Wedding Day Tips: Day of Reminders

It's Wedding Wednesday!

Your wedding day is finally here.  The planning is finished, and today you'll be embarking on a new chapter of your lives together, celebrating this wonderful day with your friends and family!  Somehow, during the time we're getting ready, we forget all of that.  While we're getting ready for the day's events, we somehow still manage to stress and panic about the tiniest of details.  As a past bride, I have some wedding day tips for you to keep your nerves in check! 

Shaina Lee Photography | Connecticut Wedding Photographer | Destination Wedding Photographer | Cabo San Lucas Wedding | Mexico Destination Wedding

1. Get good rest the night before your wedding.
Your wedding day is busy and hectic at times.  Trust me, you'll want to get a good night's sleep to keep you going throughout the day!  If you're the bride, you and your bridesmaids will start the wedding prep much earlier than the guys (on most occasions, they relax and watch football all morning, and only need an hour or so to get ready!).  

2. Pack snacks for wedding preparation.
To help keep your energy levels up, don't forget to pack snacks!  Often times as the bride, we have so much going through our heads that we forget to eat.  On my wedding day, I totally forgot all about food (luckily my sister (and maid of honor) had me covered!).  Without it I don't know how I would have made it through the day!  My husband and I were busy greeting each of our guests during most of the dinner hour, and only had a few bites of our meals.  Since this is quite often the case, don't forget to pack something healthy and easy to eat while you're getting ready!  Also, you won't want to get dehydrated, so remember to bring water, with straws so your lipstick looks flawless!

3. Have a bridal wedding day kit filled with the essentials.
Again, I'm lucky my sister, had my back on this one!  She packed a basket filled with all kinds of things, including items I never would have thought to bring with me: aspirin for headaches, a protein bar to keep me going, water, a travel sewing kit with scissors (at the very least, you'll want the scissors to cut tags off of dresses and such), band aids, lip balm, hand lotion, tissues and more!  Trust me, you'll want to have more than enough tissues around.  You WILL shed tears of joy, laughter and excitement on your wedding day, and you'll want to avoid your mascara from running down your face!

4. Get all of your details together before your photographer arrives.
To keep your wedding day timeline flowing nicely, be sure to gather your details together and have them ready for your photographer before they arrive.  Trust me, they will thank you for it!  Bridal details include the rings (engagement and both wedding bands), shoes, jewelry, dress, veil, hair pieces, bouquet, perfume, wedding invitation suite (including the save the date), as well as your something old, new, borrowed and blue.  Grooms, this means you too!  The groom's details usually include tie or bow tie, cufflinks, watch, shoes, cologne and boutineer.  Don't forget to gather any personalized items that you had made for the day, too!

5. Stick to your timeline!
As I mentioned above, you want your wedding day timeline to go as smoothly as possible.  When writing your timeline, always keep in mind that it's better to allow for extra time for each part of the day than to cut everything short.  Being short on time only causes stress for the bride and groom, which is the last thing you need on your wedding day!  If you have to travel from a wedding prep location to a ceremony location to a reception venue, you'll want to allow for extra travel time, just in case of traffic (knock on wood!).  Be sure that your bridal party and essential family members are aware of the timeline, so everyone knows where they have to be and when.  The more organized you are, the more efficiently your day will go!  This helps tremendously when it comes to allotted times for photos.  You want to be sure you have plenty of time for bridal party formals, family photos, as well as time alone for romantic wedding couple portraits.

6. Don't let stress get the best of you.
As brides, we've spent so much time planning the details, that we want everything to be perfect on our big day.  I hate to say it, but wedding days aren't perfect.  When you think about it, nothing in life is absolutely perfect!  And that's totally okay!  Trust me, I've been here.  I spent countless hours imagining how every minute of my wedding day would go.  When I realized that none of my wedding guests blew the bubbles I had left out for them when my husband and I shared our first kiss, yes, I was bummed (because I know they would have looked AMAZING for a ceremony exit photo), but I was more excited about the fact that I had just married the love of my life!  The important thing to remember is to not get hung up on the little details.  Wedding days have hiccups.  That doesn't mean you can't enjoy the day that will be one of the best in your life!

7. Breathe, smile and have fun!
IT'S YOUR WEDDING DAY!  You've planned for months, and now is the time to celebrate.  Bask in the love from your family and friends that will surround you and your partner on this beautiful day!

Past brides, what wedding day advice do you have to offer to brides-to-be?

Shaina Lee Photography | Connecticut Wedding Photographer | Destination Wedding Photographer | Cabo San Lucas Wedding | Mexico Destination Wedding

Tips for Brides: Delegate, Delegate, Delegate!

It's Wedding Wednesday!

A few weeks back, I wrote my first Tips for Brides blog post on wedding planning.  I mentioned the importance of delegating some wedding planning duties, to help reduce your stress levels.  Take it from me, this is something you'll definitely want to do!

If you're the type that has trouble delegating tasks, don't worry, I'm right there with you!  When I was planning my own wedding, I didn't take anyone (aside from my husband) up on their offers to help me out.  That was probably my biggest mistake!  Others WANT to help the bride-to-be!  We all know how crazy wedding planning can get, with to-do lists to finish, vendors to talk to, and seating charts to build.

So if nothing else, let your maid of honor help you pick out some wedding decorations, let your mom give some input on the seating chart, and let your future sister in law help you choose the reception music.

What are some other things you could use help with during this busy process of wedding planning?

Wedding Planning: Where to Start

Happy Wedding Wednesday!

Today I'm excited to be giving another tip on the first steps of wedding planning.  A few weeks ago, I wrote about the very first step you should take, which is figuring out your wedding budget.  Setting your budget lays the foundation for the rest of your wedding planning.

Photo by Heather Testa Photography

Photo by Heather Testa Photography

Next, you'll write out your guest list.  Keep in mind that the more wedding guests you have, the more spending you will do.  Think of invitation suites and save the dates, as well as postage for each piece of mail.  All of your guests are served a meal, and usually a wedding favor is given (though not always).  More guests also means more tables... which means more centerpieces.  If you need to rent ceremony chairs, think about the style of chair you want, and their price tags.  Additionally, you'll have to consider the size, style and ingredients of your desired wedding cake based on the number of people you invite.  Are you having a calligrapher write out all of the escort cards?  There are plenty of factors to consider, but these are always the first that come to mind for me when planning a guest list!

Now, I am in no way intending to scare you about inviting many people to your wedding!  It's a day that you do want to celebrate with everyone you know!  Believe me, I totally understand; my husband and I both come from big families, but also have many friends who we love and cherish that we wanted present as well to celebrate our big day.  As hard as it is to hear (I've been there too, darling), if you are trying to watch your wedding budget, the first way to cut down on your spending is by revising your guest list.

How many guests are you inviting to your wedding?

Tips for Brides: Advice from One Bride to Another

It's Wedding Wednesday!  Today I am starting a new blog series to help all of my lovely wedding couples with the many steps of wedding planning. 

In today's post, I'm writing to you not as a wedding photographer, but as a past bride.  There are plenty of things I learned during (and even after) the time my husband and I were planning our wedding, that I wish I had known or given more thought to beforehand.  Today, I'll be sharing a few of those things with you!

1. Take the time to figure out your budget.
I touched upon this in my previous post (and will do a more detailed post about wedding budgets in February).  Figuring out your budget is essential if you want to move forward in your wedding planning.  Once Arturo and I figured out how our parents would be helping us out, we decided out how much we wanted to set aside (we chose to over-budget, just to be safe).  Knowing your total wedding budget will help you to figure out how many guests you'll invite, which dress you'll buy, which venue you'll host your reception at, and more.  Speaking of wedding venues...

2. Don't waste your time looking at dozens of venues.  
Now, I didn't look at dozens of venues (we actually only looked at Tashua Knolls in Trumbull, and decided it was perfect for what we were planning), but I did email with about thirty different wedding venues around Connecticut and New York.  I had found plenty of venues that I loved, but was aiming WAY out of my price range on many of them.  To be honest, I started venue hunting before we had the budget chat with our parents, which is why I had fallen in love with several of the locations I'd emailed.  It's a good thing I didn't take a tour of any of these, otherwise I REALLY would have been upset!

3. Delegate, delegate, delegate!
I will admit, I am a terrible delegator!  I loved planning my wedding, and had such a hard time putting other people (aside from my husband) in charge of even the tiniest tasks, even if they offered their help.  Trust me when I tell you, as hard as it may be, take others up on their offers of helping you out.  It will definitely keep your stress levels down!

4. Write a wedding day timeline.
As a photographer, you would think I would have written out a wedding day timeline for my own wedding!  Psssh, no, that did not happen.  Overall, the day went smoothly, because I knew how long each portion of the day would take (and I had my wonderfully talented friend and fellow photographer, Heather, to keep everything in check!).  I HIGHLY suggest writing out a timeline for your day.  If you're unsure of where to start with this, no problem!  I work with each of my wedding couples to write out a timeline for their day to ensure each portion of the day is as relaxed as possible, without feeling like we're short on time.  See more about wedding timelines here.

5. Stay calm and enjoy your day!
When your day comes, just remember that YOU'RE GETTING MARRIED!!  This means that you shouldn't be preoccupied with the little details that aren't perfect (because in the end, few people (if any at all), will notice those things but you).  The day is to celebrate you and your partner, not the tiniest of imperfections.  Relax, take a deep breath, enjoy your family, friends and most importantly, this new chapter of life with your partner!

I could go on and on about these tips, and more.  Stay tuned for more Wedding Wednesday posts for more information on the bits of advice listed above, plus many other ideas for wedding planning!

Photo Credit:  Heather Testa Photography