Lot’s of couples say to me, “we’ve never gotten married before, what do we need to do?!”
I do sometimes forget that I’ve been to about 200 weddings start to finish, and you guys probably haven’t! I thought it might be helpful to put together a list of resources and tips I’ve learned over the last few years as a wedding photographer.
Find your dream venue.
First things first, find your venue. This is usually where most couples start, as you’ll need a definite wedding date when you book your other suppliers. The venue often sets the tone of your wedding, is it going to be classic, bohemian, minimal, romantic and moody? A stately home probably won’t give off a festival vibe, just as a marquee in a field may not be right for a more traditional wedding. Whether or not a venue fits your theme is something you will want to consider early on. Your wedding venue can also point you in the direction of amazingly talented florists, stylists, planners and anyone else you may need to book for your wedding day. Some of them even have a dedicated wedding planner/coordinator as part of their packages. See the post listing my favourite venues if you need any inspiration!
Look at lots of different photographers!
I know this might sound weird coming from a photographer, but you should take your time to look at lots of options! Photographers have different styles, so it’s good to choose someone who’s work really fits with your personality.
My work is very candid and I take a lot of inspiration from analogue photography. It definitely isn’t right for everyone, and that’s fine! I’d prefer to point someone in the direction of a photographer that suits them rather than work with someone who isn’t totally in love with my style. I’m always happy to recommend other photographers, there are some absolutely amazing ones up north, you have loads of options!
A good wedding photographer does way more than just take photos. We are there with you for the whole journey from booking, to the engagement shoot, beyond the wedding day when we edit photos and design albums. On the wedding day we go above and beyond to help the day run as smoothly as possible. We often know a lot of people within the wedding industry and are happy to help you find suppliers based on our personal experience working with them. Please reach out to your photographer and be sure to ask plenty of questions, it’s the best way to find someone you’ll absolutely love who will capture your day the way you want to remember it!
Don’t sweat the small stuff.
When you’re planning a wedding It’s so easy to get caught up in an argument with your other half about little things. What colour the ribbons on the chairs should be, the font choice for invitations, the flavour of the cake’s top tier. These probably aren’t the things people will remember about your day! I’m not saying don’t pay attention to detail, just try not to let these sorts of decisions overwhelm you. Sometimes it helps to take a step back and look at the bigger picture. Yes, details like chair ribbons are lovely, but are they worth the argument? Try to focus on why you’re getting married and how much you love the person you’re marrying. Your love and commitment are much more important than the flavour of the cake (unless it’s red velvet).
But in all seriousness, please try not to stress too much! I know that’s easier said than done, but on the day you don’t want to be worrying about silly little things that don’t really matter in the long run. You’ll still be just as happy at your wedding if the chair ribbons are a slightly different shade of sage than you had in mind, I promise! Try to relax and enjoy the process, this is supposed to be fun!
Do it your way.
Do you want a massive party, or a registry office ceremony and a picnic? It’s totally up to you, so don’t let anyone pressure you into inviting every single person you know if that’s not what you want. It’s your day and your decision. You can do anything you like for your wedding, and it’s easy to forget that. I know people who spent a year or two planning a huge wedding to make their families happy, when they actually just wanted to run away to the mountains and elope. Think about why you’re getting married, and what you want to gain from the experience. Some people want to invite everyone they know to drink champagne and dance the night away, others feel more suited to a quiet, intimate ceremony with a couple of witnesses. Whatever you decide to do, try to go with something that makes you and your partner happy! You can’t please everyone, and at the end of the day the decision of how you want to celebrate your love for one another is up to you.
Enjoy every moment.
Go to all the wedding fairs, taste all the cakes, try all the dresses, ENJOY THIS. The whole journey of planning a wedding can be so lovely, so try and squeeze everything you can out of it! Read lots of wedding blogs and magazines, make an event out of finding the perfect outfit and accessories. Lots of dress and suit shops provide drinks and really make it an experience. You don’t have to do things by the book either. For my sister’s hen do we went trampolining, had a spa day with afternoon tea and then went to a gong meditation in a yurt in Northumberland. It was so special and unique, and none of us will ever forget it! Find a way to mark the journey that feels special to you.
Find suppliers that suit your personalities.
If you hire people who don’t really “get” you, then you might not be happy with the results. If you’re an eco-warrior, why not find suppliers who really understand that? There is a huge variety of every kind of vendor, from florists to stationery designers. If you have a team who understand your vibe, planning will be a breeze and you’ll feel so much more relaxed on the day. Spend a bit of time researching what you want, what the options are and asking lots of questions. If you’re unsure about something, ask! People who work in the wedding industry tend to be friendly! Instagram and Pinterest are great for researching different styles and options.
Consider your guests.
If your friends are rowdy, party animals you’ll probably want a good Dj or a band and some signature cocktails. If you’re expecting the day to be full of emotional readings and speeches, you could consider hiring a videographer to capture all of those moments. Every wedding is different, so it’s good to think about the requirements of your guests. Accommodation is a big one, as this is something you’ll need to think about very early on when you book your venue. Is there an adequate amount of rooms for your guests, or plenty of Air Bnb’s nearby? If you invited lots of older relatives, is the venue easy enough for them to get to, or is there a 2 mile hike from the car park? If your wedding ceremony is in a separate location to the reception, have you considered transport? Organising these things as early as possible will help make the day enjoyable for you and your guests.
Remember why you’re doing this.
I know I’ve already said this, but you are doing this because you’re in love. That’s what it’s all about. When you look back at your wedding day you’ll remember the love, happiness and fun. Not the colour of the chair ribbons. Remember this, and your wedding will be incredible. I Hope some of this has been useful, I’m always happy to have a chat so please get in touch if you need any advice or help with the wedding planning process!
Here are a few of my favourite wedding blogs to get you started: