Destination Wedding // Packing List

If you are getting married out of state I cannot emphasize this enough… MAKE A PACKING LIST (and check it twice). Seriously, this is your big day and you do NOT want to forget anything of importance. Below is a brief packing list my mom and I made to help you out if you’re stumped or nervous you’re forgetting something. Also, I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and we need a temple recommend to be sealed so this may not be applicable to all of you but you can replace it with any documents you may need for your ceremony (Marriage License perhaps??)

  • Wedding Dress + Shoes
  • Wedding Accessories (Headband, Earrings, etc.)
  • Bennett’s Wedding Ring
  • Make-Up (I did my own make up so I had specific Wedding Make-Up different from my day to day)
  • Temple Recommend (or Marriage License*)
  • Perfume
  • Hair Products (Curling Iron, Bobby Pins, Elastics, Brush, etc.)
  • Any Prescriptions
  • Warm Clothes (We were in DC + NYC for our honeymoon, if you’re going tropical replace with swimsuits!)
  • Shoes (good walking shoes)
  • Day to Day Make-Up
  • Toiletries (Toothbrush, Toothpaste, Face Wash, Floss, etc.)
  • Lotion
  • Underwear (yeah, ya definitely don’t want to forget this)

Another thing you may want to consider is packing all of your wedding items (shoes, accessories, make-up, dress) in your carry-on. If the airport loses your bag you could be in deep trouble… Especially your dress! And you can carry-on your dress and depending on the plane and airline they will most likely let you hang it in the closet. Or if you are super paranoid you can put it on your lap ūüėČ

* Depending on what state you are getting married in you may have to bring the Marriage License with you or the state/place will hold your Marriage License for up to 6 months (how perfect for us quick engagement folk).

Best of luck brides! What is on your destination wedding packing list?

Destination Wedding

Mandi Nelson Photography


Invitations 101

All that matters is you get to marry the love of your life… But you are putting in all this effort for a reception so you want people! Nobody will show up to your wedding if you don’t invite them, so get going on these ASAP! Here’s a few quick steps to get you started.

  1. Seek Inspiration //¬†My go to inspiration site is of course Pinterest, probably like everyone else… But hey they do have some great inspiration ideas that may kick start you own brilliant design or you may find the exact one you want. Whatever you end up finding there is never any harm in seeking inspiration.Pinterest Inspiration
  2. Find Your Designer // Look around or ask around, find someone who can create the invitation you imagine or who can create a beautiful one on their own. But find them quick! You never know how long the person you want could take creating them.
  3. Guests + Addresses //¬†I will warn you: this part is extremely time consuming and sometimes a big hassle! Get going on this immediately or you will regret it and may miss some people that you wanted to get an invite to… Whether you create a Facebook event or ask each person GET IT DONE.
  4. Pack + Play¬†//¬†Putting your invites together can actually be pretty fun. You get to see what they look like and your wedding feels that more real. I would highly recommend gathering friends and family. Not only do you guys get to catch up while doing something fun for you wedding but it will save you A LOT of time. So hang out, make some snacks (not messy ones, you don’t want those beautiful invitations to have food smears), and pack up those invites!

That’s really all I have for you for wedding invitations. It varies with each person and there are a lot more minor things to go into your invites but as you begin these steps everything will come together great ūüôā

Finding the Right Wedding Photographer

The photographer is one of the most important decisions you will make during the wedding planning process. Like I briefly mentioned in The Wedding To-Do List post previously, you want to find the right photographer because they will be taking the photos that you will be looking back on the rest of your life. The pictures your photographer takes becomes your tangible memory book. Ensuring you pick a photographer you love should be on the top of your to-do list. So how do you find the photographer that will really capture your special day?

  • Style //¬†In my humble opinion finding the photographer with your style is CRUCIAL! Do you like the photos more edited? Natural? Indoor? Outdoor? Artsy? Portrait? If you pick a photographer that isn’t your style you most likely won’t like the pictures, no matter what you or the photographer are doing. Here is a sample from the photographer I used for my wedding and she is AMAZING! Her style is very natural and simply beautiful which is my personal preference for style.

Mandi Nelson PhotographyMandi Nelson Photography

  • Availability // Is your photographer going to be available on your wedding day? Check this first! You don’t want to get your hopes up for a photographer and find out they aren’t available. So ask if they are free on your wedding day and how busy they will be your wedding week. You want your photographer to be able to put their full focus on your wedding and not be distracted by the thousand of other weddings they have coming up. Most are very professional but it’s always nice to check. Also, make sure that they can book a time for engagements and bridals quickly since you are on a tight time crunch!
  • Budget //¬†Don’t even think about a photographer out of your budget… It’s just like trying on a dress, if you try one above your price range you will fall in love and then everything else will seem only mediocre even if they are amazing.
  • Recommendations //¬†It’s always nice to know you’re photographer is loved by many. So ask around and see who people suggest. You don’t have to rely on google for all the answers, your friends or family may have the perfect photographer for you.

Keep in mind if you have a¬†short engagement you will need to find a photographer as soon as possible. Between research, hiring, booking an engagement session, getting those back, and picking the picture for your invites it takes quite a bit of time. From the time we got engaged and received engagement photos back (not picking one and printing it for invites either) it took us 6 weeks. So get on this as soon as you can!¬†And remember your photographer should be completely your and your grooms choice. Pick the one you love that will portray your big day just the way you’ve always envisioned.

PS: Here’s a great site to look for photographers you need in your area if the recommendations you receive aren’t quite what you are looking for! It’s called Thumbtack. Best of luck!

The Wedding Planning Journey

Getting engaged is one of the most exciting things to ever happen. ¬†When I got engaged on September 6 I remember I COULD NOT¬†stop smiling. ¬†It was the happiest day of my life up to that point. ¬†But a couple days later as the excitement settled and I was able to unscrew my smile, the wedding planning chaos began. I immediately purchased a notebook and right away the first couple pages were filled with “must-do” items for the wedding and all I remember thinking was “crap, how will this ever get done in time for our wedding??”

Now depending on how long your engagement is you could have plenty of time to perfect every last wedding detail. However, I had exactly 77 days until we were to be married… And along with planning chaos I needed to manage 19 credits, be a great employee at my part time job, and coordinate wedding plans with my mom who lives on the other side of the country. So if you also feel ridiculously overwhelmed with¬†balancing your crazy life and planning your dream wedding, you are not alone. So please chime in on how you have managed to plan your wedding as I share how I have planned mine and maybe we can make life just a little easier for those future brides with a chaotic life and a short engagement entering the wedding planning journey.

The Wedding Planning Journey