How to plan an awesome wedding

Read on if you’d like to learn how to plan an awesome wedding! Over the last 7 years I’ve photographed more than 300 weddings. During this time I’ve been watching my brides, my grooms, and all of their guests, and I think I’ve figured out a few things that you can do at your wedding to make sure you have an awesome and stress-free time. Ok here we go, my top ten tips for how to plan an awesome wedding:

1. Plan a party, not a wedding.

Forget that ‘W’ word. Sure, you’ll be getting married, but what you really want to plan is a big party. Even if the only wedding-related activity that happens on the day is the actual legally required ceremony, and the rest of the day is a giant party, that’s fantastic. By planning a party rather than a wedding, I think you’ll be less stressed in the lead-up, you’ll put less pressure on yourself, and you’ll find it easier to figure out how you want the day to run (rather than being bound to some concept of what a wedding ‘should’ be’.

wedding tipi, wedding reception

2. Don’t let others dictate how your wedding will be

I know, heaps of your friends are already married. Their weddings were epic and they want to help you plan an epic wedding too, and that’s great. BUT remember that this is YOUR wedding. So take their advice, but remember if you don’t like what they tell you, that’s totally ok! Of course, you might also find their advice supremely helpful, just don’t feel that you NEED to follow it. This also goes for what you read online in forums / blogs.

bride and groom in supermarket

3. Ladies, don’t get a dress that you can’t walk in.

I realise that the princess dress with a four metre train is absolutely beautiful, I really do. Thing is that it’s only really practical when you’re standing completely still. I’ve seen how a bride looks when trying to walk down the aisle with an entire tule factory behind her – it doesn’t look as graceful as you might think. My advice here is when you’re choosing a dress, make sure it is comfortable to walk in and to sit in. If you spend the entire wedding day frustrated that you can’t walk properly, that’s what you’ll remember later on – how frustrated you were.

wedding dress

4. Have an unplugged wedding

Lots of you already know my stance on unplugged weddings, and I’m staying firm on this one. Tell your guests to put their phones and cameras away for the entire ceremony. You won’t really ever use the crappy photos they take, and the value of looking down and seeing 100 faces smiling up at you as you get married is great.

Unplugged wedding

5. Get people to throw stuff at you as you come back up the aisle.

You’re married. You’re elated, and you want to celebrate. The guests are pretty happy too, but lots of people don’t know each other; they need to be given permission to cut loose and have fun. Give them confetti (make sure it’s paper-based or biodegradable), given them rose petals, or some other object to throw at you as you walk past them. Get the celebrant to tell them to ‘GET INTO IT AND AIM FOR THE HEAD’. The photos will be epic and the guests (and you two) will have a blast; it’s the ultimate ice-breaker.

wedding ceremony, confetti

6. Get your photographer to help plan your ceremony time.

Don’t just pick an arbitrary ceremony time – talk with your photographer about this. You’re paying quite a bit of money for good photos, and your photographer can help achieve this even from the planning stage of the wedding. One of the first things I do when someone books me is send them a suggested ceremony start  time for their wedding date (this time varies according to month + season). Sunset is our friend, so you want to be out taking photos when the sun is low and golden.

Iceland elopement

7. Embrace the fact that it might rain.

If there is ONE thing you simply can’t control on your wedding day, it’s the weather. During the planning process, instead of constantly thinking ‘I hope it doesn’t rain’, instead keep this inside your head: ‘I don’t care if it rains; i’m going to be in a beautiful location, with all my family and friends, with great food and booze; who cares if I get wet?’ Then if it does actually rain you just won’t care. p.s. some of my favourite photos ever were taken in the rain.

rainy wedding

8. Delete your Pinterest account (your photographer will LOVE you for doing this)

Ah Pinterest; full of prettiness and lovely colours. Full of photographs taken in very specific lighting, at the exact right time of the day, at million-dollar venues. But mainly, couples that aren’t YOU! And by that I mean this: your relationship is totally unique – no other couple in the world can come close to matching the vibe you have with your partner, and similarly, there’s no point in you trying to match the vibe of another couple. Trying to re-create images shot by another photographer, of another couple wearing different clothes, in a different country, at a different time of the day, not only defeats the purpose of hiring a creative photographer, but also means you’re destined to be disappointed with your photos. Be you, and ask your photographer to document exactly that.

Edinburgh same sex wedding

9. Bring your pet.

Because he or she is a pretty special part of your family, no? Then why leave your pet at home? Bring it along!

dog in tuxedo at a wedding in an article about how to plan an awesome wedding

10. Write your own vows.

‘But Thom’, I can hear you telling me; ‘I’m not a good writer at all’. Doesn’t matter. Just think about the things you want to promise your partner, and write them down – that’s it. It doesn’t have to be poetry, or be well-written, just meaningful and honest. Your partner will love hearing your promises and the whole experience will definitely be more memorable.

a bride crying during her wedding ceremony, featured in an article about how to plan an awesome wedding

That’s it! I’m sure there are many more factors to consider, but taking these into account will absolutely get you on the way to having a fun, relaxed and memorable wedding! And if you’re looking for a wedding photographer, I’d love to hear from you!

 

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