Alright, Y’all I’m gonna lay it on ya, tough love style.
Tough-love advice from a photographer who only wants the best for you.
1. Be Intentional with your getting ready space
No more dated commercial hotel rooms! Instead, for getting ready locations, go towards a unique AirBnB’s, locally owned bed and breakfasts, and off-beat / historic hotels. The bulk air conditioning units and 1990’s wallpaper aren’t doing us any favors.
2. Assign A Clean Up Crew
Enlist member of your bridal party or family to be in charge of cleaning up the getting ready space before the photographer shows up. There’s nothing worse than walking into a beautiful prep space and seeing red solo cups and trash scattered across the room and I assume you wouldn’t want those details in your shots. Pick up after yourselves and it will save this step!
3. Natural Light Is A Gift From The Photo Gods
While you are touring venues, prep spaces and receptions area, keep lighting in mind! To get images that pop, choose spaces with lightly colored walls, lots of windows and areas that have good outdoor space available.
For outdoor ceremonies, go tour the location as close to the time (and season) of your ceremony to make sure the lighting is just right.
4. Let Your Guests Be The DJ
Find out what songs really get your guests moving! A reception where no one dances is sadder than an empty pizza box. Oldies? Classic Rock? Hip-Hop? I always suggest adding a spot on the RSVP form to put down their song requests. This leaves the power in your hands, but also gives you an idea of what songs to put on your playlist so you can keep the party going!
5. Hire A Wedding Coordinator
I’ll tell you now. Your photographer is not your coordinator.
I know you might think that you can handle it all, but let me tell you right now that you are wrong. I’ve seen it happen too many times where the bride wants to do it all, then ends up in a frenzied panic during hair and makeup when they get hammered with questions every 20 seconds. “When’s the cake supposed to get here?” “Where are the rose petals?” “Where do you want the buffet set up?” DON’T LET THIS BE YOU! When the wedding day rolls around, you shouldn’t have to worry about if the florist has arrived, or if the tables are set up, or when your bridal party is supposed to go down the aisle. It is a naïve mistake to assume that your photographer fills this roll, because we have our hands filled with so many other responsibilities on your day and are solely focused on capturing it all in the best way possible! Hire a wedding coordinator and kiss your worries goodbye.
6. Do A First Look
Even though this idea is nothing new, I do believe in its power to make the day so much less stressful. First of all, doing a first look completely erases the “I’m gonna throw up” feeling that you get when the coordinator tells you the ceremony will begin in 10 minutes. It’s the only intimate ‘you-and-me’ moment you will get for the entire day and it gives you space to get out those jitters, tears, and nervous burps. Secondly, doing a first look opens up SO MUCH TIME to get bridal party photos done and over with before the ceremony – which will then open up time for you and your boo to actually mingle and greet your guests doing cocktail hour.
7. Only Invite People Who Really Love You And Your Partner
Please don’t get pressured by your future mother-in-law to invite “Great Aunt Linda from Iowa (whom you’ve never met) because she’ll be gossiping about you to her bridge club for the next 5 months if you don’t.” Ignore my advice, and before you know it, your guest list is doubled and the chairs are filled with people you barely know. When you keep in mind the motto “make it an experience, not an event”, it’ll be an intentional, joyful gathering that I promise you won’t regret.
8. Let The Party Die When It’s Ready
Read the room, watch the time as more people begin to leave, and notice the energy change when people just seem plain-out ready to go home. Make a gracious decision and let your coordinator know that you’re moving up the grand exit so that there are still enough people around to participate in sending you off! There is nothing wrong with ending a party early if it maintains the energy of the day. Don’t let the excitement turn to exhaustion just because you booked your DJ until Midnight. Do the right thing and end on a high note.
9. If It Makes You Stressed, Don’t Do It
Alright this tip is important. During your planning process if anything stresses you out, pull the plug, move on with a different idea. Chance are if it’s stressing you out just in the planning it will stress you out on your big day.
10. JUST HAVE FUN
On the day of your wedding, the most important thing is to just let let loose and allow yourself to have fun and if you follow my tips, it should be a breeze!
Let me know in the comments if you have any tips of your own!