After witnessing and being a part of 120+ weddings, I feel like I have witnessed it all. Let me be honest in telling: my clients are amazing. They are the best of the best, the cream of the crop, the people I feel fortunate to know. In working with the best, I need to be the best. So how do you do that? Well, it’s all about guiding my couples through the complicated/stressful/crazy process of planning the biggest, most important day of your life. No biggie, right? Wrong.
So, let’s talk through five tips to help facilitate a stress free wedding day, shall we?
1.) Be strategic with your schedule:
Your ceremony time will direct how the day will lead. If it’s easy, great, you can do your photos in between that and cocktail hour, if you’re ceremony flows into your cocktails, well, you should probably consider a first look. My goal? To have everyone present for as much of cocktail hour as possible. Why? The answer is two-fold. One: you are paying for it, so you might as well enjoy it. Two: it’s one of the only times you get to greet and be present with your guests. Work with your photographer, find out how long they need for certain things, schedule in travel time, and add a little cushion!
2.) Prepare ahead of time:
When your photographer shows up, you want them to get right to work. How do you do this? By preparing ahead of time. What should you prepare? Well, anything you want photographed. For my brides, I tell them to have their: dress, shoes, jewelry, full invitation suite, all of the rings, any family heirlooms, and any other bridal details they want photographed. When I start shooting, I begin with styling these details that help tell your wedding story. If you don’t have things ready, I’ll be wasting time tracking them down (when I could be making them pretty and shooting!) The more prepared you are, the better – for you and for me!
3.) Communicate your schedule clearly:
Need your grandma to the church early? Want your wedding party to hang around after the ceremony? Need your college buddies ready for a shot during cocktail hour? Tell them! Make sure you communicate the schedule clearly and that everyone who needs it has it. This helps us not waste time tracking Uncle Jim down or grabbing Bobby from the bar. Photos move much faster and when that happens you get to your party sooner and you’re less stressed, I promise. Be an over-communicator, it will pay off big time!
4.) Make sure there’s time to photograph your reception details:
I urge my couples to do first looks for multiple reasons. First, it gives you the chance to soak it in, embrace, and experience the emotions without hundreds of pairs of eyes on you. Second, it allows us to knock out the posed photos so we can cruise through the festivities with candid shots that you’ll love. Lastly, it gives me the chance to sneak into your reception during cocktail hour and photograph all of the hard work you’ve done! From florals to seating charts, gift tables to cakes, when you give me 20-30 minutes of uninterrupted time to photograph these details all of the work and money you’ve spent making your vision come to life is documented and preserved!
5.) Take moments to just be present:
Wait, what? You don’t believe when everyone tells you that a wedding day is a total whirlwind? Well, it is. Take moments where you stop, hold each others hands, and intentionally take in the moments. When I shoot portraits of my clients, I make sure it’s private and I tell them, “This isn’t just time for photos, this is a time for you to be fully present. To hug each other and feel the warmth, to look into each others eyes and lock that memory, to kiss like you’re 15 and never kissed before…” You get the idea. Throughout the day, set aside little breaks in your schedule where you can pull away from the party and just simply “be.” You won’t regret that time, I promise.
I truly believe that wedding days are living, moving, breathing phenomenons. They are here and gone in the blink of an eye. It’s important to set yourself up for success and to ease any stress ahead of time so that as you float through your day you aren’t focused on the details or the flowers, not on the cake or the music, but you’re focused on the union, the marriage that is beginning. I want you to experience, not just plan a marriage more beautiful than your wedding day and if you put these five tips to work, you’ll be on your way to a stress free day!