A little wedding day advice

I'll start by saying I'm by no means an oracle of wedding planning but the advice below is based on what I've seen during weddings and advice passed on from my previous, and current, couples. Have a little read and hopefully there's at least one nugget of advice to help you with your wedding day.

the planning process

Sarah and Matt - Decor

Sarah and Matt - Decor

Sarah and Dean - Shustoke Farm Barns - Cake

Sarah and Dean - Shustoke Farm Barns - Cake


Your wedding day is yours!

Some of the typical traditions of weddings are becoming less and less frequent and more venues are allowing flexibility when it comes to the structure of your day so take advantage of this, make it yours! Think about the things that are important to you and your partner and make them the staples of your wedding, and where you dedicate most of the budget! Just the tiniest of touches can make your day totally unique and an expression of you as a couple whether that's decor or how you structure your day. (Have a look at my blog to see how other couple’s have done this.)

Choosing your venue

This is arguably one of the most important decisions you will make and it's important that it's right for you. Do you want a venue which will do everything for you or one where you can do it all yourself? They're out there somewhere but the most important thing is visit them! You can't get the feeling for a venue just from images online so get out there and visit and ask as many questions as you can think of, I promise you will know the second you walk in if it's the right place.

Choosing your suppliers

ALWAYS meet your suppliers or at the very least have some very long conversations with them. There are enough suppliers in this industry for everyone so make sure the ones you choose understand what you are looking for and can make sure that your wedding day runs exactly as you dream it. They may have 5 star reviews and thousands of likes but unless you feel relaxed and reassured by them maybe they aren't the suppliers for you.

Film your last dress fitting

It sounds like a silly one, but a bride will always need some help getting into her dress. Whilst someone may watch the dress being fitted in the shop in the rush of the morning it can pop out of your head. Having it filmed on a phone easily at hand will just help getting into your dress a fun experience rather than a frantic panic.

Don't trust the crochet hook!

If you have a dress with the small buttons and white elastics you may be recommended to use a crochet hook - trust me, two hair grips do a MUCH better job!

the engagement session

Jen and James - Cornfields in Berkswell

Jen and James - Cornfields in Berkswell

To have or not to have?

I'll start this one by saying that this isn't a sales pitch just some words of wisdom from the experiences I've had with engagement sessions.

A lot of photographers may include them in a package, they may be optional extras but they're always there for the same purpose...to make sure you're comfortable with the photographer and in front of the camera.

With all the sessions I have done the couple have said how much more relaxed they are on their wedding day and it also makes it much quicker doing the couples portraits on the day as both sides are more aware of what works and what doesn't.

The morning prep

Fi and Pete - Shustoke Farm Barns - Morning Preparation

Fi and Pete - Shustoke Farm Barns - Morning Preparation

This one comes from experience but two key words for the morning prep are:

Light and tidy

Quite often the morning preparations are done in quite a small and sometimes dark spaces. Trust me when I say your make up artist will LOVE you if there's a space near a window with natural light cleared for doing the make up on the morning and the hairdresser will need plug sockets.

Get your bridesmaids to have a tidy up to not only make sure there's some space made for the suppliers but making sure your morning is stress free. It sounds like a hassle, but it will make the morning so much more efficient to make sure that everyone is ready on time.

the ceremony

Becca and Mike - The ceremony - Warwick House

Obviously this part of the day is in the hands of the person who is legally marrying you whether this is a vicar, priest or registrar but there's still a few little bits you can do to make sure this all runs smoothly.

Walk slowly - I know the nerves kick in but it's best to slowly walk down the aisle, this allows all of your family and friends to have a good look as you walk down the aisle (you've not got to do step-together-step but just take your time and enjoy the moment).

Hold the kiss! Sometimes, depending on the layout of the room, it can take a little while for the officiant to step out of the way for your first kiss as a married couple so just hold it for a little longer than you normally would just to make sure this lovely moment can be captured.

the formal portraits

Caz and Ben - Formal Portraits - Curradine Barns

Caz and Ben - Formal Portraits - Curradine Barns

This one is all about time. If there's quite a tight turn around between the ceremony and the wedding reception or if guests have to travel between the two parts of the day it can be tricky to do lots and lots of group photographs as well as the formal couple portraits. Chat with your photographer to what they think is feasible in the time allowed and be prepared with a list of essential group photographs (the ones you'd be gutted if they weren't there) and ideal ones (the ones you would like if time allows).

I tell all of my couples to see the formal portraits section of the day as a little break, not many people like being the centre of attention for such a long period of time (I know it'd be my worst nightmare) so treat the couple session as a bit of time together. Sometimes this might be the only time you really get together during your wedding day where it's just the two of you.

Psst!! I've got some really handy tips for those couple's portraits here! Have a read and the main thing...don't stress about it!

speeches, cake cutting and first dance

Sarah and Dean - Cake Cutting - Shustoke Farm Barns

Sarah and Dean - Cake Cutting - Shustoke Farm Barns

Lucy and Chris - First Dance - Park Farm

Lucy and Chris - First Dance - Park Farm

These ones are just little titbits from what I've seen and think works best at weddings.

Enjoy the food!
Most people aren't natural public speakers and the speech can be a real source of anxiety so, depending on timing, put the speeches first. That way everyone will be less nervous and can enjoy the wedding breakfast, but it also means no one is waiting around for the speeches at the end once their table is cleared.

Cut the cake then boogie!
Usually the first dance and the 5 or 6 songs after this are when most people are up on that dance floor and throwing shapes so always cut the cake first, or you could cut it straight after the wedding breakfast, then hit the dance floor - it really helps with the flow of the day.

First dance song choice
This can always be a massive discussion when planning your wedding day and my advice for this is forget what people expect and just choose a song that means something to you!

I've seen upbeat first dances, I've seen ones that you wouldn't typically call 'romantic' songs and I've seen some which are just bloody adorable (see Adam and Sarah's "Personal Penguin") but they work because they mean something to a couple.
If you are one of those who doesn't like being the centre of attention then why not choose a song that will, quickly, get everyone on the dance floor. You could do a slow start and kick into an up tempo but just make sure it's your first dance.

Bonus tip


Presents, presents, presents

You'll have spent time thinking about a thank you gift for parents and your bridal party so why not buy each other a little something?

It can be a great way to help ease the nerves of your partner and make them laugh with some little gifts that show how much you think about them as well as something they can wear for their wedding day.

Before you start adding hundreds to the budget it doesn't have to be expensive! Sometimes a little, thoughtful gift can mean the absolute world rather than spending £££s on a gift.

Got some killer wedding advice that's not in here? Just let me know!