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The Week Before: Tips to Ensure Success on Your Wedding Day

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You have [single digit] amount of days before you walk down the aisle. You’ve just had your final dress fitting; you called your planner for the umpteenth time this week; you’ve gone up and down your to-do list fearing you might miss something; you’re counting heads and rearranging tables for last minute guest additions or subtractions; everything is coming together or [hopefully not] falling apart with limited time to adapt.

But DON’T stress out!! As your wedding photographer, it is my job and honor to take on some of the responsibility for you. I am determined to assure you every step of the way that this is a day of celebration and peace, rather than havoc and chaos.

In that spirit, here is a list of tips from a photography standpoint that you can follow to ensure your wedding day is a success!

  1. Read the timeline start to finish with your mom, fiancé, maid of honor, best man, and planner/day-of coordinator. This is probably best done the night before, since that’s likely when everyone is together, and it can be fresh in their minds going into the next morning. Maybe ask one of those people (I suggest your coordinator) to print it out and have it on hand during the wedding day. That way the most important people are aware of what is happening and when, and you don’t get asked a million questions like, “What time should I be dressed?” or “When is the entrance to the reception starting?” Obviously, I will have a copy with me at all times and can answer some of those questions. But if I’m not present, it’s important to take some of that pressure of knowledge off yourself and let others be able to answer for you.
  2. Get in touch with all of your vendors to ensure they have everything they need and you know everything you need to know. Ask your photographer when she/he will arrive and make sure you know what time hair and makeup should be done for you and all of your bridesmaids and mom. Ask your florist what time the bouquets and boutonnieres will arrive. If there are any questions your vendors can answer, ask them! Even if you’re pretty sure you know. Sometimes details can get mixed up in the busyness of week-of/day-before planning.
  3. Make a “details” box or tray. The very first thing I’m going to do when I arrive is photograph details and your dress. To avoid the scramble of “Oh my gosh the photographer is here! Where is the invitation suite??” it might be smart to gather everything together the night before in a box or on a tray/cookie sheet (whatever you have handy) so that you can hand me one thing when I arrive and rest knowing everything I need is there. This also makes sure no tiny pieces get lost. What should be in the details box/tray (if applicable):
    – invitation suite (invite, RSVP card, envelope, menu card, anything the guests were sent in the mail)
    – all your jewelry you’re wearing (necklace, earrings, bracelet, decorative hair pieces)
    – your rings (engagement AND wedding band… including your groom’s ring. I will bring it back to him/his best man after it’s been photographed.)
    – shoes
    – veil

    – fancy dress hanger
    – perfume
    – your something borrowed or something blue
    – gifts/letters from or to the groom


    Also, your groom should have his details box assembled as well. Some of the details he should include (if applicable) are:
    – shoes
    – watch
    – cuff links
    – cologne
    – boutonniere
    – tie/bowtie

    – gifts/letters from or to the bride
  4. Prep for post-wedding too. Pack for your honeymoon. Get your boarding passes and passport in an accessible pocket of your luggage. Talk to your photographer about your heirloom wedding album. Tell her/him whether you’re going to order one and what she/he needs from you before you’re MIA for a while on your honeymoon. Assign someone to take care of storing away your dress/jewelry/bridal details before you leave (maybe mom or your maid of honor). Think past your wedding day… sad I know, but it’s better to handle this beforehand so you can enjoy your reception care-free.
  5. Take care of YOU. This might sound so obvious and simple, but it’s amazing how quickly this tip is thrown out the window when it is crunch time. Drink lots of water all week! Get plenty of sleep (aim for 8 hours every night). Keep your beauty routine simple and your makeup limited to avoid unexpected and untimely breakouts (coming from a girl who knows this struggle all too well). Eat healthy, but don’t go hungry. Do everything you can to make sure you feel like your best self on your wedding day!
  6. Slow down and ENJOY these moments. This time you and your groom have together as fiancés is fading quickly. You have the chance to use this week to reflect on your relationship and thank the people around you for all of their love and support as you take this next step into becoming husband and wife. 

    This is surely a day you’ve hoped and dreamed of for a long time, so don’t let the stress of last minute details or the busyness of final touches get in the way of you celebrating each other. While it is my job to capture all that I can in physical images, I still believe the most important thing you guys can do is take mental pictures of the things that touch your heart the most in these next few days. 
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All of these tips might sound like a lot, but when done in advance they will become lifesavers. They are each designed to make sure your wedding day is fun, exciting, and memorable. Sure, there might be more you can do, but I wanted to share a few that I’ve seen work so well in my past experiences serving couples.

And even when you’ve followed all of these tips, if you ever feel stressed or overwhelmed, stop where you are, breathe, and remember what brought you to this very special moment. Reflect on the faithfulness of the Lord and the love you have for your future spouse. Get excited about the things to come in marriage. Slow down. Enjoy. It will be a beautiful, meaningful day, no matter what happens.

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