Although I’m not a wedding planner and there is a tonne of planning blogs out there, I have photographed a few weddings in the last few years and thought I could put a few wedding day tips together in a form of an article to help you plan a stress free wedding. Kind of a few wedding tips no one tells you.

Hopefully when you read this, you have got your wedding day timeline sorted, are ready to get hitched and looking for some last minute advice on how to have a relaxed wedding day. I’m going to share some important wedding day tips so you can enjoy your stress free wedding day.  I hope you will find it useful to see it from a photographer’s point of view.

Also by following the below you will hopefully help your wedding photographer and it should result in better and more natural wedding photos.

1. Get a good sleep

How about starting our wedding checklist with a big one! You cannot overestimate this. Go to bed early the night before, switch off and get a good sleep. You will feel better the following day, brighter, happier, more relaxed, the list goes on. Hopefully I don’t need to sell you this idea. In fact, if you can, be good the whole week before the day and go to bed early everyday the week of your wedding.

2. Start your big day with a good breakfast

What you should eat on your wedding day? Again, I’m not a dietitian and you can search the internet for some advice on this. I have however seen brides and grooms not eating for long periods on their wedding day. Make sure you start your day with a light breakfast. Cereals, porridge or peanut butter rice cakes would probably be a good choice. Full English? Erm, maybe not that day.

When your makeup artist comes along with the photographer, before you realise you’ll be sat in your wedding car outside ready to set off for the ceremony and from then it will be a while till the meal. Try to eat light and often.

3. Stress free wedding ceremony

Registrars are normally pretty relaxed and allow us togs quite a lot of freedom during civil ceremonies. There are no restrictions usually but you have to remember we can’t take photos of the actual register. Usually after signing the register, you’d be given a dummy one so I can take a photo of you pretending you sign it.

However we don’t often get that freedom at churches and places of worship in general. Whether it’s because of bad experience from another photographer or something else, some vicars are very strict about where we wedding photographers, can go during religious ceremonies. I have had cases where I was only allowed to stay at the very back having to use a telephoto lens, shooting most of the ceremony from behind couple’s backs.

It is worth clearing this with your vicar in advance and giving them reassurance that you are using a professional photographer that is very quiet and discreet and does not use flash in churches.

Wedding tips for a perfect ceremony
A relaxed wedding ceremony. Image from this wedding at Bradfield Village Hall.

4. Plan your group shots in advance

Family and friends group shots are an important part of the day. You may not see a tonne of group shots on my or other photographers websites but I’d like to think most of us photographers take these. I do anyway! Unless you don’t want me to then of course it’s fine.

I will take any photograph you want me to on the day however it’s important to realise that these group shots take time, especially those large group shots. The larger the group the more chance there is of someone wandering off just as we need them. Each group photo can take a few minutes with large group photos taking even 10-15 minutes so I recommend no more than 15-20 group shots on the day and a list of those would help you remember which ones you wanted to take on the day.

The bottom line is that the more time we spend taking these group shots, the less time you will have to enjoy your party and the less time I will have to take creative and fun candid shots of you and your guests. Remember the guests also get tired of waiting while the group photos are being taken.

I would usually ask your best man, bridesmaid or a member of your family to help me gather people for these group shots and this can speed things up.

Wedding tips for great group photos
A well organised group shot from Natalie and Sergio’s wedding at the Alnwick Garden.

5. Rain on your wedding day?

This is one of the things I can’t control, and I don’t think you can either, unless you went to Hogwarts!

You know British weather can be unpredictable and on a few occasions I did find myself and my gear soaking wet on a wedding day. This is not a problem though. Not for me anyway and unless you mind getting wet, we can create some amazing wedding photos in the rain.

This is when umbrellas come handy and remember to have spare wellies or a pair of trekking shoes as well just in case so you don’t have to be walking in your heals soaking into wet and muddy field.

For us creative wedding snappers, the rain or snow can provide some amazing opportunities usually not available on sunny days. I don’t shy away from wet weather and if you don’t then let’s create some magic!

Don’t panic if it rains on your wedding day.

Wet rainy weather wedding day tips and tricks
Rain on your wedding day means good luck

6. Lighting

Chances are that you booked your venue because of the breathtaking view of the sea or the gorgeous garden. To make the most of these views and to utilise the best light possible, it’s important to allow your couple’s session within an hour before sunset. The so called golden hour is the best time of the day for these sort of photos.

Time around midday should be avoided when planning your photo shoot. Due to many ceremonies taking place around this time we often conduct group shoots shortly after. This is when we will be looking for shady areas around the venue or try to shoot into the sun if it’s outdoors. As far as your couples photos are concerned, leave these for later.

Another reason you chose your wedding venue was probably its spectacular decor or original features. When planning an indoor shoot we’ll be looking for natural window light. This is often the most flattering light you can find indoors and doesn’t require the use of additional artificial lighting.

Make the most of lighting with these wedding tips
Chasing sunset light with Laura and John after their wedding at Prestonfield House.

7. Be prepared

Be prepared for the unexpected and don’t worry about little incidents throughout the day. Everything is possible during a wedding day. Don’t panic and enjoy every moment of this special day. Not every wedding goes according to plan. In fact most of them don’t!

I’ve seen all sorts things going wrong on a wedding day and it’s vital how you react to these. Stay positive and enjoy the day as it happens. After all, you will remember that moment better. I’ve seen flowers arriving late, wrong size trousers being delivered for groomsmen. I got a parking ticket while on a sneak away photo shoot with a couple on their wedding day and witnessed a fire alarm going off during the ceremony. Everything can be turned into a positive and a positive attitude is all you need. That lucky bride who heard the fire alarm going off just as she walked down the aisle ended up walking down the same aisle twice!

Wedding tips and tricks - relaxed bride
Hannah just before her wedding at Cusworth Hall.

Wedding tips – conclusion

I hope you found these few wedding tips useful and it will help you plan your stress free wedding day. If you have any questions (wedding related of course!) or if you’d like to enquire about my availability then please get in touch using the ‘contact me’ link in the main menu.