My expertise is in wedding photography – as you may have guessed! I cannot advise you on what dress to buy, what flavour cake you should choose in order to please all your guests or whether to hire a DJ or band for your evening reception. However, over the years I have picked up a few tips that may help your wedding day run that little bit more smoothly.
Read my top tips on things that perhaps you may not have thought of before now. I will admit, quite a lot of these tips are for the girls (I am slightly more clued up with regard to the ladies as I tend to cover more bride than groom prep) but many of my helpful hints will be relevant to the boys too.
Remember to share with your wedding party to ensure you are all clued up ahead of your big day:
Top wedding day tips
Top tip #1: Don’t wear socks or a bra during prep
This one is probably just for the girls and will be dependant on what outfit you are planning on wearing, but socks and bra straps can leave marks on ankles and shoulders which you won’t want. They will take some time to fade, so your best bet is to forgo these during prep.
Top tip #2: Wear a top during prep that you can easily remove
Again, probably another tip for the girls and from personal experience. I stupidly wore a dress during my bridal prep that was a pain to take off after my hair had been put up. I recommend wearing a shirt or dress that unbuttons so you don’t have to take it off over your head and ruin your do before putting your wedding outfit on.
Top tip #3: Bring nice hangers to prep for your outfits
You will no doubt want to have some photos taken of your outfits before you put them on. Having them hung on some nice wooden hangers, or even personalised ones, can look a bit nicer in your photos or wedding video.
Top tip #4: Remove labels on shoes and outfits
Doing this ahead of your wedding day can save valuable time during prep. Nail polish remover is quite good at getting those pesky stickers* off shoes too.
*Normally advertised as easy peelers
Top tip #5: Pack scissors, tweezers, safety pins, needle and thread, crochet hook and tit tape
These are all handy things to have during prep. Even if you follow tip #4 there will always be one label that has been missed so having scissors is a good idea. Safety pins and a needle and thread could be a life saver in cases of outfit malfunctions. A crochet hook may be helpful if you have tricky buttons to do up. And tweezers – because someone always seems to need a pair at some point for some reason.
Top tip #6: Pack any medication, pain killers, plasters, spare contact lenses etc.
It may seem obvious, but taking any meds you need and spare contact lenses with you is vital. Having some pain killers to hand for the day after could be handy too. Oh packing some plasters in your pocket or bag in case those new shoes start to rub after all that dancing will be welcomed.
Top tip #7: Brief bridesmaids, or whoever is helping you get ready, how your dress goes on
Every wedding dress is different and your bridal shop will advise you on the best way to put it on. Discuss techniques with your bridal party before hand and if time permits, consider having a dry run before the big day. If you are having a veil, ask which is the best way to put it on too. Your hairdresser may be able to help you fasten it on the day for you or be able to help with this during a hair trial.
Top tip #8: Let whoever you want to help you attach button holes know that they are going to be doing so and get them to practice/ask your florist for tips/look up how-to videos on YouTube
I photograph people attaching button holes all the time, but I have a confession to make. I don’t really know the best way to do it! I am often asked to assist and, in reality, I am not sure I know what I am doing. That being said, I do know one thing: mens’ flowers go on the left and womens’ on the right.
Top tip #9: Don’t underestimate how quickly prep time takes
Prep goes ridiculously fast. If I had a pound for every time someone said during prep that they have ages until they need to leave, only for them to be wondering where all the time has gone an hour or two later, I could buy myself a nice new camera. OK maybe not a new camera but a couple of spare batteries to go in a new camera (they aren’t cheap you know!), but I think you get my point.
Your hairdresser and makeup artist will be able to advice how long they will need to get you all ready. This may seem like a big old chunk of time, but trust me when I say that that will be the time they need to get you ready – without much wriggle room.
Top tip #10: Consider planning to be ready 30 mins before your transport is arranged to pick you up
This follows on from tip #9. When discussing timings with your hairdresser and makeup artist, consider planning to be ready to go a full half an hour before you plan on setting off to your venue. This will ensure you have a little bit of flexibility on the day, you won’t be stressed from rushing and means you can relax a little and maybe have a little drink with your wedding party before having to leave.
Being ready early also gives your photographer the opportunity to get those ‘first look’ photos of you in your outfit. They will also have time to pack up their gear and head off before you do. This ensures that they are there in plenty of time to get parked and their kit sorted before you arrive. This is of particular importance if you do not have a second shooter (who may be already with the groom) or there is a distance to drive from prep and/or parking is limited at your venue.
Top tip #11: Keep hydrated! (Not in the way the guys below are demonstrating though)
I don’t want to sound like your mum, but remember to keep drinking those glasses of water or you may start to feel ill. Another from personal experience – I could hardly talk by the end of my wedding I was that thirsty! You will be speaking to so many people all day it can be easy to forget to drink enough. This is even more important if the weather is warm. Oh and whilst you are drinking plenty of water you should remember to eat too. Having a good brekkie in the morning, however nervous you may be feeling, will set you up for a great day. OK I’ll stop trying to parent you now!
Top tip #12: Recruit a bridesmaid/best man/someone with a loud voice ahead of the day to be in charge of helping the photographer round up your guests for group shots
Chat with a member of your wedding party in advance who you would like to help with rounding people up for any group photos you may be having. You might want to provide them with the list that you will have compiled with your photographer to help things run a little smoother on the day.
Top tip #13: Pack some sunscreen
If you’re having a spring/summer/early autumn wedding, have a little bottle of sunscreen you can take with you on the day. If you don’t have a bag, ask a family member or friend to keep it safe for you. No one wants to be doing an impression of a lobster by the evening do.
Top tip #14: Consider going unplugged
Consider asking your family and friends not to use their cameras during your ceremony. The photographer and videographer will have the coverage of your ceremony sorted, so there is no real need for your guests to get photos on their phones or personal cameras too. Your guests will be able to enjoy the ceremony, safe in the knowledge they will get the opportunity to see your pro photos after the big day. Nobody wants get their photos back only to see their lovely guests’ faces hidden behind their phones as you say your vows.
Top tip #15: Share your photos/video with your guests
If your photographer provides you with an online gallery of your photos, why not share the link with your guests after your big day? You could perhaps include the link to your gallery in your thank you cards. Also, if you do plan on sharing your photos on social media, we photographers do like to get a mention via a tag to our social media page/handle or webpage.
Top tip #16: Enjoy your wedding
The best tip I can give you, over and above anything else is to enjoy your day! It goes far too quickly and after so much planning and investment, if you don’t have the best day of your lives then that would be heartbreaking. Don’t get me wrong, a few minor things may go wrong, but in the grand scheme of things, the small stuff will not matter in the years to come. Take a few moments throughout the day just for yourselves and just have a blast!
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I have a few select dates left for next year and 2021, but they are filling up. I look forward to hearing from you soon!