we were limited in the "make your ceremony fit you" department but we still did it. We didn't just follow the standard goings we read the liturgy and looked at all of our options. The book gave us the option of doing an egalitarian presentation: "Who presents these two to be married?" with the answer as "I do" from all four parents, instead of the normal presentation of the Bride. We were the first couple our priest has ever married that looked it up and decided to do it. I strongly advice everyone, no matter how traditional you are, to think about what aspects might be really important to you and see what can be accommodated.

Presentation of Bride and Groomcfb_973922.jpg

The ceremony with the wedding partycfb_973924.jpg

Stepping up to the Altercfb_973926.jpg

Advice #7: If your dress is big and your train is long, it'll have to be adjusted around every time you walk until you bustle it. Even mid-ceremony. If this will annoy or embarrass you, consider a less obtrusive dress style option.

The Vows and Laughtercfb_973928.jpg

The Kiss!cfb_973930.jpg

The Recessionalcfb_973932.jpg

Post-Ceremony Signing the Licensecfb_973934.jpg

A Private Moment before Family Portraits After the Ceremonycfb_973936.jpg

I am not going to post any family portraits because this post is going to be monstrously long as it is. I do have some advice though: Advice #8: Make sure every individual who needs to be somewhere for pictures knows ahead of time. Maybe this is another "know your crowd" moment, but I had trusted that telling the parents/leaders of each family group where they needed to be was sufficient because people would communicate. This was not the case and we ended up waiting around as people had to go find others and bring them back.

Post Ceremony Photos in the Church's front gardencfb_973938.jpgFountain Portraitscfb_973940.jpgOne of my favorite portraits before I got bustledcfb_973942.jpg

On the way to the parish hall for the reception entrancecfb_973944.jpgPortraitscfb_973946.jpgMy favorites Smiley heartcfb_973948.jpg

I could finally move!cfb_973950.jpg

On to the Reception!!!!

Advice #9: If decor isn't your passion, don't sweat it. Simple is beautiful too. I am not huge on decorating and I was so nervous leading up to my wedding that my stylistic choices would look sad or plain on the day of the wedding. Many kind souls here talked me down one day shortly before that I didn't need to buy a bunch more stuff and that it would be fine. They were right. Everything was perfectly suited to me, and the guests really don't care.

Reception decor, my in-law's toasting glassescfb_973952.jpgTable centerpieces and my spray-painted sweetheart table blockcfb_973954.jpgOur cake, and the incredible ring photo with the cake toppercfb_973956.jpg

Advice #10: Make the reception timeline and events suit your day, don't try to force yourself into whatever the "normal" or "traditional" set up is. We decided not to do the bouquet or garter toss because, well, we didn't want to. Then we rearranged the reception events to suit us and the time we had left with the photographer. We did Entrance, immediately followed by first dance, then welcome speech and meal. An hour into the meal we did the toasts, then the cake cutting immediately followed by the joint parents' dance, then we opened the dance floor for the remainder of the reception. It wasn't the standard set up but it worked beautifully for us. It didn't confuse the guests or make anyone leave early. Do it your way, everything will go great.

Entrance and First Dancecfb_973960.jpg

First Dancecfb_973962.jpg

Advice #11: Some things may go wrong. As long as it doesn't hurt anyone, be ready to laugh it off. About 45 seconds into our first dance the song cut off and then started over. Everyone notice and was looking around confused. My husband and I made the decision to just call it quits early rather than keep dancing with the hopes the four minute song had no repeat issues. We made this choice partially because it was already made awkward but mostly because we aren't great dancers anyway and were happy to have the dance behind us. We moved on with jokes and a laugh, one of the DJ apologetically explained the error and we told him it was no big deal and we were happy to keep the reception going. It was the tiniest blip in our day, but would have been a real issue if we let it upset us.

Laughing together, waiting for the welcome speech and the buffet to be ready.cfb_973966.jpg


Our reactions during speechescfb_973970.jpg

Figuring out that cake cutting is not one of my talentscfb_973972.jpg

Feeding each other cake nicelycfb_973974.jpg

Me and my dad during the joint parents' dancecfb_973978.jpgMy groom and MILcfb_973980.jpg

The Official Group Shot!cfb_973984.jpg

Party Time!cfb_973990.jpgSilliness during the party cfb_973992.jpg

I applaud you if you've made it all the way to the end of my unnecessarily long BAM. I am so thankful for Wedding Wire. I've received so much wonderful advice and felt such a sense of community. I hope all of you future brides and grooms enjoyed my BAM as much I've enjoyed seeing them over the past year! Congratulations and good luck with planning!


  • Kristina
    Dedicated June 2018
    Kristina ·
    • Flag
    Looks like you had an amazing day, thanks for sharing your wisdom and congratulations you looked amazing!
    • Reply
  • futurmrslowe
    Super December 2018
    futurmrslowe ·
    • Flag
    Absolutely. Beautiful. The vintage dress is gorgeous! The church was stunning. I love your pops of red in the flowers!
    • Reply
  • Kimberly
    Expert May 2018
    Kimberly ·
    • Flag
    I made it to the end!! Your wedding looks beautiful and fun! Congratulations!!
    • Reply
  • starsinwaves
    VIP November 2018
    starsinwaves ·
    • Flag
    Seriously stunning pictures! Thanks for the thorough BAM, I loved reading it.
    • Reply
  • ERBride
    Expert September 2018
    ERBride ·
    • Flag
    Omg I loved this! Your pics are amazing and you guys look so happy!!!
    • Reply
  • Casey
    VIP December 2018
    Casey ·
    • Flag
    This BAM is seriously making me regret not getting married in a beautiful, historic church like this. I have no personal ties to one but AHH ceremony venue envy is real!
    your advice was wonderful and I enjoyed reading everything. You two make a beautiful couple and I can tell you have a beautiful family / friends!
    • Reply
  • ap2al
    VIP October 2018
    ap2al ·
    • Flag
    Wow, I mean wow! Your pictures are gorgeous! You, your husband, and everyone looked sooo beautiful and happy; it made me tear up! :’) congratulations!

    Thank you for the advice! I, and I’m sure others, extremely appreciate it; I love hearing what worked best from the brides who had their special day Smiley smile as far as the reception goes, your setup/timeline of events is exactly what we were planning, so I feel a little bit better it worked out for you! I’m so glad you had a wonderful day Smiley smile congrats again!
    • Reply
  • LoveAlwaysWin
    Devoted August 2018
    LoveAlwaysWin ·
    • Flag
    Aww I love the first look with your dad. Everything looks so nice and thank you for the great advice.
    • Reply
  • earias
    Champion December 2017
    earias ·
    • Flag
    Gorgeous pictures! Absolutely love how your dress turned out. It could not have been more perfect! Congrats!
    • Reply
  • A.Magill.Since.May
    Master May 2018
    A.Magill.Since.May ·
    • Flag
    Two more quick pieces of advice while I'm thinking about it!
    1. Getting your engagement ring cleaned the day before the wedding and then set it aside or be very careful with it until after your photographer gets detail shots. I didn't do this, I had it cleaned earlier in the week but then wore it all week anyway and I think it looks a lot duller in the detail pictures than it could have if I was more careful about having it very clean.
    2. This is probably another "know your crowd" moment, but go ahead and have a hashtag if you think your guests might use it. I'm not a big Instagram user, so I didn't really emphasize my hashtag idea (#magillsinmay) to anyone, and my new sister-in-law ended up coming up with a new one on her own (#magillroyalwedding) on the day of the rehearsal and using it without talking to us, then many of my guests actually used it, and I wish I had let them know the one I liked more ahead of time.
    • Reply
  • Lisa & Watson
    Super October 2018
    Lisa & Watson ·
    • Flag

    Congratulations!!!!! Beautiful Wedding! Your wedding Photo's are Amazing. Thanks for sharing and thanks for all the Great Advice.

    • Reply
  • MrsV1027
    Master October 2018
    MrsV1027 ·
    • Flag

    Looks like an amazing day!

    • Reply
  • Caitlin
    Devoted October 2018
    Caitlin ·
    • Flag
    We are doing pretty much the same timeline for our reception! I really love the group photo. I haven't thought about that but may ask my photographer if we can do one! Congrats!!!
    • Reply
  • Heather
    Super April 2018
    Heather ·
    • Flag

    So beautiful!! Congratulations!!

    • Reply
  • Mrs.Sanok
    VIP September 2018
    Mrs.Sanok ·
    • Flag

    Congratulations! The pictures are beautiful! Smiley love

    • Reply
  • PBiazinha
    VIP May 2018
    PBiazinha ·
    • Flag

    Congratulations!!! What a beautiful wedding - and great advices! I had a similar guest count and I totally second you on how it can be just as special as a big wedding!

    You two look great and super happy! Best wishes!

    • Reply
  • Jennifer
    Master September 2018
    Jennifer ·
    • Flag

    Beautiful! Congratulations!

    • Reply
  • Kodi
    Super April 2019
    Kodi ·
    • Flag

    Congrats!! It was beautiful Smiley heart

    • Reply
  • Kristina
    Master August 2018
    Kristina ·
    • Flag

    You look so incredibly happy and gorgeous! Thank you for all of the advice, I'm sure it'll help a LOT of people on here, myself included!!!


    • Reply
  • SRD
    Devoted June 2019
    SRD ·
    • Flag
    Beautiful wedding and pics! Love the fan veil blow!
    • Reply

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