Wedding Tips from Real Brides and Wedding vendors!

I hope you enjoyed our 10 Expert Tips to Having Amazing Wedding Photos blog post!  We also asked some of our facebook friends and previous brides what some of their favorite tips were (related or unrelated to photography) and they came up with some great ones to consider!  Here they are listed in order from the planning-the-wedding stage to things to think about on the wedding day!

Lacy dress detail and wedding hankerchief...


Hair and Makeup

Try hair and makeup beforehand, so you know what it will look like and about how long it takes.  Makeup will often be more dramatic than your usually look but it looks better in photos that way.  If you haven’t planned a bridal session, try taking natural light photos of your trial makeup and seeing if you like how it looks.

Don’t put the bride last on the hair dressing schedule, that way if anything takes longer than expected, your hair will already be done.  Parents aren’t usually needed right away so they are usually scheduled last, but make sure they’re  ready to go before pre-ceremony family photos. Plan for the hair and makeup to be done at least 2-3 hours before the ceremony.

If the groom is getting a haircut, plan it for a week or so before the wedding so it has some time to setting down.

The Wedding Outfit

If your dress has buttons, bring a crochet hook.  That can make getting dress and undressed much quicker.

Have a friend who can handle your dress bustle and consider talking to your dress alterations person if there’s just one button or clip keeping your bustle up.  I have seen so many one button/clip bustles break before the night is even half over, so the more reinforcement they add, the less likely you are to have to carry your train around while you dance!

Break in your wedding shoes, scuff them up and practice dancing in them.  You don’t want to be uncomfortable as you walk around all day.  And better yet bring sandals, boots or flip flops for dancing at the reception!  Remind your bridesmaids and groomsmen to do the same so they can dance all night long!   Just remember that if you change to comfy flats from high heels, your dress will be longer so if you have some shoes of a similar height, that’ll keep your dress from dragging while you dance!  

Dress and shoes

Scheduling and Planning

It helps to send a schedule and maybe even a checklist of things to remember to the bridal party before the wedding so there are no surprises and less forgotten items.

For outdoor weddings, have an idea of what your backup weather plan, just in case.

Work out who will cut the cake.  Usually that duty falls with the caterer but check with them beforehand to make sure you have that worked out.

Here’s a great time from Kelly Beasley who is not only a bride but also the Social Events Manager at Columbia Conference Center

Consider the end of the day questions- what car will you be leaving in and will they have your bag ahead of time?  Who is taking the gifts, alcohol, cake topper, etc.?

From Sonya Cary, the mother of a bride and then a groom-

When you are making a million choices and can’t decide on something, the guests don’t know what alternate choices you had.  i.e. pink or peach ribbon for the programs, white or brown basket for the flower girl…Don’t overthink and drive yourself crazy.  Some details don’t matter.  And of course, hire some awesome photographers like Katie Hart and Dave Gilbert.

The wedding day

Handle the Essentials

Stay well hydrated and get a good night’s sleep the day before if you can!  

Food is Important

Have snacks for the bridal party.  Chic-fil-a nuggets are usually a big hit!  If it’s an outdoor wedding, have water for the bridal party as well especially after the ceremony.  Snacks that don’t stain are helpful too like grapes, cheese, crackers, etc.

Consider grabbing a bite to eat before being introduced to the reception if you have lots of guests to greet or if you want to start dancing immediately.

Wedding venue

Be Prepared

Have a list of all your vendors with their contact information and their scheduled arrival times and give that to a responsible person (or wedding planner) who can follow up if there are any unexpected delays.

Have an emergency kit on hand with some of these items

    • Antacids
    • Advil
    • Mints
    • Deoderant
    • Bandaids
    • Sewing kit
    • Safety pins
    • Tide pen
    • Bobby pins
    • Eyelash glue
    • Phone charger

Use waterproof mascara and have makeup touchups on hand for after the ceremony as needed.

Place baby wipes under the cake table for easy cleanup if the cake cutting gets a little rowdy!


Embrace the Memories

As our bride Mary Lee Coultrap suggested,

For our last dance, we had all of the guests circle the dance floor so we could walk around and hug/say goodbye to each guest before we left!  We were SO glad we did- and it made for great pictures.  🙂

701 Whaley

Vendor Tips

Here’s a few more tips from wedding vendors that have seen it all!

Tom Chinn from 701 Whaley

It is important to book your venue first. If you want a particular date you need to lock that in first.  Who you will be able to use as vendors can also be determined by where you book.   Wear Good shoes.  Make sure all of your vendors communicate with each other. You don’t want your caterer showing up thinking that tablecloths are provided when they aren’t.  Allow yourself to go with the flow. Sometimes the Happy Accidents turn out to be the real memories.

Scott Jones from American Floral

This is going to be the fastest day of your life!  Take time to soak it in !  When you get to the back of the aisle with Dad, stop…..take a deep breath….soak it up. When they announce you as man and wife….stop…pause there for a few seconds….Be IN the moment !! The old saying “Where ever you are, BE there !” is SO true. You will miss alot, hire a great photographer (like Palmetto Duo!) and videographer… will be amazed at what you miss….with their help you can re-live the moments forever !

All that being said, remember this…Don’t get overwhelmed by planning a wedding…here’s why; You have found THE person you want to spend your life with, other than the ceremony part (usually very quick) you are just throwing a Party, for the people that love you the most…Why stress !! Plan, hire great vendors, tell them what YOU want and let them do their jobs!! Then Relax and enjoy the Ride!!

Melanie Murphy from By Invitation Only

You don’t hire a wedding planner because you think ‘something always goes wrong’ – you hire a wedding planner so it is so well planned that nothing goes wrong.

This is your most important day and it goes by so fast, so it is so important that you have the most talented photographer and videographer so that they capture every special moment to produce a fabulous documentation of the day.

Bonnie Brunt from Bonnie Brunt Cakes

Take a moment, grab a wall.  Weddings are a lot.  There is so much going on and it is impossible to take it all in.  You are going to miss things. I suggest to every bride and groom, and every parent.  Make a point to grab a wall during the reception, away from everyone, and just look around…be a silent observer for just 60 seconds to breath in your big day.  Enjoy it.  Revel in it.  Make a permanent memory.  You will NEVER regret it…

As one of our previous brides, Stacey Ohmer, so simply stated-

Eat, drink, smile, dance and enjoy the best day of your life!

My personal advice is don’t sweat the small stuff.  At the end of the day, you and the love of your life will be married and starting the rest of your life together!  If you have some more great tips to share like these, please add your comment below!

Are you getting married soon?  We’d love to hear more about your big day!  To set up a meeting or request a price sheet, just use the contact form below and we’ll be in touch with you soon!

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