Top 10 Wedding Planning Tips from a Wedding Photographer

wedding planning tips

Congratulations! If you’re here, you’re probably planning a wedding, about to start planning a wedding, or helping your friend plan their wedding. Either way, you may be in need of some wedding planning tips and resources. If your wedding planning experience was anything like mine it probably started like this:

“Yay, we’re engaged! Can’t wait to spend the rest of my life with them.”

“Oh wow, there is a lot that goes into wedding planning. I’m sure we can manage, though.”

“Is it too late to elope?”

I may have actually said that last one aloud to my Maid of Honor just before the wedding began. While I’m definitely a huge fan of elopements (you can check out one of my favorite elopements in Shaver Lake from last fall here), it was definitely too late to elope at that point. Don’t worry – I had an absolutely amazing time at my wedding! So let me help you with yours.

From timeline prep down to the smallest details, here are my 10 best wedding planning tips!

Professional Wedding Photography

1. Set your priorities

Planning your wedding can be so exciting, but it can also be overwhelming. There are so many decisions you will be making! My best advice is to decide on about three things that are absolutely important to you. Maybe it is finding an amazing photographer, the perfect venue, and the best food. These will be areas of your budget you will want to allocate more to. Also start thinking about how you want your day to feel (maybe you want a cozy, intimate feel, or maybe you want a BIG party!) – this will help you make decisions down the line too.

2. Set aside time just to wedding plan

Don’t let wedding planning consume your whole life! Try setting aside certain days to plan, meet with vendors, etc. You can also make wedding planning a date with your partner! Grab your favorite take out food and make it something fun together. According to Wedding Wire, this is something couples can start doing before they get engaged. You can discuss topics like budget, guest list, and even potential venues. Lastly, if you feel overwhelmed, consider hiring a wedding planner – they are worth the investment and can really help take some pressure off of you. Even a day-of coordinator can make things run a lot more smoothly on your wedding day!

Fresno wedding photographer

3. Consider an unplugged ceremony

I have seen many instances where a guest sticking their phone out into the aisle obstructs not only the moment as it unfolds, but also the photos I am taking as the hired photographer. To avoid having phones or iPads dangling out of the aisle and to allow guests to be more present, I strongly suggest having an unplugged ceremony. You can have your officiant make an announcement before the ceremony begins, display some gorgeous signage asking guests to stay off their phones during the ceremony, or have a “photo minute” where you and your partner stand at the alter and let all the friends + relatives snap away with their phones for 60 seconds.

4. Add in buffer time

I always recommend clients to build buffer time into their timelines. For example, if you expect something to take 30 minutes, build 45 minutes into your timeline so that you will not feel stressed or rushed if things are running behind.  Hair and makeup can often take longer than expected! It feels a lot better to have some extra time on your wedding day than reel rushed to each event in the timeline.

Clovis wedding photographer

5. Find the perfect getting ready location

When choosing your getting ready location, look for somewhere that is nice and open with lots of natural light. This is your wedding day, so you want to feel comfortable! If the space your venue offers for getting ready does not seem like a good fit, consider renting out a cute air bnb or boutique hotel room. De-cluttering the room or area of hair supplies, deodorant, or pantyhose can also go a long way in making your photos quite a bit nicer.

6. Have wedding details ready for your photographer

You have likely spent time specially selecting certain details of your day, so make sure those details get some time in front of the camera too – I love to photograph them as a part of the story of your day! Some of those details may include: wedding rings, vow books, jewelry, florals, watches, shoes, family heirlooms, perfume, stationary, Save the Dates, etc.

wedding details

7. Consider a shot list for family portraits

I ask my couples for a family shot list before their wedding to have all the family photo combinations they would like. This way, I can have my assistant or a friend of theirs call out who is up next to help these photos move faster. Plus, a family photo shot list will ensure we do not forget any photos they’d like.

8. Add in some alone time on the wedding day with your new spouse

Time spent alone with your partner on your wedding day is rare! I highly recommend intentionally planning time (even if it is just a small slice) to spend with your partner. I love sneaking my couples away for golden hour photos  then letting them have a few moments to themselves before returning. Consider popping open a bottle of champagne just the two of you before returning back to the reception. I also love private last dances (and they’re a perfect opportunity to get the guests ready for a grand exit).

fresno elopement

9. Grand entrance alternatives

If your photographer will not be staying until the end to photograph your exit, I recommend doing a grand entrance into your reception instead! Sparklers still look pretty in the daylight, or you can consider doing confetti (eco-friendly please), rose petals, or other fun options.

10. Focus on what matters most

Sure, there may be unexpected bumps in the process or even on the day of your wedding, but what matters most is that you are getting married! (And all of your people are going to be there, celebrating with you). The couples who have the BEST time at their weddings are the ones who really focus on what matters, and don’t sweat the little things.

elopement

Were these wedding tips helpful for you?

If so, download my Ultimate Wedding Guide to get instant access to the exclusive wedding tips + resources that I offer my couples.

Weddings

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March 11, 2022

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