IT'S TIME TO PLAN YOUR WEDDINGGGG!!! This is such an exciting time with SO many things to think about. After years of shooting weddings, I thought I would make things easier on you by compiling my list of TOP wedding planning tips!!! Let this guide help you narrow down and prioritize the tasks on your wedding planning list. But most importantly, HAVE FUN WITH IT! Don't let stress take away from this incredible time in your life. Let's begin the list!!
You have a long list of things you need to book and you aren't sure where to start (or maybe there are some things you'd rather put off for various reasons...). You will save yourself a lot of stress by prioritizing the VENUE and the PHOTOGRAPHER. Book these first to secure the perfect spot and the perfect person to document it. If you're a Canadian bride and want to get started, Wedding Wire offers a wedding venue directory here!
Hiring a wedding planner or someone to coordinate your wedding on the day of is a simple way to take A LOT of stress off you and your babe. Knowing the behind the scenes details are all taken care of will allow you to relax, enjoy the day you've planned, and mingle with guests. The day is busy enough without having to check on other people or put out any small dramas that occur during the day. Again, Wedding Wire provides a directory of wedding planners, so if you plan to marry in Canada you can click here for their search tool. If you give your wedding day over to the professionals, you will look as happy and carefree as the couples below!!
Even if you're a year out from your wedding date, it is still wise to make a clear plan before you start and then book/purchase whatever you can in advance. Decide on a budget, write out a guest list, pick a theme or colour palette, etc. You could even start writing personal vows or a thank you speech early so you can revise and add new lines whenever they come to mind! If you're on a tight budget, developing your wedding plan early will give you plenty of time to look for good deals on wedding details, and you won't be rushed to spend too much on what you need at the last minute. As your big day approaches, you will be able to relax knowing you have only a few things left on your to-do list. Try to get everything (even the small details) done by 2-3 weeks before your wedding so you can enjoy the anticipation of your wedding day and easily deal with any small issues that may come up.
Make decisions that suit YOU best and not everyone else. You will probably get a lot of suggestions for how you should plan your wedding, and it can be tempting to please people, but remember that this is YOUR big day. Your wedding should reflect who you are as a couple, and while advice can be really helpful, don't let it stop you from personalizing your day in your own special way. Everyone has different preferences about first looks, personal vows, themed weddings, bridal party sizes, non-traditional food, and SO MANY OTHER THINGS. Not everyone is going to like your wedding regardless of how you plan it, so just do what you want!!
I've mentioned this in a previous blog post with tips for how to achieve the best getting ready photos (see the blog post here), but it is worth repeating here!!! Your getting ready photos will be taken to the next level if you choose a room with LOTS of windows for plenty of natural light. It just makes sense that when you are being made up to look your best, natural light will highlight your already beautiful features and make you GLOW in the photos. It's not everyday you get your hair and makeup done professionally, so don't waste it in a dark, poorly lit room! See the lovely brides below for some stunning examples of natural light!!
I've already talked about the importance of making your wedding reflect YOU as a couple, and cute wedding party favors can be an easy and thoughtful way to do this. You can pick something that suits your theme or something that will last and remind your guests of the amazing time they had at your wedding. Below you can see some cute examples of wedding party favors, but here is a great post from Brides Magazine with 18 wedding party favor ideas to get your creative juices flowing. Think plants, edible items, custom bottle openers, coffee or tea, candles, and so on.
Depending on what kind of wedding you want to have, there can be a BIG list of vendors you'll need to select to make your vision a reality. It can be tempting to settle for a vendor who comes highly recommended even if you don't vibe with them, or settle for a vendor who is cheaper but isn't exactly what you want, or some other reason to settle.. but DON'T!!! Try your best to meet in person with vendors and pick a vendor whose style vibes with your ideas and whose personality fits with you and your babe. Are they just as excited about your vision and making it happen? Do you feel comfortable approaching them throughout the planning process if changes come up? These are important questions, and this is exactly why I meet with prospective couples before they sign with me to make sure we are a GOOD FIT. If you don't feel the fit, keep looking!! Assemble a vendor team you LOVE.
The key vendors to meet up with are the Photographer, Videographer, Wedding Planner, and Hair and Makeup Artist.
If your photos are being taken between your ceremony and reception, your bridal party often misses cocktail hour (especially if you leave the venue to take photos). Do them a favour and pack a basket or cooler of snacks and drinks for them to enjoy during photos. It will make the photo session even more fun and ensure no one gets hangry!!
THIS IS A BIG TIP. Providing games, challenges, and activities for your guests during your cocktail hour and reception is an AMAZING way to make your wedding memorable and fun!! If you have a really varied guest list with a lot of people who don't know each other, this is an awesome way to help them break the ice and meet each other without being forced to make small talk. Games and activities will also help your guests get to know you as a couple if you choose customized trivia with prizes or provide your favorite lawn games for guests to play. Finally, you will be doing parents a favour by providing activities to entertain their kids. Turns out weddings can be pretty boring for the little ones, especially the reception! Brides Magazine offers a huge list of ideas for lawn games, activities to interact with the bride and groom, and reception table activities. See the list here, which includes jenga, corn hole, bocce, photo booth, shoe game questions, truth or dare, trivia, scavenger hunt, etc.
Issues will probably come up, details in your wedding plan may not look exactly how you wanted them to, but in the end you need to look past those little things to the bigger picture. If you can, develop some Plan Bs so you can easily roll with the punches and change things up if something goes wrong. But in many cases it will just be a matter of accepting what you can't control and understanding that small errors won't take away from the enjoyment of the day. If you don't make a big deal of it, then no one will notice if you didn't get the flowers you wanted or there was something missing from the buffet. They will only remember the joy they were privileged to witness as you married your best friend.
Well here we are at the end of my TOP 10 wedding planning tips!!! I hope these tips have given you some new ideas, reminded you of things you've forgotten, or mentioned something new as you plan for one of the biggest and most joyful days of your life!! If you have any questions about something I have or haven't covered in this post, feel free to message me and I'd love to chat about it!