1. PLAN AHEAD
Weddings can be really stressful, but most of that can be avoided just by planning ahead. With photography, in particular, make sure that you start planning your sessions more than the week before. I want to make sure everything is absolutely perfect and the more we can plan ahead the easier that would be.
2. HIRE VENDORS YOU CAN TRUST
This is maybe the most important. If you hire people to help you with your wedding day that has experience, that you can trust and that you ‘click’ with, there isn’t a wedding day surprise that could even come close to disrupting your big day. Do your research on the services and product they produce, but ultimately you have to read what others say about them AND then talk to them with specific questions to get a well-rounded idea of someone you can trust. I always tell my couples, “You are going to have a lot of questions about things. From planning to details to timelines…and I am here to help! I have shot over 100 weddings so there isn’t much I haven’t seen. So please feel free to contact me anytime about anything. Even if it isn’t photography related I want to make sure that every detail of your day is absolutely perfect!”
3.DON’T FORGET PHOTOGRAPHY IN YOUR TIMELINE
You want to make sure you plan time for your photos on the wedding day. After your ceremony/sealing, you will want to plan for 90-120 minutes for photography before the luncheon or reception starts. This gives us time to do details, all the family and then couple formal shots. Also if you are doing your reception at a different location than your ceremony and there is a break in the day, you will want to schedule 60-90 minutes before the reception for us to come and do details and the second round of family formals and/or couple portraits.
4. ASK FOR HELP
I tend to draw brides that are a lot like me. We love to feel prepared and when we decide how we like things, it’s hard to turn it over to others to be responsible for those plans or details BUT it is SO important to ask for help. Either hire the help or enlist your wedding party, friends, family, neighbors, church friends etc anyone you can trust and rely on. Whether it’s keeping everyone on schedule or putting your table centers together the way you want, you as the bride and groom should NOT be the ones doing them on your wedding day. “But, McKenna, we have all this extra time between things, we can help set things up.” Or “well I’ll just help a little” but I promise you that whoever you ask is gonna do a great job! Take any extra time you could potentially help to either relax and think about all that you have gone through to get here, spend some of that time writing your sweetheart a letter of all the things you’re excited to do with them over the next 50+ years as their partner and spouse, or if you are already husband and wife and have a break before reception etc, take that time to go have some alone time together. THIS IS SO RARE on a wedding day. Take a nap and cuddle as husband and wife or start a fun tradition you can repeat every year on your wedding day!
5. USE YOUR WEDDING PARTY
I am SO impressed by the bridesmaids or groomsmen who are always looking for a way to help the bride and groom. Maybe it’s bringing a cup of water or a snack etc. What I found out was that most of these wonderful helpers were asked to help, they were told beforehand to be responsible for certain portions of the wedding day or certain things the bride and groom need help with. It really makes such a big difference when your wedding party is there to help, not just look pretty (wink wink).
6. INCLUDE THE GROOM
I made the mistake when I got married of not wanting to stress my groom out, so I did everything. He was in charge of getting him to the wedding, that was about it. In the end he felt like he wasn’t really apart of his own wedding. This was a big regret for me because, in my attempt to avoid him getting stressed or us disagreeing on details or decoration etc, he wasn’t really apart of the wedding process at all. So be sure to include your groom, whether it’s in little or big decisions or whether it’s actually giving him a portion of the todo list to be responsible of, you will love that you both feel like you put together your perfect wedding day together. Every groom is different, some grooms don’t want to be apart of the process, but it’s still important to include them in some way even if it’s a small amount.
7. MAKE YOUR DAY PERSONAL
If you were to ask any of my couples they will tell you that I LOVE detail photos. I often spend time I’m not even paid for to capture the little details. I feel like these details are not only the things you forget after a few years but they are also the parts of your day that make it personal to you and your sweetheart. Whether it’s in the decoration, the cake topper, the food choice, the music selected, the events or entertainment or any other details that you can personalize. OH! And be sure to mention all of these details to your photographer and videographer so you have the captured to cherish for forever.
8. DON’T FORGET WHAT IS IMPORTANT
When you start to plan your wedding it’s sometimes surprising how many people want to give you their opinion as though it is law or gospel. While there ARE people that are important to consider and your day IS about celebrating the bringing together of two families, ultimately? It is about you and your fiance. What do you two want? What matters to you? Will it mean that mom, or aunt Lucy or your cousin Betty (etc) might feel a little disappointed or disagree with you, yes. But when you share that you want to bring your families and friends into the beginning of YOUR story with your fiance and to do that we need to have things fit ‘us’ sometime it helps them understand. Be sure to prioritize what matters most to you, if you DO end up needing to compromise on some of your wishes, it will help to know what things you can budge on and still be happy vs. the things that matter and are most important to you.
9. START GATHERING NAMES NOW
One of the things that I find that brides seriously under-estimate is how much time it takes to address your announcements. It is a huge process and it can take hours and hours. So start gathering names now and start working on the envelopes a little at a time. I would even recommend asking your announcement designer if you can get your envelopes early. That way you can start knocking them out in chunks. Also, make sure that you keep a good list because you are going to need it again when you go to do your Thank You cards.
10. HAIR & MAKEUP
Hair and Makeup truly make a big difference on your wedding day. I know that it seems like an extra unnecessary cost but believe me when the day finally get here, not having to do your own makeup and hair not only relieves so much stress from you but it also makes you feel absolutely gorgeous. Which is exactly how all brides should feel on their wedding day! While I would never push a bride to do something they don’t feel is right for them, when I am asked what I think, I ALWAYS support getting your hair and makeup done professionally. I even have a list of vendors I love and trust that I can email you if you ask me for it. If you do choose to hire a Hair and Makeup artist I also highly recommend scheduling a makeup touch up for your wedding day if there is a break between your ceremony/sealing and reception.
11. HIRE A VIDEOGRAPHER
The best compliment to your gorgeous wedding photography is a beautiful wedding video. Videography can tell a story in a different way. While photography is the classic and timeless element that shows the moments of your wedding, videography can bring some of those moments and create a different treasure to cherish for the rest of your marriage. What you can see in photography, you can feel in videography.
12. MARRIAGE CLASS
I know when you read class you and your fiance’s reaction was “ugh, a class? BORING!” But a lot of these classes are surprisingly entertaining and you WILL learn at least 1 thing you didn’t know before that might really come in handy a year or a few years into marriage. Utah has a commission that provides a lot of resources, classes and events to help strengthen relationships, even in dating, engagement and in marriage. Visit https://strongermarriage.org if you are a Utah bride. If you aren’t a Utah bride just google search marriage classes in your area and there should be an online resource or something nearby.