Being a Southern California wedding photographer, I’ve witnessed countless couples getting married and planning a wedding of a lifetime. At the same time, I wish more couples knew how to have an intentional wedding day instead of feeling like they have to do things that don’t align with them! In this blog, I’ll be listing 7 different ways to be intentional when planning your Southern California wedding!

Make sure you know your priorities

The first step in having an intentional Southern California wedding is to make sure you and your partner know your priorities! This looks different for every single couple, so sit down and identify yours early on in the wedding planning process. Being super clear on this will help you make intentional decisions about every single aspect of your wedding day!!

If you’re having trouble coming up with a list of priorities, don’t worry! Some couples choose to prioritize family, spirituality, the location of their wedding, the experience of their guests, or even eco-friendliness! I recommend having a little brainstorming session with your partner to figure out what is the most important to you on your big day. Then, making decisions that align with those priorities will be so much easier!

Choose your wedding details with intention 

Don’t forget that literally every aspect of your wedding day CAN be intentional. From the venue you choose to your specialty cocktails, everything can have a purpose! I know it’s easy to feel pressured into making quick decisions for the sake of checking things off a to-do list, but try to avoid that as much as possible. Before you make any wedding planning decisions, try and think about it will contribute to the overall feel and purpose of your Southern California wedding. If you decide to hire a wedding planner, be sure to chat with them about what your priorities are so they can be mindful of them when making decisions or presenting you with different options!

PS – Try to avoid just brushing things off or letting other people make decisions for you and your partner. If you’re going to delegate, then be sure to brief them on what your wedding day intentions are!

Don’t skip your engagement session!

As a Southern California wedding photographer, I know that there is SO much value in taking the time to have an engagement session. This is such a perfect opportunity to connect with your partner and get some really freaking cute photos out of it! I mean, come on, how adorable is this Sailboat Engagement Session?? You can’t tell me you don’t want amazing photos like that!!

More than just having the photos, getting in front of the camera before your wedding day will get you wayyyy more comfortable, especially if you’re prone get nervous! Once you get your engagement session out of the way, you’ll be able to let loose and be so much more present on your wedding day instead of stressing about how you look in the photos. Trust me, once we get to know each other, you’ll be plenty comfortable taking photos with me there!

Lastly, engagement sessions are a chance to have FUN! Wedding planning can get overwhelming at times, so being able to take a break and spend some quality time with your partner is never a bad idea. In fact, I have an entire blog post all about How to Make the Most Out of Your California Engagement Session that you should definitely check out!

Incorporate meaningful wedding rituals

Incorporating meaningful rituals into your wedding day can look like anything you want it to. It can be writing your own personal vows, having a first touch or first look, praying with your family and friends, or anything else that feels right to you and your partner! For example, Sarah & Skyler (check out their blog here!) said prayers with their wedding party to set the intention for the rest of the day and it was SO sweet.

If you’re religious, choose which rituals you want to incorporate into your wedding day and when you want those to take place. If you and your partner have different religious beliefs or cultural backgrounds, have a conversation about what does and doesn’t feel right to include! Some cultural traditions are viewed as extremely important, especially by family members who have been keeping these traditions for generations. But, remember, if it doesn’t feel right, you do not have to include it! You’re trying to be intentional about what YOU and your partner want, not everyone else. Don’t let anyone, even family members, pressure you into anything that doesn’t align!

There are also plentyyy of non-religious rituals you can include on your wedding day like having a tree planting ceremony, ring warming ceremony, having one of your family members officiate, and so many more!

Connect with your guests on your wedding day 

I’m sure that if you’re going through all of the effort to plan a wedding with your friends and family, you’re going to want to make them feel welcome and included! You can put some extra thought into what your seating arrangements look like, give your guests personalized ‘thank you’ notes, or plan some interactive activities! So many couples are also having their guests record voicemails using After the Tone, which I think is SUCH a cute idea!! Try and brainstorm ways to really connect with your favorite people during cocktail hour or reception. Things like having a group dance, renting a photo booth, having an intimate dinner, or hosting an afterparty are all great ways to do this!!

Be present and mindful the entire day

This one can sometimes be so hard for couples to do! Your one and only priority on your wedding day should be staying grounded and ENJOYING yourselves!! This is a celebration! If you’re not hiring a full-on wedding planner, at least hire a day-of coordinator so that no one is coming to you or your partner if something goes wrong. I promise you, this will be so worth it!

Additionally, be sure to take breaks throughout the day to be present with your partner. Having a first look is a great way to do this early on in the day!! I have an entire blog post dedicated to helping you decide if you should have a first look or not – you can check it out here! You can also write letters to each other before or after getting ready and then read them to each other in private for a sweet moment alone.

Choose to prioritize the little moments

Last, but not least, I encourage you two to choose to prioritize the little moments on your wedding day! Things like setting aside time for you and your mom (Or someone else who’s special to you!) to help you put your dress on, having a special moment with your grandparents if they’re in attendance, or even doing a first look with your fur baby can be the things you’ll remember the most! You can even incorporate something special with your wedding party like a toast before the start of the day. Whoever is most important to you, you’re allowed to carve out special time with them on such an important day!

Let’s get you married!

Now that you know exactly how to have an intentional wedding day, it’s time to get you married! If you’re still looking for a Southern California wedding photographer, I’m your girl!! Head over to my contact form to inquire with me and I’ll get back to you asap. I can’t wait to chat with you!

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Alissa Rose

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Hey there

I am so happy you found me! Here’s a bit about this fun-loving girl behind the lens. I am a born-and-raised beach kid from Carlsbad, CA—a small, coastal town in North County San Diego. These days, I’m based in Long Beach and I travel around this big, beautiful world doing my dream job, which is capturing the moments and memories you want to relive over and over again.