Your wedding day. We all want it to be memorable right? Nothing says, "Mission Accomplished" like a day that's gone off without a hitch. But you've never planned something like this before. Or maybe you have, and you're dreading the inevitable headache. Luckily for you, I've been to DOZENS of weddings and have seen some major Do's and Don'ts.
#1 Do Decide What Planning Means to You
This topic might be a little more reserved for your therapist, but talk with your partner and decide what kind of support you need. Are you guys going to have a wedding email that everything is linked to? Would you rather plan it 90% of the way and just get feedback on the essentials? Is this a team effort and you would like both of you to be involved the whole way? Your Photographer (hey, that's me) wants to know. Your Venue wants to know. Your Planner wants to know. This can make the planning SO MUCH SMOOTHER, and deciding early on will relieve the unspoken stress of organizing such an important day.
# 2 Do Venue First - The Rest Will Follow
You can't book a Photographer, Florist, DJ, or Caterer until you know when and where your wedding is. Keep in mind the sub-prerequisite for this is to know approximately how many people are on your guest list (if it's quaint, you can save hundreds by picking a venue to match). Knowing your venue first will also let you know kind of services are included, how much decorating you will want, and can even provide a general photography timeline - they'll know EXACTLY when golden hour is and from this you can back track to know when ceremony should start, arrivals, etc.
#3 Do Check Out my Day-of Checklist
Those brides on your Instagram feed and Pinterest board are doing ALL of these things that I tell my couples to plan for. If you want the cute detail and wedding party pics, you have to plan. I'm not saying provide your Photographer with an all encompassing shot list. If you like their style, telling them your inspo and vibe goes a long way. Get to know them, and trust that they have your back and will make your day amazing. Your Photographer will be your stylist, bouncer, voice of reason, and countless other roles on your wedding day. Choose wisely (ahem, me) because they will be your new ride-or-die.
#4 Do Allow Yourself a Break
Too many a wedding schedules are back to back photo ops and, "be here," or, "be there," and couples like yourself will. burn. out. We WILL make sure you get all your photos, but if you over do it, that will take a toll on the schedule. And your smiles. A great Photographer (oh lookie it's me) will help you plan a day-of schedule that respects your sanity, but maximizes your service. You and your partner should even consider a few minutes alone to de-stress (if first looks are your thing) or a brief moment during cocktail hour to soak in the day. Trust me! It's worth it!
#5 Don't Sweat the Small Stuff
Lord have MERCY if we are still worrying about party favors and uncomfortable shoes and whether or not someone is sitting by someone they shouldn’t. Who's day is it? You and your partner's. Who do we care about? Immediate family and dear friends only (this is iffy on your wedding day, but I'll say it to be nice). It's so easy to get caught up in the production that you can forget why we are all gathering on this day, in this universe, is solely because you found The One you want to spend your life with. This is a CELEBRATION: remember to have fun.