There’s a lot to remember as a bride and sometimes the little things slip through the cracks. After photographing weddings for almost 10 years in Edmonton, California, across Canada and in the Caribbean, here’s my list of 10 things people forget when it comes to planning their wedding.
01. Bring a wooden hanger for your dress
Getting ready photos can be some of the sweetest from your entire day, second to the first look of course and every special touch makes a difference. For me, plastic hangers remind me of cheap department clothing stores and that’s the last thing I want for your dress, no matter how much it cost. It’s one of the biggest decisions you make as a bride, and the one that makes you feel like a million bucks. You can bring the simplest wooden hanger or invest in a special one that has your last name or “bride” in the wire bottom.
02. No cellphones in your front pockets
I’m talking to you, Grooms and Groomsmen! There’s nothing like taking the sweetest photo or epic moment and there’s a big huge square from your cellphone in your front pocket. That goes for keys too. Ask someone else to hold them for you for the day or keep them in your inside jacket pocket if you can.
03. Coordinate meals for your vendors like the DJ, photographer, videographer and bartenders
We love you as our clients, so much so that sometimes we forget to eat in between the moments of the day. I know as a photographer, wedding days are fast paced and even though, I always eat breakfast and bring some snacks throughout the day it’s never enough on a 10-12 hour day. When dinner time roles around and the venue hasn’t been notified that the vendors also require a meal, things can get awkward very quickly. Most vendors request a meal in their contract, but if they don’t – send them an email; I know they’ll thank you for it on the day!
04. Pick a pretty getting ready location
As I mentioned before, your getting ready photos are just as important as any other part of the day so don’t put finding the perfect location at the bottom of your to do list! So many emotions happen during this portion of the day and I believe the focus should be on them, not the mess surrounding them. Once you’ve found the location, specify one specific area for strictly getting ready. No water bottles, drinks, etc. allowed!
If you’ve hired a natural light photographer like myself, you will want to choose a room or location that has white or light neutral walls, aka no yellows, red, oranges etc. and the most natural light. What happens when light hits any other colour but a white / neutral wall? It reflects that colour back onto your skin. Ew. No one wants to looks like an Oompa Loompa or Shrek on their wedding day!
05. Leave more time than necessary for travel, we don’t have time machines yet
Now I say yet because who knows, this could change sooner than we think. Kidding, it probably won’t so schedule travel time like almost the worst will happen. Traffic, construction, accidents, and inclement weather all happen so better to prepare for them. Also, we’re forgetful sometimes. If it takes you 5 minutes to get from your hotel to the first look location, schedule 30 minutes. Sounds crazy, I know!
But think about this scenario: You and all the bridesmaids are ready to go, great! You leave at 1pm to be at the next location for 1:30pm.
1-1:05pm – You’re waiting for the elevator
1:05-1:10pm – You’re taking the elevator but someone clicked to go up but you’re going down
1:10-1:15pm – A bridesmaid forgot her flats so you wait for her
1:15-1:25pm – You drive to your next location but have to wait for pedestrians to cross the street and for some reason you didn’t get one of the the left turn lights.
1:25-1:30pm – Your ride has parked and you’ve finally arrived.
It happens at every wedding so always leave extra time. If you have time left on the day, you can spend it having a drink with your bridal party or just staying relaxed.
06. The sun will go down
When planning your timeline, remember that the sun will go down. Again, if you hired a natural light photographer like myself we rely solely on natural light aka the sun when taking almost all of your photos. This is especially important if you’re planning a winter wedding because the sun goes down a lot earlier in comparison to the summer. For example, if the sun goes down at 6pm, here’s a sample traditional (no first look) timeline:
3:30-3:45pm Congratulations / hugs
3:45-4:15pm Family Photos (maybe longer depending on the size)
4:15-4:45pm Bridal Party Photos
4:45-5:45pm Bride and Groom Photos
07. Have a few extra chairs
We’re all human and I know it costs money to rent extra chairs but the number of times I’ve seen people standing is again, more often then not. Want to know the science behind it? You ordered 100 chairs, and you have 100 guests. Why are people standing? Well Joey and Marissa want to sit beside each other but they can’t find two chairs beside each other, just singles are left so they choose to stand. People sit in all different combinations so by having a few extra chairs, you won’t have anyone feeling awkward and standing.
08. The invitation suite
You didn’t spend lord knows how much money on the perfect invitation to match your decor for it not to be photographed! I always encourage brides to bring me two copies of their invitation suite along with any other decor they’ve used. Ask the florist for some extra sprigs of eucalyptus, keep that little chunk of ribbon that wasn’t long enough and anything else that fits your decor. Your photographer will thank you and your images will look like they belong in a magazine because of a little extra work!
09. Don’t go hungry! Preorder breakfast or lunch
I’ve seen it more times than not, the bride and bridesmaids forget to eat, and not because she has the day of jitters or they can barely fit in their dresses, because there never seems to be enough time on the wedding day. Pre-order breakfast or lunch from somewhere or assign someone to pick up even just some simple takeout. You’ll thank yourself later because we all know anything is better than not eating for 4-6 hours and becoming hangry! I’ve even had a destination bride order a pre-wedding hotdog from the snack bar.
10. Prepare for rain
Mother Nature can be a jerk sometimes and no matter how many times someone says, “They say it’s good luck if it rains on your wedding day.” it still sucks. Instead of having it feel like a literal downer on your big day, plan for it to happen. Have a backup plan with your venue that is just as beautiful as the outdoor version. Need ideas? Have an arbor or backdrop that’s easy to move or a simple yet stunning macrame hanging to put on the wall behind you.
11. I know I said it was only 10 but, pick or hire a day of supervisor / coordinator to ease your stress and let you be in the moment
This should be number one. We all want less stress and especially on your wedding day. Hire a day of coordinator or pick a friend/family member who’s up for the task of being your right hand for the day. Give them the low down on what’s to go where, the timeline and every little detail so you can be free from answering questions and instead be in the moment with your groom, soon to be husband. The day flies by faster than you could have ever possibly imagined, and I say that from over 10 years experience. I’ve never heard a bride and groom tell me the day was going by slow.