30 Wedding Day tips | You wish you knew before your wedding day | Tips from photographers and wedding vendors | South jersey wedding photographer
30 Wedding tips you wish you knew before your wedding day. I love photographing weddings because it is such a joyful day, and everyone wants to help make the day perfect for the wedding couple. After nine years and photographing over 100 weddings, I have witnessed almost everything, good and bad. I have seen many things that can improve the wedding experience and many things that have caused issues throughout the day! In most cases, if the wedding couple, wedding party, or family knew ahead of time what to do, what not to do, and had a little preparation, the issues would have been avoided!
As a photographer, I like to share tips that will help me get gorgeous photos for my couples. Most people don’t think like a photographer and know what kind of light works best or think about a clean, getting ready room. So some of the tips listed are from that point of view. Photographers like to joke about photoshopping images, but some things can not be photoshopped!
A compiled list of tips
When I meet with my Memories by Maria Photography couples before the wedding day to go over their timelines, I tell them little tips and tricks. I know that I forget to mention all the suggestions, and the wedding couples may not do much research on specific topics. Then, on the wedding day and when a problem arises, I often think this could have been avoided! After talking with other wedding vendors who have all experienced the same issue, we wish someone had told them about that tip. These tips could have deleted a situation by avoiding it altogether or made a moment extra special or could have helped the wedding couple relax and stress less. With that in mind, I decided to gather everything we knew and organize it in one place so we could share it with wedding couples. So, here is the list compiled from me, other photographers, event planners, and wedding vendors.
30 Wedding Day Tips
- Don’t get a facial, spray tan, or dye your hair the week leading up to your wedding!
- Break your wedding shoes in! Wear your shoes around the house for a couple of weeks before your day. I can’t tell you how many brides have had sore feet within an hour of wearing their shoes. You can wear clean socks to avoid the toe stains and walk indoors on rugs to help keep the bottoms clean.
- Avoid wearing your bra the morning of your wedding so you won’t have marks left on your shoulders and back after you put your dress on.
- The bride, maid of honor, and mother of the bride SHOULD NOT be the last ones to get hair and makeup done. This tip is so important. When getting the bride into her dress, the MOH and mother are usually part of those photos. The bridesmaids aren’t usually needed for pictures until after this event and after bridal portraits are done. It is best to start with bridesmaids so the bride can relax a bit, then do the bride, maid of honor, and mother in the middle. Then finish with the rest of the bridesmaids.
- Allot an additional 30 minutes as a buffer because the timeline can get off track quickly on the wedding day.
- Have a pair of flats or sneakers to slip on after your first dance. Your feet will thank you.
- Make sure you think about all types of weather that could happen on your day and plan for that weather. A backup plan will help keep stress levels down when mother nature throws you a curveball.
- Let your bridesmaids pick their style of dress. Having different body types wear one dress style may not be flattering or make everyone feel comfortable. And give them the same advice about breaking in their shoes! If they don’t usually wear high heels, your wedding day may not be the right day for them to start.
- Remember to have something to eat the morning of and HYDRATE! Drink a lot of water the day before and have water the morning of.
- Bring an emergency kit—Band-Aids, bobby pins, double-sided tape, Tylenol, wipes, Kleenex, etc. If you don’t use your kit, pass it on to the next bride.
- Make sure all your vendors are on the same page. Share your photography timeline with them.
- Give parents and the wedding party-specific tasks the day of. (Card box, veil, bustle, in charge of bride’s bags, set up a backdrop, etc.)
- KEEP YOUR GETTING-READY SPACE TIDY. Try to keep the room you are getting ready in clean. When the photographer is taking photos of you getting into your gown, you will have gorgeous photos without the distractions of bags, clothes, curling irons, hangers, and water bottles in the background. (Assign a bridesmaid to keep the room clear of clutter)
- Make a box of all the detail items you want to be photographed. This way you won’t forget anything, and it will be easy to hand everything to your photographer. (Shoes, rings (both rings) necklace, vows, veil, flowers, invitation, etc.) Save an invitation or mail one to your photographer so it can be included in your detail photos.
- Try to have a pretty hanger for the wedding gown. If you want a picture of your bridesmaid gowns, they should have a nice hanger too.
- Have your florist deliver your flowers to the getting-ready location. Your photographer can take photos of them while the blooms are fresh and haven’t been handled all day. You will also have them for your getting ready and bridal portraits. If your florist can include any extra flowers or greenery they don’t use, your photographer will love it because they can add them into your detail photos.
- When getting your gown altered, MAKE SURE YOU CAN SIT DOWN and still breathe. You’ll need to sit in a car, sit to eat, and possibly sit for bridal formals.
- Make sure someone in your wedding party knows how to bustle your dress!
- Make sure someone in your wedding party knows how to tie a tie and pin on the buoutineers!
- Get your ring professionally cleaned before the wedding so those diamonds sparkle.
- I 100% believe in getting your makeup and hair professionally done for your wedding day. When else will you get the chance to have your makeup professionally airbrushed? Splurge a little. Things are stressful enough to be doing your own makeup and hair. I also strongly believe in having at least one makeup and one hair trial. This is so important. Take photo examples to show how you want your hair and makeup to look. When you get home from your trials, have someone take photos of you from every angle. Knowing exactly how you want it will save so much time the day of the wedding.
- Don’t let your sparkler sendoff fizzle out early. A common mistake with sparkler sendoffs is using normal-length sparklers. Half of them are already burnt out by the time each guest gets all their sparklers lit. And that makes it challenging to get the photos you were imagining. Buy extra-long sparklers and arm your guests with several lighters to get the sparklers going.
- Remind your wedding party to look up when they walk down the aisle. It isn’t a speed race. They should also stand close to the others in the wedding party during the ceremony.
- After you are announced, enjoy your first kiss. Take as long as you want. After all, it is the first married kiss for the rest of your lives. Plus, your photographer will have the opportunity to get several shots of this special moment. Take your time walking down the aisle, enjoy the moment. And stopping for a kiss with all your guest behind you makes for a great photo.
- Make sure EVERYONE on your family photo list knows that they will be in photos directly after the ceremony. This is a chaotic time and can be even more so if someone is not there and can’t be found.
- Ask your officiant to step out when you do your first kiss. No one wants a photo of the officiant in the middle of your first kiss.
- Not all lighting is flattering! Natural light is always best. Spotlights can have a dramatic effect, but they will create odd shadows when they are directly overhead. If you want gorgeous photos, forgo the dramatic downlighting because this is one thing that can’t be photoshopped. Having pretty up-lighting adds a nice touch to your reception space but be mindful that it can also reflect on your dresses and faces.
- Take a moment to visualize your day and what moments you want to be captured by your photographer. For example, if you want a photo of your bridal party in their matching pj’s or a first look with your bridal party or dad, your photographer needs to know it to be put into the timeline.
- This is a big one…It is ok if your dress gets a little dirty. I promise you that no one will notice, and you won’t see it in the photos. I’m serious about this one. I think the majority of the time, when brides really care about not getting any dirt on their dress, it’s because they don’t want it to be ruined or look bad for the rest of the day. Here’s the thing, unless you literally drag your dress through a puddle of mud, any amount of slight dirt on it is NOT noticeable to anyone. No one will be looking at the teensy tiny grass stain at the bottom; they will be looking at YOU looking gorgeous in it. You only get to wear your wedding dress once. Your wedding day is THE day to wear the dress. My advice? Be fully present. Have FUN. Play. Be silly. Dance with your love in an orchard. Stand on a cliff—kiss in tall grass. Or wherever you happen to love frolicking in pretty dresses. If you go into your wedding day prioritizing having FUN with you and your love, then I promise you won’t care whether or not there’s a smudge of dirt on your dress at the end of the day. A dirty dress = a good wedding day!
- Enjoy the moment, every moment! This is your day. Please go into the day knowing that you have done all you could do to make it the best possible and let all the planning and stress go. All wedding days have issues, some wedding days don’t work as planned, but it is still your day. Don’t be afraid to delegate tasks and ask for help. Everyone you have surrounded yourselves with is there to help you make it all perfect. The day will go by fast, and before you know it, you will have your last dance, so take moments to sit and observe or plan a 30-minute break for you and your spouse to relax and be present in the moment.
I hope these 30 Wedding day tips will help with your planning. If you have a few that I have not mentioned above, share them by commenting below!
The most important tip to remember is to be present and soak it all in. Please reach out if you have any questions or ideas about your day. I may be able to help or have experience with a situation and can give you pointers. Happy wedding planning!
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