Today, I’m sharing my top 5 wedding planning tips. Some people ask if I get ideas for my own future wedding (if I decide to have a future wedding – update, I’m married!) from seeing so many, and the answer is YES. I see what tends to work well and not so well, and I learn a lot about what would be important to me on the day of and that is why I’m giving you wedding planning tips from a photographer’s point of view.
This guide is completely my opinion based on personal taste, and what I have observed through photographing weddings.
1. Get an event planner
My number on wedding planning tip: Get a wedding planner. This is one of the BEST investments you can make for your wedding (get a good one)! Planning and executing a large party is not easy and there are so many things to remember. You might be organized but it’s the last thing you want to be thinking about on your wedding day. That day is supposed to be an enjoyable so let someone else handle the logistics so you and your friends can have FUN. I elaborate on this topic here.
2. Plan your wedding with the guests in mind.
My number two on the list of wedding planning tips: Plan with your guest in mind. This rule applies when throwing even the smallest dinner party. Guests should NEVER be uncomfortable and that includes waiting around for long periods of time, being hungry, thirsty, too hot, or too cold. To avoid this:
- Start to serve drinks and apps before the ceremony. Too often, guests will rush to the bar as soon as the ceremony is over. After they get a drink and some food, they start to relax and enjoy themselves. Why not have them feel that way from the start? 🙂
- Consider weather. If you have an outdoor wedding and it might get chilly at night, you can provide heat lamps and pashminas for the ladies. If the weather could be very hot, providing parasols or some kind of cover could make it a lot more comfortable during the day.
3. Keep it small.
A surprising wedding planning tip. Keep it small! People are different. Cultures are different. But what I hear 99% of brides say when asked if they could do anything differently about their wedding is have a smaller one. They want to spend more than 2 minutes with each guest. They would have whittled down the invite list.
Possible alternative: Have a smaller (destination?) wedding, and then have a casual, larger dinner reception back home afterward for everyone else who wasn’t able to partake in the intimate wedding ceremony.
4. Clump the formal activities together.
Example: If you are planning to do formal dances, a cake cutting, slideshow, bouquet/garter toss, etc. at your reception, try to do it all at once, one after another. That way you:
- Have everyone’s attention
- It all gets done so that you can relax and get back to hanging out with your guests instead of constantly getting interrupted by someone saying, “It’s time to do this now….”
- You have efficient photography/videography coverage of everything
A good wedding planner will help you make this happen when they create your wedding day timeline. Again, refer to wedding planning tip number one! Get a planner 🙂
5. End it on a high note.
The final of my five wedding planning tips: End on a high note! If most of the guests have gone home when there is still technically 2-3 hours left to party, it brings the energy down. An hour for dinner and a couple hours of dancing is usually a good amount of time. I’d rather have guests say, “Aw man, the night has to come to an end!” than yawn and say, “Can we go home yet?.” It’s nice when people leave a party feeling good. The hard core party animals can always go to a bar, or start an after party in their hotel room.
Wedding Planning Tips
Alright, those are my top five wedding planning tips! I’m sure there are some other little things but these are the wedding planning tips off the top of my head. These are the main things I would take into consideration. I guess I’ll REALLY think about it when I need to. UPDATE: I got married & had the pleasure of planning not one, but two weddings for both of our families. You can check out our wedding here and then our Chinese wedding (which was for my family) here!