I have been wanting to create informational articles for my beautiful bride-to-be’s for a while now! I’m starting with 10 tips to a stress-free wedding day. As a photographer who has seen, documented, and attended numerous weddings in the past few years and planned my own wedding — my knowledge of having a stress-free wedding day has grown tremendously. If you’re currently in the planning process, I hope this article will help you have a stress-free day. If you’re not planning a wedding, feel free to share this with your bride friends that are!
Let me know if any of these helped you out — or if there are any big tips I missed that helped you have a blissful day!
(All images by Rachel Carter Photography)
Tip #1: Hire a Wedding Planner or Day-of Coordinator
This is the first tip in my list because I think it’s one of the most important. When I was planning my wedding, I had a good friend take over the day-of coordinator role — and let me say, Ally, I could not have had a great wedding day without you! From gathering the groomsmen to setting up the gift/guestbook table, there is nothing this girl did not do.
If you are able to hire a wedding planner, this is the most stress-free option. They will cover coordination with your vendors, paying vendors that require payment the day-of, setting up tables if your venue doesn’t do it for you, and so much more of the behind-the-scenes work. If you aren’t able to hire a planner, I highly suggest a day-of coordinator. A professional from the industry would be best, but, if that’s not an option, talk to a good friend that is organized and responsible to help you out.
Tip #2: Hire Vendors you Trust to Create your Vision & Make sure they are Reliable
Everyone has a vision for their wedding day and it’s important that your vision be heard and executed! The biggest piece of this puzzle is hiring vendors that are already on your wavelength. Whether you’re looking for a florist that creates effortless bouquets or a band that plays mostly oldies and jazz music, your vision will help narrow down what vendors fit your day best.
Before you hire your vendors, I highly recommend meeting them in person! If that’s not possible (aka you’re planning a destination wedding), FaceTime or chat on the phone with them before booking. You want to know you’ll get along with them on the biggest day of your life!
Do your research on potential vendors. I had a terrible experience with a hair artist that decided she wasn’t going to show up at my wedding the DAY before. Do not trust WeddingWire/large site reviews. Instead, privately message past brides that have booked those vendors and see what their personal experience was. Save yourself the trouble of a day-of fiasco!
If you are having a destination wedding, try and plan a weekend trip to meet with as many vendors as possible!
Tip #3: Allow Plenty of Time for Getting Ready
Getting ready is the most crucial part of the day (in my opinion) because if you start running late here, the whole day will be behind schedule. I suggest adding more time than you think necessary, that way you don’t have to feel rushed and anxious. Plus, we all know ladies can take a bit of time to get all dolled up 😉
Tip #4: Consider doing a First Look
First looks are one of my favorite parts of a wedding day. They are intimate, peaceful, and downright special. I understand if you’re a traditionalist — but I do recommend at least considering a first look. Here are some reasons why:
They are a great way to have a quiet moment together on your busy big day. It’s a perfect opportunity to have a moment in private, where you can share something unique, such as reading each other a letter. Most of all, first looks capture the sincere reaction of your other half as he sees you for the first time!
They are also on my list for a stress-free wedding day because they allow more time for bride and groom portraits. If you go the traditional route, you have to wait until after the ceremony to complete all of the photos with you two together (family, wedding party, and both of you alone). This will take up at least 1.5 hours of time. Who wants to keep their guests waiting that long?! After all, aren’t they the reason you’re throwing a big party?
My last reason: don’t worry, he will still tear up when he sees you walking down the aisle.
Tip #5: Print out Schedules for Guests/Family
For big events, it is always important to have a universal schedule that everyone can follow. One of the best things I did for my wedding was print out a schedule and place it in every guest’s assigned cabin room. Because of this, I knew everyone would be certain what time the ceremony was, etc. I also gave a special note to all of the family that said “Please be at X location at 4:55PM” which made taking family photos a breeze! If your parents are separated like mine, I suggest giving each side of the family different time slots to arrive. This way, they don’t really have to interact with each other! Schedules will help your day be stress-free in the long run because people won’t have to ask you silly questions. You won’t have time for that anyway!
Tip #6: Have a Back-up Weather Plan
The one thing every bride cannot control…the weather. Don’t let this stress you out, especially on the day of. Make sure you have planned out where your ceremony (or reception) will be if weather becomes an issue. Can you rent a tent to cover from the rain? Is there an indoor option at your venue? If you do have to move indoors, can your band or DJ still hook up with what they brought? These are a few things to consider when you are making a back-up plan. More than anything, if your day moves from outside to inside, don’t let it get to you. After all, you have less than 24 hours of being a bride!
Tip #7: Something WILL go Wrong
I want to tell you that it’ll all be perfect…but it won’t. Something will go wrong because people aren’t perfect and you can’t control every little thing. Take it as it comes, don’t let it get to you, it will just add to your unique wedding day story.
This tip brings me back to #1: having a wedding planner or day-of coordinator. If they see something awry, they will take care of it — instead of it being on you.
Tip #8: Make a List for Getting Ready
You know what it takes to get ready for an event…hairspray, deodorant, shoes, dress, jewelry…the list goes on. Make a list of everything you’ll need for getting ready on the day of your wedding. Keep it on your phone or on your desk and add to it every time you think of something you’ll need to bring. This way, whether you’re packing up to go across town or across the country, you’ll have your master list to go off of.
If you’re a destination wedding bride, make sure you take your suitcase with you to the bridal shop to pick up your gown (It should be a hard shell suitcase! You do not want weird airline dirt getting on your once-in-a-lifetime dress!). At the shop, they will be able to see if your gown will fit and how to pack it up safely. On this note, be sure to have a steamer available at your destination because your dress will definitely be wrinkled after traveling!
For brides that book with me, I send a whole wedding guide which includes a list of “items not to forget” 🙂
Tip #9: Create a Timeline
Although this tip is listed at second to last, it’s actually one of the more important tips for a stress-free wedding day. Your timeline can control how easily your day flows or affect how anxious and rushed it feels. Since a lot of the day revolves around taking photos and available daylight, it is usually the photographer who makes the timeline (working around your set ceremony time etc). I suggest reaching out to them for advice or have them create a timeline for you. They will know how long wedding party group shots (and the like) will take. If you decide to create your wedding timeline and don’t consult your photographer about timing, it won’t be their fault if you don’t end up with all of the photos you want.
A tip about timelines: everything will take longer than you think it will.
Tip #10: Be present! Soak it all in!
The best and final piece of advice for a stress-free wedding day is…to not stress at all. You’ve done all you can do, the planning is over. Now is the time to enjoy yourself, soak in all of the little moments with your family and friends, and be present for the day. It will be the fastest day of your life so sit back and let it happen!
If you found these 10 tips for a stress-free wedding day helpful, I would love to know! Do you have a top tip that I left out? Please share it for other future brides below!