See this image above? That’s how I want you to feel on your wedding day. So I put together these 5 tips on how to have a stress free wedding and get the best photographs ever! Because, above all else – you should ENJOY your wedding. The last thing you want is to be worried, hurried or anxious. Everyone and their Mom is going to tell you that your day will “Fly By” and to “Be In The Moment”. And that’s 100% truth. But here’s the thing… you can’t do that if things are going awry and you’re freaking out.
So I’m talking about removing as much stress as possible on your day – ahead of time. Like… Now. Then you can be that chill couple who has a freaking blast on the best day of your lives.
After photographing over 150 weddings, I’ve noticed that the smoothest and most ridiculously fun weddings that we photograph all have a few things in common. And I want to share them with you so that you can have a stress free wedding and the best photographs ever!
Alright… Let’s get started.
HOW TO HAVE A STRESS FREE WEDDING…
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION
Let’s face it, planning a wedding can be tough! Like, gut-wrenching, pointer-finger-paper-cuts, going to Costco at noon on a Saturday kind of tough.
The best advice for coordinating/planning and ensuring the day goes smoothly is to keep everything as close together as possible. Distance-wise… not time-wise! The ultimate way to eliminate some stress – and wasted time! – is to host your ceremony and reception at the same venue. This makes for so much more convenience and ease, not just for you, but also for your guests. If you’re still searching for your dream venue, I’m happy to send you some of my favorite Phoenix wedding venues that are great one-location options.
Now, I get it … That’s not going to happen if you’re having your ceremony at your family church. I completely understand! My own wedding was at a church which was about 30 minutes from our reception venue. Simply keep this in mind and try to keep the driving distance to a minimum if you can. Otherwise, just make sure to build in that travel time. (And always plan for more time than you think you need…. You know that whole saying about herding cats, right?? Your photographer should help you with this, and it actually relates to Tip #3, but we’ll get to that later.)
This same rule applies to getting ready! If you and your party are getting ready 40 minutes away from your fiancé and their crew, or away from your ceremony location – it may cut into your time to enjoy your day.
THE ONE TIME TO UNPLUG
When you think about your wedding day, you picture the best day ever…right?! Years from now, when you look back at your photographs, you’ll reminisce about just how perfect your wedding was.
Well, until you come across picture after picture of your guests leaning into the aisle to get that “perfect shot” on their iPhone – more concerned with making their own pictures than enjoying the celebration that you worked so hard to plan. This doesn’t seem like the best way to remember your wedding right?
Unfortunately, in our social media-driven society, we are seeing this at weddings more often. Everyone wants to get the perfect shot for Instagram. The problem is that those cell shots are far from perfect, and usually aren’t going to be what you’d call “keepers”. Let’s put it this way… you probably aren’t going to hang them on your walls or put them in your album.
Meanwhile, you already had this planned out by hiring the best photographer out there; someone who will produce quality pictures that you – and all your guests – can share as much as they want.
To prevent the above from happening, simply make it clear that you would like for everyone to put their phones and iPad’s (yes, this has happened more times than I care to admit!) away and be present for the joyous moment that everyone came together to celebrate. It will create a much happier day and your wedding photos will be free of iPhones. Here are some great ideas and signs available for purchase on Etsy!
SEE THE LIGHT
Can we talk about something important? I know this will sound self-serving coming from a photographer, but you have to trust that I have your best interest in mind.
It is actually the main key to phenomenal photography.
Good lighting shapes every photo, gives a uniqueness like no other, and simply makes everything better! Now, we will have all kinds of tools and equipment available to make our own light, but let’s focus on natural lighting, that big ball of fire in the sky.
Natural light is not only flattering, it’s all-around fabulous! And for the most important day of your life, you want to be sure to incorporate as much of it as you can into your schedule, especially for photographs. The wedding party, family formals, and especially your portraits are best taken with a healthy dose of natural light – at the right time of day – because it creates the best aesthetic for the photographs.
If you are indoors, this means that windows are your friend. Move towards them.
One thing most of my couples love about my photos is the natural-ness (did I just make up a word?), and lighting plays a huge part in that! So, can you still have a candlelight dinner reception or a sunset ceremony? Absolutely! Let’s just make sure we work together to create a schedule that allows plenty of time to capture your important photographs ahead of time.
p.s. I know what you’re thinking … What happens if we actually have the – very rare – overcast or stormy day on your wedding day? One of the many great things about Arizona is that we usually only have to wait a little bit of time before the sun comes back out. And, frankly…. A lot of times it’s a welcome occurrence for clouds to block out some of the heat. Not to mention that a cloudy sky can provide super-soft, pretty light, and also Ah-Mazing Sunsets!!! (Hello epic Sunset photo-op…) But besides that, the best photographers will bring our own light with them to make sure that no matter what happens – they can craft stunning artwork for you while still keeping things authentic!
YOU DO YOU
When I deliver your wedding gallery and hand you your album at the end of this whole experience, I want you to be like…
Not just because your photographs are simply gorgeous (which they will be). But I want you to be amazed from the story they tell about your YOU-ness. I want you to see YOU in your photos. The way you two interact together. The way your relationship is unique. I want you to look at your photos and remember exactly what you were feeling in that very moment.
- If you want to get ready at home because that’s what is meaningful to you, let’s make it happen.
- If you want to make time to go see your grandma at the nursing home, then let’s please make it happen!
- If you and your fiance had your first date at a taco shop and it means the world to you two, then, by all means, let’s go take some photographs there! (And maybe a margarita while we’re at it) 😉
Many people worry about where they want to take photographs, rather than thinking of
why you want to have photographs taken there.
I’d like to challenge you to dig deep and together, let’s come up with a location that will tell your story even more perfectly.
IT’S JUST A _______
You know that old guy, Murphy? He’s got a “Law” that says ‘Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong’. Not exactly a positive mindset. But, while I refuse to live my life awaiting any apparent pending bad luck headed our way, it is a good reminder that sometimes we just have to let go.
On your wedding day, this is even more important! Because let’s face it… there are a LOT of moving parts on any wedding day.
When the cake arrives, what the weather is doing, which uncle is running behind, and why, oh why did that damn button loop on your dress just break?! All of these things will seem so large at the time. But they’re really very small. And at the end of the day, they don’t matter. And tomorrow? They won’t matter then either. I Promise.
Because guess what? You’re getting married!!!
That’s the ONLY thing that matters. This is your day and it’s all about the two of you! YOU and your love are the reason we’re all here. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said, “The [church/guests/officiant/band/servers/you fill in the blank] will wait for you. You’re the main event and the day can’t go on until you’re ready.”
Remember what I said at the beginning of this? Your day will fly by. It will. There is so much happening, and not everything will go as planned. But I promise that it won’t matter to you later!
So, no matter what it is, just repeat this mantra after me:
“It’s just a _____. It’s not going to ruin my day!”
And THAT is how you can actually “Be In The Moment”, and ENJOY YOUR DAY.
I GOT YOU
Wedding planning, and sometimes even the wedding day, can be overwhelming and stressful, but it doesn’t have to be. All of the tips that I’ve shared are based on the experience that I have gained from shooting hundreds of weddings.
The commitment that I give my couples is that when you choose MDP is that you won’t have to worry about your photography. My intentional process not only helps us craft a perfect timeline and prepare properly for your day, but it gets to the heart of YOU. This means you are able to be fully present and enjoy your own wedding, knowing you will have Authentic, Dynamic and Emotional images intentionally crafted by a photographer who truly cares with all their heart.
If you’d like to talk to me more about your wedding day, or hear about some of my favorite local locations for engagement shoots, feel free to give me a call or fire over an email. I’d love to chat!
I hope you found my tips on how to have a stress free wedding helpful, and I wish you the most incredible, happy, best day ever!