Wedding planning | Ultimate guide to a perfect day | Updated for 2023
What to expect when you’re wedding planning? – How about sunshine, everything going to plan and people arriving on time. Of course, this all would be perfect. But have you thought about – What if things might not all work out how you had planned? The wedding planning guide is a perfect companion and great read to help polish the finer details. Giving you suggestions that you may not have already thought about.
Updated for 2023
Does your wedding plans have a weather check?
Planned for rain? Please factor this in during your wedding planning process. Many don’t and pray for the weather gods to grant permanent sunshine, unfortunately it does rain and it can alter your plans somewhat. Those portraits you had in mind may not be possible outside and would need an alternative plan potentially indoors or under some shelter.
This is where your venue and photographer will come into their own. Your venue can suggest some stunning spots and they know where other couples have gone for great images in the rain. Likewise with your photographer, they are masters of improvising and thinking quickly therefore they will have thought of this before you. What do they suggest? An umbrella may not be enough but a huge barn to the side of the venue could be ideal!
Hold the horses and check your wedding schedule
It’s one day, you have so many ideas and wedding planning in mind. Do you have a band or a DJ, photo booth or magic mirror etc. You should really look at the timings of the day particularly if you have an early or late afternoon wedding ceremony. Having a later ceremony, means a later drinks reception followed by the wedding breakfast and speeches being later too. Your schedule could see you into early evening. If you’re having a winter wedding you may have already missed those gorgeous sunset portraits while you sit and listen to the best men roll off some jokes! So it’s important to consider if you really need to jam pack your wedding schedule.
But will the guests be ok? Don’t fear, your guests will have a great time and so will you! By cramming too much into the schedule you run the risk of overlapping or not having enough time for key moments such as group photos and time to relax with your wedding party. It may be the first time seeing some people in months, make time to catch up. I always recommend scheduling 25 minutes between each event. Group photos will take an hour regardless, so keep it short as candids will be captured too of great uncles and cousins. People sometimes like to wander and have conversations so ensure you have a groomsman or bridesmaid who knows the names in your group photos lists.
Allow for plenty of time before your wedding breakfast is due to start. You have portraits to achieve and a confetti run too following the group photos which equally should take around 30 minutes each. The caterers don’t like to serve cold food and remember to be there on time. Guests are seated 15 minutes before serving so consider keeping that in mind and don’t keep them waiting!
Read more about the perfect wedding schedule.
Timings and lateness to your wedding ceremony
Being late to the ceremony is very common so don’t worry! It’s the brides prerogative to be late, it’s an unwritten law! So absolutely don’t worry, apart from making your groom more nervous thinking you may not show up, it’s ok. Consider being 10 minutes late is normal for any wedding.
Are you marrying at a registry office? They may not officiate your wedding if you’re late. It may impede on the next couples appointment and have a knock on effect so please be on time! With Church ceremonies you should usually be ok as often it’s just your wedding on the day planned. Consider the Vicar may have other engagements. Again, you may cause a knock on effect with your wedding planning and schedule. It’s highly worth adding extra time between travelling and group photos. It happens all too often where something has to be cut short.
Your wedding suppliers
Ensure all suppliers are seamless collaborators… Have you considered a videographer – Do they have a similar style to the photographer. Will you and your partner be comfortable with a possible 3 cameras pointing to you all day? Also consider that videographers often use tripods and can become part of some of the images from the photographer which can’t be helped sometimes.
How much space does your make-up artist and hairdresser need for the preparations, have you designated a room specifically for this with suitable light and plug sockets? The better the natural light the more artistic and awesome your images would be.
Other wedding suppliers
The evening entertainment is booked but have you confirmed the correct time with them? Are they aware of where to setup in the venue? It’s worth making a fun floor map while you’re wedding planning to be sure, unless the venue has designated positions for them. Therefore the venue are likely to have been in contact with them to ensure a seamless setup ahead of you arriving after the speeches.
Your wedding bouquet and flowers were arranged months ago along with your stationary and decorations and your wedding cake! Have you checked that they are turning up to the right place… Ideally, the bouquet to where the bride and her bridesmaids are getting ready. Are your decorations and room being set up by your venue or supplier with your wedding cake in place? Venues are often wizards and can turn around a room in minutes. So ensure they are fully aware of where things should go. They will often call you in to confirm and finalise everything looks great before the guests sit down consider this during your wedding planning.
Blinded by the light
Being a bride and groom can be overwhelming. To have added pressure with cameras, phones and iPads shoved in your face. It could get too much. The distractions and possible disruption of your ceremony with the sound of a text notification shouldn’t be the case. The attention should be firmly fixed to the ceremony and the wedding couple actually getting married.
Maybe you should consider having an un-plugged wedding? Everyones heads are up, they aren’t distracted. Instead smiling and fixed in the moment! – You’ve hired a professional wedding photographer to take care of documenting the day! Besides who should need to contact them, everyone is at the wedding right?!
Permissions – Church & Positions
So picture this, Bridal and groom preparations complete. The bride arrives at the church, she begins to walk up the path when the vicar approaches the photographer (as they always do) but on this occasion the photographer is told, minutes before the ceremony that there is to be no photography in the church at all. PANIC!! The couple to have only been told the night before. Fast forward a little and sadly there were no images of the ceremony, the rings exchanged, signing of the register or the first kiss as a married couple.
This happened to me! I was devastated for the couple, alas we were able to get some ‘sneaky’ photos of them walking back down the isle and out of the church. Sadly some vicars have been tainted by a small number of amateur photographers who had disrupted their service, and therefore banned all photographers. Sadly these actions only penalise the couples getting married. Please double check the permissions of the ceremony with your vicar or registrar well ahead of the day and during your wedding planning stage.
That being said in my several years of wedding photography. That was the ONLY time that had ever occurred. But have heard of it happening several times to others. The general rule is that the signing of the register ‘legally’ can’t be photographed due to other couples details sharing the same page. The registrar usually instead kindly turns the page to a blank sheet to ‘stage’ the photo. Be sure to pass on the details as soon as you can to your photographer so that they understand and respect the order of the ceremony.
Trust me I’m a wedding photographer
Hi! I’ll be your wedding photographer today… Ok so you trawled through lots of different wedding photography websites, social media pages and recommendations from friends. You’ve basically spent hours deciding and hopefully met and ‘fired away’ with questions during your wedding planning process. You’ve decided that they are for you. Great, so on the day of the wedding they will know what to do. You’ve had talks, emails exchanged and details confirmed. Your photographer will now know where to be and what you expect from them.
So totally trust that your wedding photographer will be capturing those moments you entrusted them to do. Details, special moments and the generations of your family will be captured professionally. This should totally allow you to relax and have the best time at your wedding! Following the wedding they will be working hard to get your images back to you as quick as possible. Editing takes time and ensuring the gallery tells the best version of your special day isn’t a quick process. Please don’t forget to leave a lovely review of your photographer. It goes a long way and helps other couples to decide on theirs too! Photographers are the only supplier who is by your side the entire time of the planning, the whole wedding and after the wedding itself.
It’s the centre piece of the wedding. It took hours of searching, fittings and arrangements to get right, so you want your wedding dress to be the best it possibly can all day! It’s going to get a little dirty, this is inevitable. It’s ok to get a little dirt on the dress, it’s being dragged along on the floor all day, slowly it will pick up the odd dirt and dust… You’re expected to clock up some milage walking around greeting and celebrating with your guests on your wedding. So understand that it won’t stay pristine white all day.
Usually there’s a little handle underneath the dress to hook up or hold while walking around which could help save your dress a little further. There are many dry cleaners that specialise in cleaning wedding attire and dresses and are able to return your dress to it’s original glory! Hallelujah!
Are you comfortable?
Girls are very much use to wearing heels day to day, but with the extra weight from your wedding dress you’ll start to feel the pressure. Not to forget, you’ll be expected to be on your feet most of the day and way into the late night. If you haven’t considered it already, flats are making their way through as the sensible option for a wedding day. Practical and comfortable and best of all, no one will ever see your footwear, unless you’re being picked up and danced around of course!
You could always pack a set of ‘flats’ for after the speeches when you can kick back a little. For the grooms – Don’t forget to wear in / break in your brand new shoes before the big day or you’ll sacrifice your feet for blisters and sores – One of the best wedding planning top tips!
In the spotlight…
Ok so this can be a little farfetched but bare with me on this. So as a photographer we work with the light. Too much of something isn’t always a good thing. It’s key to understand that the venue that you’re going to be getting married in may have the brightest light but it’s not always the best. If the light is too bright the camera will pick up on very harsh shadows and may over expose the dress with it being so white. It can also create a silhouette effect if the sun is shining directly behind you towards the photographer.
Another angle on this is venue lighting. Sometimes some venues unknowingly fit different coloured lightbulbs, ok so you won’t notice it straight away by eye but the camera can pick up on the differences. It could mean one area of the room will look warm and the other very cold with it being very difficult to correct overall in the editing stage. Flood lights are often a cold and green, as where a sunset is very warm vs a cold day which will be very blue. Unfortunately it’s totally out of the hands of your wedding photographer but we’ll make the best of the lighting available.
Don’t be afraid of the dark
If you’ve planned a winter wedding, chances are the weather isn’t going to be playing ball and your schedule is compromised due to earlier sunsets. Although you may not be able to get too many light, dry summery style portraits of just the both of you. There is always a perfect opportunity following the speeches to head out after dark instead.
A skilled photographer can create magnificent and breathtaking night portraits using flash and lighting creating a dreamy and alternative to the usual style. You could expect to get a tiny bit wet but the results are even better if there’s a little rain in the air. The above image was from the wedding photography of Clare & Ben at Coed-y-Mwstwr where it rained all day. Yet in the evening it eased off and we were able to create something unique and magical for them. Trust your wedding photographer and see what they suggest!
And finally, enjoy it! The day goes by far too quickly for you to take it all in. Be sure to enjoy the wedding planning too!