As a wedding photographer, I get asked ALL the time for wedding advice! And I LOVE to help in all areas, not just photography! After all, I’ve done this many many times over. That is why I decided to put together a blog post with the typical tips and advice I give to every bride.
1. DON’T FORGET PHOTOGRAPHY IN YOUR TIMELINE
PLEASE make sure you plan time for your photos on the wedding day. I always suggest 60-90 minutes after your ceremony for photography before the luncheon or reception starts. This gives me time to do details, all the family and then couple formal shots. If you are holding 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 me to come and do details and the second round of family formals.
2. KNOW THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN WEDDING PLANNER & VENUE COORDINATOR
Believe me, the last thing you want on your wedding day is to get blindsided by someone you thought was a wedding planner but who really is not even close. Let me quickly explain the difference: Venue Coordinators are responsible for everything that specifically deals with the venue. Tables, chairs, linens, food, etc. If the venue provides catering, their focus is to make sure that the kitchen and wait staff are scheduled according to their needs. A Wedding Planner is responsible for everything that comes with your venue AND making sure that your vendors know where and when they’re supposed to be. If the venue provides linens, it is the job of the wedding planner to choose the color based not he design of the wedding and to keep the quantities correct. Your wedding planner will schedule and attend your meetings with other vendors like, cake, decorations, videographer etc. They are the main point of contact between you and your vendors. If a vendor is lost or running late or is having an emergency, they’ll. Contact the wedding planner who will then put out the fire without you even knowing (hopefully). The wedding planner’s timeline details all aspects of the day from the time the bride wakes up to the moment the doors close. They know every single thing that happens with every sing person involved in the day. They schedule arrival times with all vendors and they keep things running smoothly but efficiently. I have never had a bride upset that she hired a wedding planner.
3. CHOOSE VENDORS YOU CAN TRUST
This can seriously make or break your big day. This is also something I try to help my brides and couples with as much as they want and as much as I can. Because I have been working in this industry for a good long while, I have collected vendors that I myself love and trust. I have a list of vendors for each area of wedding needs which is something I love to share with my Brides and Grooms.
4. REMEMBER YOUR FEET
You are going to spend a lot of time on your feet on your wedding day and no doubt you spent a good deal of time finding the perfect wedding shoes for your big day… but it’s always a great idea to have a 2nd pair of comfortable shoes for when you are ready to kick off the heels.
5. TWO BOUQUETS
Many brides don’t think about this, but here in Utah, especially during the busy wedding season (between April and Oct) flowers often wilt and look less than alive after the family photos. Having two bouquets for the wedding day will ensure you have gorgeous blooms all day long. Most florists will give you a discount on the second bouquet too and then your flowers stay beautiful all day.
6. HIRE A VIDEOGRAPHER
Remember how photographs are one of the only things you can take with you at the end of your big day, well videography is one of those things as well. It is one of the best compliments to your gorgeous wedding photography. 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. I have a handful of videographers that I love and trust and I love sharing this with my brides and couples.
7. PLAN AHEAD
Yes, weddings are stressful. The good news is there is a way to avoid the stress. It’s called, 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 will be.
8. CONSIDER GOING UNPLUGGED
Are you have a traditional ceremony? If yes, I can’t recommend enough going unplugged. And tell your guests! The last thing you want is photos of your beautiful ceremony with all your friends and family holding up their phones and iPads. I am going to take hundreds of photos and they can have access to them all. And that way they can actually pay attention and enjoy this special moment with you!
9. CREATE A HASHTAG
Once you get engaged creating a wedding hashtag can be a great way to document your engagement and the wedding. Come up with something unique to you! Then you can also print a little book at the end of all the images used in the hashtag for a fun memory!
10. ORDER THANK YOU’S BEFORE THE WEDDING
Believe me, when you get back from your honeymoon, those darn Thank You’s will be hanging over your head, just staring at you, taunting you to finish them and send them out! Ugh. I can’t recommend enough getting a jump start on them before the wedding is over. Get them ordered and get them going, that way you just have to tie up the last few once you get home from your honeymoon and can just enjoy your new married life!
11. 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 and reception.
12. CHOOSE A GREAT DJ
Another expense that is often overlooked. But if you are planning on dancing, and want others to dance too, hire a DJ. Your brothers iPhone and your Spotify playlist don’t create the mood you are really wanting. There are lots of talented DJ’s out there who are extremely affordable and will create an unforgettable party you are hoping for!
13. PUT TOGETHER A PINTEREST BOARD
Sometimes it is hard for brides to completely explain what they envision with their photography. I know it was hard for me when I was getting married. One easy way is to start a Pinterest board of wedding photos. Obviously we won’t be recreating exactly every image. But it does help give an idea of the feeling and look you like of wedding photos. Even if it is only photography-related with poses that you like, it still helps us a ton. You can even check out our Pinterest Inspiration Boards by clicking HERE
14. 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.
This is the most important time of your life thus far! Don’t get overwhelmed with details and stressed out over little things. Take the time to enjoy all of it and focus on what really matters. Your relationship with your fiance and the marriage that you two are about to start! So have fun and enjoy this time!