“My wedding is OVER?!?!?”
It won’t matter how many times you are told how fast your wedding day will fly by, it will always seem unbelievable.
Some spend more than a year planning the big day, some spend a few weeks.
Some spend a fortune on their best day ever, some spend next to nothing.
Some regret taking too much time to plan, some say they wish they had longer.
Some wish they would’ve put more money towards somewhere to live AFTER the wedding, some wish they had spent just a little more to make the day feel special.
Are you sensing a trend yet?
Any way you go- you want this one day to last a lifetime.
My goal? To create pockets of time during your day that you might actually remember. To help you interact with the person you are marrying a few times instead of hardly seeing them after the vows.
There will be candid moments the entire day- and I love simply creeping around all day to lock those precious moments into a memory card.
But I am also extremely aware of things that are complete TIME WASTERS and I am on a mission to spread the knowledge.
There are so many moments that you can rush during the day so that the important moments aren’t rushed at all.
*(And if you’re thinking oh my word, you should never rush any part of a wedding day.. well, I’m about to explain myself so just hold on to your britches.)
ATTN: This is where you BOOKMARK this blog to re-read the week of your wedding.
If you’re already days, months or years into marital bliss? You might just enjoy nodding along and saying “ooo… okay, that might’ve helped if I knew that before my day.”
So here we go.
1. Keep it clean.
Typically- you will be getting ready in one area. A hotel room, the rooms provided at the venue, whichever. Wherever you are- chances are someone tried to tidy up knowing that a wedding party would be prepping there.
Yet as four or more people start crowding in and throwing their bags everywhere?
I get to come in a clean an entire side of the room to be able to take those cute robe photos or even get a decent photo of the bride getting in the dress. If I am busy cleaning, or a bridesmaid is busy cleaning, that is time we could be using capturing you laughing with said bridesmaid.
So keep at least one side of your prep rooms clean by telling everyone to throw their stuff on one specific side of the room. That way the other side stays clear.
2. Keep it classy, y’all… Monitor that alcohol.
This is easier said than done.
Light beer and mimosas are the classiest way to have a little pre-wedding toast before everyone gets ready.
If you start taking shots of liquor, you can go ahead and add twenty minutes at a time for what I have to deal with for whoever gets drunk before the reception.
“Wait, what? Where are we going? Am I supposed to be dressed? Where are we looking?” and many many more are my typical time wasters from drunk wedding party members.
Don’t get me started on when we can’t find one of them because they are off talking on their phone, or in the bathroom, or simply have no idea where they are supposed to be.
Keep the liquor to be consumed at the reception.
3.Try on your dress WEEK OF.
You can’t believe it takes so long to button?
If you try on your dress the week of- you are more likely to remember how long you need to wiggle it over your hips or shoulders, zip up that last inch, or button those thousand buttons that no one ever has a crochet hook for. That is another ten-fifteen minutes that people think will be only two minutes.
Even if you are the thinnest girl in the world, you might have a layer under your dress that is hard to smooth over or puff out the right way.
Just try it on.
4. Accessories only LOOK small. Round ’em up and learn how they work.
Losing jewelry, custom cufflinks that are too large for the button holes, and not knowing how to tie a bow tie are my typical accessory time wasters.
Guys: watch a youtube video the night before and tie your bowtie at least once. (successfully.)
Girls: put your jewelry in your shoe box.
5. Write vows, speeches and special notes the week of or night before.
I am all for procrastinating. I am not saying your vows need to be done months before.
I love raw emotion.
You should start having enough emotion the night before to write at least the majority of your vows or that sweet little note to your spouse saying you can’t wait to see them.
I can photograph them as they open it and read it and still capture all of the emotion.
BAM. Fifteen minutes.
If you expect your spouse to say a thank you on a microphone at the reception? Tell them a week before. Remind them again the week before.
6. All beauty routines take longer on a wedding day. Guys- you need this too.
Thinking you only need to show up if you’re a guy?
Guess what. Once you put on that suit/tux/tie.. you might think you should run a comb through your hair, tie it up, or at the very least throw a little pomade in the front.
Don’t wait until the wedding day to figure out you don’t own a comb.
Brides. Factor in five extra minutes into your schedule for nit picking.
Most brides will now listen to their hair/makeup team and get a great schedule for everyone to be done on time. *(typical hiccups? late wedding party or diva bridesmaids wanting two hours for their time instead of one)
Even if you always love your makeup, or love your hair, you might sit there double checking things for longer than you realize trying to see if your bottom lip looks larger than usual or if the last centimeter of your left eyebrow looks too thin.
It’s okay (actually even preferred) to be picky about how you look on your wedding day. After all is said and done- these photos are hopefully going up on your wall and inside albums forrrreeeevvvvveerrrrrrrrr.
I’m just saying you should schedule the few extra minutes.
7. Rehearse during the rehearsal, then have dinner.
How many times do I ask if someone knows where they are standing and they have no clue?
Way too often.
How many times does the music person have no idea when to start what music then the MOH or best man has to go explain it before the processional can start?
These things happen a lot.
I’m not saying you need to have a crazy long rehearsal where there is yelling… All I am saying is rehearse one good time WITH music so everyone knows who is walking.
I have had to run find Grandma before the ceremony because she was never told that she was being officially escorted to her seat.
There have been flower girls and ring bearers that aren’t sent down the aisle because the right music isn’t playing.
One good rehearsal the night before can save you 5-10 minutes.
8. FAMILY PHOTOS. FAMILY PHOTOS. WHO IS IN THE FAMILY PHOTOS?!!
If you are a couple of mine- you know that this is MY MAIN TIME SAVER.
Horror stories are told of family photos taking over thirty minutes to an hour and it breaks my creative heart.
There is no need to take more than twenty minutes for ALL of your family photos. Every combo, any number of people.
They just need to know where to be and when they need to be there.
Every family member in town for your wedding should be able to get in one quick family shot. But if Uncle Joe is in the bathroom-
or let’s be real- Uncle Joe is always at cocktail hour in line for a beer-
then I can’t start photos.
All a photographer needs is people to be there. *(okay- all this photographer needs..)
Easy fix? Have someone tell the family that week, or even that day, that they will be in the photo right after the ceremony.
BAM. Ten minutes saved. *(in my world, this is about a half hour saved, and so much stress avoided.)
9. LEARN HOW TO REALLY BUSTLE YOUR DRESS.
Not “well so & so was with me at the appointment five months ago and watched the (expert) seamstress do it, so she knows how.”
(insert shocked emoji here, please)
These dresses can be the most intricate works of art.
And to get those couture gowns precisely bustled into a nest of tulle that will delightfully float about you during your first dance as if angels are present…
You need someone who has practiced the bustle.
Three times would not be extreme to bustle and un-bustle for said person to practice.
How about you have that person over while you are most definitely trying on your dress?! *(see #3 above if you are skimming)
10. LIE TO EVERYONE.
Okay. Maybe not everyone.
You know who to lie to.
Did someone’s face pop into your head during all of these talks of timeline?
Is it your bridesmaid? Mother in law? Brother?
Give them a SPECIFIC timeline for them.
Ex: You get to the venue at ____.
You are to be dressed at ____.
You walk down the aisle at ____.
You are not released to the reception until ___.
And it can be an hour earlier than what is happening.
Is your wedding party being announced?
TELL them. Tell them a time that is ten solid minutes before the real time the reception starts if you think they can’t help but get back in line for a cold one to hold as they are announced.
All in all?
Things will always go haywire for a wedding timeline.
As a professional wedding vendor? I follow the advice of Big Brother:
Expect the Unexpected.
What’s the worst that can happen if you plan some cushion time throughout the day?
An impromptu photo shoot with your sister or best friend? An extra night shot with me (that’s night shot as in nighttime wedding portrait, not liquor shot by the way.. I have literally had someone think I was talking about them heading to the bar) ; )
Plan on someone losing a shoe.
Plan on someone getting emotional and needing a full touch up on the makeup.
As long as you plan- you did your part.
You will breathe easier on the day of- and that alone will allow you to look your loved ones in the eye for an extra moment.
And that’s what it’s all about.
These are incredible wedding planning tips from an amazing Austin Wedding Photographer. I love the tip about learning to bustle your dress! So so important!
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Thank you so much! How to bustle your wedding dress is such a serious thing! Hopefully more couples read perfect advice for them to plan the perfect timeline for their wedding day.
Love these tricks to help slow down and enjoy your wedding day! So important to slow down and enjoy every moment of your Austin wedding.
Thank you so much for reading! I think more wedding couples could go searching for some advice to help make their wedding day the absolute best. And they should be looking to you for jewelry, too!
Oh Amy I love your advice. youve seen much more then the average bride and they dont realize all the little things that can back up a wedding timeline. The family photos one is the one that resonates most. When people know ahead of time where to be it saves so much time. Great advice on weddings once again!
Gosh Kelly I appreciate that so much! Wedding planning can be stressful, but it seems the best planned wedding is one that you expect everything to go wrong, lol. Family photos can be the easiest avoided stress with a great wedding timeline!
Such beautiful wedding photography! I love all the tips-these are a must read for every bride!
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Thank you Jen! Wedding Photography is such a big part of weddings, but I love to help couples by having them know what to really prepare for on a wedding day.
Perfect advice for keeping your wedding day organized. This is great, hopefully more brides come across this to save them lots of time, frustration and possibly missed photos.
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Ah thank you so much Melanie! I love giving advice for wedding couples planning the best wedding day ever. It’s so important to know what might happen during that “perfect wedding timeline” they are trying to create.