Getting married is exciting, exhausting and brilliant, but with so much to decide and organise, how can you make it as easy on yourself as possible?
That’s why I’ve put together my 50 tips for a stress-free, perfect wedding, from ideas on getting inspired without getting overwhelmed, to how to prepare on the big day itself.
I’ll take you through all the key places where you might feel the wedding stress creeping up, with helpful hints on how you can get ahead with your wedding planning, how to make good decisions on suppliers and styles and how to keep yourself happy and energised through the whole process.
I’ll give you my top tips for each part of your wedding experience so you feel calm, confident and ready to have the perfect wedding for you.
Here are my top tips for how to get inspired, how to filter through all the billions of different options, and how to make positive decisions on what you want at your wedding.
- Pinterest is a fabulous tool for wedding planning - not only can you look for things you like, you can also make your own boards that you can share with your suppliers. You get ideas for how you want your wedding to look, and you can help vendors understand your vision.
- Check out suppliers on Instagram too - not just to see whether they might be right for you, but so you can see the latest trends and styles to give you a bit of inspiration for your own wedding.
- Talk to friends and family about their weddings, they’ll probably have some good advice, and might know some great suppliers and venues, or even tell you about some to avoid.
- There are loads of different wedding traditions that you might want to be part of, but lots have become less popular and outdated in the last few years, being replaced with more modern traditions or left out altogether. Remember, this is your wedding, so don’t feel like you should do things a certain way just because they’re traditional, make this day your own.
Outdated wedding traditions
Not sure what wedding traditions are still relevant? As a photographer that attends dozens of weddings per year, I have a unique insight into what's falling out of style. Check out my guide
- Wedding fairs are great fun to get you in the mood, and they can be a really good opportunity to speak to some vendors and start getting ideas, but don’t feel pressured into signing up to anything on the spot. Always take details and check them out before making any agreement.
- Once you’ve decided on a style, whether that’s for the whole wedding or just the cake - stick with it. The more you keep looking, the more overwhelmed you’ll get by all the possibilities. Once you’ve found something you really like, trust yourself and stop shopping around.
These tips should help you navigate your way through the sea of suppliers, so you can ask the right questions and get the right answers!
- Find out how long your supplier has been doing weddings, if this is one of their first, it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re a bad choice, but you need to be aware so that you can make sure they know exactly what they need to do for you.
- Ask your photographer if they shoot weddings every weekend, it’s also a good idea to find out this is their career or more of a hobby - there could be a big difference in price, but you’re probably also going to find a big difference in quality too.
- How long before you get your photos back? If it’s a week, chances are your photographer isn’t planning to do a lot of editing. If it’s 6 months - that’s WAY too long!
- Will you be able to see them online before getting the USB? Not only is it lovely to see your photos sooner, it’s nice to share them with family and friends who might want to purchase their own prints from your wedding.
- Has your supplier worked at the venue before? If they have this will be a lovely bonus, but if not, don’t worry, an experienced photographer, caterer or other supplier will know how to approach a new venue.
- Have a look at lots of your supplier’s work - especially when you’re choosing a photographer. Hopefully, their wedding photography gallery will include images from a whole wedding, not just a couple of hand-picked shots. That gives you a much better idea of what you can expect.
- Make sure your suppliers know what time of year your wedding is. Particularly for photographers, you’ll want to see how they’ve dealt with winter weddings where the light is more difficult and the weather can make outside shots much more complex.
- If you’re having flowers, speak to a florist and let them know what time of year your wedding is. They can help you choose flowers that fit with your colours and style but will be in season, which will save you money.
- Try to make a shortlist of suppliers you want to see, with about 3 options for each. If you are having meetings with dozens of different suppliers you’re going to get overwhelmed and find it much harder to make a decision.
- Make sure you have a contract with your suppliers, and check it carefully to make sure the details are correct - especially the venue and date!
Don't be afraid to shun the traditions! If you want a Best Woman, or a Man of Honour, go for it. Or if you’re really close to one set of cousins, it’s ok to invite them and not the others, politics has no place in your wedding. Make it your own, and surround yourself with the people you love.
- You and your partner need to be a team. This day is for both of you, so it’s important that you both get a say and both put in the effort to plan and prepare.
- What REALLY helps, is to have some dedicated non-wedding days. Take a weekend or afternoon away and ban the wedding talk. Organising something this special can get really stressful, so it’s important to have some time to yourselves to remember why you want to get married in the first place!
- Choosing Bridesmaids, Best Men and Groomsmen. Sometimes people can feel duty-bound to pick people for their wedding party, or ask people because they think they should. Don’t! The people in your bridal or groom’s party should be the people you want standing with you on this big day. Choose the people you love, who make you feel awesome and who you know are going to be with you every day beyond this one too.
- Brides should always have someone on hand to help them get ready. Even if you don’t have bridesmaids, having someone to help you get into your dress, find your shoes and keep you on track is really helpful
- Decide up front if you’re going to allow +1s or not - and stick to your guns! Don’t let your mate guilt you into allowing them to bring their boyfriend of 2 weeks, you don’t want to be looking back at photos and wondering who that random is.
- When you’re drawing up your invite list, don’t feel like you should invite family if you’re not that close to them. The only people who need to be on your invite list are you and your partner - everyone else is a bonus!
- Are you going to include children at your wedding? This can be a really difficult decision, and it can be awkward if some kids are invited but others aren’t. Not to mention that there’s nothing more difficult for a toddler than being the only child in a room full of boring grown-ups!
- If someone offers help (either planning or financial), really think before agreeing. Sometimes help can come with strings attached, and you don’t want someone else taking over your wedding. If you are a bit concerned that assistance is going to turn into over-enthusiasm, set some clear boundaries for what they’re allowed to do, for example, asking them to pay for the flowers or dress you’ve chosen, or asking them to shortlist suppliers for you so you still have the final say.
- Try to make time for family and friends who’ve come a long way - you might not have much time during the wedding itself, so it’s nice to make the effort to see them for a drink in the days before the wedding, or maybe invite them for lunch the day after?
- Lots of couples also want to make their dogs part of the day, and if your pupper is going to make an appearance, make sure they’re allowed in your venue, and that you’ve got someone ready to look after them and get them home safe at the end of the day.
50 tips sounds like a lot, but it’s these small suggestions and hints that could save you mountains of worry and stress when you’re planning your wedding.
Above all things, it’s important to remember that your wedding is a day for friends, family and above all, love.
Don’t waste your time trying to make it “perfect” by someone else’s standards, make it the day that shows the world who you are as a couple, with all the things and people that you love.
Express yourself, enjoy yourself and start your married life with a party that people will never forget.
And if you are looking for a fantastic wedding photographer to capture those memories forever, I would love to hear from you!