You probably had a little laugh to yourself when you read the words ‘stress-free wedding day’. And I don’t blame you! It’s a bit of an oxymoron. You won’t get away clean, of course; none of us do – but there are definitely ways to make sure your big day goes as smoothly as possible, reducing your stress and amping up your enjoyment on the way.
I’ve been to more weddings than I can count, so I’ve seen what works and what doesn’t. I’m a pretty calm person by nature (my lovely clients tell me this all the time), so I’m always on the lookout for ways to reduce the stress while keeping the excitement. Below I’ve written up my three top tips for a stress-free wedding day – I hope you enjoy, and more importantly, I hope you find them helpful!
It’s Your Day!
Before we get into the tips, I just want to say up front… It’s your day! Don’t let anyone tell you what you should and shouldn’t be doing, including me. At the very start of the process, look past all the confetti and cake and get to the heart of what really matters to you. Let that steer you through the whole process. Let it be your mental anchor. These days, wedding celebrations can take any form you wish. Just make sure you sign that all-important paperwork and the rest can be as unique and personal as you can dream up!
Tip Number 1: Buffer, Buffer, Buffer
How do I mentally prepare for my wedding day? This is a good question with no easy answer. In fact, the answer is different for each and every couple. But one of the most important things you can do for your mental peace is to add in some buffer time between each section of the day.
Unless you’re in the military, things rarely follow a schedule with pinpoint accuracy. You need to allow space for the human element. People will be late (not me, don’t worry!), they’ll chat, they’ll mingle, cars might break down, rings might get lost… (Well, hopefully not that last one.) But by giving yourself some time between the different parts of the day, you’ll allow for some breathing room – and those little niggles and delays will suddenly become a lot more bearable.
Not only that, but a well-placed buffer can make sure that you slow down and enjoy the day. Often, I see couples so caught up in their scheduling that they forget to actually take in the magic of this once-in-a-lifetime occasion. As a (very general) rule, your ceremony, congrats and family photos will take about one and a half hours. You need to factor in travel time and couple photo time on top of that, with room to spare. Unfortunately, if you’re pushed, it’s usually the couple/bridal party photo session that suffers most.
Tip Number 2: Think About Logistics
When it comes to wedding photography, it pays to think about logistics. Obviously, you and your photographer will have had many discussions about scheduling before the big day itself, but there are still critical questions you need to ask and answer well in advance.
Where will you be getting ready? Is there natural light there? Does it gel with your overall style? How much travel time is there between locations? How long will your ceremony take? Have you allowed time for family photos post-ceremony? What time is sunset on the day? What kind of coverage do you want at the reception?
Sorry to overload you with questions, but it’s better to think about these kinds of things months before, as opposed to days (or even minutes!) before.
Another crucial factor is the time of year. A summer wedding with lots of daylight and heat will probably push your ceremony into late afternoon/evening. A winter wedding, where we’re short on sun, means an earlier ceremony and carefully timed shots. You don’t want to run out of light or time on your big day.
Tip Number 3: Plan Your Family Photos
I know it’s an exhausting prospect, but trust me: this is the one thing you’ll regret not putting effort into when you’re looking back at the shots. I always try to make these sessions as calm, relaxed, and painless as possible, but it’s vital to think about and plan your family photo list prior to the day.
You’re obviously dealing with two separate families, so try to keep them orderly and united, one side at a time. Once you’ve got the two main groups, you can add to them as you need to. It’s also a smart move to let everyone who needs to stay for photos know before the wedding day; people have a tendency to wander! Like I said up there, you have to factor in the human element. A final tip: discuss the list with your parents. If they’re kept in the loop, they won’t add names you’ve missed to the list on the day.
Bonus: How To Create A Wedding Timeline
Every couple is different, and every ceremony is different. While I appreciate and encourage that, it can also be helpful to try to construct a basic timeline for your wedding day, which helps ensure everyone is on the same page.
Get the basics down by starting with the time of year, hours of light and sunset. This will dictate a lot. Then look at your reception and work backwards from there, working out how much time you’d like for photos. Once you have that, you can gauge when your ceremony might kick-off, and from there, you can get a rough estimate of when your hair and make-up should start at the top of the day. And don’t forget that buffer time! Once you have all these elements vaguely mapped out, you can put them all together, and voila – you have a rough timeline to work from.
Don’t worry, though: you’re not expected to be the best wedding planners in Perth. As your vendors, we know it’s probably your first rodeo. But trust me when I say, we are here for you. Ask us anything and everything and we’ll do our best to help you work out how to have a stress-free wedding day!