Hire a Wedding Planner or at least a Day-of Coordinator
We highly suggest hiring a Wedding Planner or at least a Day-of Coordinator to facilitate your wedding day. Realistically wedding planning isn’t something you’re a pro at, and how could you be? This is likely something you’ve never done before. That’s why hiring a professional can save you a lot of headaches and overall will make the entire experience less stressful and more enjoyable. After all, that’s the goal, isn’t it?
A full-service wedding planner will help you navigate the wedding planning woes. They will source vendors that are in line with your day’s vision, they’ll know the exact questions to ask when it comes to everything, they’ll plan the timeline and know exactly what should happen when to ensure you and your fiancé are actually enjoying your wedding day rather than feeling stressed to the maxed.
In our experience, events without a day-of coordinator are chaos. And to be truthful, that’s not an exaggeration. Day-of coordinators ensure all your vendors are arriving on time, set up is how you anticipate (and envision) it, turn-overs happen seamlessly, and that the overall day is running on schedule.
As a photographer, there is no better wedding day BFF to have on our team than our couples wedding planner or day-of coordinator.
Convinced you might need a wedding planner? Check out our favorite Atlanta planner, Smooth as Butter!
Don’t Overthink Your Vendors
With never-ending content on Instagram and Pinterest, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with your choices. Usually, overwhelm turns into overthinking, and before you know it that photographer (or other vendor) you had on the list of your top favorites is now booked and you’re left to start the search all over again.
Weddings, like most things, require a level of trust. That doesn’t mean we don’t highly suggest vetting your vendors. What we do encourage is asking your potential vendors a series of informed questions, asking for full gallery samples of their work, reading past client reviews, breaking down the numbers to ensure they fit into your budget, and (possibly most important) make sure their personality suits the vibe you are hoping for the day. When all the boxes are checked; professionalism, style, budget, and personality – book them! And fast!
In a post-2020 world, vendors are flying off the shelf. And we’d hate for you to miss your booking opportunity because you had cold feet. If you’ve done your research the most important thing you can do now is TRUST that your vendors are going to do what they say they’re going to.
Don’t Choose the Cheapest Option
During your wedding planning it can be tempting to save a few hundred dollars and go with someone who promises you the world at an attractively small price tag. In our experience, it’s not always worth it.
In addition to experience and overall industry knowledge, credible professionals come with a long list of business expenses that you may not think of at first thought. Most are paying for top-of-the-line equipment, insurance, and business licenses, website fees, software subscriptions, and continuing education, along with an array of other miscellaneous items. You may think you’re hiring someone for a 10 hour event day, but in reality, most of your vendors will but in a solid 40 hours leading up to, on, and after your wedding day. When someone is promising a to-good-to-be-true bargain, it probably is.
With that said we don’t suggest abandoning ship and throwing your budget to the wind. We recommend putting together a budget that prioritizes “the most important to you” vendors and leading off with that. As photographers, we hope to make the list. After all when the lights go out, and the trash cans start circulating the few things you’ll have left are each other, your memories of the night, and hopefully a gorgeous gallery of images to look back on.
Don’t Overextend Your Timeline
Once again, thanks to websites like Pinterest and Instagram couples are never short of ideas they’d like to incorporate into their big day. This is where having a solid timeline will come into play. Knowing what is realistic within the hours available is a superpower every couple should strive to have.
We suggest utilizing your vendors for this! Ask them for realistic exceptions on how long particular parts of the day should take. With my own clients, I incorporate questionnaires during the planning process to get an idea of what photos are most important to the couple. Then I work backward to plan their entire photography timeline around those specific requests. We like to take into account specific lighting needs, for example, we’d want the most important pictures (usually photos of the couples) to take place during golden hour. This is a detail you may have not considered if you hadn’t consulted the expertise of your photographer. Likewise, each vendor will have similar recommendations when it comes to their specific niche.
Relaying on your vendors to help put together a realistic timeline is crucial for a stress-free day! Remember your wedding day shouldn’t feel like a giant production. Instead, it should be paced comfortably enough for you to enjoy the day as the joyous occasion it is!
Remember What the Day is all About!
That brings us to our last tip and arguably the most important tip we can give our couples: Remember that this is your wedding day!
It’s easy to get wrapped up in all the excitement and lose sight of what your wedding day really symbolizes, the union between two people in love. It’s tempting to make the day a giant spectacle, however, in our experience the best days are less of a production and more about the love between all the people present.
The best way to keep balance and stay mindful is by taking time throughout your wedding day to breathe it all in. Adding a few breaks into your timeline so that you and your partner can have a few moments between just the two of you is an excellent way to stay grounded.
With that said, also remember that this is a day for you two and no one else. That means if you would rather have waffles instead of cake, do it! Want to wear a black gown instead of white, yes!!! Thinking pizza as the main course but your future mother-in-law is mortified, oh well!
This is YOUR wedding day. DO what makes you happy and above all else make it more about the love you share than anything else.