Planning a wedding is one of the most important and most anticipated things we as women do in our life, but also can be one of the most overwhelming and stressful seasons we go through! Not only do you need to account for what you and your fiance want your wedding to look and feel like, but you also need to know how you are going to afford it all, finish planning in your timeframe while managing your family, soon-to-be in-laws, and all of your bridal party and guests! It adds up very quickly and it feels as if the number of things that need to be done before your big day is impossible!

Trust me, I have been there! With all of that in mind, I have put together a small list of things I think all brides need to know before their wedding day that I have learned from not only my own wedding but from all of the weddings I have photographed and attended!

How to Have a Relaxed Wedding Day:

1. Planner/Day of Coordinator

Wedding planners and day of coordinators are your BEST FRIENDS! Of course one of the main things your planer takes care of beforehand is the logistics, dealing with vendors, and endless emails and phone calls securing little details for your wedding day, but something I think we forget in planning our wedding is also their huge amount of resources and knowledge! When you hire an experienced and well-versed planner, they come with access to things you have never dreamed of! They know exactly which catering companies to recommend (they have eaten one or two wedding meals in their time), where to find a florist who can bring in your favourite flowers even if they are out of season, and know which decorators have access to the chairs you envisioned at your ceremony. Not only do they know about so many vendors, they know which ones would work best to serve you and your personality as well as your planner may know them personally and have already worked together! When you hire a team of vendors that have worked together, you basically hire a full wedding company who can work seamlessly with one another and make your wedding day just that much better.

If a planner is out of your budget, I would still highly suggest a day of coordinator! This person will ensure that everything gets done the right way, on time. They keep track of important details, which also in turn allows your family members and friends the ability to celebrate with you rather than have to worry about jobs needing to be done. The last thing you want is to have to be running around on your wedding day because your dad can’t find the guest book for the ceremony or your MC doesn’t know what to announce next.


2. Extra Time

Wedding days are notorious for running behind schedule! Out of every single wedding I have attended, only TWO have ever run exactly on schedule according to the timeline. Allow for extra time, even if you know your getting ready location is only 15 minutes from the ceremony, allow for 25-30 minutes. You never know if makeup and hair is running behind or you will encounter traffic. Which leads me to my next point…


3. Hair and Makeup Trial

Make sure you book a trial of your hair and makeup before your wedding day! Even the most experienced hairdresser cannot read your mind and may not create what you envisioned on the first try. I learned this the hard way as I decided to save a little bit of money by not having a trial, and while my makeup was great, my hair was not what I wanted! We ended up running late because my hairdresser was trying to fix what I didn’t like about my hair and she also needed to go to another appointment. I ended up only liking one side of my hair and as a result, all of the photos I have of myself from my wedding are of the left side of my face! While this was not a huge ordeal, I was late to my wedding and a little self-conscious! So, learn from me and always have a trial before your wedding day!


4. Lighting

While this is not something most brides and grooms think of immediately while planning their timeline, it is my first thought! Most wedding photos are taken during the middle of the day in the middle of the summer, which means it is the hottest and brightest time of the day! While this isn’t necessarily a bad thing and I will still get great images of you, you will not get that glowing evening light or soft orange sunset! There are really four ways you can solve this problem:

  1. Plan your ceremony 2-3 hours before sunset. This would allow your photos to be in the soft evening light and then you would head off to the reception!
  2. Plan your ceremony at sunset! In this case, you would want to have a first-look together and then take your portraits before the ceremony and reception.
  3. If you need to have your ceremony during the day or do not want a late reception, you can plan a time around sunset to sneak off and take some photos with just yourself and the groom! This is not only the perfect time to take photos, but also gives you a break from the chaos of a wedding day to just realize that fact that you’re married! Soak it in with just the two of you (and me of course) and then head back to the party!
  4. Take more photos after your wedding! Wanna completely alleviate the stress of wanting 1-2 hours of photos but only have 30 minutes to squeeze them in? Just take a few photos on your wedding, focus on your bridal party and family, and then plan a shoot when you are back from your honeymoon! That way you have the freedom to shoot at any time, anywhere, and can change your hair and makeup if you want!


5. Timeline for you, a timeline for you, a timeline for everyone!

Since having a well-planned timeline is what allows your wedding day to run smoothly, give a copy to everyone. Literally EVERYONE. Mom, Dad, Best Man, Maid of Honour, caterer, MC, DJ, photographer, and videographer. The more the merrier! The more individuals who are informed, the less likely something will go wrong. Along with this, make sure every single phone number of important people and vendors are on that timeline. If for some reason your ride to the reception is nowhere to be found and the entire bridal party has left their phones, wallets, and papers in the car, I will have the phone number of time driver and we can get a hold of them! These little details will quickly solve any problems on the day.


6. Attitude

If you forget everything from this list, the ONE THING I want you as a bride to remember is this: Your attitude decides the mood for the entire day! Let me repeat that, the way you act and respond to anything and everyone on your wedding day will dictate how others respond! Don’t get me wrong, I am not trying to sound rude or assume every bride becomes a bridezilla on their wedding day, but things happen! A wedding is a HUGE day for you and can be extremely stressful, emotional, and overwhelming. If something goes wrong, take a deep breath and allow those around you to help in solving it. If you allow yourself to be calm no matter the weather outside, the time on the clock, or the dirt of the bottom of your dress, everyone will reflect that! Not only will you feel better and enjoy your wedding more, but it will also show in the photos taken. It will reflect the emotions of anticipation rather than stress. You are marrying the person you love most in the whole world, and that is all that matters about your wedding day.


At the end of it all, this is your wedding day! If something doesn’t fully represent who you are as a couple, then do not feel obligated to do it just because of tradition or pressure from family members and friends! Even more important is your marriage. Your wedding is only a day, a very special and incredible day, but marriage is so much more and it is the beginning of a wonderful life with your best friend.