I’ve photographed over 100 weddings in the past couple years. Through it all I’ve seen a lot of simple little things that people have done, or could have done, to remove stress from their wedding day. There are literally thousands of different tips out there that may or may not apply to your wedding. But I tried to narrow this down to a few which will apply to almost every wedding.
The top 14 in no particular order:
1. Have an appointed Starbucks person. It’s rare that I go to a wedding where I don’t see Starbucks drinks in everyone’s hand as they get ready. But sometimes people end up being late, get lost looking for a Starbucks, or fall asleep because they could never find one. So who knows, maybe uncle Ted really wants to help with the wedding and this could be his job.
2. Have food available for the bridal party. I can’t tell you how many weddings I have been to where people run off, are late getting ready, or are just grumpy because they are hungry. If you’re all getting ready somewhere, buy a 24 pack of those big fluffy muffins from Costco. Or if it’s in the afternoon have a sandwich plate available. It’s a cheap easy solution to save a lot of hassle and stress when the bridal party might not have time in the schedule to find food.
3. Plan enough time for everything. When I meet with couples I always tell them it’s better to have extra time and be able to chill with the bridal party than having to stress about getting to the wedding on time. Things almost always get delayed somehow. So it’s good to leave a little buffer in the schedule.
4. Bring a Tide Bleach Pen. Every now and then something will get on your dress and that’s an easy way to get it off. But only use it if you have a white dress. For ivory dresses have some soap and laundry detergent available.
5. Have a bag of multi sized safety pins, bobby pins, needle and thread, and two sided tape available. I’ve seen or heard about no end to problems with wedding dresses on the day of the wedding. Be ready for adjustments here and there as you go. You may need to get sewn into your dress if the zipper breaks, but it’s better than not having a dress at all!
6. Bring comfortable shoes. Sometimes the elegant high heels are my favorite part of the brides wedding outfit. But it’s a good idea to have some cute sandals or something else available in case you need to walk over some grass or sand to get to wherever you are doing your photos. It might also be nice for later on the dance floor.
7. Sleep the night before. I’ve been to a lot of weddings where the bride or groom only got 2 hours of sleep. It makes for a really long day. Seriously plan to be in bed 10 hours before you need to get up. Then if you get to bed later or can’t fall asleep you will still end up with near 8 hours.
8. Bring some tums, aspirin and cold medicine. You never know what your body is going to do the day of the wedding and it’s nice to have something available for quick relief.
9. Email a schedule to everyone. It’s a good idea to send it the week before, then just foward the same email to everyone again the day before. I’ve also seen people print the schedule on business cards or little 3×5 cards and hand them out at the rehearsal dinner. It’s a simple way for everyone to keep it in their pocket or purse and not be calling the bride 20 times on the morning of the wedding asking when and where they should be.
10. Plan the ride situation. Make sure everyone who needs a ride has one. I’ve been to many weddings where people end up making multiple trips between locations to get everyone to the right place. Make sure you know who’s driving who where so that the bride and groom won’t need to worry about it.
11. Make sure someone is responsible for clean up. Make sure someone other than the bride or groom is in charge of making sure the hotel room where you got ready, or the dressing room at the church is cleaned and all the left over stuff is collected.
12. Plan a getaway time and make it adjustable. It kind of depends on your crowd. But It’s usually better to leave when people are still excited and enjoying the party instead of looking at their watches cause it’s 1:00am and they are wondering when you will leave. Plan a time, but be ready to leave a little earlier to stay a little later depending on how the crowd looks.
13. Have your honeymoon bag packed and in the right car. This has also caused many delays and awkward moments when the bride and groom hop in the limo as everyone cheers them off, but then the limo backs up and the groom jumps back out to find who has the keys for the best man’s car because the bride’s suitcase is still in there.
14. Don’t stress. I put this last but it’s probably the most important. Things might go wrong, and delays might happen. But in the end you’re still getting married and it doesn’t really matter. Enjoy the day, laugh about the bloopers, give people lots of hugs, and smile.