Get ahead of the game, and get yo’self prepped!
After photographing over 100 wedding days, I’ve seen it all! I’ve seen weddings go SO smoothly and end up way ahead of schedule. Those are the weddings where the couple can spend the day having the time of their lives focusing on their love for each other and hanging out with their friends and family.
I’ve also seen super stressed out brides, grooms, wedding parties, and families because of totally avoidable situations. After witnessing all of this, I want to share the secrets I’ve figured out about how engaged couples can ensure that their wedding day is the best day of their lives and completely stress-free.
1. Use as few venues/locations as possible
The number one cause of stress on a wedding day is multiple venues or locations. If you want a super smooth wedding day AND to save money and time, I would encourage you to only use one venue for your entire wedding day. This includes getting ready, your ceremony, cocktail hour, reception, and all of your bride and groom, bridal party, and family portraits.
Sometimes, my couples tell me they don’t like the look of their ceremony or reception venues for their wedding party photos, so they want to take all of these photos at a third location. I totally get it. Some venues aren’t ideal for portraits, and I want you to have amazing photos, obviously! But I would encourage you, when you’re choosing your wedding venue, to choose a location that you LOVE for all aspects of your wedding day. Does the venue have a ceremony location AND a reception location that you love? Does it have a suite for getting ready for BOTH people? AND does it have beautiful locations for portraits? Would you be happy to have photos at that location hanging in your home forever to someday be passed down to your children and grandchildren?
Using multiple locations adds so many unnecessary logistics to your wedding day. There are so many more things that you have to think through and there are so many more opportunities for miscommunication. How is everyone going to get from the salon to the venue/church? What is the parking situation like at each of these locations? What if there’s traffic? Plus, it’s so easy to lose someone along the way. Trust me, it’s happened… then we’re waiting for three people who all road together and can’t figure out GPS… I know you’ve told EVERYONE where to go at least a million times, but one of them will go to the wrong place. I promise, this happens all the time. And nobody is happy when that happens….
When you choose to have your entire wedding day at only one venue, you’ll also save money. Not only on your wedding venues but also on your wedding vendors. When you don’t have to account for drive time between locations, you won’t have to add on extra hours to vendors’ services to make sure the entire wedding day is covered.
Using only one location for your entire wedding day is THE number one way to reduce tons of stress for yourselves, your wedding party, your family, and all of your guests on your wedding day!
2. Reduce Your Bridal Party Size
I totally get it. You want ALL of your friends to be in your wedding party, and you don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. Maybe you have a million sisters or a large friend group, and you don’t want to leave anyone out. But you also have to think about what is best for you and your fiance, and what is going to make your wedding day as enjoyable as possible for the two of you.
Adding more people to your bridal party not only adds to the cost of your wedding (think about all those bouquets that you have to buy), it also quickly starts adding to the stress of your day and your entire wedding planning process. You have more people with opinions on dresses and hair and makeup. There’s a lot more communication involved with more room for miscommunications to happen.
On the day of the wedding, the more people in your wedding party you have, the earlier you’ll all have to start getting ready assuming you’re all using the same hair and makeup team. There will be a lot more people to corral for photos and make sure everyone is where they need to be the entire day.
One of the best things you can do for your stress level on your wedding day is to only have your absolute closest friends for your wedding party. The ones who you know are your lifelong besties. The ones who you couldn’t imagine getting married without them by your side. Hopefully, these are also the friends who calm your nerves and help keep you relaxed on the biggest day of your life.
3. Create your timeline months in advance
Something I do for all of my couples is to create their timeline for them from the very beginning. As soon as my couples book with me, I create a custom timeline for them. After photographing so many wedding days, I know exactly how long it takes to get you amazing bride and groom portraits and plenty of wedding party photos without having to worry about time. And here’s a little secret: I always add buffer room in the schedule between different parts of the day, so you never have to stress if anything runs behind for any reason.
4. Limit your guest list
This tip is similar to limiting your wedding party size. The smaller your guest list, the less people you’ll need to communicate with prior to your wedding day and coordinate on your wedding day. It’s also a lot less people who are expecting to spend time with you and chat with you at your reception. Focus your invitation list on the people who matter the most to you and your fiance and who you couldn’t imagine the day without. Make sure everyone you invite is someone you want to spend time with at your wedding reception. Of course, this will also save you SO much money on almost every aspect of your wedding from the venue to the food, the rentals, the floral centerpieces, and so much more. However, if funds are not an issue, then by all means.. bring em out… bring em out!!
5. Hire a wedding planner
Most of my couples’ number one regret is not hiring a wedding planner. Wedding planners can save you time, money, and stress by taking almost everything off your plate and doing it all for you. They already have all of the expertise in all aspects of the wedding day, and they will plan an entirely stress-free day for you! If a wedding planner isn’t in your budget, I would highly recommend at least hiring a day-of wedding coordinator. They will run your wedding day for you and communicate with all of your vendors. Trust me, you don’t want to be the point person for questions on your wedding day.
Hit me up if you want to make sure your day is flawless.