You said YES! Now what? So many things to do in what seems like so little time: set a date, find the perfect dress, book a great venue, find an awesome photographer, etc. With all the excitement and shopping and budget planning, I know it's easy to overlook a few things that may seem unimportant or that you didn't think even mattered. Here are five things you should definitely consider while planning your special day:
1 | HUNTING FOR A VENUE
An outdoor ceremony is a great option to take advantage of the natural light. Even if the ceremony is inside, an ideal venue should have areas with certain elements on the property to provide shade and visual interest such as trees, tall grass or paths and structures like a barn, manor, clubhouse, etc.
If you're planning an indoor ceremony or indoors is a back-up for inclement weather, try to select a space that is light, bright and airy with windows. If at all possible, try to avoid spaces with dark, heavy, saturated colors on the walls or floor and no access to natural light. Spaces with white or light colors and natural light coming in provide a much flattering look for everyone.
2 | GETTING READY AREA
Whether you're getting ready at home or a hotel or at the venue, make sure the space is neat, clutter free and limited to just the wedding party. It's a good idea to bring a big box or bag to make it easier to gather and hide all the garment bags, packaging, shoe boxes, purses and miscellaneous items. Also bring at least two towels, trust me you'll need them! And just like an indoor ceremony space, your getting ready area should be a light, airy, white or neutral colored space with at least one window for natural light.
3 | CEREMONY START TIME
A good ceremony start time to put on your invitation is about two to two & a half hours before sunset. This will ensure there's plenty of "good" natural light before and after the ceremony. It's also a great way to have a little wiggle room for any mishaps or guests who arrive a few minutes late (there WILL be guests who arrive late!). It's perfectly OK if the ceremony actually starts 10, 15 or 20 minutes later than what's on the invitation, after all, it is YOUR day!
4 | DON'T FORGET DETAILS
At least the day before your wedding, gather all the small details that you want photographed and keep them all together in a safe place. Whether it's the invitation suite, both sets of rings, any other jewelry, perfume/cologne, watch, family heirloom...make sure it all stays together in a shoe box and that someone is in charge of bringing it to your getting ready location on time. It saves a lot of time and eliminates trying to track items down because different people have them or they're at different locations.
5 | A FIRST LOOK
A first look is when you and your fiance first see each other BEFORE the ceremony. I highly recommend doing it for so many reasons! It's such a very raw, special and private moment that's JUST FOR YOU TWO. Those emotions that you experience will be shared only by you. The great thing is, when you do walk down the aisle and see each other again, it'll be in a completely different environment, it'll be in front of your family and friends so you'll have another set of emotions flowing in their presence. A first look also saves A LOT of time and allows for more photos. You'll be able to have wedding party portraits before the ceremony and after, without rushing.
BONUS | FINDING THE RIGHT PHOTOGRAPHER
Here are a few tips for finding a photographer that meets and exceeds your needs:
A reputable photographer should have an active online presence via website and social media. Browse their gallery or portfolio to make sure their style is what you envision for your day. Stalk their pages, read their blogs, read their bio, read their reviews, get to know them virtually before you contact them. Don't be afraid to ask for referrals, to have the opportunity to speak directly to previous or current clients candidly. Communicate with your photographer, you'll know when you've found "the one". Happy planning!