10 WEDDING PLANNING TIPS
We finally tied the knot!
We’ve been photographing weddings for some time now and never expected our own big day to be so overwhelming. So we decided to use our industry knowledge and our personal wedding day experience to help a brother (or bride-to-be) out.
Here it is. A list of 10 wedding planning tips, to help ease the stress of planning and executing a wedding:
#1 – Pick your photographer and/or videographer wisely
Off course we’d start off with this one! But honestly, it really is essential if you want to remember the details of your wedding day.
Think of your wedding-day-brain like a piece of RAM (random access memory). It can only store a small amount of information for a short period of time, before it needs to unload to make way for new memories. It does this by transferring memories to the brain’s “Hard Drive”, or long term memory in our case.
But the problem is, your RAM is only so large. It can only process a few familiar faces, to-do-lists and speeches on one single day before it overloads, leaving you in a pile of your own tears.
That’s where the photographers and videographers come in. They help you connect the RAM to the location in the hard drive (long-term memory). Whenever you look at a quality photo, taken by a photographer who knows how to capture the essence of the day, your RAM will know where to go and retrieve the memory from your brain’s deep storage.
When choosing your photographer or videographer look at things like experience, style and quality of work, rather than the size and pricing of their packages. You can always get extras such as a canvasses or albums after the wedding, but there’s only one opportunity to capture your day right so make sure you invest in professionals that will help you cherish the memories forever.
#2 – Two is better than one
While on the topic of photographers…we are often asked: “why do you only have packages with two photographers capturing the day?”.
Besides the two of us flourishing as a team, it’s simple. Weddings are crazy. Firstly, many things happen at once.
Our style favours the documentary approach, which means we don’t want to run around to do a few pretty poses here and there, then carry on to the next thing. We’re all about capturing the excitement! From the moment the bride steps into her lush white dress, to the glistening tear the groom sheds when she walks down the isle. We want to cover all the angles and emotions.
And secondly, things never go 100% according to the plan.
…if something goes wrong…
Rings go missing. Flowers don’t arrive. The decor isn’t ready in time. That’s part of the beauty of a wedding day.
When we’re two photographers, we can quickly make a plan if something goes awry. We can handle any situation, be it rain, sleet or snow. We will get that perfect shot or die trying!
#3 – Keep your guests entertained
Ok, let’s stop talking about photography for a while…
Everybody has had that one wedding, the one where the couple is off capturing their new love in the majestic golden sunset, while the guests scour the garden for berries and dead rats to eat. Sometimes even, the only thing to do is drink at the bar, and as this is done on an empty stomach, things tend to get interesting.
So how do we fix this? How do you stop your guests from boredom, hunger and being completely drunk before the starters arrive?
Well, there are a LOT of options. To name a few:
- Lawn games – Things like giant Jenga, crochet, cricket or putt-putt are instant winners. Beer-pong can also be done, but limit the beers.
- Finger foods – Some of the best ones we’ve seen, were lots of carrots and cucumbers cut up into reams, with a wide variety of dips, sauces and hummus.
- Photo Booth – Most people enjoy putting on a funny hat and striking a pose with a friend. This doesn’t just serve as entertainment, but can even double up as a wedding gift if there are photo prints involved. Nam Booth can help you with a pretty sweet set-up.
- Live music – This is seriously always a winner. Guests don’t even realise the newlyweds have vanished for the couple shoot when a band is present. One problem with this might be that the groom and bride will often want to cut the couple shoot short to join in on the fun!
#4 – Drink in the moments
We know we said that a good photographer can help savour the memories, but you still have to make an effort to slow down.
With all the excitement and buildup towards to big day, it’s very sad how quickly it passes when you’re the center of attention. We’d suggest taking a deep breath every now and then, and just try to compute what is happening around you. Take mental pictures, enjoy and be content in the moment.
Some people even program a reminder on their phone, to tell them to take a breather. This works great, just not during the ceremony of course!
#5 – Limit your bridal party
Having your “squad” by your side during your big day is not only special, it’s essential. Sadly, when your “squad” gets too big, things tend to get messy and confusing…
It costs a pretty penny to get all 16 bridal party members (or more) clothed and kitted, and it can be frustrating to get them to share your vision. On the day itself, if every bridesmaid needs a one-hour hair and make-up session, you would have to start at 04:00AM to have them all finished before the wedding ceremony.
…we’d recommend you stay on or under 5 on each side…
Another pitfall of having a massive group is that during the bridal party shoot arranging everyone eats into the schedule. This shortens the crucial newlywed shoot, not to mention you won’t have the time to have a meaningful moment with every one of them.
Of course it’s totally up to you, but if you are still deciding between a big or small group, we’d recommend you keep it intimate.
#6 – A wedding schedule is a good idea
It was Benjamin Franklin who said: “If you Fail to Plan, you Plan to Fail”
This has never been more true than with a wedding. A solid plan with ensure everything runs smoothly on the day, and will help mitigate risks.
Every couple is different and every wedding schedule will be planned differently. Talk to your photographer (or wedding planner) about the ideal ceremony time and plan the rest from there. We always listen to the clients ideas and needs first, factor in the traveling time, check the sunset and then do a recommended schedule. This makes your planning easier, plus makes everyone more organised and less stressed.
Win, win, win!
#7 – Get a nice MC
A good MC (master of ceremony) is essential for a fun, enticing wedding reception.
The MC is the captain of the party ship, and he can either steer you to gentle, sunny waters or straight into an ice-berg…
We’d recommend organising a meeting with your MC before the wedding, to talk about what you expect from him/her/them. Talk about how the night will go, what they should say and more importantly should not say, as well as the schedule.
#8 – Details add flair to the photos
Ok, we’re back to a photography related item. Yay!
Things like specially made cuff links, unique bridesmaid gowns and interesting bow ties make your personality stand out and your day unforgettable to your loved ones.
…don’t be scared to be different or even daring…
We’d recommend using your own unique taste in sourcing the items for your wedding. Just running to the store, and buying something generic will remove the feeling of authenticity for your guests. From Star Wars inspired socks, to engraved party favours, it really is up to you (and Pinterest inspo). Also try and get items that do photograph well, to help savour those moments.
If you’re in Namibia, struggling to find wedding-photographer-approved items, have a look at this online shop!
#9 – Let the crew handle the guests
Whether you are the mother of the bride, or a friend from kindergarten, you cannot call the bride/groom an hour before the wedding to ask whether you should bring a jacket to the ceremony. Or any other wardrobe discrepancies…
To prevent this stress-inducer, we’d recommend making it clear on the invitations to contact one of the bridal party or family members in case of an emergency on the wedding day. The bride and groom have enough stress on their minds as they prepare for one of the biggest days of their lives, they don’t need to worry about someone else’s issues as well.
#10 – Communicate with your vendors
During the wedding day you still need to talk to your photographers/videographers.
No matter how precisely the wedding was planned, communication is still key. It doesn’t have to be a full blown conversation all the time, but before anything big happens, like the couple starting the confetti walk or the bouquet toss, make sure you give a quick glance around and make eye contact with the photographers.
They will most probably give you a subtle thumbs-up or a nod, then you can go ahead. This just ensures everything is captured, and everyone is happy!
And that’s it! We hope these 10 wedding planning tips will help you in the preparation for your big day. Please let us know in the comments if there’s any other wisdom you would like to share with future brides & grooms. And if all these GIF’s were a bit too much…
Thanks for reading!