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50 tips for a perfect wedding day

Eliminate all your wedding worries with these helpful hints

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.

Chapter 1

Getting inspired

Some people dream about their wedding all their lives, some people have clear ideas of the cake or dress they want, and some people have never really thought about it before getting engaged.

But whether you’re already halfway there with your plans, or just beginning to think about it, every wedding starts with inspiration.

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.

The tips:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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. 
  4. 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are loads of different wedding traditions that you might want to be part of, but lots have become less popular and outdated in the last few years, being replaced with more modern traditions or left out altogether.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.
  5. Outdated wedding traditions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
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
Chapter 2

Planning

It’s not surprising that this is the biggest section of my 50 tips! Planning a wedding is a big undertaking, but with these helpful hints you should be able to keep things as simple and straightforward as possible.

From how to keep your thoughts and ideas organised, to getting your timing right, these tips should make planning your wedding a little easier - no matter how complex and packed you want your big day to be.

The tips

  1. Get a rough guest list before you start looking at wedding venues - if you have a fairly large or small wedding then that could really change your options. You don’t want to fall in love with a venue that only sits 40 guests if you want to invite 80.
  2. Put a notebook and pen in your handbag! You can get dedicated wedding organisers, but even an old notebook will be helpful, you never know when you’re going to have a brilliant idea or see something perfect.
  3. Make a checklist of things that need doing. It always feels great to tick something else off the list!
  4. Buy wedding insurance. Even if you’re not planning to have a big lavish wedding, you need to make sure you’re covered in case something goes wrong.
  5. Get a wedding planner. Ok, this is obviously not an option for everyone! But if you’ve got room in your budget, a planner can massively help you. They can find you great suppliers, get things booked and help you manage the organisational aspects of the wedding. They can often get you great deals too!
  6. Planning a wedding
  7. Save the Date cards are really helpful if your wedding isn’t going to be for a while, and it’s best not to be too picky over the style of these. If you spend 2 months picking the Save the Date cards, you might be sending out invites only a month or two later! I’d suggest using Save the Date cards if there’s going to be 6 months or more between picking your date and sending out the real invites.
  8. Work out a budget. There are some great tools available to help you set a wedding budget and factor in all the different expenses, as well as putting in quotes from your suppliers so you can see if you’re on track.
  9. Try not to book everything all at once in a whirlwind. It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement and book the first things you see, take your time and make your choices as a team and the planning phase will be much more fun! It’s a good idea to prioritise the date, venue and photographer first, followed by the dress, cars, entertainment and stationery, then the decorations, favours and everything else should follow.
  10. Don’t forget to book your registrars if you’re not having a church wedding. They can be booked up to a year in advance for popular dates, so make sure you get them sorted as soon as you can.
  11. Don’t be afraid to splash out a bit more where it’s needed, you want your guests to really enjoy the day and remember your wedding for all the right reasons. It can be awkward if guests have rumbling stomachs because the wedding breakfast isn’t until 3 - this is where spending more on canapés can really help. Or make sure you get a good DJ if you want to make sure everyone gets on the dancefloor later. Don’t fall for false economy!
  12. A band playing at a wedding
  13. If you are worried about costs rising, firstly you always need to keep track of what you’re spending and where, but also look at creative ways you can save money. For example, skipping starters at your wedding breakfast in favour of canapés, asking people to bring cake for a cake table instead of presents, or make favours instead of buying them.
  14. Think about having a little space between your wedding and your honeymoon. Whilst it seems romantic to rush off, chances are you’ll be too exhausted right after your wedding to be much in the mood for travelling - at that point all you’ll want is sleep! Maybe consider taking a mini-moon instead, and save the big trip for a time you can enjoy it.
  15. Some couples don’t like people posting photos from the wedding until a few days after - if that’s you it’s nice to let guests know, instead of getting annoyed when you see wedding selfies popping up over your feed.
  16. But if social media is a big part of your life, maybe decide on a special wedding hashtag and encourage people to post - especially if you’ve got a photo booth or accessories set up.
  17. At most weddings guests are asked not to take photos during the ceremony, but you can usually allow people to take some pictures after the register has been signed. It’s good to decide beforehand whether you’d like that to happen  or not, so your registrars will know what to do.
  18. Think about the weather. If it’s raining on the day, will your guests have someplace to go before the wedding breakfast? Does your photographer have a wet weather plan?
  19. Put together a timeline - and don’t forget travel time! You don’t want to be rushing your photos because you forgot there was a half hour drive between the church and your reception venue.
  20. Give yourself time to put together a seating plan, it’s a more complicated task than you think! Or if you decide to abandon the plan and let people choose their own seats, then make sure you have a lot more table space than you need - otherwise people will be stuck on tables full of people they don’t know because there’s no room left.
Chapter 3

Suppliers

Your suppliers are a huge part of your wedding preparation, they’re the people who help you set the scene, get the party started and give you moments and memories to treasure.

But with so many options and so many vendors out there - how do you choose the right ones for you?

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!

The tips:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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!
  4. 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.
  5. A happy bride smiling at her new husband
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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!
Chapter 4

People

The people you invite to your wedding will help shape your day, whether they’re evening guests or part of the wedding party. 

Sometimes this can be the hardest part of your wedding, especially if you’re working to a tight budget or if your perfect venue has a small capacity, but it’s really important that you get the right balance for your perfect day.

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.

The tips:

  1. 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.
  2. 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!
  3. 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.
  4. 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
  5. A bride getting ready for her wedding
  6. 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.
  7. 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!
  8. 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!
  9. 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.
  10. 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?
  11. 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.
Chapter 5

On the day

And now the day is finally here! If you’ve taken note of all the tips up to now, I’m betting you’re set to have a phenomenal wedding day, but here are some last minute tips and tricks that will set you up perfectly.

From here on, just relax, enjoy and have a fabulous wedding!

The tips:

  1. Make sure you’ve got either the venue or friends and family handling any last minute tasks, like putting out the seating plan or preparing the guest book. You shouldn’t be doing anything but getting married and enjoying your party!
  2. Don’t put on a bra, socks or anything that might leave marks on the morning of your wedding - including putting hair bands round your wrist. You don’t want bra marks showing above your lovely strapless dress.
  3. Please have some breakfast! Too many people (especially brides) don’t want to eat on their wedding morning, but you don’t want to spend half the ceremony with a rumbling stomach, or passing out at the altar!
  4. A bride smiling at her groom during the ceremony
  5. Make sure you drink something other than alcohol at some point during the day. If it’s hot it’s a really good idea to keep some nice cold water on standby - champagne is lovely, but dehydration could ruin your enjoyment of the day.
  6. It’s a good idea to make sure there’s an emergency sewing kit, toiletries and plasters somewhere nearby - just in case.
  7. Once your wedding day is here, forget everything else. This is your day, so relax and enjoy it.

Finally

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!

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