11 Tips for a Stress-Free Wedding Day

Seattle Wedding Photographer

Everyone dreams of the perfect wedding, but it can take a lot of planning and coordination to plan a stress-free wedding day. Your wedding day is one of the most important events of your life, but if not planned correctly, it can also be one of the most stressful. Hiring a wedding planner can take off most of the wedding day stress, but there are a few other tips you can follow to help ensure your day goes off without a hitch.

Choose 2 or 3 Things That Are the Most Important to You

There are so many ideas online for how to plan a wedding and it can be easy to get distracted and want to do them all. Maybe you saw some personalized wedding favors on Pinterest, or an epic champagne fountain, but it may not be possible to incorporate every idea you see. It’s best to choose 2-3 areas that are most important to you and focus a majority of the budget on those items. Maybe it’s photography, the food or the venue, etc. Allocate more of your budget to the top 3 items you choose so those things are AMAZING. Everything else is just a detail that you don’t need to stress over because that will just take away from the joy of your wedding day. Instead, focus on the things that mean the most to you and make them top-notch.

Take Care of the Biggest Tasks First

Creating a guest list, making a budget, choosing a wedding planner, choosing a wedding venue and choosing a wedding photographer are at the top of the list of things to check off your list first. Why? Because people make plans, money gets spent easily if you don’t have a budget and vendors book up early (sometimes even years out!)

Choose a Wedding Photographer You Have a Real Connection With

Budgets are important but spending 10 hours with a photographer you enjoy and have a connection with may be more important than that $1,000 you’d be saving by going with a less expensive option. Your photographer quite possibly will feel like a new friend by the end of your wedding day, so talk with them ahead of time to make sure your personalities work well together and they are someone you can trust.

The photographers that really value the relationship with you will not only remember your family members’ names, they will also be able to predict when mom is going to laugh or cry during speeches, or when you and your new spouse are going to be sharing a sweet little glance or belly laugh over something funny. They’ll put out fires behind the scenes, help you feel at ease, make friends with your loved ones, and help keep you and your partner in the moment and having fun!

The best way to find the right photographer for you is to do your research and talk to them. Once you find a photographer whose style you like, reach out and ask them questions like “How long have you been shooting weddings?” “Do you have experience shooting weddings similar to our size and style?” “What kind of backup equipment do you use and do you have liability insurance?” These are just some sample questions to ask to figure out if the photographer you are hiring for your wedding day has the right experience. After-all, you are investing in someone to take photos of one of the biggest days of your life; photos you and your family will look back on for years to come, so take your time and invest in the right person for you.

Outdoor Wedding Venue

Organize, Organize, Organize!

It doesn’t matter if your wedding is a small, intimate affair or a huge, blowout bash you can never be too organized. Create to-do lists, for yourself, your fiancé, and those helping out with day-of coordination. There will be so many tasks to take care of that dividing these up will help everyone enjoy the day more and give you some time to relax and be present in the moment. You can’t do it all, so lean on family, friends, and vendors to help you with all the nitty-gritty details. After all, teamwork makes the dream work!

Plan for Things to Take Longer Than You Think

So you gave yourself an hour for hair and makeup but instead, it takes an hour and a half! A 20-minute ride from where you got ready to where the ceremony is could end up being 45 minutes with traffic! Everything that happens on your wedding day needs to have a cushion built into the timeline because unexpected things are bound to happen.

The best advice I can give you is to make a timeline and stick to it. You will have so much going on that without a timeline events can start to slip and run way behind. You don’t want to miss parts of your day or photos that you wanted, simply because you did not have a proper timeline in place.

Consider a Single Venue

There are many reasons to consider a single wedding venue and saving costs is just one of those. By choosing one venue to house your ceremony and your reception, you eliminate the need to spend money on multiple venues and you get added time back into your day! More photos, anyone? Guests also won’t have to drive from one location to another allowing you to have extra time celebrating with them and dancing the night away.

Consider Taking Photos Before the Wedding Ceremony

This includes couples portraits, wedding party, and family photos. A first look is the new norm and definitely a more preferred way to go on the big day. There are many reasons to have a first look but the one that tops my list is the alone time couples get together allowing them to alleviate those pre-ceremony jitters. It’s also amazing to just BE together in the moment before all the madness begins. Doing all the photos ahead of time will open up your timeline and have your guests thanking you for not leaving them waiting for hours during cocktail hour while you are away having them done. Things will overall be less rushed and stressful throughout the day. And let’s face it, the last thing you’ll want to do after the ceremony is be kidnapped for photos. Everyone wants to celebrate, grab a drink and mingle!

Small Wedding Venue in Seattle

Use Reliable and Recommended Vendors

Selecting the right vendor can be a time-consuming process but getting it right and doing your best research is key. Ask your wedding planner and photographer for referrals, take time to look at a vendor’s portfolio of work, and ask to meet with them in person or over the phone so you can ask questions. Your vendors are there to help your vision come to life, so hiring people who you trust and have a connection with is key to successful wedding planning!

Delegate Tasks

Choose someone to pay or tip the vendors. Choose another person to MC or a family member to help the photographer gather people for group photos (I can attest that this is a wonderful and time-saving thing to have in place.) Again, make to-do lists to keep people on task. Don’t be afraid to ask friends and family for help. You guys should be able to enjoy your wedding day and stay stress-free! Did I mention how important it is to hire a wedding planner?

Do What You Want (And Don’t Forget There Are Two of You in the Making of Your Wedding)

From the moment you get engaged, there are going to be so many opinions flying at you about what you should do, where you should get married, what dress you should buy, and so on. My best advice to you is to plan your wedding according to what you and your partner want. Plan events that you think are awesome and avoid the ones that you aren’t so thrilled about. Just because it’s a tradition doesn’t mean that it’s the right thing for your wedding day, so break the rules and start your own traditions!

This day is about you AND your significant other so make sure you are both on the same wavelength about what you want for your day. Make a joint effort to choose a venue, photographer, and decorations together and infuse the day with a style that honors you both as individuals and as a couple. Yes, your friends and family matter and we all love them, but they do not get to have a say on what you and your partner choose for your wedding day. The only two opinions that matter are YOURS.

Go With the Flow and Don’t Get Hung Up on the Small Stuff

Maybe something doesn’t come together the way you thought it would. Perhaps someone is late or got stuck in traffic. Maybe someone forgets to bring the marriage certificate to sign. And maybe, just maybe, someone leaves the rings at the location you got ready and doesn’t discover it until moments before you are supposed to walk down the aisle.

After many years of being a wedding photographer I have seen many scenarios play out and the couples that have a go-with-the-flow attitude on their wedding day are some of the happiest couples who joyfully enjoy their day. Any number of things can happen that are not part of the plan and trust me, nearly every single wedding has at least one thing that goes amiss, but don’t let those details deter you from enjoying your day because at the end of the day all that matters is you and your partner and your marriage.