As a wedding photographer you see a lot of wedding days. You also see a lot of wedding day stress. How can you avoid it? Here's 5 top ways:
1. Make it your day
What side should the groom’s family sit on? Are we supposed to have readings? Do we have to have a cake?
I recently went to my brother’s wedding in America. Their ceremony started at 4pm, they had their photos taken beforehand, the two Maids of Honour did speeches, things were finished by 9pm.
It was different to any wedding I’ve been to – and that was great, because it reflected what they wanted. Having been to a lot of weddings I’ve found that there is no “norm”. There are rarely two weddings the same. Couples can get very anxious about doing everything “right”, and doing everything you’re supposed to.
But here’s the key thing to remember: Your wedding day is your opportunity to express your love and your personalities. Like music? Have lots of music! Don’t want a cake? Don’t buy one! Prefer a simple dress? Wear one! My Mum wanted to give a speech at her wedding. Is that “normal”? No. But it reflects her personality and what she wanted, so she did one and didn’t care if it was normal – because it was her day.
And remember: Don’t compare your wedding to any others that you’ve been to, or the one you saw on Pinterest. Your wedding won’t be like their’s because they’re not you. Make it your day. That’s what will make it special.
Good communication is key to a healthy marriage, and it’s also key to a stress-free wedding.
Start your communication early. Send out Save the Dates. Whether if be an email, text or postcard make sure people know when your wedding is as early as possible. This will give them maximum time to make plans, avoid being double booked, and find the perfect heels to go with that dress...
Make an Itinerary. Plan the day, all the timings, and who’s going to be doing what, where. Send it to everyone involved and have several copies printed for the day.
Plan the group photos. Some couples have said to me “We’ll just decide what family photos we want on the day. We’ll be relaxed about it”. Bottom line – that doesn’t work. It never does. The truth is that you if prepare in advance you make it relaxed on the day. Get together as a couple and plan who you want in the group photos and don’t go overboard (it will take much longer than you think). When you've typed out an ordered list, send it to your photographer, and print a few copies for your ushers, who will be the ones gathering the troops.
I’ve been to weddings where the bride and groom are rushing around trying to sort stuff out while the bridesmaids and ushers are chilling/drinking/flirting.
You’ll have enough on your mind without worrying about paying the florist, or booking the taxi, or finding family members for photos. Try to get as much done in advance and then ensure any jobs for the day are delegated to an appropriate person. This will help you focus on tackling the more challenging wedding day tasks, such as not tripping down the aisle, repeating the vows correctly, and enduring small talk with distant relatives.
4. Expect things to go wrong!
Here’s something every couple preparing for a wedding needs to hear: Your perfect day will never be perfect.
I’m want to be straight up and say that at pretty much all the weddings I’ve been at something unplanned or unexpected has happened. I’ve seen bad weather, sound equipment failing, candle wax dripping over suits, fire alarms, drunken fights, and grandmothers splitting their head open when getting out the taxi just before the wedding starts (yep).
Organisation and preparation can definitely help minimise what can go wrong but ultimately you’ve just got to hope and pray. And if/when things do go wrong, don’t be shocked. Don’t be phased. Just roll with it. If you wake up and the weather’s bad, don’t freak out. Just grab a few friends, put on some Alanis Morissette, and at the top of your lungs sing out, “It’s like raaaaiiiin on your wedding day!”
And at all times remember the final step, which is…
5. Have fun!
Your wedding day will fly by. The event that took months of preparation will be over in the blink of an eye. It’s too short to dwell on how your ring didn’t fit properly, or how your intoxicated uncle made a scene during the speeches, or that you got dirt on your dress during the photos. Laugh with your loved ones. Let your hair down. Dance till your legs are sore. Enjoy your day.
Things may not go perfectly but with the right mind-set, plenty of laughter, and a good glass of wine, it will be an incredible day.
Got any more stress-busting tips for your wedding day? Share them in the comments below.