The Focus 3 {part 1}

Every bride knows when planning a wedding there is no shortage of advice and opinions, solicited and unsolicited, from, well, pretty much everyone. Some you take, some you leave, and hopefully in some you find pearls of wisdom that change the course of your planning experience for the good.

One of the best pieces of advice I received during wedding planning was to pick the three most important areas of the wedding and make them our focus. This advice came from our fabulous wedding planner, Kelly Mattox, and it was game-changing for me because I am the kind of person who can’t function when my mind is spinning in a thousand different directions. Mind spinning = body paralyzed.

So, instead of constantly turning through ideas without knowing where to land, the “Focus 3” gave me a more manageable outlook. Now don’t get me wrong, I didn’t only focus on three things and leave the rest of my wedding up to chance; I approached every aspect with intention and care, but when I felt overwhelmed, I rested knowing that we had prioritized what was most important. As long as those things were taken care of, the other elements would fall into place. It gave us direction and vision for a wedding day that we would enjoy and be proud to share.


Our Focus 3

1.  The ceremony (the venue played a big role in this and was a “splurge” item for us)

2.  Fabulous attire (we both appreciate great style in everyday life and it would be no different on our wedding day!)

3.  Photography and videography (we found great value in telling our wedding story in a way that truly captured the look, emotion and love of the day and could be shared for years to come)


This is a great time to pause to point out that the absolute MOST important focus is not any tangible thing, but it is being the right bride and the right groom for each other. We made sure that was taken care of before there was a “yes” to a proposal, and that is the most vital foundation for a beautiful wedding and marriage!


1. Ceremony

Photos by Sarah DeShaw

You may have a list similar to ours, or one completely different. Truthfully, I think those differences are what make each wedding special. If one bride wants her wedding to ooze from every corner with floral design that will make your heart stop, and another wants to serve a dish the guests will dream of in their sleep, and yet another wants to have a band so good guests dance until the wee hours, it’s these details that make your wedding yours. Choosing these important elements as a focus allows them to really stand out on the wedding day instead of getting lost in a million other details. If everything is on an equal playing field, it’s nearly impossible to have a personalized feel for your wedding and share with your guests what is most special to you.


Part of having a "wow factor" guests will remember is letting some things stand out above the others.


I had a friend attend a wedding a couple months before mine and afterward she told me, “Mattye, the details were amazing—very thought out and executed with care, but there were so many of them it was hard to take it all in.” Part of having a “wow factor” that guests will remember is letting some things stand out above the others. It’s still important to keep all elements of your wedding at a level of quality you’re proud of, but your guests will appreciate the focus you place on the areas important to you because it allows them to celebrate in the way that is most meaningful to you. After all, the beauty of a wedding is that it celebrates the unique love story of the bride and groom in a personal way, right?

2. attire

Photos by Sarah DeShaw

If you’re anything like me, this idea is a great concept, but narrowing down your glorious, dreamed-of-for-years, big day to three main focuses can seem nearly impossible. I mean, it’s all important isn’t it? Yes it is, but if you’ll take a breath, close your eyes, and let your mind envision your wedding day for a moment, I think you’ll begin to see that certain elements rise to importance above others. While some of this will happen naturally, I’d like to provide some practical tips and questions that will help you determine your Focus 3.

Finding your Focus 3

~  If you could personally plan only three elements of your wedding and had to leave the rest to someone else, which three would you cling to for dear life?

~  Jump ahead to your ten-year anniversary. What are the things you want to remember most about your wedding day?

~  Include your groom in the conversation! Believe it or not, guys may not have spent the time “dreaming” about their wedding day in the same fashion girls do, but I think they all have ideas and expectations for the day. Wedding planning and the wedding day will be so much better if you and your groom are in agreement on your focuses and desired outcome—after all, what better preparation could there be for marriage than approaching your wedding day as a team?!

~  When you think “my wedding day,” what is the first thing that comes to your mind other than your fiancé? Is it a dress, a church, a flower, a song, a group of people?

~  Think of your favorite wedding that you’ve ever attended. What made it so special? What are the three things you remember most about it?

~  What matters to you in everyday life? Here is a start to get your mind going: good food, relationships, faith, music, entertainment, fashion, thoughtful details, etc.

~  What do you and your groom like to do together?

Take some time to think about your Focus 3 and come back next week for part 2 of this post to learn how to implement them and stick to them! I'll also be sharing highlights of our third focus area, wedding photography!

As you're brainstorming your Focus 3, feel free to share below! If you're already married, what were the most special elements you incorporated into your wedding day? I'd love to hear from you in the comments section below!