I'm a storyteller who believes life is made up of the little moments and that the best photographs look for the in-between
My 2019 season was mostly made up of two kinds of weddings — very intimate micro weddings and huge gatherings filled with a couple’s friends and family from all over the country and even the world. Katie and Stephen’s wedding was the latter.
No matter what kind of wedding you choose to celebrate your love and commitment, I have a few tips for you to consider to make the best wedding day possible.
Avoid Energy Vampires
Most people know a few (or a lot) of these. Energy vampires are people who leave you feeling completely drained after you’ve been with them. They tend to be high maintenance and may pick fights or have lots of opinions or be rude or easily angered/offended.
Wedding days are intense enough without having to deal with them. So don’t.
One of the things I loved about Katie and Stephen’s wedding was witnessing the palpable joy. It wasn’t just the joy they themselves felt getting married, but the joy their family and friends had for them.
Everyone I met exuded this feeling, and it meant these two got to start their marriage wrapped in the love their community showered on them.
Just one energy vampire can change the whole vibe, though. It won’t “ruin” your day, but do you really want dealing with them to be part of the experience?
If you do have an energy vampire who you feel you HAVE to invite because it would cause WWIII in your family if you didn’t, assign them tasks away from you. Examples might be taking care of the pups who will appear in the ceremony, acting as an usher, making sure grandma and grandpa have company, etc. And whatever you do, make sure they AREN’T with you when you are getting ready, but are safely off doing whatever it is you’ve assigned them to do elsewhere.
Make Sure You Eat and Drink
Wedding days are really long and busy. It can be easy to forget to hydrate and fuel up. But I promise the day will be so much more enjoyable if you do so =). Make sure to drink a lot of water before your ceremony — especially if it’s as hot as it was for this late June ceremony — or if you plan on drinking a lot of alcohol at your reception. A massive hangover is NOT how you want to begin Day 1 of married life.
Have snacks available in getting-ready spaces and eat them! Even if you don’t feel up to a full meal, a handful of nuts or some fruit will keep your blood sugar up. During your reception, consider slipping away from your guests to eat in a place like the bridal suite or a side room so you and your new spouse can enjoy the food you paid a lot for without having to greet guests every few minutes. I promise your guests will survive for the 15 minutes it takes you to eat and then you can circulate among them happily without having to think longingly about the tacos getting cold on your plate.
Finally, receptions at traditional weddings are long and you’ll probably be hungry afterwards — even if you DID get to eat! So ask your catering staff to pack you a couple of to-go plates that you can enjoy in your hotel room or cabin. Often there is a lot of leftover food and it will otherwise go to waste!
Don’t Overindulge the Day Before
I totally get it — you’re excited to get married. But save the crazy festivities for your reception. Instead of staying up late with a couple (or many) bottles of wine, consider inviting your bridal party to go on a hike, or take a yoga class, or do a spa day, or catch some late afternoon live music at a local brewery for (one or two) pints of brew. Then go to bed early so the next day you feel rested, calm and ready to enjoy the WHOLE day rather than spending the first part of your wedding day recovering from the day before!
Leave Extra Time
Like the law of something going wrong, there is a law that something will run over the allotted time. A key person will be late, hair and makeup will take longer than you think it will, or you’ll hit traffic on the way to the venue. Therefore, it is way better to have too much time than not enough. Build in a buffer around each activity — especially transitions. That way you aren’t rushing and stressed.
Timelines are super useful and I help couples craft one for every wedding or event I photograph. But I always, always make sure to leave extra space in them so we are hitting the key pieces of the day — like the ceremony and sunset photos — with time to spare. For instance, for traditional weddings, I recommend a couple “tuck away” from their guests for 30-45 minutes before their ceremony. It’s a time for you to breathe and for us to grab detail shots of your reception space. But if we are running late from taking family photos, it’s also a buffer so the ceremony can start on time.
Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff
Something is going to go wrong — it’s inevitable. It might rain, the florist might be late, a button might break on your dress. So expect it. It’s not going to go perfectly and that’s totally ok. Whatever happens is part of your story. Sweating the small things is just going to make you miserable. Instead, day of, tell yourself to just let go and enjoy whatever comes. The point, after all, is that you are marrying your person. As long as that happens, everything else…and I mean everything… is small stuff.