It's been two weeks since my big day, and boy do I miss it. Being a wedding photographer you'd think that my wedding day would have been a breeze and I would have been totally prepared and all that. NOPE. Being on the other side of things as a bride and actually planning a wedding was completely new to me. So here are my five wedding day tips!
Don't sweat the small stuff.
It was pretty amazing being called one of the calmest brides by all of my vendors, but my day did not go smoothly. Let me start with I had issues with my hair, which lead to being late to the first look. I did my hair myself, and my curls weren't staying in because I suck at hair and whenever I blow dry my hair it just wants to be straight. I should have had my flowers delivered to my ceremony venue instead of my house. I thought I was going to need my flowers for my first look, but I didn't and no one grabbed the flowers so my parents drove back to my house and picked up the flowers except my vase and the flowers for my pie table. So Jesse and I had to pick those up after the ceremony losing about 20 minutes of portrait time. Also my parents wanted this specific picture (with their show car for a magazine article) but we were running late before the ceremony and my dad isn't the greatest with stress. I ended up calling my dad and telling him that it's not a big deal and wedding ceremonies always start late, and since the picture was important to them I wanted to do it (and what the bride wants she gets, right!)
I didn't freak out about any of these small hiccups, I just asked for help or dealt with them the best way possible. I made my timeline pretty padded with time (since the ceremony and reception sites were 45 minutes apart) so starting late didn't effect us too much, and my officiant was super cool and revised to catch us back up on time. But even with these issues my day turned out amazing and I couldn't have asked for a better day.
Savor every moment.
They say that your wedding day is gone in a blink of an eye, and that is SO true. I was talking to my husband about it and put in in a perspective of a 9-5 work day. Most of the day is pretty stressful and busy, which correlates to the planning part of your wedding and then you get that lunch break. That 30-60 minute break in the day that seems to go by SO SO quickly and then you're back to the normal grind again. Your wedding day is that lunch break, it's a small amount of time in the grand scheme of things but is the best part of the day (besides going home from work at the end of the day, but that's different)
Okay, besides my cheesy analogy, I'm being totally serious about how quickly your wedding day goes. Everything is scheduled and fast pace that you're just moving from location to location, activity to activity that it's just gone so fast. Make time in your timeline for a first look, or some time after the ceremony that you and your new spouse can spend some time together and just enjoy a moment alone. Our first look was so amazing, we were a little bit behind schedule but it was still amazing just spending those few minutes together, and of course Jesse's look on his face when he saw me in my dress for the first time. First looks are also great if you are super nervous, Jesse can attest to that. He was shaking waiting for me to come up to him, but after he saw me he calmed down and relaxed a bit.
Eat and drink water frequently
I'm going to be honest with you, this is something both Jesse and I failed pretty miserably at. We did great at the beginning of the day when we were getting ready, but neither of us ate or drank right before or after the ceremony until we got to the reception. Jesse and I were talking and he admitted that he didn't feel great when we were doing couples portraits because he hadn't ate much and it had been a few hours since then. But he mustered through our pictures and did what he could because he knew how important it was to me.
Invest in good undergarments (seriously!)
This is probably one of the best pieces of advice I can give. If you plan on wearing any shapeware under your dress, do your research. Your wedding day is long, and you're in your dress at least 3/4 of the day. I ended up wearing my dress for about 11 hours, and the part I was most thankful about was the bathroom access hole in my shapewear. I'm not going to lie, going to the bathroom in a wedding dress (or really any dress) isn't the easiest (I've definitely had my share of helping out a bride get control of her dress to even sit down) but add in shapewear and it's a whole new challenge.
Enjoy your reception and dance
I see this a lot at weddings that the couple is so focused on talking to people at the reception that they don't get to have fun and dance (before being well...intoxicated). I know both Jesse and I fell to this when we arrived at our reception. We only had family and a few friends at our ceremony so everyone wanted to talk to us about it and our volcano. Granted, our reception was only three hours and was really up to our discretion on when food was served, but it still effected how much dance time we had.
One way to work around this is having a receiving line after your ceremony. A receiving line takes about 45 minutes depending on how many guests you have. If you are not having a receiving line after your ceremony (or if you were like me and didn't have all your guests at your ceremony) work with your photographer or planner to fit into the reception timeline a buffer for meeting and greeting with guests. I know for me dancing and having fun with my friends was pretty important (and even though Jesse isn't a huge dancer, I still made him go out to the dance floor with me) so I pushed for having that time and less mingling with guests.
After having a year and a half engagement, everything is all said and done and I'm married! I hope these tips help future brides with their wedding day prep. You're wedding is a crazy whirlwind day, enjoy it!
Photos by The Portos.