A HANDY RESOURCE TO ENHANCE YOUR WEDDING DAY PLANNING
Regardless of whether or not I'll be photographing your wedding, I want you to enjoy your day. It's a day filled with “onlys” — the only day when you will have all of your most important people together in one place; the only time you will plan a day to this extent; the only day you will put so much effort into looking this good; the only day you will have your last look at each other before joining your lives in this beautiful commitment and the only day you will see each other for the first time as husband and wife, and so forth.
So to the end of helping as many couples pull off a successful wedding day as possible, continue reading. I hope this resource guide will help you.
I've been to my share of weddings, obviously, and there is one thing I can confidently say is the key to a successful wedding day. Planning. With the right planning, your wedding day will be a truly happy occasion.
You don't need me to create another duplicate checklist of what you find online at any wedding blog. Instead I've put together some helpful tips that I've gathered over the years on the things I've seen that cause the most stress.
The First Things
Get the hard decisions out of the way first, such as your guest list. Don't create work for yourself if you don't have to. Do you really need a seating chart for example, or do you have a group that would be totally fine seating themselves? Wedding planning can seem very intense. But consider what really matters to you and don't fall into the trap of imagining what the expectations of others may be.
If you have loved ones eager to lend a hand there are ways to pull off your vision and keep the peace. The easiest way to accomplish this? Delegate small but meaningful tasks. For example, if the enjoyment and memories of your day won't be marred by your mom or planner choosing simply white instead of white dove for your chair covers, then let them choose and spend your time and energy on things that matter to you.
If you feel overwhelmed, take a step back for a day so you can shift your perspective and then come back to it. And remember that if something doesn't go exactly the way you planned on your day, no one will know but you and you don't have to tell anyone.
Due to demand and price it can be difficult to find a venue. Here's how to narrow it down:
List your requirements. It will help you immensely to know what you want before you waste endless hours on touring venues that don't fit your style, budget or needs.
A few things to consider to get you started:
Start by setting a budget. And then write it down! It will help you stick to it, because our brains are weird that way. Some venues will negotiate price. You just need to ask.
What's your ideal location? Are you traditional? Nature lovers? Garden lovers? Modern or urban?
If you would love a castle wedding but your budget is more suited to a cabin, think outside the box. What castle features were enticing to you and where else can you find that feature or how can you create that feel in a different setting? Brainstorm with a creative family member or friend. You may surprise yourself with what you come up with.
Will you need a kitchen? Or are you planning an afternoon tea or hiring a food truck?
Do you prefer a venue that can offer staff such as bartenders or servers?
How many people are you comfortably trying to fit? A space that's too large or too small will cause unnecessary stress.
What time of year is your wedding? You may find more value in a venue with a beautiful indoor space and limited to no outdoor space if your wedding is during a colder season. Or you may not require as much indoor space during warmer months.
How much work are you willing to put in yourself? There are beautiful budget friendly halls, but they will require more manpower and hours. Consider your list of available help or the option of hiring help such as a wedding coordinator that can manage the setup and take down. Or do you just prefer finding a one stop shop?
Once you're armed with a clear vision you will find it much easier to narrow down your venue.
The phrase “crafting your guest list” seems to be popular these days. And with good reason.
When you look back through your pictures, who do you really want to have memories of sharing this day with you?
What family obligations should you consider that may affect future relationships if any, and are you willing to include or exclude those from your guest list?
Just remember that the size of your guest list is directly tied to your budget and the overall experience for you and those attending.
Don't send the invitations too late. Life has gotten busier and people are making plans further ahead than they used to. 4-6 months is not too soon to send out save the dates. And 3 months is fine for the RSVP required invitations.
Be comfortable, for the love of Pete! I've never understood that saying. But Pete and everyone else don't want to see you fussing with your clothing all day. Choose weather appropriate material, good support for the bust, making sure you can still sit after eating a mint, etc.
I can't tell you how many men I have seen suffering through the day in the hot hot heat wearing black, heavy 3 piece suits. Or brides that are constantly worried about keeping their gown in place.
Now ladies, as many times as you've probably heard this, buy for your size. You can always alter a dress smaller if you do find the time to lose those last 10 lbs. But altering up a size, not so simple. And the fit of your gown will make or break how much you love your wedding photos. That's the hard truth. You're beautiful. Full stop. And your significant other clearly loves you as you are.
You can mix your ideal style with comfort. If you love a gown but will have to worry about falling out of it every time you bend over, just keep shopping. Trust me. It can actually ruin your entire day.
Start taking care of your skin, like yesterday. Sunscreen, every day. Moisturize because dry skin cannot be Photoshopped to look better in 1000+ pictures. And don't forget your lips.
Speaking of sunscreen, NO sunscreen on the wedding day. It causes the strangest shade of pallid that the magic of Photoshop cannot do anything about.
No mineral makeup. See above.
If you're hiring a makeup artist ask them about sunscreen and mineral makeup for your wedding day. If they don't know the above, consider if they actually have the knowledge needed to pull of the lasting look you want on the most beauty effort intensive day of your life.
It's a myth that your makeup needs to look like you have a starring role in a Les Miserables stage production. A little darker, yes. A panda imitation and lashes that you can use as sun shades? Not necessary.
If you don't like your makeup trial, tell your artist and be specific. That's the look that will be immortalized in your wedding pictures for all eternity.
After your makeup trial, ask your artist how they will remember what colours and products you want for your day. “I'll remember” is not the correct answer.
My personal secret weapon: Clarins Double Fix Mascara.
I'm a wedding photographer. And a girl. So the mascara struggle was real. I was always ending up with smudged mascara flakes all over my face. Not attractive. I found this in a desperate search a few years ago. It's a clear topcoat which nothing except a decent makeup remover can budge. Not a day with a camera to your face or a day in the ocean. You're welcome.
The Wedding Day Shoot
Many brides are too nervous or excited to eat before the ceremony. So plan to bring a snack for before your bride and groom pictures. I have had more that one bride pass out or get sick from not eating or drinking enough. Yes, really.
If you're in heels, please bring flip-flops.
I don't recommend hours and hours set aside for your wedding day bride and groom pictures. You will be exhausted, your guests will be wandering around for an unreasonable amount time overdressed for killing time, and you will miss out on the entire purpose of having a wedding: sharing it with loved ones. I can help you plan accordingly.
If you want a wider variety of shots, let's book a trash the dress session and head off on another day instead. We don't actually have to trash to the dress, but we won't be rushed. And if you do want to trash the dress we will make it EPIC.
The Wedding Day Schedule
As I said at the start of this section, planning is key. I have a wedding day planner that I fill out with all of my clients. We'll sit down and go through it after you book with me, and again to refine the details a couple of weeks before the wedding.
This has proved to be a very useful tool to all of my couples covering everything from travel time to locations to the ages of the flower girls and ring bearers so I can better plan the shots. It started out as an organization guide for me personally, but it's proved so useful to every one of my couples, I now provide it to each couple right after booking.