18 years and I have photographed over a thousand weddings. But does this give me the credibility to wax lyrical about how you should possibly organise your wedding day? Perhaps not but here goes...
The truly magical moment that your partner proposed to you will live with your forever. Whether it was the most romantic proposal, who knows. I hope so.
But being engaged doesn't mean you need to rush and set a date, book the venue, and of course Studio 900, as your wedding photographer. Take a breath and research your options so you don't go making any rash decisions and costly mistakes.
Get The Big Picture.
Decide where you want to get married. Will it be on far distant beach with a flowing maxi dress and no shoes or a full traditional UK hit? Once you have decided, and remember to include the Groom, you can start to plan. The rest should then begin to fall in place.
Set Your Budget.
This is a tough one🙈......Where do you begin? As I see it you have three options. You either have the money (Well done) or you will save up or you will borrow it. Or to complicate things, any number of the above. The most important thing before you go out and book the most expensive venue and then struggle to fund the rest of the wedding, is talk to each other. Decide what you can afford, or probably what you can't afford and try to stick to it. You don't want to be paying for your wedding in 5 years time from the loan that looks affordable. It may well be, but trust me, in 5 years you may think it was a mistake to borrow so much money and still be paying it off.
Wants and Needs.
Decide what is essential and then purchase into the wedding you can afford. Just remember, not all wedding suppliers are the same. The old adage that you get what you pay for has always proven true in my experience. As a wedding photographer I charge for my expertise, experience and quality of work. In essence, the cost is not just in the time I spend with you and in Photoshop afterwards, but for the fact that you can rest assured your wedding photography will be everything you dreamed it would be.
Don't Cut The Wrong Corners.
There are ways to save money but choose wisely. A large part of the wedding is the catering and you will want to give your guests a wedding breakfast they remember, for the right reasons. It is, in my opinion, so important to get the menu and the chef right. The beauty of organising the wedding yourself is you can prioritise how ever you wish. It is, after all, your big day. If you trust 'Uncle Bob' with his camera all well and good. But what would you do if the wedding photography was not what you hoped for. Tricky to do it again......
Stick to Your Decisions.
Don't over think things and become the Bridezilla. Correct research and planning will get you what you want. Then stick with it.
Enrol the help of people from your "circle of trust" Mum, can be a great asset, so too can Dad if he's in charge of your trust fund 😂! Your bridesmaids really can help. Delegate if you can let go and reap the rewards, they're not just there to organise the hen party you know!
Impart your personalities on your wedding. Make it about your story together with photographs, table names. One couple went to the trouble of getting a photograph of each guest and using them as place names. Time consuming, but quirky and personal. If your normally reserved then fine, don't change it. However, if your not then milk the day. I recently had a bride walk into the room with her dad to the music of Darth Vader's Imperial March then all the bridesmaids and ushers pulled out Light Sabres as a guard of honour for her to walk under. All unbeknown to her H2B and the guests. Lift the roof! make you entrance to the wedding breakfast punchy too. May be choose some favourite music and dance in make it memorable. 💃🏼
Get the Clothes and The Look Right.
You and your wedding dress are centre stage. This is your Oscar award !! Wedding gown suppliers are really good at what they do. Listen to them at all costs. They have seen every shape and size and know what is right. Take their advice. One thing I do see too often, as a wedding photographer is the bride having to pull up her dress up around her bust. Everybody will notice, every time you do it. If you have a Larger than average bust the strapless dress may cause you some issues.
Please try and avoid false tan, or if you do use it try out first and get it correctly applied. Some hands are more yellow than the wedding ring. Speak to your Professional Make up Artist, preferably Julie Mac, (MAC, Illamasqua and Bobbi Brown pro) and get your face the same colour as your chest! Seriously, you need to get the Bridesmaids professionally made up too. One with blue eye shadow and another with thick black winged liner etc do not look great in the wedding album.
Get the guys looking great also. Too often I see waistcoats that don't fit, shirts that are too long in the sleeve and shoes that don't match.
Once you have arranged everything it should all fall into place on the day. Make sure everybody knows what time all the key stages are happening. As a wedding photographer I always meet my couples a week or two before the wedding day to talk about the timings and locations. I can offer advice about how long things normally take and suggest the best time to eat etc. Top tip................ DO NOT BE FASHIONABLY LATE. It just eats into the time you get to be at your wedding. 15 minutes late usually means 15 minutes less photography. Why? Surely you are better off getting some amazing images with your husband.❤️
Take Time Out.
If it all gets too much have a break. It will still be there when you get back. Planning your wedding day is meant to be fun after all. Don't let it get to you.
Really Do Enjoy The Day.
Everybody will tell you the day goes by so quickly. It does. If everything isn't going swimmingly don't get stressed. If the napkins aren't the right shade panic not. No one will notice anyway. Unless your kicking off of course .
It is so difficult to chat to everybody at your wedding and this is where the Receiving Line came into play. It is the formal way to great everybody before you sit down for the wedding breakfast. I much less informal way is to chat to your guests at their tables as you eat. You will the first served and finished. A great time to get out of your seat and mingle.
Go on Honeymoon.
It doesn't matter where but go. You can spend some quality time with each other and start your new life together in a relaxed, enjoyable atmosphere. Leave it a couple of days so you can spend time with family, some who may have travelled so distance a stayed over. They would love to see you.
Have a great day