Stress-Free Tips for Wedding Planning
What if I told you it was STORMING (like, bad. All day long) behind us in this photo? And every human’s phone at this wedding was screaming weather alerts all evening? And what would you say if I told you we only got about 10 minutes of portrait time for the bride and groom at this wedding? And someone during family formals knocked over a table, throwing broken glass and cutlery all over the floor?
Would you believe me?
It’s true. All of it. And Chastico– this bride– didn’t bat an eyelash.
Because she planned well. WE planned well.
Welcome to My Quick Tips for A Stress-Free Wedding Day!
Maybe you’re getting to this, and you don’t have time to read it. Save it… Bookmark it. Text it to yourself. Share it on your facebook, so someone comments and you remember to read it… You’ll find this information helpful.
So not every wedding is a walk in the park. Actually, very few of them are. And if I’m being real with you, it’s rained during every single wedding I’ve shot so far this year. Not all day, like at Chastico’s wedding, but at least a portion. And we rock right through it.
Because my brides are educated!! I help them. I plan with them. It’s my job to educate them and help them see the unforeseen. My brides only get married once! (Well, you get the idea…) They can’t possibly know the flow of a wedding day. So how could I expect them to plan for it?!
Wedding Planning Tip #1: Get to know your photographer
First and foremost, you need to know your photographer. Why? You’ll be spending more time with this person on your wedding day than you will your future SPOUSE!
How can you get to know your photographer?? Talk to them! Meet with them! Get to know them BEFORE you book them so you can see if your personalities compliment each other.
Schedule an engagement session!
Because THIS is the time your photographer gets to know YOU and your fiancé. I use the engagement session to teach my couples how to pose and interact in front of the camera so their wedding day portraits are a breeze. I secretly use this time to get to know their best angles, and exactly what he has to do to get her to really laugh… And how far I can push my own jokes without offending either one of them. (wink)
By the end of the engagement session, my couples are relaxed and having fun. It always ends with a, “This was so much easier than we thought it’d be!! We’re so excited about our wedding pictures now!”
So, to recap: Get to know your photographer.
Wedding Planning Tip #2: Have a “person”
This is key. You need someone in your circle who is just as involved as you are in this planning adventure so they can be there when you’re NOT on the wedding day. You don’t WANT to be “the person” on the wedding day. You want to relax. You want to get married. You want to enjoy yourself, your future husband, and your day.
You don’t want to be stressed.
Is your “person” your aunt? Mom? Cousin?
Your person should be responsible, reliable, and available!
Here are some scenarios of what’s happened…
-The guys were getting ready and sweating, in a hot room all by themselves, while the brides were having fun in an air conditioned room and no one had any idea! By the time I got into the groom’s quarters for photos, they were miserable. I had no idea they were in sweltering heat, and neither did anyone else! A “person” could have been there to check on them.
-Bridesmaids forgot the fake flower petals, and so one of them was missing from the getting ready shots because she was running around the venue trying to find them! A “person” could have done this, and all of the bridesmaids could have been in the photos!
-The groom was almost to the venue, but had to turn around because he forgot his boutonniere. (Can you say LATE TO YOUR OWN WEDDING?!) A “person” could have solved this, y’all! Easily. Wedding days continue without boutonnieres but they don’t continue without GROOMS!
The bride, in every one of these situations, was stressed. And timelines sometimes had to be shifted to accommodate the hiccups.
Your wedding day WILL have at least one hiccup. Have a designated “person” who will be there for you to ensure your day’s hiccups are hardly noticeable. Include that person in the wedding party favors. Be extra kind to them when you’re planning together, and thank them for so generously helping you on your big day.
Wedding Planning Tip #3: Plan meticulously on your family formals
There’s nothing more frustrating than when a bride and groom’s portrait time, which is already limited, is squished even smaller because no one could find Uncle Bob and Cousin Susan for the family formals.
The timeline (more on that below!) for your wedding day is important. Family formals typically take 30 minutes… Unless family members go missing. And I promise you, unless they KNOW they need to stay put after the ceremony, you can count on them leaving. At least a couple of them.
Have someone (could be your “person”!) in charge of family formals. This person will have the list of portraits, in order- given to her from the photographer, and will call people up for photos. If done well, family formals can take 15-30 minutes. If not done well, it could take upwards of 45… And family formals shrink your bride and groom portraits minute-by-minute.
Your photographer will give you a family formal “shot list”, based on your portrait requests.
Here are some ideas. (Tip: The family formal shot list should be no more than 10 or so groupings. Plan on each shot taking 3 minutes)
- B&G with Bride’s Immediate Family
(Parents, Siblings, Grandparents, Nieces, Nephews)
- B&G with Bride’s Parents
- B&G with Bride’s Siblings
- Bride with her Parents
- Bride with Mom, Bride with Dad
- B&G with Bride’s Grandparents
- B&G with both sets of Parents
- B&G with Groom’s Immediate Family
(Parents, Siblings, Grandparents, Nieces, Nephews)
- B&G with Groom’s Parents
- B&G with Groom’s Siblings
- Groom with his Parents
- Groom with Mom, Groom with Dad
- B&G with Groom’s Grandparents
- B&G with all family members if time allows
Wedding Planning Tip #4: Your timeline matters.
Everyone will want a timeline from you. The coordinator, planner, photographer, venue folks… It’s important that that timeline you make, reflects what’s important to you on your wedding day. Here are some tips…
What’s most important to you for your wedding? Is it your ceremony? Reception? Is it that your wedding is the most beautiful anyone has ever seen? Is it simplicity, and love? Is it pictures? Video?
Think about it, and know what matters to you and your fiancé, then design your timeline with that as the priority.
If it’s photography, then work with your photographer to create the timeline. Your photographer will work with your coordinator and planner thereafter, and your photographer will make sure you have plenty of good portrait time.
Work with the right person on your timeline. Make sure to involve your photographer, because otherwise you might miss out on crucial portrait time. Experienced coordinators, planners, and photographers know where to put “cushion time” in your timeline. But not every one is experienced. Don’t be lackadaisical on this, and remember to involve your “person”! 🙂
Every bride who books with me gets a Wedding Planning Guide which comes with a sample timeline. Ask your vendors for help if you’re stuck. Rely on the professionals; after all, you’re paying them!
Wedding Planning Tip #5: Go with the flow.
Have you ever heard the phrase, ‘when it rains, it pours’?
Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass… It’s about dancing in the rain.
Your wedding day is a once-in-a-lifetime event for you and your fiancé. Plan well with the wedding professionals you’re hiring, and then let it go.
I’ll say it again.
Plan well. Then once The Day arrives, Let It Go.
No matter how well you plan, not everything will go seamlessly and accordingly. Start mantras now… “Everything is okay. I’m going to make the best of this day, no matter what.”
Let your “person” know if you’re stressed, and what you’re stressed about. Don’t bottle it up… Talk it out, talk yourself down, and trust the process. Stress has no place in your wedding day.
Vow to make the day before your wedding day the very last day you ever get upset about something you cannot control.
And learn to let go.
I’ll leave you with some of my favorites…
I hope this helps!
I’m here if you have questions.