Ask a McG Bride : Emily | McGowan Images Blog


Ask a McG Bride : Emily

We booked Emily & Zac’s wedding while both the bride & groom were away serving our country in the military… it was our first Skype date from Afghanistan! And now, this couple is stationed in Japan. Needless to say, planning their big Dallas wedding was an act of complete teamwork, and we were so honored to be chosen to document it.

Emily had a wonderful approach to planning their celebration, and I was so glad she responded to my call for McG brides to guest-write this column! I’ve got a few other interviews already saved, but room for more as the summer rolls on, so if you’d like to be involved in this “Ask a McG Bride” series, please email me and we’ll get you on the schedule! 🙂


On Making the Most of Your Engagement :

We were engaged for a year and four months, and we chose our wedding date because it was 6 months after I would arrive back into the States after my deployment in Afghanistan. We wanted an “adjustment period” with one another after my return, because the rest of our engagement had been spent so far apart! I definitely believe it was long enough.

I had a ton of fun with wedding planning. My perspective on it was that we are hiring professionals to do their job, so we should allow their creativity to reign! I’ve learned from my friends that if you are too particular your vision could be ruined, so I gave parameters but left it to the pros. I figured, I only marry once, while they are involved with weddings on a daily basis!

It helped that both my fiance and my parents were very involved. We were stationed in California but getting married in Texas, so my folks did a lot of the footwork in finding vendors, but all the final decisions were between my fiance and I together. We wanted to make sure we both enjoyed our day as much as possible.


On Planning Priorities and Revisiting Budget :

I obviously prioritized photography, because that’s what you’ll have to remember your wedding day by for the rest of your life. But really, I just wanted everyone to have fun at our wedding. I wanted good food, and a venue that had a personality of it’s own. Mostly, I didn’t want planning to become a chore. It’s such an exciting time, I wanted to soak up every minute!

I was surprised, though, by just how much planning there is to be done. There are just SO many details. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed it, but at the end of the day, I just wasn’t worried about things like the colors of the napkins. I personally felt there were much more important things to worry about, and that I’d rather spend money on!

When we first started planning, we had no idea just how much everything would cost. We quickly realized that our first budget was unrealistic, and after revamping it, we were mostly able to stay on target. Even in the areas where we went a little over, I wouldn’t change it at all.


On Rolling with the Unexpected:

The major difference between our planning and our reality is that we wanted our reception to be outdoors, and the weather just didn’t allow it! That being said, everyone adjusted accordingly, and we had a fantastic time.

I know it’s going to sound cliche, but even with the cold wind & rain, I got what was most important. I really loved walking into the church on my dad’s arm and seeing my soon-to-be-husband grinning from ear to ear at the end of the aisle. It was such a moment of joy, and I never want to forget it.


Thank you for your time, gorgeous! We so appreciate your insight into planning a large wedding with lots of moving parts across long distances.

McG Brides from 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013… where you at?? Shoot me an email, answer a few questions, and share that hard-won wedding experience! 🙂

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