We are in the midst of that time of year again! Wedding season!!! I have only begun doing photos on my own this year, but before that I worked with another photography company for three years helping with wedding photos. This is a list of things I have learned through that process about your wedding day. I have never attempted to plan a wedding and no, I don't know everything about weddings, but these are some of the tips I have learned from just doing photos for 3 1/2 years that brides (and grooms and bridal parties) should keep in mind.
1. Be prepared. Even if you are planning a wedding in a couple months instead of a year in advance, make sure you have everything prepared. The last thing you want to be doing is finishing bouquets or favors on the morning of your wedding day.
2. Delegate. If there are tasks that cannot be done until your wedding day (i.e. decorating the church/reception, picking up the flowers and/or cake, picking someone up from the airport) make sure you delegate these tasks to someone that day so you or your bridal party or parents do not have to worry about these things. You will want your parents and bridal party with you almost the entire day for photos. Try to give these tasks out to a person or persons who will not have anything else going on before the ceremony.
3. Have a wedding survival kit. A tote bag or clutch that will have anything you may need for last minute emergencies. Some recommendations to put in the survival bag:
Safety pins, a tide stick, oil blotting sheets, lip gloss and any other makeup you may need for touch-ups, bobby pins, a comb, perfume and deodorant, powder, needle and thread, breath mints, band-aids, aspirin/ibuprofen, lint roller
These are of course just suggestions, but better to be well prepared then not at all.
4. Make sure you eat!! Even if you aren't feeling hungry, make sure you eat. And drink lots of water! Keep yourself hydrated! No one wants anyone to pass out at a wedding!
5. Make a timeline. If you print out a timeline for when everyone needs to be at the ceremony for pictures beforehand, you won't have to worry about people calling you and trying to figure out when they need to be where. It may seem silly, but it will make the day run that much smoother.
6. Don't drink before the ceremony. It's fine to do just one drink before as a toast with your bridesmaids or groomsmen or something of the like, but make sure you limit yourself to that and only that. You will have a very long night ahead of you filled probably with everyone and their mom wanting to buy you a drink. Pace yourself. Yes, your wedding is a celebration and a party, but you want to remember it.
7. Lay everything out the night before. Every thing you will need that day have lain out and set aside so you don't forget anything. If everything is already out and ready to go, you won't have to think so much about making sure you have everything the next day.
8. Talk with the people involved in your wedding before the big day. EVERYONE!!! Make sure the bridal party knows what the day will all entail. Make sure your parents and family members know their roles and what time to be there. Talk with your photographer about what kind of photos you want, where and what time you need to start photos to be finished by the time the ceremony starts with some time in between to relax before the ceremony begins. The more you talk to people and make sure they all know what is going on and when, the less stress you will have on your wedding day.
9. Have a meeting with your photographer before the wedding day. Photos are usually something very important in a wedding and usually take up a good chunk of time of your day. Make sure you get a photographer that is willing to listen to you and work with you. As much as a photographer needs to be bossy and get everyone to pay attention and in a position to make your photos look good, they should still be able to work with you and make it a fun experience. Talk to them about your locations. If it isn't a location they are familiar with, try your best to tell them about it, or possibly take them to the location so they are prepared for the backgrounds and such they will have to work with. Make sure they know of any specific shots you want and talk to them about the feel of the wedding you want. Some people like really posed, traditional pictures, some don't. Make sure you get a photographer that is willing to do the types of photos you are looking for. Listen to your photographers suggestions as well. Don't let them run your wedding, but remember that they have usually done quite a few weddings and know what they are talking about.
10. If you and your fiance would rather not see each other before the ceremony, schedule your wedding accordingly. The photos of you and your fiance, the full bridal party, and the full family photos will not be able to be done until after the ceremony so have your ceremony earlier and make sure your guests are entertained or have a good cocktail hour at your reception area to accommodate the time it will take for you to get the rest of the photos you will need after the ceremony.
11. Remember that your guests are going to be waiting on you between the ceremony and reception. You don't want to make them wait too long. Yes, it's your day so you want to have it exactly your way, which is not a bad thing, just make sure you remember that your guests will be waiting on you for dinner. Try to only have an hour to an hour and a half in between when guests arrive at the reception to when dinner actually starts.
12. Delegate how you spend your money. Know your budget before you even start planning. Make a list of the things you want incorporated in your wedding, listing them from most important, to least important, and spend your money accordingly. This will help to insure you get the things at your wedding you really want while sticking to your budget. If photos are most important to you, do your research and spend the extra money on a good photographer. If you want the dance to be the focus, make sure you have a good band or dj. You get the point...
13. Make compromises. If you and your fiance can't compromise on things with the wedding, how are you going to compromise on things in life? If your fiance wants to wear camouflage tuxes, compromise and let him have camouflage vests or ties instead of tuxes. Just as an example. It's his wedding too.
14. Do a trial on your makeup and hair. And do not try any new products on the day of your wedding. Allergic reactions are not something you want to deal with on your wedding day! And make sure you know exactly how your hair is going to look for your wedding day, including any hair pieces you want and if you're going to have a veil.
15. Make it personal. Your wedding day is supposed to be about you and your fiance joining your lives and celebrating your love for one another. Have your wedding represent the two of you. Whether that be by location, food choices, your home-made wine, a slide show, a destination wedding, whatever it is, make sure the entire day is in celebration of the two of you and that it reflects that.
16. Have fun!!! You put in all the time and money to get your wedding just how you want it, now enjoy it!!! When the big day comes, don't let the little things bother you, it's not worth stressing over. If some big emergency comes up, make sure you have someone there to fix it. There shouldn't be anything you really need to worry about on your wedding day.
I hope these bits and pieces are able to help anyone heading out to plan their wedding this year or next or in the years to come!!! If anyone wants help with anything feel free to ask me! I kind of love weddings. :)
Hoping everyone's summer is starting off well and congratulations to all the newly married or about to be newly married couples!!