Hi there! Today I’m just sharing a handful of random wedding planning tips for you. There’s no theme or central message – just sharing what’s popping into my head 🙂 I hope you find these helpful! xo NJ
Book your photographer before finalizing ceremony and reception times.
Your photographer can help walk you through an ideal timeline based on lighting conditions and based on your preference for doing a first look or not. There are a lot of issues that can come up if you don’t talk to them first. A big one I see is couples not wanting a first look but not scheduling an early enough ceremony to allow for enough portrait time before the reception. Another one that comes up often is couples not realizing how early the sun sets in the winter and scheduling everything too late in the day. Get your photographer involved early and avoid issues like these down the road!
Go to your cocktail hour!
I personally think that everyone deserves to go to their own cocktail hour. For one thing, you’re paying good money for those drinks and apps so you owe it to yourself to enjoy them! Also, you have such a limited amount of time during the day to chat with your guests – cocktail hour is a great time to catch up with people and thank them for coming, etc. The easiest way to accomplish this is by doing a first look. If you don’t want to do a first look, you can still make cocktail hour by planning a gap (I recommend around 2 hours, give or take depending on locations) between ceremony end time and cocktail hour start time.
Do NOT (as the bride) go last for hair and makeup.
When scheduling your hair and makeup, be sure that you, the bride, are scheduled either before all of your bridesmaids or halfway through. Do not schedule yourself last. If anything gets behind in the schedule and you are last you are running the risk of not being ready when you need to be for photo purposes. I usually request that the bride be fully done with hair and makeup (or very close to done) by the time I arrive. If bridesmaids take longer, we can work with that, but we need the bride ready for those dress photos, first look, etc. I promise you, the last thing you want is your timeline getting off-track this early in the day because it will just continue to snowball after that 🙂
Be flexible with photo locations & trust your photographer’s recommendations.
Getting amazing wedding photos is a lot harder if you are requesting very specific locations and backgrounds. Give a generic request (i.e., I’d love to do our photos along the Riverwalk) and then be open to where your photographer takes and positions you. There is probably a very good reason (lighting likely being the culprit) they are choosing the spots and angles they are choosing. If you have your heart set on having a very specific thing in the background you may be disappointed because the light just might not support that as an option so try to go into it with an open mind. If there is something particularly meaningful to you that you really want to make sure is included talk to your photographer about that ahead of time so that we can set your expectations about how we can best capture that for you.
Discuss a rain plan in advance.
Don’t wait til the week of your wedding to start figuring out a rain location with your photographer. If you wait til that close to the date it adds so much stress to an already stressful week. Also, many rain locations require advanced notice or permits so you are running the risk of not getting to use any of them by waiting. For my couples, this is something we discuss and finalize 1 month prior to the wedding. Are we rooting for rain? Of course not. But we can rest easy knowing we have an agreed upon plan and won’t have to scramble last minute.