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Who Said You Can’t? Breaking the “Rules” of Wedding Planning

September 16, 2019

September 16, 2019. Written by Courtney N. Shale

Who Said You Can’t? Breaking the “rules” of wedding planning

I don’t know about you, but rules are meant to be broken.

Let’s dive in, shall we?

As a wedding planner; I get hundreds of messages from couples who are planning their wedding, asking questions and making statements like “am I supposed to…”, “so and so said I need to…”, “but I thought I have to do that…”, “isn’t it supposed to be like…”, “so and so did this so I have to too…”.

I’m here to say WHO SAID? There are NO rules!

Getting engaged and planning a wedding is a HUGE milestone in a couple’s journey together; it is a time that is meant to be fun, heavily celebrated and enjoyable for all involved- NOT something that should be weighed down with “he said, she said” and sorting through unspoken rules of what couples can and can’t do (or should and shouldn’t do).

When couples get engaged, many times there is a sense of feeling overwhelmed and pressured by friends, family, colleagues, the latest trends, Pinterest blogs, Insta-Famous celebs… all of which who have “been there done that” and often fall into the trap of thinking that there is only one way to do things.

Fun fact, it’s YOUR day. You have full permission to do WHATEVER YOU WANT, friend! And I’m here to support you and be your advocate.

This brings me to a story I want to share and the premise of what sparked this post and topic in the first place.

A couple weeks ago I was chatting with my bride Danielle about topics for education on my Instagram. Throughout our planning process together thus far, there have been a few times where we debunked common industry/wedding planning misconceptions and we agreed it would be a great topic to discuss!

The more I thought about it, the more I considered finding a way to showcase the “debunking” of some of these misconceptions to truly define ways that couples can make their day uniquely what THEY want it to be…

Within 24 hours time and with the help of some wildly talented people, this idea of “Who Said You Can’t?” came to life in styled shoot form on one of the most beautiful mornings I have seen in a LONG time.

Here’s what happened (broken down in the same stages as my full-service wedding planning process. After all, a styled shoot is basically a real wedding minus the legalizing a marriage part!):

Thursday, September 5, 2019. | Idea, Plan, Vision

Even on such a short notice, this shoot really was planned in the most logical and strategic of ways. I am not sure I know how to operate otherwise (lol)!

First, the couple!

Danielle, my bride turned best of friends, and I spoke more about this crazy idea and within a moments notice her and her fiancé, Bryce, were completely on board and agreed to be the models.

I remembered thinking “Wow, that was too easy!”.

For those of you who are not familiar with a styled shoots, one of the most difficult tasks is coordinating with models + vendors. Professional models are most likely available on weekends and professional vendors usually have weddings on the weekends… see the dilemma?

Second, a venue/location!

Danielle and Bryce were going to be coming to Findlay for their couples shower later that weekend, so we agreed Findlay would be ideal. We had the crazy idea of a sunrise shoot and I instantly thought of the Findlay Reservoir. There is this beautiful dock and boat ramp and it just so happens that the sun would be rising from the opposite side of the water. It would be PERFECT.


Next, a photographer!

A few minutes later, I messaged my good friend Debbie (Debbie Travoli Photo) and basically said “hey what are you doing at 5AM tomorrow?!”. I’m really not kidding, those were likely my exact words. I could easily scroll back through our messages, but this version is likely just as entertaining…


Fair enough, usually I too would be sleeping at 5AM. Knowing Debbie and her busy schedule, I was afraid she wouldn’t be able to attend, but despite her having prior commitments around 7:30/8AM, she decided she would wake up early and come take photos anyways! Such a saint!

Again, I remembered thinking “WOW, that too was also TOO easy!”.

Then, me being me and feeling the need to be extraaaa about everything, I messaged my good friend Heather (Fezz and Hazel). For those of you who aren’t familiar with Fezz and Hazel, they are a luxury floral artistry based in Columbus, Ohio. Heather and I have been super excited for an opportunity to work together, so I figured “why not!”.

I am sure you can guess what happened next…

“Hey so I know this is last minute and probably sounds absolutely INSANE, but what are you doing tomorrow morning at 5AM?”

I was honestly prepared for anything, but Heather and I have a great sense of humor so I wasn’t too worried.


Again, fair enough. I ran the idea by her and to my utter disbelief she said “SURE”.

“Like what? For real? Heather, you live in COLUMBUS! You would have to leave at like 3:30AM LOL!”.

Yep. She understood that. And she was on board!

Again, to my disbelief… Floral, check!

After some messages back and forth with Heather, we both decided it would be amazing if we could get a videographer on board.

Enter, good friend and wildly talented video extraordinaire, John (John Fleischmann Media).

Now, you already know what comes next, right?…

He too said he would be sleeping, but as he works in Findlay anyways, he too was crazy enough to agree to attend and capture video!

Friends, I was MIND BLOWN. Who would have thought that this wild vision and idea would be perceived well enough for multiple professionals to jump on board and literally work before the sun comes up within 24 hours notice?

At this point, I had already been speaking with another good friend of mine, Dana (YOUnique Decor) and she had told me I could stop by and borrow any piece of decor she had that would match the vision for the shoot.

Let’s just say I have really amazing friends, am I right??

And that was it! We had our couple, our location, our photographer, florist, videographer and decor. Danielle had a dress in mind that worked perfectly for the shoot and she is amazing at doing hair and makeup, so she pulled the whole look together herself!

We were all set and ready to make it happen!

Friday, September 6, 2019. 5AM EST. | Create, Develop

If you weren’t already entertained, get ready! (Note: extreme sarcasm ahead).

It was just after 5AM when I met Heather in a Walmart parking lot so she could follow me through the park to the reservoir… In the pitch black… We hadn’t ever met in person yet either, I might add…

Through the park, around the bends, up a small hill and there we were. Just us and our car headlights shining over the deep, dark water of the reservoir. As if this isn’t already enough imagery for you, heavy fog rolled over the water while sounds of splashing (amongst other things) echoed out of the darkness.

Out of our cars and into the humid chills of the early morning we went, carrying large bags of florals and greenery behind us.

Styled Shoot or Murder Mystery?

When we got to the dock and walked out onto the water, we finally broke out in nervous laughter joking about how it’s a damn good thing we aren’t here to murder one another! (Both my boyfriend and her husband were SUPER skeptical about this for obvious reasons, but I’m typing this just over a week later, so we were fine lol).

As we set up the floral and greenery arch in the pitch black, with only headlights to light a small portion of area around us, many eerie sounds rang out over the water and needless to say, it wasn’t long before I contacted Debbie and asked her to “come hang out with us so we don’t get murdered. Hurry please, but drive safe“.

We were only slightly terrified. Again, it was fine.

Fast forward, the sun was just starting to come up and light up the reservoir and scenery around us. At that time, Debbie and John arrived while Heather and I finished setting up.

Friends, it looked like something out of a movie!

iPhone Shot, if you can believe it!

Friday, September 6, 2019. 7AM EST. | Launch

It was just before 7AM when Danielle and Bryce arrived. By the look on their faces, they too were in awe over how picturesque everything looked!

From here, I will let the professional photos from Debbie tell the story. It was pure MAGIC.

For the full gallery, click here.

If you’ve made it this far; now you know the who, what, where and when… Let’s wrap up with the WHY.

Friends, I truly can’t stress enough that when you are planning a wedding, it’s not about anyone or anything other than the two of YOU.

It doesn’t matter what time of day you choose to get married.

It doesn’t matter what day of the week or what month you get married.

It doesn’t matter what you wear.

It doesn’t matter if your hair or makeup is perfect or if someone did it for you.

It doesn’t matter who all is or isn’t there with you.

It doesn’t matter how many professionals you hire.

It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been dating or how long you’ve been engaged.

It doesn’t matter if you have a short engagement or a long engagement.

It doesn’t matter what’s trendy.

It doesn’t matter what the white noise of Google and Pinterest are telling you to do.

It doesn’t matter how much you do or don’t spend.

It doesn’t matter what order you decide to do things in (planning and actual day-of timeline).

It doesn’t matter what you friend did, your neighbor did, your sister or your parents did…

All that matters is WHY. Why the wedding is happening in the first place. That two people fell in love and are choosing to spend forever together.

I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, but a beautiful wedding starts with a beautiful marriage. Focus on making the marriage happy, healthy and beautiful and the wedding you have always dreamed of will follow.

Focus on the two of you- what’s most important; what makes you YOU.

“Be who you are, not what the world wants you to be”- the same applies here.

That’s the LCN Events way- No Stress, Just Details.

Thank you to the following creatives and amazing, God-sent humans that helped make this shoot and industry “moving and shaking” focal-point possible:

Real LCN Couple (engaged, getting married in Feb. 2020!!) // Danielle + Bryce Photographer // Debbie, Debbie Travoli Photography Floral Design // Heather, Fezz and Hazel Videography // John, John Fleischmann Media Decor // Dana, YOUnique Decor Planning + Design // Courtney, LCN Events


[…] you read on, I recommend you check out my blog “Who Said You Can’t? Breaking the Rules of Wedding Planning” for that extra spark of […]

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