Wedding Day Tips | Getting the Most Out of Your Wedding Day
Planning your wedding can seem like a daunting task. Most couple spend anywhere from six to eighteen months planning their big day and then POOF, it is over in a flash. It always breaks my heart when I see a couples’ wedding day slipping out from under them. And while that is always just more motivation for me to make sure I document every last aspect of their day, I always wish my couples could enjoy more of their day in the moment, rather than just through the pictures afterwards.
A recent couple I photographed said “I wish we could just be guests at our own wedding” and that really stuck with me, as just a week prior, and bride said to me “wow, they say it goes fast, but this is going really fast“. And it is true, your wedding day will go really fast! So how you can you make sure that you and your future spouse are getting the most out of your wedding day?
Wedding Day Tips | Getting the Most Out of Your Wedding Day
Build More Time at the Beginning of the Day
I often meet with couples who want to make sure their photography coverage extends until the close of the evening. And I get it- everyone wants to have fun and party, and clients often feel that is the time of the day where they don’t want to chance missing any second of the fun being documented. Truthfully though, most people fall into one of two categories: dancers and not dancers. So, it is usually the same people on the dance floor throughout the night. Having your photographer stay until the end will certainly mean that you’ll have more dancing photos, but they will most likely be more photos of the same people dancing. (not to mention- they’ll be photos of the same sweaty people dancing) And this will come at the cost of missing out on some really incredible moments from the start of your day.
Instead, I suggest allowing more time at the beginning of the day, as this does multiple things to make your day more enjoyable. For starters, no one likes to be rushed. (okay, maybe some people like to be rushed, but not many) So, if you have photography arriving 45 minutes before you step into your gown, that little bit of time will be spent photographing details, snapping a few candids, and maybe getting some of you touching up your make-up. Everyone seems to be on edge because so much has to happen in such a short period of time. It doesn’t really allow time for your photographer to get creative, & blend into your group, allowing people to relax so that she can get more natural candids and creative images of you getting ready. Allowing more time during this part of the day allows your photographer to be more creative and document more of your wedding story, all while allowing you and your bridal party to relax and really enjoy the process.
Have a First Look
I know I’ve written about this before, but it bears repeating. It always breaks my heart to see a wedding day timeline where I know that, at best, this couple is going to spend roughly 45 minutes together on their entire wedding day. Not to mention, they will be busy their entire day with no real time to take it all in. Not only does having a first look open up your timeline, to allow your day some breathing room & grant you the ability to relax a bit… but you’ll get to do it *together*. You’ll get to spend the first day of your married life… together. Crazy idea, right?
This also means that you and your bridal party will be so much more relaxed! I’ve found that the first half of the day is where all the tension builds- the excitement of getting ready, seeing each other and saying “I do!”. So it seems that after the I do’s are said, the first kiss has been made and you’ve exited down the aisle, the last thing people want to do is anything that involves being organized.
After the ceremony, people generally want to celebrate, sip champagne and relax… because you are finally married!!!! If you’ve had a first look and taken care of all your family and bridal party photos before-hand… you can do just that!
Take Mental Pictures
Of course, you have hired a photographer to document your day. However, if it all possible, try to take a moment during each part of the day to stop and truly reflect on what is happening. While you’re getting ready, sneak off to the powder room, look yourself in the mirror, and take note of what lies ahead of you. Both in that day, and with your future spouse. Do it again a few minutes before you head down that aisle… look at your hand and know that in just a few short moments, a ring will be placed on it that you will wear for the rest of your life. During your reception, sit there for a second and just take it all in. Take a mental photo of these moments and enjoy them. I still have a few of these in my memory almost 13 years later!
Visit Your Reception Room
Seriously. If you can find the time in your timeline to do this, you totally should! You’ve spent months thinking of every last detail, but by the time guests have entered, your reception room will be littered with drinks, jackets, purses and the like. Sure, you’ll see it in the wedding photos a few weeks later, but trust me, you’ll want to see it in person. Work with your coordinator or photographer to see if there is time for you to pop into your reception room for just a few minutes, to take it all in. It is so incredible to see how it all comes together!
Sneak Out of Your Reception
I’m not kidding! Seriously- let your DJ or coordinator know that you’re running off for a few minutes and do it! You could use this time alone or as an opportunity for your photographer to grab some sunset or night images of the two of you. I always love this portion of the day because it is a great moment for a couple to regroup. They get to talk a little bit- away from the music and the guests- about how fun their day has been and how happy they are to have made their commitment to one another. It has quickly become one of my favorite parts of the day. It’s amazing how little time most couples get to spend together on their wedding day, and this is a great way to make sure you get a few moments together.
Share Something Special
Give each other letters or have some sort of surprise to share after the ceremony. One couple I recently photographed had personal messages engraved in each others’ rings and waited until after the ceremony to read their messages; another couple scribbled an inside joke on a napkin! Share a funny note or get your future spouse a silly gift to bring them a smile. Not only is this a fun thing to share, but again, it gives you the opportunity to spend a few moments together.
Of course, you’ll likely have your first dance together, but you’d be surprised how many couples never make it back out to the dance floor, together. Now, if you are not the “dancing type” you can disregard this piece of advice. However, if you are looking forward to tearing it up on the dance floor together… let your DJ know. It’s easy to get separated from each other, throughout the night, as you visit relatives and catch up with old friends. If you ask, your DJ will be happy to remind you both to get out on the floor to celebrate!