I am based out of Chattanooga, TN, but travel worldwide for weddings, engagements, and brand-specific editorials. I love working hand-in-hand with people to ensure we get the best, most heart-warming, memory-invoking imagery.
Every single wedding runs perfectly smoothly, without any hold-ups, with no wedding timeline changes, and no late uncles, or bridesmaids who are running behind.
But don’t worry – I’m here to help!
This is the first tip I always tell my brides. In order to best be served during your wedding day, you must communicate well both during the wedding day, and well ahead of time. For example, your photographer will need to know key moments throughout the day such as ceremony time, whether or not you want a first look, exit time, and more. To create the best timeline possible, both your planner and photographer will need to know what you expect of them.
“But, I hired them because they know best…”
And yes. You’re planner, your photographer have attended more weddings than they can count. They can create a timeline in a little over 3 minutes, and they have so many ideas for the perfect schedule. But in order to create that schedule to fit your day, they will need to know what you are hoping for. It’s also extremely important to communicate to your friends, family, and bridal party when they may need to be places and be ready for photos. A few things to communicate well are:
2. Pack Your ‘Emergency Kit’
Whether or not you plan on it, crazy things happen on your wedding day! A few great essentials to have with you are:
3. Have Plenty of Backup Plans
Rain, late people, torn dresses, missing marriage license. It’s always best to prepare for the worst and hope for the best. Whenever I plan out my couples’ photo schedules, I aim to keep at least 5-15 minutes of extra time in-between major events. Having a few extra minutes allows you the peace of mind to know that even when you’re “behind schedule”, you’re really not.
And for the rain, keep plenty of clear, plain white, or plain black umbrellas on hand, along with a few towels just in case!
4. Hire a Planner and/or Coordinator
I have been to my fair-share of weddings without planners, and let me tell you – planners can make or break the day. Having an extra, experienced hand on board for your wedding always makes the day much smoother, and much more relaxing for everyone. From family drama, to missing DJ’s, to late florists, planners can handle of the behind-the-scenes craziness that can distract you from having that perfect, relaxing, exciting day of celebration!
5. Narrow Down Your Guest List
I’m sure you are hearing all about how your great-aunt-twice removed really needs an invitation or how your kindergarten BFF just has to be there. One of the best things you can do for yourself (and your budget) is to scale down your guest list to those you really want surrounding you on your wedding day. You may have 300 great friends and family members to invite (and you totally should), but make sure to avoid adding people out of guilt and outside expectations.
6. Prioritize Your Budget!
When you start planning your day, ask yourself this:
What 3 things are the most important to me on my wedding day?
Do you want location to be perfect, or do you care more about the amazing floral pieces? Do you want your photographer to be able to capture every thrilling memory, every emotional moment? Write down your list of the most important things for you and your fiancé, then work from there.
7. Build in Extra Time for Relaxing
Yup – you heard that right. Wedding days can be a bit…hectic…sometimes, and it is so important to be well-rested and your ‘normal calm self’ when you say your vows. That’s why I always ask my brides to build in at least 5-10 minutes on your wedding day to just be. Allow yourself to sit, drink water, take a few deep breaths, and get superrr excited about the rest of the day!
A great time to do this would be anywhere from 2 hours to 15 minutes before the ceremony time. Ask your photographer and coordinator to help you build this in during the perfect time!
8. Work with People you Love!
Nobody wants to be around a super-high-stress-negative-ball-of-nervous-energy on their wedding day, right!?
That’s why it’s so important to surround yourself with wedding professionals that you love and care for. I love to get to know each couple I work for, learn what they do and don’t like, and what they hope for on their wedding day. And yes – I LOVE to LAUGH and to DANCE and to CELEBRATE alongside my couples.
But don’t worry, I certainly work my booty off to get the most amazing, heartfelt imagery on your day, but never at the expense of you having a fantastic, relaxing time with your new hubby!
9. Let Yourself Be Totally Hands-Off on Wedding Day
If you’re anything like me, you love to have a hand in all things details. But on wedding day, give yourself the day-off! It’s so important to just let the amazing vendors you’ve hired do there job (and yet another reason to hire a coordinator and let them take care of any hiccups)!
You don’t want to be running around in your wedding gown trying to rearrange the florals, tell your family where to be, or looking for those misplaced shoes. Let your maid-of-honor, your mother, your coordinator, your florist and your photographer help you with any issues that might arise on wedding day.
10. Just Be M(A)RRY!
And of COURSE, just enjoy the heck out of your wedding day! This is the day you’ve dreamed about, that you’ve planned for, that is just about your and your new hubby. Make sure to let loose, relax, have a drink, and dance your heart out as you enjoy one of the most amazing days of your lives!