How to have a Stress Free Wedding Day
Weddings come in all shapes, sizes and forms, but the number one desire I hear from couples is they want a stress free wedding day. And I cannot agree more! If you take away one thing from this list, it’s that having a detailed plan in place (with a little wiggle room) will insure your wedding day is stress free. Be prepared for anything, have a back up plan and most importantly, be willing to delegate tasks so you can relax and enjoy your wedding day. Know that everything won’t go perfectly, but being prepared can create a stress free wedding day.
Most important: Have a detailed, yet smart, wedding day plan.
9 Simple Tips for a Stress Free Wedding Day
#1 Choose your wedding day getting ready location wisely
Select the location where you are getting ready with care. A hotel room with a clean layout and with lots of natural light will look much more beautiful in photos than a basement with fluorescent lights. Also, try to keep clutter to a minimum in the room. Asking a bridal party member to do a quick run through the room before the photographer arrives is so helpful. Get rid of food wrappers, empty beverages, articles of clothing and stash bags in a closet or by the door.
PS. This goes for the guys too! Please don’t make them an after thought. They are the ‘other half’ of your day.
#2 Prep your getting ready wedding details before your photographer arrives
Gather all important items in one place: jewelry, shoes, dress, bouquet, heirloom keepsakes, vows etc. A bed or unused table is great! Take the price tags and stickers off your dress, jewelry and shoes, even those found inside the shoe. The last thing you want to see is a price tag in the photo of your gorgeous wedding shoes! Or if your photographer is picky (like me!) they will have to spend precious minutes doing this before taking a single picture.
Unearth that wedding dress! We know your seamstress has carefully packaged, stuffed and pinned your dress into that garment bag. But it takes just as much time unpack. This is a great job for a bridesmaid, or even Mom. (Hint: Mom loves this job!) Finding a nice-ish hanger is great, and it doesn’t have to be custom, if you’re not into that. A plain wooden hanger, with groves for the straps, is perfect. This will help it from slipping off.
#3 Eat before your wedding ceremony, even if you’re not that hungry
Make sure to eat before the wedding. It may be hectic and you may be nervous, but it will be a while before you have the opportunity to nourish yourself during the reception. We have seen this go awry … and it’s not pretty. So please, please take time to eat.
As a photographer, I will always opt to wait to photograph you, if it means you take 5 minutes to eat.
# 4 Have a wedding day emergency bridal kit
Prepare an emergency bridal kit with clear nail polish, mints, a sewing kit, stain stick, eye drops, safety pins, bobby pins, pain reliever and deodorant. And scissors … Don’t forget a good pair of scissors. Task a close family member or bridal party member the responsibility of bringing the emergency bridal kit to each location throughout the day. That way tending to a tiny emergency doesn’t derail your timeline more than necessary.
As a photographer I always carry a small kit of various pins, thread, scissors and hair accessories. But I’m sure your kit will be more personalized than mine. 😉
#5 Allow 50% more time for wedding hair and makeup
Allowing 50% more time for hair and makeup than you originally anticipated alleviates the number one reason wedding day schedules end up running late. Please don’t plan for hair and make-up to be done the very minute you need to get dressed. If you’re ready early, then that’s just a bonus! It also leaves extra time to eat, relax and enjoy your friends and family.
#6 Are there rules or restrictions on wedding photography?
Find out what the rules for photography are at the ceremony location. All venues are different, some restricting the location of photographs and even the times in which they are permitted. This often applies to churches or other places of worship, but this can also be the case for a JP during an outdoor ceremony. It’s always better to ask ahead of time. We will always respect the rules of your venue and other vendors.
#7 Should I have a Receiving Line? – Maybe, but they do take time.
If you are planning on having a receiving line after the ceremony, plan 30 minutes for up to 150 guests and an additional 15 minutes for every 100 guests over that. Thoughtfully decide if you two will be the only ones in the receiving line or if parents will partake too. Be sure to tell your bridal party to hang out away from the line or they may accidentally become apart of it.
A controversial opinion: Skip it all together! We know this may not go over well with parents, but receiving lines can eat up a large portion of your time for photos. Time can always be taken during the cocktail hour or reception to greet guests. Alternatively, you can plan a first look and other photos prior to the ceremony. That way less time after the ceremony will be needed for photos. This will give more time for a receiving line, and may relieve some of your stress.
If you do not plan to do a receiving line, make sure you hide out of sight after coming down the aisle or you will suddenly have one. This is another common place where schedules end up running late.
#8 Take lots of mental pictures throughout your wedding day
Did you know it takes at least 30 seconds for a positive experience to imprint in your brain and become a memory? Take lots of mental pictures throughout the day. Take the time to stop and be present.
While we’ll be there to capture images for you, the moments where you stop to take things in will help keep the memories strong and fresh. Don’t forget to do this together as a couple!
Once we are done photographing you two together, we often suggest to that you two take just a couple minutes alone before joining cocktail hour or rejoining the reception. Just you two, alone, for 5 minutes. It’s really not much time out of the whole day, and many of our couples tell us after that it was one of the most memorable moments from their day.
#9 Choose wedding vendors you love and trust for a stress free day
Above all, remember that your vendors work for YOU on the day of the wedding, including us. Choose vendors you truly love and trust to get the job done – AND have the ability to work together.
If you don’t want to do something, simply say so. This is your wedding day, and you don’t want to have any regrets.
At the end of the day, regardless of what may have happened, it will still be the best day ever! Laugh, smile and be present. It will probably be the biggest and most amazing party you ever throw!
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What did you think of our 9 Simple Tips for a Stress Free Wedding Day? This is part of The Ultimate Wedding Planning Guide you can find here.