I’m here to give you my top 25 wedding day tips to help you have a worry-free event without sacrificing amazing photos in the process. As a wedding photographer, I’ve photographed hundreds of weddings. And I know a thing or two cause I’ve seen a thing or two. (If you starting humming the Farmers Insurance theme song here-you’re my kind of people). I also know that keeping your wedding day as low stress as possible while still having time to get all the photos you want, well, that seems like a pretty high bar to meet. But, it definitely doesn’t have to be. Everyone deserves the dream wedding day they’ve been planning and the photos to help them remember it. These Wedding Day Tips will help you do just that.
Wedding Day Tips From A Photographer
So, let’s jump right in to see what are my best 25 wedding day tips. These tips will guarantee a (mostly) stress-free day and kickass wedding photos.
Tip #1- Wedding Day Timeline
Having a wedding day timeline is the key to having an stress-free wedding day. But it’s also important to include your photographer in the timeline process. Most photographers want to help you make your timeline and are happy to do so. I include this service with my wedding photography to help your day run smoothly and as stress-free as possible. Whenever you’re ready to hash these details all out, I’m happy to jump on a phone call and whip one together for you. Having input from an experienced wedding photographer will ensure you have adequate time allotted to capture all your important moments.
Also make sure to send the finalized timeline to your photographer and all other vendors ahead of time. This helps the vendors know when to plan on deliveries, start times, and helps everyone know where they need to be at specific times. The timeline is key to keeping your wedding day as stress-free as possible.
Tip #2- Make Someone Else Answer
Make someone else answer all the millions of questions. The last thing you’re going to want to do on your wedding day is answer tons questions about the day’s details. So, designate a go-to person for questions on the wedding day (or even the entire week of). If you have it in your budget, we highly recommend hiring a wedding coordinator. Contact me HERE for my recommendations for some kickass companies. But if a coordinator isn’t in your budget, nominating someone you trust to fill that role on the wedding day is a must. Giving this person control over this aspect of the wedding day will be a lifesaver, I promise.
Tip #3- Give Yourself an Extra Hour
A big tip I always give brides is to get started with the hair and makeup artist earlier than they think they need to. When I help my bride’s set their wedding day timelines, I always try to pad my bride’s getting-ready time by an extra hour. Hair and makeup can easily run a little over, and it’s always better to have extra time on your wedding day and be calmed and relaxed than to feel rushed because you’re constantly running behind.
Tip #4- Get Ready in Natural Light
Natural light does wonders in setting up the perfect shot while you’re getting ready for the day. If it’s possible, try to choose a venue or airbnb that has a getting ready suite with lots of natural light and windows. Also, try to keep the getting-ready room as decluttered as possible so your photographer doesn’t have to be moving your things around to clear the space for a beautiful photograph.
Bonus tip: If it’s a beautiful day outside and the location allows for it, you can even move getting ready to outside. Some of the most beautiful getting ready shots I’ve ever taken have been when I’ve taken the bride onto the deck of the room she’s getting ready in. Get creative, and chase the light!
Tip #5- Keep All Your Details Together
When your photographer arrives, they will want to photograph your detail pieces while you’re just starting on your getting ready process. Have ready any details you want photographed, including bridal jewelry, perfume or cologne, shoes, the veil, the bouquet, the rings, and any other important bride or groom heirloom pieces–and keep them all in one place! When you are packing your things together the night before, just put all the detail pieces in one bag so they are easy to find. It’ll make your photographer’s life a whooole lot easier.
Tip #6- Keep An Extra Copy of the Invitation
Keep an extra copy of your invitation suite for detail photos! One of the details photographers looove to focus on is the invitation suite. This includes a copy of your wedding invitation (duh), the envelope, save the dates, rsvps with their envelopes, and anything else included with the invitation. Pack this extra copy of the invitation suite with your details so it’s easy for your photographer to find.
Bonus tip: Hire a professional lettering artist to address the extra wedding invitation for the photographs, or get any calligraphy enthusiast friend you know to hook you up. If you do go professional, here’s a link to my fav lettering artist, Letters And Dust. They’ll make anything you throw at them look KILLER.
Tip #7- Bring Beautiful Dress Hangers
Forget those clear plastic hangers- keep it classy with a gorgeous wedding dress hanger for your bridal and bridesmaid dress shots. As a photographer, I always try to bring a few pretty hangers, but if you bring some yourself you can choose one that’s more your style. I like to encourage having nice hangers for the dresses because small details like this add a lot to making your shots look finished. My very favorite hanger is made by BHLDN and can be found HERE.
Tip #8- Have Your Bouquet Delivered Early
Ask your florist to deliver your wedding bouquet when you’re getting ready so your photographer can photograph them during your detail shots. This is the perfect time to capture those gorgeous blooms before the heat of the day takes its toll and it is handled for hours. Your gorgeous flowers are also the perfect touch to your beautiful bridal portraits right after you slip on your dress. They are also a nice addition to any fun bridesmaid getting ready group shots!
Tip #9- Ask For Extra Loose Flowers
After making the bouquet and centerpieces, the florist will have extra loose pieces from the project they otherwise wouldn’t use. That means there are some extra pieces the photographer can include in some detail shots (without taking apart a centerpiece). Most florists are happy to give you some loose florals! Especially because it means they’ll get some pretty photos of their flowers as well. All you have to do is remember to ask them!
Tip #10- Get the Mother of Bride Dressed
Whoever is helping the bride put on her wedding dress needs to be ready for photos early. This is typically the mother of the bride, a sister, or maybe a Maid of Honor. Whomever is chosen for this beautiful moment, they will undoubtably be in the photos of the bride getting dressed. Which means said person needs to know ahead of time so they can be fully ready by the time the bride is ready for this important photo op.
Wedding Day Tips
Tip #11- Eat, Eat, Eat!
Trust me on this one. Make sure you have allllllls the snacks. Nothing puts a damper on your wedding day than a hangry bride or groom. Make sure there are plenty of snacks around for you and your wedding party, and put someone in charge of making sure the bride eats. The bride is typically under a lot of pressure day-of, and it’s easy to forget to eat. That’s why every bride definitely needs their maid of honor to make it their mission to force feed them snacks throughout the day. Food does a lot to help you deal with stress, so sneaking food throughout the day will help a TON. Your photographer thanks you in advance for this. 😉
Tip #12- Put Your Pants On.
For your photographer’s sake: make sure the groomsmen are already showered and wearing pants before they arrive. I can not tell you how many times I’ve showed up to start a photoshoot with the groom and groomsmen and they’re all still chilling in their boxers. Just…. try not to do that.
Tip #13- Groomsmen Tie Tying Bootcamp
Give your groomsmen a Tie tying bootcamp! I’ve gotten really great at tying groomsmen’s ties over the years. Literally 90% of groomsmen don’t know how to tie a tie, bowtie, or pocket square properly. Make sure to send all your groomsmen a youtube link for the specific tie or bowtie knots you want them to do ahead of time, as well as a link for how to fold their pocket square. As an extra line of defense, make sure to grill your groom on how to tie these knots as well, to make sure he can help his groomsmen in the worst-case scenario. And if they still can’t figure it out- well, that’s what I’m there for. Also, it makes for some super funny photo ops.
Tip #14- Opt For the First Look Shot
A lot of my clients struggle with choosing between having a “first look” versus waiting until they walk down the aisle to see each other for the first time. Either one you choose is fine and will produce some beautiful shots. But, I personally prefer the first look option for a few reasons. First, it allow you two to see each other earlier and spend some time together before the official ceremony. On what can feel like a whirlwind of a day, oftentimes having this time together helps calm some nerves. It also gives you a private moment to share some private vows if you choose. No one will be within listening distance and so this can also lead to some intimate and emotional moments. I’ll be the creeper in the bushes with a big camera lens to capture that tear running down his cheek.
Having a first looks also allows you to start the reception almost right away after a short cocktail hour. Since you will have knocked out a big portion of your couples photos following your first look, you can skip that part following your ceremony. Then your guests aren’t having to wait while you take a bunch of wedding day photos together and you’ll get to eat dinner sooner. And by then you’ll be ready to eat your arm off. Fo real tho.
Tip #15- Take a Time Out
The 30 mins leading up to the wedding ceremony is the time for the couple to sit and calm down. Take quiet time, a tranquilizer, a nervous poop, or whatever you need to calm your nerves. Also if you’ve already had a first look with your boo, this is a time where you can relax and take some deep breaths together — minus nervous pooping time. You don’t have to worry about posing for photos because this is when the photographer is getting set up for your wedding ceremony. So I won’t even be there to crash your make-out (or whatever) party. Whatever you do, don’t give into the temptation to let a bunch of family check in on you and chat. Just take this time to yourself. It will most definitely be the quick breather that you both need.
Tip #16- Spill the Tea
Tell your photographer ahead of time if there’s any sensitive or awkward family drama. I know personally that there’s never a family absent of a little healthy drama. It might be a recent family death, divorce, upset in-laws, or your sister’s new weird boyfriend that wants to be in all the photos. I can totally deal with the drama and work around it inconspicuously, but let me know beforehand so I’m prepared.
(Also, side note- your photographer works for YOU the couple and nobody else. I will gladly be the bad guy for you. I will handle whoever you need me to in order to keep your wedding day as drama and stress-free as I can.)
Tip #17- Don’t Rush the Kiss
A mistake you can make during the ceremony is rushing the kiss. As a photographer, I absolutely love capturing this moment between a couple. But, in order to capture it well I need time to wave the officiant out of the way so you don’t have him third-wheeling behind you in the photo. You know exactly what I’m talking about. We’ve all seen those awkward photos. So, wait a second before the kiss so the officiant has time to move out of the way, and hold the kiss for a few seconds longer than you would think. This gives the photographer time to get a few quick shots of the happy couple and just a bit more time to work with. This is a moment you’re going to want to remember, so take your time with it and let your photographer work their magic.
Tip #18- Pair Down the Family Group Photos
You shouldn’t go crazy with the group photos. Every family wants some group formal shots with the new couple after the ceremony. But I super recommend that you try to keep the group photo count as low as possible. Because, let’s be honest, the photographer’s time is better spent capturing candids at the ceremony and reception than formal shots. How often are you really going to look back at all those different family grouping photos from your wedding day? Of course, some are a must, but you probably don’t need every combo ever.
The photos you’re really going to treasure are the candids. They really capture the energy of the event, the emotion of the moment, and the personality of your guests. I want to capture you and the relationships you have with your people. Those will be the kickass photos I promise all my couples. Seriously, don’t stress about the group formal shots. I send all my couples a family formal checklist that will help you narrow down to what’s most important.
Wedding Day Tips
Tip #19- Dirty Dress? Don’t Stress
The following advice goes against every fiber of every bride’s being. Don’t worry too much about getting your dress dirty. Did your eye start to twitch right there? I understand that after spending so much money and time on finding the perfect dress, the last thing you would want to do is let it get dirty or stained. But… when are you actually going to wear this dress again? Don’t be afraid to work with your photographer on getting some kickass photos in your dress, even if you’re worried about getting your dress dirty in some of the shots. I promise, promise, promise that I’m not going to get your dress dirty on purpose (nor will any other photographer). But if you let yourself relax about keeping your dress perfect, your day will be a lot better all around.
Tip #20- It Takes Two to Bustle
Someone should know how to bustle your dress. You’ll want to bustle your dress at some point so you can party hard during the reception. But I would definitely encourage you to have a backup person in case something happens to the first one. Who knows, they could be taking a bathroom break, busy on the dance floor, or deep in conversation with their future S/O, and we don’t want to get in the way of that.
Tip #21- Sneak Away For Sunset
Sneak away for some romantic sunset photos after dinner. When we make your wedding day timeline, we’ll carve out some time around sunset for some quick photos. Even if you’ve taken plenty of photos earlier in the day, just 15 minutes is enough to get some really gorgeous golden hour shots. Besides, most couples are super happy for the few quiet moments away at this point of the evening. It will give you a quick break from all the hugs and chatting and you’ll get some seriously dreamy photos as a result. Let your me know you’d be okay with adding in this little bonus photo moment and you won’t regret it.
Tip #22- To Sendoff, Or Not to Sendoff
Considering having a cool sendoff to end your reception? There are plenty of cool ideas for sendoffs that have been popular in the last few years. Popular options include things like bubbles, sparklers, streamers, confetti, and more. If you’re planning on adding this extra little moment to end your reception, tell me-your photographer-ahead of time. It takes a few minutes to set up for different types of sendoffs to get the best photo for each situation. I want to get you the coolest exit shots possible, so let me know what you’re thinking ahead of time. Also make sure to check with your venue on what’s allowed (most venues don’t allow glitter, for example).
Bonus tip: If you want to do a confetti sendoff but are earth-conscious like me, here are some eco-friendly confetti options: Option 1, Option 2, Option 3
Tip #23- Armed With Bubble Guns
If you choose to do a sendoff with bubbles, make sure to arm a few of your guests with bubble guns. Normal-sized bubble wands are super cute but they don’t put out enough bubbles to get the photos you’re hoping for. That’s why you should give a few guests or even your entire wedding party bubble guns. It will make sure to put out enough bubbles to meet all your epic bubble needs for some kickass sendoff photos. Plus your wedding party will have so much fun that they’ll love this wedding day tip.
Tip #24- Keep Your Sparklers Going
Don’t let your sparkler sendoff fizzle out early. A common mistake with sparkler sendoffs is using normal-length sparklers. By the time each guest gets all their sparklers lit, half of them are already burnt out. And that makes it difficult to get the photos you were imagining. Make sure to buy extra long sparklers and to arm your guests with several lighters to get the sparklers going all at once. Here’s are a few options: Option 1, Option 2
Tip #25- Trust Your Vendors
This might be the most important of all the wedding day tips. You’ve hired us for a reason- now trust us to do our job. On your wedding day, there’s a ton of pressure for everything to be perfect. You’ve been planning this for months, or even years. If you let this pressure get to you, it can be difficult to enjoy the moment. Remember that you have hired some pretty talented professionals- trust us, we’ve got this. This isn’t our first rodeo, and we know what we’re doing. We will do everything in our power to make your day operate as close to perfect as possible.
25 Wedding Day Tips for Kickass Photos
That’s it! 25 Wedding Day Tips that will not only relive stress – but will also ensure that you get some kickass photos in the process. Incorporate a few or several of these wedding day tips and you’ll thank me later. And, of course, I’d be happy to help you with all of these things during your entire wedding planning process. Contact me HERE! Let’s chat!