YES! Planning a wedding can be very stressful. I know this! I’ve been there. You are planning for months, and then the day comes, and it’s gone in an instant. The last thing you want is to spend time and energy on the wrong thing! After going through the experience of planning a wedding from beginning to end, and also now attending weddings as a photographer, I’ve learned quite a few things. Since its engagement season, I thought it would be great to share some awesome tips that you may find helpful!
1. The guest list is the most difficult part of planning a wedding!! I will forever be traumatized by the guest list. Accept that it is YOUR wedding day! Invite the people that will make YOU happy, and move on. You’re 5th cousin’s brother-in-law will get over it. =)
2. Get a day of coordinator!! Not everyone can afford to have a wedding planner. I didn’t have one. If you can’t afford a wedding planner, consider hiring a day of coordinator. If all else fails, assign someone who is close to you, that is VERY reliable, with a list of everything that needs to happen on the day of the wedding. It may be as simple as making sure vendors show up on time, or that they set up in the right location – but having someone there, directing everything will allow you to enjoy your day without any major stress. Don’t worry about the friend you just handed a huge list to, he/she will be just fine. It’s YOUR big day!! You can repay them later. Babysit their kids or something =)
3. Don’t go crazy on the wedding favors!! You arrive as a guest to a beautiful wedding, sit down at your table, and see all these glorious favors. At the end of the night, you throw them in your purse, because it’s such a nice memory from the wedding. Then, you get home and put them on your counter, and say, “I need to find a place for this”. Seven weeks go by, and it’s still sitting on your counter. What happens next? You grab it, and you TOSS IT. Lol. Don’t look at me like that, we’ve all done it. It’s not that you are insensitive, but really, who wants to keep a tiny little plastic frame for all of eternity? No one! If you insist on having wedding favors, go with snacks! Some pretty packaged chocolate, or candy, or anything edible. The table looks great, and at the end of the night, they have been devoured!
4. Look up sunset time for your date!! Although I’m listing this as tip number four, this is a big one! For some reason, everyone loves scheduling their wedding at 6:00PM. It SEEMS like the perfect time, but it’s honestly not, unless you are getting married in June, when the sun sets at 8:00PM. If you are getting married in the fall, and your wedding is at 6:00PM, you are basically getting married in the dark! This is not something a lot of people think about when selecting a ceremony start time, but it’s definitely SUPER important. Especially, if you want to have nice light for your bridal portraits. Evening shots are great, at the END OF NIGHT, but not so much at the beginning. =) So, google the sunset time for your wedding date! Please! Like right now!
5. Have a first look!! Please! Please! Pretty Please?? I know what you are thinking – NO! I don’t want the groom to see me before the wedding! It’s not traditional! My answer to that is – Why not change this tradition? Seriously, I mean, traditions need to start somewhere right? If you aren’t familiar with a first look, let me explain. Before the actual ceremony, the bride and groom are taken to the private location, and the bride and groom see each other, before anyone else. There is just something SO SPECIAL about that private moment between the bride and groom when they see each other for the first time. Since it’s a private moment, and not in front of all your guests and family, it’s so much more emotional and moving. There are no distractions. It’s just the bride and groom embracing each other. I get choked up every single time. It’s an amazing moment. Do one. Trust me!
6. Invest in quality Photography and Videography!!! This is by far the most important tip! I cannot stress this enough. Yes, I’m a photographer, and I’m a bit biased, but I wasn’t a photographer when I got married. My wedding day was so amazing, and I am so thankful I was able to have it professionally captured. After months and months of planning, the day comes and goes, and all you are left with are photos, video, and memories (and perhaps, 10,000 embroidered napkins). Every time I see my wedding photos, I get an instant smile on my face. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a videographer, and that was my ONLY regret from my wedding day. Strapping a video camera on someone is NOT the way to go about it (trust me) LOL. So, budget for BOTH. Cancel the fancy printed napkins, and the cherry blossom centerpieces and invest in Photography and Videography. Those are memories you cannot recreate, but you can freeze them in time! (But if you can only have one, choose photography, lol!! I mean, you can’t put a video up on your wall
7. Enjoy your wedding!! After all that planning, enjoy your special day! If something goes wrong, laugh about it – it will be a good story to tell later. Remember that your wedding day is about uniting with the person you love, not crying about the napkins arriving the wrong color (I really do not care for wedding napkins, can you tell)!!