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An Inside Look at Dan’s Wedding | Interview with Co-Host & Producer Dan Phillips | Wedding Secrets Unveiled! Podcast

We have a VERY special episode of Wedding Secrets Unveiled! for you today. Our very own Dan the Man, Podcast Producer, and Wedding Photographer is now a married man! Sorry, ladies! Today Dan and Sara talk through all the aspects of Dan’s recent nuptials. From why they chose to host a daytime wedding to transforming their out-of-the-box venue, Dan shares all about marrying the lovely Brittany! So sit back, relax, and be inspired to plan the wedding that truly reflects your love story! 

Co-host and producer Dan Phillips shares an inside look of his Greenwich RI wedding day on Wedding Secrets Unveiled! Podcast

If you don’t know Dan, we’ve been working together for over 15 years. This episode is all about Dan’s wedding day! So, you got married when? 

In the spring! I realized after talking to a bunch of people, I realized that when I talk about the wedding, I tend to say “I wanted…” but the truth is, everything was what we wanted. So, I just want to preface this interview by saying I wasn’t being a groomzilla! I also just know what works and doesn’t work, what’s good, and what we wanted. Not to mention, she doesn’t really plan stuff. But I grew up with lots of events and planning a party isn’t really scary to me or anything. It’s just easier for me – thinking about where people park or the garbage or where people eat. 

So, like the logistics were in your wheelhouse. I totally get what you’re saying. People also have to understand that you come from this because of what you do. You’re a wedding photographer and you photograph events, shooting photo and video. That’s a lot of logistics that you’re planning a lot. 

Yeah. We got married at the courthouse – which makes it sound like a courthouse wedding, but that was just our venue of choice. 

The spaces you picked are really a testament to you both. Dan and I both grew up in East Greenwich, Rhode Island. It’s a small town in New England. And where you had your reception was the place you had your childhood birthday parties. The town hall is where your parents work. But, there’s a reason why you did that. 

But anyway, you were going to talk about the hiccups and the rehearsal? 

Yeah, so we don’t usually see the rehearsal as the wedding photographers. I had no idea who was supposed to run it – maybe the officiant? 

Usually the event planner or the officiant. 

Okay, yeah. I mean the thing to take away is that you should pay attention, right? We didn’t really have a plan. We just had everyone together and decided that we should go walk down and do the rehearsal. And before we opened the door, I was putting everyone in the hallway and telling them what to do. But it was a lot to figure out – stuff you don’t really think about, like her dad looping back or what. We also didn’t have a long aisle – like 10 feet. 

Yeah, Brittany was going to walk five steps and meet you at the altar.  

But you think about a huge church and the long aisle – so you have to have some sort of communication system.  So, we had to figure that out – deciding when we’d start and how to know who was ready. We also didn’t have anyone that would open the door every time. It really just came down to making a lot of decisions and giving everyone a little job. 

bride and father enter wedding ceremony at East Greenwich Town Hall

On a side note, I’m watching you talk and I haven’t gotten used to you having your wedding band. And you did the thing – Dan and I have a joke where we always look at the groom because they play with their rings because they’re not used to it yet! And you did that thing, ha! 

I did. Yeah, and if I was going to give advice about that – my ring is way too big. So I was a little nervous of it falling off. So I put it on the other hand at one point – but that finger is fatter or something, ha. I was just nervous about it. So, make sure your ring fits. Maybe measure beforehand. 

You were more worried about Brittany’s rings fitting! 

Okay, so another funny thing – especially because you said you aren’t a groomzilla. Let me paint you a picture of the morning of Dan’s wedding. So, if you know Dan, you know that he’s a really likeable guy. Period, end of story. Well, obviously he’s going to marry someone like that – Brittany is a very nice girl and likeable, end of story. She was very calm and there was no bridezilla or groomzilla. So let me just start with that. 

Well, I think she was calm because I took care of business. 

That’s where I was going to go with this! I have no big crazy story, sorry to disappoint. But, throughout the day, we were taking Polaroids of everyone. There’s one of Brittany getting ready – she’s sitting there, calm and smiling and relaxed. I think that’s the picture of the day. She was hanging out getting ready and you were making sure the cake and Ali’s donuts were okay. The logistical stuff was happening because of you. She was cool as a cucumber. I’m not saying that you weren’t cool. But she knew everything was going to be taken care of. 

bride smiles over shoulder holding wedding bouquet in East Greenwich Town Hall

Also, we worked with Amanda on your wedding day – one of the other photographers here at SZP, because you obviously couldn’t photograph your wedding. 

I definitely didn’t want to do that. 

But we’ve seen some stuff. So that’s my advice: just let your wedding day be your wedding day. If you’re a florist, don’t do anything with the florals. I digress – but, Amanda was telling me about the photos she did and I couldn’t wait to see your groom prep photos! Tell everyone what you did with your groomsmen. 

So, the Swift gym has this big window near a catwalk. As a photographer, I knew there would be some great light. It’s cool visually too. Anyway, I knew that I wanted to have each of the guys come up and help me a little bit. I can talk with them and tell them why they were important and special to me. And I didn’t have my cell phone out while I did that because I knew it would have annoyed you!

We’ve talked about that so many times! Having your phone out dates your photos! But no, I loved the idea of telling everyone why they’re important to you. 

Except my cousin, ha. I forgot – and I told him later. 

Listen, I forgot things on my wedding day Steve and I, when we got married, we wanted to thank everybody. But we wanted to thank the vendors that helped us behind the scenes. And I forgot to thank Dan because Dan was taking pictures at the wedding. And I also forgot to thank my parents. That’s what happens when you improv, right? 

I think I have a new appreciation for how fast the day goes. 

I have so many things I want to ask you, but at the end of the night, well the end of the day – 

Yeah, it was a brunch wedding. So, kind of different. 10-4. 

I wanted to ask why you picked the brunch over the lunch or dinner option. We’ll come back to that. But, at the end of it all, you kept saying to me – Sara, everyone’s leaving so early. I could see that you had some anxiety or maybe disappointment about it. 

I was just a little bummed that the day was ending. 

I had to remind you that – our listeners might feel it too. The day goes by so fast, and it ends. I had that feeling too on my wedding day. It happens in a blink of an eye – people are saying goodbye as you’re cutting the cake. It doesn’t matter if you’re having a day wedding, a brunch wedding, a night wedding. Once you start that dessert or cake cutting, a good 30% of people start to leave and you start to feel like it’s over. But really you have an hour left or whatever. It happens a lot. The amount of people who stay to the very end is always a small percentage

And thinking about it, at a “normal” wedding, you’re dancing. So, it’s something that can keep people there but also if the couple is dancing, you may not notice people leaving. 

guests pose behind bride and groom holding up joker masks
bride and groom share donuts during wedding reception

I want to know though, why did you and Brittany pick a day time wedding vs. an evening wedding? What are some of the pros and cons of that? 

Our plan went through a lot of iterations. Right off the bat, my family is definitely bigger than hers. We have a lot of friends who have kids in that infant to five year old range. There were 15 kids at our wedding. It’s also not our style to do anything really fancy. So, we knew we were going to go the casual route with the kids invited. I was trying to think about a lot of different people. 

Co-host and producer Dan Phillips shares an inside look of his Greenwich RI wedding day on Wedding Secrets Unveiled! Podcast

I think that that’s why you picked it because it’s accommodated your demographic. It says a lot about you – that you made a choice that fit that family dynamic. 

So, we were thinking about the fact that we have a lots of friends and trying to decide what we wanted them involved with. 

So the listeners know – Dan and Brittany had a daytime wedding and broke for a few hours between the ceremony and reception. They had people come for the after party that weren’t at the ceremony. Not that they didn’t want them there, but also knew who would appreciate the ceremony.

newlyweds kiss with petals falling around them on lawn in East Greenwich RI

Were there any cons of doing the daytime wedding? You can stretch your day out, invite the kids – those are definitely pros. 

I like to think it made it easier on people and worked out really well. Also, who doesn’t love breakfast? But, we like, wound up with two extra cases of champagne. 

So is that your con? Not a lot of alcohol happened in the wedding day? 

I don’t know if that’s so much a con. That’s probably a pro in my book. 

Okay, so I got a question for you. So: any tips for the listeners, because you transformed an out-of-the-box venue. 

Yeah, so up top at the gym, there was a track upstairs. Brittany was interested in putting draping on it and I knew that it would look good. We were pretty thrifty and under budget on a lot of things – but yeah. The draping totally transformed things! It was way more important than I thought it would wind up being and what the place needed. I wanted people to walk in and be surprised that it was the gym. My family is used to having our events there, so it was important to me that it felt different. 

I also did have a lot of lighting. I was worried that Swift Gym might actually be too bright or one-dimensional when it came to the light. So we played with that too. 

I also loved the florals that you did at the Town Hall. I mean, this is a spot I’ve gone to before – voted, those kinds of things. But it looked incredible! The florals were incredible. Just those two very large arrangements really elevated the space and created a wow factor. You don’t have to do all of those things, of course – but it’s things that you could do: statement pieces for the ceremony, drapes, lighting.  

East Greenwich Town Hall wedding day in Rhode Island

Okay, switching gears for a second. What did you think of the other activities that you had at your wedding

Knowing that we had 15 kids attending, I thought it would be fun to have my sister (who’s a teacher) read a story during our ceremony. So, we set up a little space where they could come listen to her read the story she chose, “Love Monkey”. We also asked the kids what they love – it was cute and fun! It also was something that took the pressure off of us for a little. 

children listen to song during wedding ceremony in East Greenwich RI

I think it really fit the idea of incorporating your guests as much as possible in your intimate wedding day. You had like, like 50 people right? 

Probably about 100. 

Okay, that’s still a good amount for a wedding. It wasn’t a super small wedding. But by doing these activities, the event felt so intimate. You guys also had the kids ride into the reception on horse noodles and had fun activities for them. It was a really good time. 

Let’s pivot for a second and talk about your timeline. So, you’re a photographer, Dan. You know that the worst time of day to take photos is around noon – unless you have a cloudy day. If it’s full sun, 11 and 12 are the worst times to take photos. So Dan, what time did you have your photographers do your pictures? 

It was like 11-12ish, ha. 

And what type of day did we have in April? 

There were some clouds. It was the most beautiful day – bright sun and just lovely weather. 

Now can I add in that there was a parade? The entire East Greenwich Little League parade was going on, ha! 

I didn’t even notice. 

And, during your ceremony, I was pretty much in your face for photos because your aisle was so short. So, yeah. We had to navigate like 300 people in town and the full sun. Dan gave me a challenge – and I accepted it. I will also say that I appreciate you giving me the time to do your pictures – so we could just stroll down the street with the videographer. So, some advice for people listening: start with your family first, then bridal party, and end with the couple so you have time just together. 

Yeah, and I guess the other thing I would say was that I’m glad we were able to do a receiving line. We actually planned for too much time for the ceremony. I thought it would take longer, especially with the kids walking down. But people get nervous and go quick. So, Sara and I had discussed that if we finished by 1045 or earlier, we’d do a receiving line. I guess I was averse to going into the cocktail hour early – you know? It’s an hour. I didn’t want to throw off the music or catering staff. 

You’ve been doing this, you understand that you have the four hours to be with your party, so you really wanted cocktail hour to be a cocktail hour and allow your guests to enjoy and mingle. Once the couple walks in, everyone flocks to you. 

newlyweds hug in hallway of East Greenwich Town Hall

Tell them about the small hiccup you guys had on your wedding day. 

We had a riff picked out that was going to be repeated while they bridal party came in. Right after, I knew we wanted our first dance to start. But, they started playing our first dance song, “My Best Friend” by Queen when we walked in. S, we just went with it and began dancing. That’s fine. But, then they scrambled to change the music and started playing “Sweet Child of Mine”, which was the song Brittany was going to use with her dad. We decided to just dance and let it happen. 

Ultimately, that’s why I brought this up: everyone’s wedding days are going to have hiccups. 

And the solution isn’t to go like, Hey, stop!. That’s not a good look for anybody. 

Let’s just go with it, right. That’s okay! I think it’s so easy to lose yourself in the planning of it all, but it’s just a day. Let it go. Like you did! 

Do you have any other takeaways that you want to share before we wrap up the show? 

Yeah. If you get fitted for a suit, don’t plan to lose a bunch of weight. Once you’re fitted, you can’t really lose or gain a lot. So just keep doing what you’re doing! 

You did have a good suit. Anything else? 

Oh, yeah. When you’re hiring a photographer, you should really just work with them for 15 years to really know that they’re going be good or not, ha!  Really, maybe you could push it to just 12 years, but it’s better to do the full 15 so you know they’re a true professional. 

Maybe that’s the takeaway. That’s him unveiling his secret behind hiring the proper wedding photographer professional-  just worked with them for 15 years. 

But, seriously. Dan and Brittany’s wedding day was beautiful and it was an honor to be their photographer. Check out their full blog of the wedding day here if you want to see it all! 

Oh also – if you have a day wedding, then you have the whole night to do whatever the hell you want to do afterwards! Especially when you have kids involved in the day – it’s a very different vibe when they aren’t there. 

Definitely. People thought the kids would be using the playground a ton, but they had so much to do during the day that they stayed with us. I was trying to do stuff for the kids but also hoping it helped the parents, too. I wanted them to be okay with their kids just running around and having fun. 

wedding party stands behind bride and groom hugging on lawn

That reminds me! We failed to mention one thing: you had a buffet. I wanted to talk about that a little bit because when you have a buffet, people can get up and get their food themselves. It also makes it more not casual and a family affair. Your caterer helped dismiss people initially so there wasn’t a huge line. 

Yeah, it definitely helped. 

So I guess my takeaway is: logistically, if you’re doing something other than a traditional meal, figure out how it will work the day of your event. 

Dan and Brittany’s wedding day was the first one for our 2024 wedding season and we’re so happy we could be a part of it with them! Congratulations again! 

man hugs photographer on wedding day

What We Discussed

Introducing the episode (2:02)

Why Dan & Brittany chose their venues (5:04)

A groom’s nervousness (11:40)

Including children on your wedding day (19:38)

Photography tips (41:04)

Wedding day hiccups (45:10)

Links Mentioned in the Episode

See Dan and Brittany’s wedding day here! 

You can subscribe to this podcast from wherever you’re listening so you never miss an episode. And, we would so appreciate it if you left a fabulous review for our show on Apple podcast! Even better, share it with a friend. It’s a great way to show your support and let us know what you think. Thank you so much for listening!

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