ALL aspects of Wedding Planning is *insert mindblown emoji* we know, we've been there - well, not actually BEEN there cause none of us are married BUT we have been lucky enough to be day one vendors (woo-woo) since the start of planning and ladies, we've got to give credit where it's due - you, the fiancee, future bride are absolutely amazing for everything you do, from logistics, details and all the remarkable things that comes together from your hard work!
Today, we catch up with the incredible Billye Ninnemann, a Los Angeles based Wedding & Portrait Photographer where she dishes out some sage advice from the perspective of being a year round wedding professional to being a bride on her amazing special day.
1. Firstly, describe your wedding
Our wedding was so much fun! It was truly the best day ever and I fantasize about throwing a wedding over and over again at different beautiful locations around the world! It was the epitome of SoCal - we got married on a beautiful hilltop looking over the rolling hills, surrounded by vineyards and our most favorite people. We had an intimate wedding, about 70 people total, as this was destination for all our families and most of our friends.
I’m from Wisconsin, Edouard is from France and we met in NYC after both attending college in Boston, so we’ve collected friends from all over and our wedding reflected that. It was a comfortably relaxed affair, focusing on good food, good music, and great company.
I was barefoot the entire day and I can’t emphasize how perfect, comfortable and fun it was - why make yourself suffer when nobody sees your shoes anyways!? We incorporated some of our favorite things - lilacs are my favorite flower, so they were central in my bouquet and we had buckets of them at the head of the aisle for the ceremony. We wanted to honor Edouard’s French heritage so we had a cheese course after dinner and instead of a big wedding cake we had two delicious croque em bouches ( puff pastries filled with creme, stacked in a tall tower and covered in stringy, shiny sugar). Also, since we both attended Berklee College of Music a lot of our friends are musicians. My best friend (one of my brides maids) sang us down the aisle and it’s one of the best memories I have - as soon as I heard her voice echoing over the hills I lost my shit and had a hard time holding it together as I made my way with my parents down the aisle.
Our band during the reception were also a friends of ours, they were really groovy and we had a great time dancing the night away!
2. Switching roles from as a year-round photographer to being the actual bride for the day, what sort of impact did that have on the day of? Decision making, guest awareness, etc.
Going in as a wedding professional definitely gave me some clarity and advantage when planning my own wedding. I’ve bulleted a few things that come to mind
- I hired a trusted planner that I’ve worked with numerous times immediately and let them guide me through the process, trusting many of their referrals for catering, florist etc which felt great not to have to worry about scouting all these things out. They did a great job of bringing our vision to life and the day went without a hitch.
- There were a handful of vendors I had to have, including our planner, Brooke of Orange Blossom Special events, our videographer, Wes, and our letterpress stationer, Dee of Maude Press.
- There were also certain elements that I knew I wanted, like having both of my parents walk me down the aisle. I’ve seen this in Jewish weddings and it always made so much sense, so even though we’re not Jewish, we both had both our parents escort us down the aisle.
- Also, I’ve been a bridesmaid and it sucks standing up at the front during the wedding. Your feet hurt, you can’t see or hear what’s going on - so I made the decision to have our bridal party walk down the aisle and then sit in the second row behind our immediate family.
- We opted to have a dear friend marry us. He’s the reason we met and it felt fitting that he should be the one to marry us - it was perfectly imperfect.
- As a wedding pro, I was very cognisant of feeding my vendors and insisted they be fed the same food and at the same time as the guests.
- It’s really painful as a photographer to not feel trusted by your clients or have a say in timeline, so right from the start I put my planner in touch with my photo and video teams and told them to carve out the time they wanted for romantics and things. It was incredibily liberating and hopefully they felt free to do what they wished - we love our coverage so it seems to have worked well :)
- Last thing I can think of, I always feel bad for bridesmaids who have to wear the same thing, or a dress that they really hate. So I gave my ladies a list of colors and let them pick whatever they wanted.
3. For other wedding professionals out there getting married, what advice do you have for them?
Trust. Let go. Listen to your gut. Hire the best vendors you can afford, work with them throughout the process and then just let it go. Your wedding day can be as amazing as you let it, sure there will be hiccups or things that aren’t maybe as you expected, but remember why you are there. For each other and for your loved ones, open your eyes and your heart and everything will flow perfectly.
4. Details that one should absolutely not overlook while planning a wedding?
SUNSET TIME! I was super aware of this because of my job, but I’ve had brides neglect day light savings and not realize their ceremony time is after sunset and still they refuse to do a first look. That gets tricky ;) As a rule of thumb, plan your ceremony 2+ hours before sunset time to allow enough time for romantics, family and bridal party photos.
5. Best memory of the wedding day?
Being at the top of the hill, arm in arm with my mom and dad, the last ones to walk, and hearing my best friend singing ‘I Can’t Help Falling in Love’ as I made my way towards Edouard. Even remembering it gets a lump in my throat <3 —— oooo another one! During the reception, after dinner and we’d all had a little wine ;) he grabbed me and took me to the dance floor and cut. a. rug! I had no idea that man could dance! He just took me and twirled me all over the dance floor, it was so much fun and I was so dizzy, but it was a great time - we couldn’t stop laughing!
6. What is life like a year and some change (20 months, but who’s counting) after being married?
It’s better than it’s ever been! They say the first year of marriage is a tough one, but we’ve been living together for over 8 years, so I’d say we’ve basically been married a lot longer than a year! haha We’re always working on bettering our communication, patience and trying to go with the flow. It’s not always easy, but when you get it right, it feels so good :)
Billye is a Los Angeles based Portrait and Wedding Photographer who not only documents and captures amazing photos but can cut a rug on the dance floor -
Check out her work at http://www.billyedonya.com/
Vendors & Favorites People
Coordination and Design: Orange Blossom Special Events
Hair & Make up: Theresa Huang Makeup & Hair Design (now known as Kohnur)
Photography: Perpixel Photography
Videography: Wes Films
Letterpress: Maude Press
Band: Westcoast Soul
Flowers: The Little Branch
Venue: Saddlerock Ranch
Catering: Little Nelly
Croquembouche: Superfine Bakery
Rentals: A Rental Connection
Dress: Catherine Deane at BHLD
Bridesmaids: Joanna August