Everyone wants a fun yet relaxed wedding, and why not, it’s entirely possible. Not only do you deserve a stress-free, cruisey day, but you can actually have a tonne of fun while you’re at it. To be honest with you, this list is basically an “If we could do it again ourselves, what would we do differently” list.
These are basically things we learned from our own wedding (and of course, from 6 years of photographing them too).
For our own wedding, we had a 2-hour gap between the ceremony and the reception, where we were off getting photos and traveling around, and our guests were basically killing time waiting for us. A lot of our guests had traveled in for the day, so they were in a new town with little idea of where to go or what to do while they waited for the next part of the wedding day to continue, and we feel a little terrible about it in hindsight.
What would we have done differently if we had a time machine? well, that’s hack #1 below.
So let’s get straight into it: Here’s our Top 10 Wedding Tips – things you might not have even thought of – that we’ve found help our couples rock out that relaxed wedding day, and crush it at getting married.
#1 Single-Location Weddings Rule!
Consider choosing a wedding venue that caters for your ceremony, photo locations and reception all at the one venue. Once you’re there, and your wedding has started, not having to leave again does lend itself to a nice and relaxed day!
You’ll find you’ll save a bunch of time in your timeline by cutting out the traveling to photo locations (and the cost of ditching wedding cars), you won’t be as rushed if anything runs late, and you’ll be back mingling with your guests sooner, and not missing out on those canapés you paid for.
A few examples of Wedding Venues in Victoria that we love that’ll host your Ceremony and your Reception, as well as having an abundance of amazing photo locations on-site are Riverstone Estate & Inglewood Estate in the Yarra Valley and Terindah Estate on the Bellarine Peninsula.
#2 Find Your Tribe and Put Them To Work
There’s no need to go it alone – planning a wedding is a hectic task, and doing it for the first and only time, and pulling it off, is a massive job. Smart Brides & Grooms will form themselves an inner circle to bounce ideas off.
Your bridesmaids or Groomsmen don’t just need to show up and stand next to you on the day, but instead get them involved in the planning process by having a couple of planning meetings.
12 months out from the big day you might get them all together, pop some champagne and talk about suppliers, wedding-style, etc and brainstorm ideas.
1 month out you might plan another get-together to talk wedding day events, timeline, where you want them to be and when, or just how they can help you on the day. Plus it’s just a great bonding exercise if you’ve organised a Bridal Party where maybe not everyone has met before.
#3 Get Ready at an AirBnb
It’s often cheaper than a hotel, and there are so many benefits to getting ready not-at home that you might not have thought of, such as choosing a location that is much closer to your wedding venue, or taking advantage of a nice open, well-lit fresh space, which you’ll find is usually a lot more relaxing than home.
And then there’s always the little things, like not having random drop-ins from extended family, fewer distractions to get in the way of your getting ready process, more room for the Hair & Makeup team to work, and so on.
This is our favourite “save time and prevent stress” tip.
(P.s. If you haven’t used Airbnb before, feel free to use our referral code link for $55 AUD off.)
#4 Pack a Wedding Day Survival Kit
This kinda leads on from the previous one, because if you’re not getting ready at home, you’ll want to have a few key supplies with you throughout the day. It’s basically a box of goodies in case anything unplanned happens during prep or throughout the entire wedding day.
This one’s such a lifesaver that we wrote an entire article on it. Check it out here:
25 Things You Need In Your Wedding Day Emergency Kit, And Did You Even Know You Needed One?
#5 Nominate a Lunch Captain
No one needs a bride passing out, or running out of energy after the ceremony, before the party really even begins. It’s just too easy to get swept up in the excitement, nerves can send your stomach a-flutter or there’s just so much to do and think about, that eating breakfast or lunch, or drinking enough water can be forgotten, which is a recipe for a fainting bride or bridesmaid.
Assign someone the job of catering lunch for the people at the getting ready location – I’m sure Mum would love to help, and there’s always Subway catering to consider.
#6 Write Your Fiancé a Letter for the Morning of
Being so focused on the to-do list and pleasing everyone else, you almost lose sight of how special the day ahead of you is for you and your partner. You’re allowed to be a little selfish. It’s not just a wedding day, but day zero of an amazing marriage!
Writing your bride/groom a card or letter (because handwritten notes are pretty treasured these days) to let them know how excited you are to see them in a few hours and commit to sharing your life with them will warm both your hearts and keep you grounded about what the day is really about.
It’s also a mad-good photo and video op too!
#7 Ditch The Bridal Party
After having already said “find your tribe and use them” earlier, we’re saying maybe ditch them too?! Or even just mix it up. You might want to have a dude of honour. Or the groom might want to have a best woman. You don’t need the Groomsmen number to match the Bridesmaids anymore, you might only want to have one each, or none at all.
Do what’s right for you (and suits your group of friends) and throw out tradition on this one.
In the lead up to the wedding, or during the getting ready, you might want your best friends surrounding you, but ditching the official tags and roles of the bridal party on the day might allow everyone to let their hair down sooner.
The girls won’t have to purchase matching dresses they’ll never wear again, and the guys won’t have to write a speech (that they’ve clearly plagiarised from Google).
#8 Wear a Dress You Can Dance In
It still surprises us how many brides choose a wedding dress that they can’t even walk around in without help. It breaks my heart to capture photos of a Bride-to-be looking at her feet when she’s walking down the aisle because she’s struggling to walk, rather than looking up towards her future partner.
But selfishly, if you can’t walk or move around freely in your dress or climb stairs – basically dance around – then you’re handicapping yourself and us (the photographers) at the same time.
A lot of our photo time with our couples involves natural interactions and movement. Giving our couple’s directions for photos such as walking arm in arm together, means we can get fluid and natural interactions between the couple, and we aren’t working with awkward, stiff poses such as being stuck in one spot under a tree.
#9 Enable Your Photographer For Greatness
Want the best photos possible, why not just ask your photographer how you can enable this. Ask them “how can I plan my timeline to get the best light possible on the day so you can absolutely crush it?.”
You might get some great advice like positioning the makeup artists chair so it’s facing a window for great natural light, or getting their advice on the timeline your venue has given you. Or maybe it’s planning to have your photo time at Golden Hour, and structuring the rest of the wedding day to allow that to happen.
The point earlier about “writing your bride/groom a letter they can read during getting ready” is a great little cheat to engineer some #weddingfeels on the day. Create and seek out opportunities when planning your wedding day/timeline so those special moments can happen more easily and just how you want them.
#10 Have an Engagement Shoot
Other than being a great way to get some photos of the two of you *not* in your wedding outfits, an engagement shoot before the big day helps to loosen you up and get comfortable in front of the camera, and you’ll get to learn a little about how your photographer works too.
… and because we can, here’s a bonus couple of tips:
- #11 Write your own vows – Talk about hashtag authentic! This one will help ensure your guests are engaged rather than falling asleep during the ceremony. Check out “Writing your own vows and making them meaningful” and “Awesome wedding vows, a how-to guide” by wedding celebrant Josh Withers.
- #12 Break In Your Wedding Shoes Now – There’s nothing like the pain of post-wedding feet from your brand new shoes or heels. Break them in now so your feet aren’t in a world of hurt later. You’re welcome.
That is pretty much it – But if there was one last tip we could leave you with: Remember why you’re celebrating in the first place. Don’t stress about perfection. Throw away traditions you don’t need. Just celebrate your marriage ahead with the ones you love, and make sure to take a few moments throughout the day to soak it all in.