As a Louisville wedding photographer, I come across all types of brides and grooms. Some plan lavish ceremonies while others opt for the more relaxed and intimate. Some invite everyone they have ever met, and others just want a small group of family and friends. Some couples decide to DIY, and still others decide to hire a planner for the important details. We've seen a lot of diversity over the years, but when I asked our brides about their wedding Dos and Don'ts, it was interesting to hear that many of them had similar answers. It seems that no matter what kind of wedding was planned, our Chandler Rose Brides all value similar things. Check out their wedding advice and what matters most!
DO CREATE A WEDDING DAY TIMELINE
This not only acts as a handout that your wedding party can reference when figuring out where they have to be and when, but it is a helpful guide for your wedding vendors so they can have an overall picture of the wedding day. In addition to having a loose timeline of events, include important phone numbers for the maid of honor, best man, and any other responsible wedding party members. Also, include all of the pertinent addresses for your venues, just in case a member of your bridal party gets separated from the group. In my opinion, having this timeline available to all of our bridal party members and vendors allowed an exceptional level of coordination and communication for everyone involved.
DON'T FORGET ABOUT THE GROOM
Communicate early and often with your future spouse about decisions for the wedding. The advent of Pinterest has encouraged future brides to plan out the entire wedding before even getting engaged. As it is commonly seen, the bride having a Pinterest board that maps out every detail eliminates any opinion that the future groom may have on the wedding. Having personally planned out some of the things that I wanted, I didn't think to consult my fiance about the details. We figured out pretty quickly that he, being the groom, had surprisingly strong opinions on the wedding that I previously thought he wouldn't care about. By teaming up to make some of the critical choices for the wedding day (our colors, the type of flowers, whether or not we would see each other before the ceremony, the type of venue, etc.) allowed for us to grow in our relationship while planning our wedding. By doing this, we created a vision for our wedding day together and put a personal touch on every detail.
DO GET TO KNOW YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER BEFORE THE WEDDING
Meeting for coffee, doing engagement photos, and having a lot of discussion before the wedding day made us all comfortable around each other and allowed our photographer to know exactly what we wanted on that day.
DON'T BOOK MULTIPLE VENUES
I would definitely recommend having the ceremony and reception all in one place. It is easy for everyone, there is no time wasted traveling to a new venue, and everyone gets to jump right into enjoying the reception.
DO DECIDE WHAT REALLY MATTERS
Early on my husband and I decided what was most important to us; the photographer, the food, and the bar. It really allowed us to budget well and prioritize where we spent our money.
DON'T FEEL LIKE YOU HAVE TO FOLLOW ALL WEDDING TRADITIONS
Don't feel like traditions are unbreakable. The decision for me and my husband to get ready together was very special and perfect for us even though it wasn't exactly traditional.
DO MAKE A POINT TO BE PRESENT
I'm sure you've heard brides say that their wedding was such a blur. The day seems to go by so fast! Make sure you are present in the moment to enjoy and appreciate every second.
DON'T PROCRASTINATE ON THE SMALL THINGS
I put off ordering our programs and had to rush order them. I ended up paying way too much for something I wasn't even happy with. I received them the day before the wedding so there was no going back. I should've known better being a graphic designer and knowing the print industry, but I tend to learn things the hard way and in this instance I most certainly did.
DO FIND TIME TO BE STILL
For brides, I would suggest finding a few silent moments for yourself the day of your wedding. I remember being in the salon all morning listening to love songs, drinking mimosas, and just talking and laughing with my bridal party. When it came time to do my makeup, she had me face away from all the goings on and look out the window while she worked. As she did I had to apologize over and over because I kept tearing u. The realization of what was occurring in just a few hours was sinking in. I often think of how much I appreciated having had that moment for reflection.
DO MAKE IT UNIQUE
We really enjoyed making our wedding unique, by making our own wedding favors, finger print signature tree, and Jenga blocks of wisdom (guests write their words of wisdom on individual blocks). All these little details take time, but really give your wedding day character and make it fun and memorable for your guests.
DON'T MAKE ANY MORE DECISIONS ON YOUR WEDDING DAY
When it comes to the day of - planning time is over! Have a designated, calm person (preferably who is not in your wedding party) and who you trust to coordinate the day of details and answer any questions from your vendors. Make it clear to them that the ball is their court and relinquish control! For you, it's time to enjoy and celebrate. Don't stress. All your planning up to this point will pay off if you accept that what will be, will be. And in the end - no one really remembers the little details and mishaps. The important thing is enjoying that you are beginning a new chapter in your life with a person you will love forever. So take their hand and let go of everything else.
DO HAVE A RAIN PLAN
If you are planning an outdoor wedding, definitely have a Plan B in case it rains. And more importantly - make sure you would be just as happy with it if you end up having to go that route. I knew that if it rained, I would be getting married at the reception venue, which was equally beautiful, so I was completely fine with that. I have known brides who settled on a Plan B but were really banking on Plan A happening. When Plan B happened, they were extremely disappointed. It's a huge weight off your shoulders when you don't have to worry about the weather.
DON'T FORGET TO PERSONALIZE
The wedding day and everything about it should be a reflection of you and your relationship. Make it personal! Add your own toucches that represent you and your fiance's story and style.
DO HAVE A FIRST LOOK
With a first look, we were able to take photos with our bridal party before the ceremony. This way when it came time for the ceremony and reception we got to focus on the things that really mattered and spending quality time with our family and friends.
DON'T BE A CONTROL FREAK
Be willing to relinquish the planning power, and let others take control the day of your wedding. You've done so much planning, prepping, and perfecting for this day, but trust your MOH to take the lead on the wedding day. Have a very detailed schedule prepared for the day and she will ensure everything gets done...just the way you would want. This is your day to relax, be peaceful, and focus on the amazing man that will be with you for the rest of your life.
DO INVEST IN VIDEOGRAPHY
Do get a video of your wedding ceremony, reception, anything and everything you can get video of! One of our biggest regrets was not hiring a videographer! This is one of the most important days of your lives. I definitely recommend having it carefully and creatively documented in a video that will make memories come back so vividly and will take you down memory lane every time you watch it!
DO START YOUR DAY RELAXED
I got a massage really early the morning of my wedding and I suggest that to everyone! It was a wedding present to me but I would have paid for it anyway. I started my day off really relaxed and it set the tone for the rest of the day.
DON'T BE ANYTHING BUT YOURSELF
I'm really happy we spend good chunks of our budget on the photographer, videographer, and food. And I'm very glad I did not spend a lot of money on my dress, decorations, and appearance. We wanted our wedding to reflect, and we are not high maintenance people. So I'm glad we were comfortable and felt like ourselves the whole day.
DO OPT FOR AN INTIMATE CEREMONY
I loved having a small wedding! It was intimate and not intimidating and felt like celebrating with our closest friends which is exactly how we would have wanted to share such a special day in our relationship.
DON'T FORGET THE REASON FOR THE OCCASION
If I could do it all over again, I would definitely stress less about all of the little details and things like the weather. The day came together just fine and our end goal of joining our lives together was accomplished!
Special thanks to our Chandler Rose Brides for their amazing wedding day advice! To see some of their wedding photos, click here for more wedding blogs. Don't forget to follow us on Instagram @chandlerrosephoto so you don't miss out on helpful articles and blogs just like this!
(Photos of Caden + Nick's wedding courtesy of the talented Brooklyn Morgan)