Every bride has plenty of things to consider when planning her wedding, but numerous brides tend to forget about taking care of themselves on the day of their wedding. It is important that those small, but mighty, details not escape even the most well prepared bride. What should be at the top of every bride's list on the day of her wedding is to relax and enjoy it with her new spouse! Whether you have been working with a wedding consultant or have done all the planning and preparation on your own, it is now the big day and you deserve to have at least as much fun as any of your wedding guests. Here, Grand Lens Photography shares seven simple, but practical tips to help pave the way to truly enjoying your wedding day.
Determine what is important
There are varieties of traditions and timelines that at one point in time, the wedding industry decided we all ought to accommodate when planning our nuptial celebration. From cake cutting to first dances to garters and bouquets to wedding favors. Let us be real– neither of these things are truly detrimental to the original purpose of this day (for you and your beau to get married!) but they can certainly add an element of fun, especially if they hold significant meaning to you. To make the wedding planning process more focused and meaningful, we tell our clients to list the three things that are important to them on their wedding day. It could be dancing, photography, the perfect venue or the wedding gown. Whatever it may be, do not worry about it. This is your day and you and your fiancé get to set the priority. Let the listed items receive the majority of the wedding budget, time and effort. Focus on the elements you are excited for first and then determine what else you are able to fit in.
Have a "first look"
A first look is a moment when the bride and groom greet each other before the ceremony, have a few moments alone, and have their bride and groom portraits completed before the ceremony. Why do we recommend this? Weddings go by extremely fast, we believe a first look is the one time the couple can slow down and be alone together. Your photographer should allow you to have this moment to yourselves before insisting on any poses or anything like that. It is such a wonderful moment— we have seen couples affirm each other and exchange gifts. Doing a first look frees you up from the wedding chaos and allows you to relax during cocktail hour or mingle with your wedding guests. This is definitely something you will want to consider if you are having a large quantity of friends and family visiting from out-of-state. Importantly, you want to feel like you are married. You do not want a photographer or a coordinator rushing you along in order to keep you on time with your wedding day itinerary. Your day should proceed smoothly and be enjoyable. For that, accomplishing tasks beforehand is ALWAYS helpful. Most importantly, this private moment alone certainly sets the tone for the rest of the day, calms nerves, and gives the couple a chance to connect at the moment they are standing at the altar together. We completely understand the tradition of waiting until the bride walks down the aisle. However, if you are prone to stress or anxiety, the first look can be a calming alternative.
consider the minor details
Help your wedding photographer by being mindful of the environment setting of your photos. A professional photographer and videographer can make any space look beautiful, however, you or your maid of honor can assist them by removing as many obstacles as possible. When getting ready, have your bridesmaids place all of their belongings in a condensed corner of the room. This way neon-colored bras and McDonald's wrappers are out of sight and not in the background of your beautiful wedding photographs. Additionally, ensure to bring a non-plastic hanger for your wedding gown shot so the photographer's flash is not a nuisance and does not disturb the pictures. Lastly, when you and your bridesmaids walk down the aisle, hold the bouquet around your belly button. It can be nerve-wracking to have all eyes on you, but do not block your lovely faces with the bouquet.
keep the moment sacred
As professional photographers, one of the things that saddens our hearts is when we are photographing the bride during her triumphant walk down the aisle with her father and we notice a dozen bright screens of cell phones and an iPad or two leaning into the aisle to snap that personal photo for social media. These screens will not only be an ugly distraction in the peripheral of the photo and will make it look dated in the years to come, but most importantly, it takes away from the special moment of the bride walking towards her groom. If this is something that would bother you, opt for an unplugged wedding. Request the officiant to make an announcement right before the ceremony about the use of iPhones during the procession and recession (also mentioning that the bride and groom had hired a wedding photographer for a reason, and for them to just relax and enjoy the experience).
have an emergency kit
If you have ever been a bridesmaid, you are probably already familiar with the concept of a wedding day survival kit. No matter how much you plan for this day and how detailed your day-of itinerary gets, wedding day hiccups are bound to happen. That is where this kit comes in handy. These “just in case” items have been known to save the day on more than one occasion, and since it is her unspoken duty to put out whatever fires threaten the bride’s composure, it is usually the maid of honor’s job to compile this kit and have it on hand. Make sure a trusty person or your wedding coordinator has a safety kit in case you need something. To name a few, the kit should contain items such as stain removal pens (i.e. ‘Tide To-Go’ pens), tampons, makeup remover, petite scissors, mini sewing kit, hairspray, safety pins, q-tips, bobby pins, energy bars, gum, band-aids, deodorant, and Advil. The groom and groomsmen should have their own kit as well.
share the timeline
While detailed timelines and strict time limits may appear entirely unromantic, they are fundamental when it comes to throwing the wedding of your dreams. Although you and your fiancé may consider yourselves to be moderately laid back and prefer a casual affair, it is crucial to have a strong sense of how your wedding day will unfold with a solid wedding day timeline. Otherwise, you risk missing the opportunity to enjoy certain portions of the celebration. Also, considering nerves are bound to set in at some point and it is impossible for you to be everywhere at once (nor should you be – you are the bride!), it is imperative to have a timeline outlined and in place to ensure the day runs smoothly. Send your timeline to your photographer, videographer, coordinator, bridal party, and immediate family. Having multiple parties aware of the day's timeline will help keep you calm and the guests, vendors, and all events on schedule. Make sure your friends and family know when to be ready for photos and the ceremony. Lastly, your wedding timeline needs to be realistic and have room for error. Ask your photographer or on-site coordinator for guidance if you do not have a wedding planner; they have done this on numerous occasions and can help you avoid any red flags.
avoid the stress
Complete major tasks in advance. Booking significant things such as a coordinator or photographer right away will ease tension and help you feel productive. What typically stresses us out are the little things—the details. We are bound to have minor hiccups during the wedding planning process, but keeping up and working as a team with your fiancé will help the sanity. Additionally, it is easy to lose touch with the person you love most. Be sure to schedule date nights, be it a dinner out or a movie in, to squeeze in some quality alone time during all the planning mayhem. And, if you have any concerns about your upcoming nuptials (it is natural), find the courage to tell your future spouse. Communication is important for any relationship.
Weddings are simply one day, but marriage is forever. It is not about the process of “getting married”, it is about the fact that at the end of the day you will be married, and that is what is truly beautiful. Weddings should be a reflection of our individual styles and an expression of how we feel about our partner, friends, and family. Embrace the day and take plenty of mental pictures. If you make the day truly “you”, and you put in the legwork so that on your wedding day, you know that the details will take care of themselves, it will be the most extraordinary, magical and glorious day of your life.