Weddings are Stressful.
No kidding, right?
but here's the thing...
THEY SHOULDN'T BE
Your wedding should be the one day in your life that you can reflect on to remember a time when you were truly happy; truly carefree. We can't promise to rid you of stress; unfortunately that's a guaranteed. BUT. We can do what is in our power to help you make the most of it and to help you focus the extent of the "worry" on what you should focus it on. If nothing else, let us give you some perspective:
You can also download our example timelines, photo checklist, and wedding planning notes here
- Find a photographer that fits your vision - Budget is also incredibly important, because while weddings are stressful they're also one other thing; expensive. Find a photographer that makes you feel comfortable, un-pressured, and at-home. Even if it isn't us! Because the truth is, no matter what the photos look like, you'll associate your wedding album with the experience that you had with your photographer forever. It's important that they help you feel confident in bringing your vision to life!
- Don't pay for more than what is necessary - Not to revolve so heavily around finances, but... you know... the world must go round. The fact of the matter is, each of us create packages for our clients as a whole; but they aren't one-size-fits-all. Make sure that you and your soon-to-be are on the same page about what you're comfortable spending. Don't go too crazy with all of the coverage, and decide which tangible items you'd like to have to remember the day by. If you'd like albums, prints, and more, remember when it comes to professional photographers, you're paying for quality. You can DIY these things on services like Shutterfly, but professionals team up with professional print services and the difference is notable. We've found that for single location wedding days, 6 hours of coverage is usually perfect. For wedding days that require coverage at more than one location, 8 hours is usually just right.
- Quality - We always say when booking (and we might be biased here), your photographer should be a top-priority vendor. If the venue is lackluster, the food is "blah", or the DJ is a little awkward; these are things that people will notice in-the-moment, but in years to come they'll become memories, often ones people will joke about. Pictures, however, are a permanent, tangible relic from your wedding day. They're meant to last a lifetime so that you can look back on them and share them with generations to come. We understand & respect that budgets exist for a reason; but if you're going to prioritize saving, please remember that cost often reflects quality. Lower-cost photographers won't necessarily produce wedding-quality work and higher end photographers won't compromise on quality. You should aim for a photographer who is capable of shooting appropriately to accurately depict lighting, skin tones, and color combinations. A lot of thought goes into every detail of your day; make sure that your photos represent the beauty of it all and not just what the "in" editing style was at the time.
- Comparison shop - Don't let any photographer (or vendor, for that matter) pressure you into booking right now. You may be on timeline, but there is no respectable vendor in this world that will pass up your booking because you say you'd like to look around first. The wedding industry is a highly-saturated one (especially in this area); we understand that you have options, and we want you not to settle.
Before your wedding.
- Ask questions - If you're someone who finds comfort in planning, and knowing in advance, never be afraid to bombard your vendors/planners with lots of questions. Question-and-answers are the best way to communicate expectations, and every party involved should be clear on what your expectations are for your big day. Make sure they know that this may be 1 of 100 weddings for them, but it's once in a lifetime for you; this is important.
- Keep track - Buy a notebook. It seems trivial but seriously, buy a wedding notebook. Jot down ideas for decor, vendors, venues; anything that may help make your vision a reality. It also helps to save pictures, websites, to-dos, and ideas in "Wedding" folder on your computer or phone (since most everything is online anymore). Also dedicate a section of your notebook to your costs/invoices. Keeping track of finances for weddings can be a brain-scramble and a half and writing it all down can help save on stress leading up to the day.
- Delegate to a friend - (or multiple). Narrow it down to two or three trusted people who can help keep things running smoothly and as expected. On the photography end of things, we highly, highly recommend a group point person for the wedding day. Gathering friends and relatives for portraits after the ceremony is probably the most time-consuming part of the day for us. The fact of the matter is, we don't know you guys like you guys do. So when we are looking for grandparents, parents, siblings, etc., having a family friend who knows who's who keeps the process flowing and saves an unbelievable amount of time. If a coordinator/planner isn't in your budget, giving a small list of to-dos and make-sure-this-happens to a few close friends is a great way to take pressure off of the couple.
- Stay on the same page - More importantly than perhaps anything else, is that the two of you communicate ahead of time to discuss what you are and are not comfortable with planning your wedding. The stress will take its toll but it should never be enough to cause tension or arguments between the two of you.
The big day.
- Don't compromise - So it's going to be your wedding day. And all of a sudden every friend, relative, and not-so-close, haven't-seen-them-in-7-years acquaintance has an opinion on what it does/should look like. What the ceremony should and shouldn't consist of. Who should sit where. What food you should serve. But let me say it again; it's going to be your wedding day. Whatever dream, whatever vision you have in your head; do anything you can to make it happen. I'm not kidding, weddings are often once (or twice, or three times - whatever it takes to get you to a happy, healthy forever) in a lifetime occasions, and life is too short to compromise for the sake of satisfying others. Whether it's your parents, your grandparents, or your coworkers, don't incorporate any religion, tradition, or occasion that compromises your vision just to make someone else happy. Your wedding and all it entails should be what you want it to be.
- Draw the line - This one kind of goes hand in hand with compromise. Whether it's during planning, the rehearsal dinner, or the big day, at least one of your guests, bridesmaids, or relatives will have too big an opinion. If you feel in any way uncomfortable with how someone is acting or treating others, say something. Or have your outspoken friend ('cause we all have one of those) be "the bad guy". OR, let us do it. We've been asked to quiet Mom or humble the obnoxious groomsmen a time or two, and we feel no shame doing it. Let your vendors help! But never be afraid to draw the line.
- Make it your own - I know this goes without saying, but you have no obligation to give into trends, and more and more we are seeing couples stray away from tradition. For instance, if you paid too much for makeup to have your S/O try to smash cake your face, make it fun in a different way. Maybe cut a piece for each of you and have your guests bet (by dropping your names in a jar, etc) which of you can take the bigger bite. It gives them something to holler and root for without the aggressive mess. If you aren't a fan of the garter/bouquet tosses, fill it with fun dances and engagement from the DJ. We have a bittersweet relationship with these traditions. They make for some funny memories but they've also made for some embarrassing moments, so it's all up to your comfort level with your guests and being the center of attention. The Dollar Dance is another popular wedding tradition. It takes about 30 minutes usually for the couple to get through dancing with each participant. A fun substitute for this dance that we've seen is called the Dollar Dash. Guests are encouraged to stay put and hold up cash for the couple to grab. The couple runs in opposite directions, and races one another to see who can grab the most cash. You count it in the center at the end and see who the winner is. If you're comfortable scurrying around in your formal wear, this is a great way to get unique memories, AND... it gives us a workout trying to keep up! Another way to make your reception unique is to give a moment in the spotlight to your friends; utilize their talents. If you have a friend who's an excellent singer, musician, magician, etc, see if they'd like to have a moment at the reception. Long story short (too late, I know), there are hundreds of ways to personalize your wedding day, find what suits you guys as a couple!
- Utilize your vendors - I will forever stand by this. Your caterers, DJs, photographers, planners, etc. are often there for more than just their on-paper responsibilities. For instance we can be so many things on wedding days. We carry snacks, water, clothing tape, bobby pins, hair ties, and more. We can direct crowds, entertain kids, draw the line (see point 2 above), distract guests, be the hype man, help fill the dance floor, get some laughs, and just about anything else. We aren't just vendors; we're guests and people. We've been to hundreds of weddings as photographers, family, friends, daughters, sisters, coworkers, and more. We'd like to say we're pretty comfortable with wedding etiquette and all the days entail; and I guarantee so are your other vendors!
- Seating & eating - We never used to cover this topic, buttttt given recent events we figured it might be necessary. We promise we will never leave your wedding if we aren't given dinner (yes, folks have asked). However, please be sure that your photographers and your DJ have a meal at the reception. Here's why: More often than not, our feet hit the floor the morning of a wedding and we're in "Go" mode. We're gathering and testing equipment, readying cards, reviewing client information, taking care of things at home, and before you know it - it's time to go. We grab a quick snack, hit the Dunkin' Drive-thru and that's it; that's the last time we get to eat before your scheduled dinner. If we aren't able to have a meal at the reception, that means that we will go approximately 24 hours without a full meal; usually it's just granola bars and cheese. We're on our feet the entire day; talking, working, directing, shooting. It may not seem like taxing work, but physically it's exhausting (worth it, of course, but tiring). So when it's meal time, I promise we aren't being greedy. We aren't trying to be grub-grabbing freeloaders; we're just hungry. And probably shaky (thank you, caffeine). And in desperate need of a refuel. It's a necessity to keep everyone at 100% for the entirety of the night. That, and of course, lots of water.
- Don't sweat the small stuff - I know; easier said than done. But if you take nothing else I've said seriously, please prioritize this! The fact of the matter is, even if every flower isn't in it's place, a food order isn't as planned, or a child cries during the ceremony (and this happens at almost every wedding, seriously), it's still going to be your wedding day! It's still going to happen, it's still going to be beautiful, and it's still going to be perfect (imperfections and all)! Worrying yourself silly over the little things is only going to stress you out and it rarely changes anything. Embrace the chaos of the day and just focus on celebrating and creating memories; everything else will fall into place.
Little things NOT to stress over;
Details (food, decor, music) aren't exact - No one will notice
Kids will be kids - It's okay if they cry. Weddings are a lot to process
Wardrobe malfunctions - There are hundreds of helping hands
Belligerent family members - We've all got them; draw a line
Messes - Hundreds of people in one location = inevitable
Miscommunication - This is bound to happen, just ask questions!
Alone time - It's OKAY to sneak away to breathe, we encourage it!
This is your day; make it your own 🖤
These are photos that happened without prompts and without direction;
just people being people and we were lucky to be there to capture it.
Find beauty in the unplanned.