Category: planning

10 Tips for a Stress Free Wedding Day

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No stress on your wedding day… the ultimate and seemingly impossible goal. To many couples, the mere idea of no stress is stressful! Just having to tell yourself that you shouldn’t be stressed out somehow causes even more stress! How is that even possible?! Well, some things we just don’t have the answers to (or do we….), but one thing we know for sure is that it IS possible, at the very least, to minimize your stress on your wedding day. So take a deep belly breath in … and out… and keep on reading for our 10 tips on how to stay calm, cool and collected on your big day. :)

1. Choose vendors that you trust. We can’t stress this one enough (pun intended). By choosing vendors who you feel a connection with, and who you can tell are passionate and in tune with their craft, you will have absolutely no reason to worry when your big day finally arrives. A trusted vendor is willing to meet with you one on one, and answer any questions you have, no matter how ridiculous they might seem. They have great communication with you. They are often just as excited about your wedding day as you are! They want to make all of your dreams come true and they want to do it by causing you as little stress as possible. If you’re getting married in Western New York, click here to download our trusted and preferred vendor guide!

2. Create a solid wedding day timeline with extra time built inWith all of the events that will take place on your wedding day, a timeline is a must. Between your morning beauty services, photos, ceremony, cocktail hour and the reception, and all of their moving parts and many pieces, it’s pretty important that the day is well mapped out ahead of time. BUT here’s where some couples miss the mark: you have to allot extra time for everything. Think about it… how often are you really running early or even on time for things on a day to day basis? Then factor in that there’s usually a great many other people, too. Do you really think that all of those other people are going to be running perfectly on schedule? There’s your bridesmaid, who was so late that she practically missed half of your shower, and your limo driver, who definitely 100% will not get struck in traffic at all. Unless you’ve got a secret time travel device that no one else in the world knows about (that would be crazy! And amazing!!), then of course things are bound to get a little off course! And that’s ok! The best thing you can do for yourself is to add a little extra time to each part of your day. Even just an additional 15 minutes longer than you’d anticipate can do a world of good. If you have extra time, what’s the worst that can happen?? You’ll have time to breath, to eat, to relax, and for goodness sake you’ll even have time to pee.

3. Keep everyone well informed. Remember that timeline we just talked about? Don’t just keep it to yourself. Make sure anyone and everyone who is a part of your day has a copy (and reads it!). They might think you’re crazy now, but come wedding day, when everything runs smoothly, no one needs to ask questions, and everyone knows right where to be and when, they’ll be thanking you, (while they’re relaxing and sipping champagne because of all that lovely extra time you built in).

4. Don’t over pack the day. Noticing a theme here yet? Time. You want more of it, not less. So although it might sound awesome to wake up on wedding morning and go grab a quick mani/pedi before your hair and make-up gets going, it’s probably a better idea to do that a day or two before instead. Take a few days the week prior to do your last minute self care, vow writing, gift wrapping, detail organizing, and any other small task you might be tempted to leave for wedding morning. When it comes to your photo locations, instead of trying to fit in a handful of different photo ops with your wedding party all over town, choose just one or two spots that are close in proximity to each other. Even better – try to stay close to your venue(s). The drive across town to get that one photo in front of that mural you guys love might not be worth missing your entire cocktail hour. Like everyone says, the day really does fly by, and it will fly even faster the more you pack into it.

5. Have help(ers). They’re your sisters, your best friends, your family. Your bridal party is not just there to pop the champagne for you (cause let’s be honest, that cork is scary!). They accepted the honor of being in your wedding party knowing that they’re there to help you with whatever you need. So let them! Designate “jobs” for each party member on wedding day. One to keep your accessories and details organized for the photographer to shoot (shoes, flowers, invitations), another as the day-of go to person of contact for all your vendors (make sure you give your vendors their contact info beforehand), and another to make sure everyone is where they need to be for photo ops, etc. Someone to keep the bridal suite clean, someone to make sure your belongings get to each venue. Each task is pretty easy when they’re spread out amongst all of your friends, but when you put every last detail on your own shoulders it can be just enough to send you right over the edge.

6. Hire a day-of coordinator. If you aren’t having a larger sized bridal party to dole out tasks to, or if you simply don’t trust your crazy college roommates to get the job done, then consider hiring a day-of coordinator! Just because you don’t have a full on wedding coordinator that you hired the second you got engaged doesn’t mean that you can’t at least have a little extra hired help on the actual day itself. Many companies offer this service at a fraction of the cost of a full on planning package. It might be just what you need to help you breath easy from sun up to sun down. Click here to read all about what a wedding coordinator can really do for you and your sanity! :)

7. Don’t plan your rehearsal for the night before. You’re likely going to have a lot going on in the days leading up to your wedding. Having the rehearsal the night before (and more often than not, some sort of celebration to follow) may not be the way you want to go if you’re looking to keep your stress at a low. Instead, consider scheduling it two days prior to the big day. This way you’re able to use the day between to complete those few last minute things (like, ahem, writing your vows), take care of the surprise or two that might pop up during the rehearsal itself (such as realizing that you never bought that aisle runner), and most importantly, spending the day re-hydrating after the multiple toasts from the night before and all those shots that your Uncle Marvin kept buying you in honor of you “taking the plunge”, (no really, Uncle Marvin … I think we’ve all had enough now). And best of all, you can even sleep in that morning and end your evening with a romantic and relaxing dinner date with your soon-to-be spouse, followed by an early night of rejuvenating pre-wedding day sleep. You’ll wake up on wedding morning feeling so much more relaxed and refreshed than you would if you were still nursing that Uncle Marvin induced celebratory hangover.

8. Have some alone time with your sweetheart. You’d think this one was a no brainer, but it’s actually something that you might have to put a little bit of thought into. Sure, it’s your wedding day – so obviously you’ll be with your sweetie all day, right? Maybe, but you won’t necessarily be alone… and trust us, you’ll want at least a few minutes to yourselves to really soak it all in together. If you’re planning a First Look consider doing it without any other family or wedding party members around so that you can really share the moment together with no witnesses. Think about maybe arranging a separate ride from the ceremony to the reception, just the two of you together. Sneak away from the party for 5 or 10 minutes, no interruptions, and just revel in the fact that you. are. MARRIED!! There’s just something so comforting, so soothing, so relaxing about being alone together during your wedding day. It’s an instant stress reliever and certainly a very special, intimate time that you won’t soon forget.

9. Get extra organized with your family formals. Believe it or not, the family formals portion of your wedding day can get very hectic and overwhelming if it isn’t properly planned out ahead of time. There are often so many moving parts to this small fraction of the day. Things often need to move quickly and annoyance can build at a rapid pace, even if you and your entire family gets along absolutely perfectly 100% of the time (if this is true then you’re family is a magical unicorn unit and we’re going to need to hear your secret to success). Our advice? Take the time before your wedding day to really sit down with your soon-to-be spouse and both sets of parents to discuss what shots are most important to them, who they absolutely have to have a photo with, and what their expectations are for this part of the day. Then, after you’ve made a list of the must-haves, be sure to pass it along to your photographer BEFORE your wedding day so that they can make sure there’s going to be enough time to capture all of the groupings that you’re hoping for. We could go on and on about all the ways to ease this part of the day. Oh wait, we already did! Click here to read all 7 of our stress minimizing tips for successful family formals!

10. Don’t forget what the day is about. It’s not about the wrong flowers being delivered, or a heel breaking. It’s not about the cake melting or your hair not looking exactly as you pictured it would. It has nothing to do with the escort cards being out of place or the food being lukewarm or getting all the steps right during your first dance. It’s about the two of you and the start of your brand new lives together. It’s about your family and friends coming together all under one roof to share in this love with you. To be part of your joy. To be part of your story. When things go wrong (and they probably will at some point) if you just look around you at all the beautiful faces, if you just hold his (or her) hand a little tighter, if you just remember to forget the small stuff and focus on the big picture, then that, my friend, is the one true foolproof way to eliminate stress on your wedding day.

Stressed about wedding day weather?? Don’t worry, we got you. Click here!

7 Tips for Stress-Free Family Formal Wedding Portraits

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Family. We love them. But, let’s be honest, they can REALLY stress us out. Now, add the typical family stresses to the stress of a wedding day, and mix in people’s opinions and emotions and personal agendas, and then tell everyone to get together, real close, and all smile at the same time?! What?? Oh, and did we mention that this has to be done like, 10+ times?? With multiple different groups of people?? And all within a very small and specific window of time?! Yeeeah… Family formals can definitely get a little crazy. But it doesn’t have to be that way! With all of the many things going on on your wedding day, family portraits do not have to add to the chaos. In fact, here are 7 super easy ways to avoid the added stress of formal family photos on your wedding day! You’re welcome ;)

1. Compile a list of all group shots, and do this well before wedding day. This isn’t a task that you want take on by yourself, nor do you want to wait until the week of your wedding to do it. Sit down with your fiance, as well as both sets of parents, to talk about what shots are important to them and who absolutely must be included in the portraits. Sometimes all you really want are a few good shots with your parents and grandparents, but other family members might have a completely different list of people in their head and you want to make sure you know about it BEFORE your photographer starts flashing. Nothing screams stress like a surprise list of “must have” photos presented by your brand new mother-in-law just before you’re about to walk down the aisle, because no one took the time to let her voice be heard beforehand.

2. Consider (and discuss) minimizing the number of groups. The more individual groups you have, the more time it will take away from your own portraits and/or even your cocktail hour. If you (and your parents and soon to be in-laws) want to make sure that Aunt Jinny on your mom’s side and Uncle Steven on your dad’s side, and cousin Mary, and your fiance’s second cousin once removed, are all photographed with you on your wedding day, consider simplifying things by just doing one (or two) large group shots on each side of the family. It saves so much time, so much hassle, and everyone gets their photo with the bride and groom!

3. Make sure your photographers are aware of sensitive situations and physical limitations. Divorces, separations, family feuds, small children, elderly relatives… these can all present some interesting challenges during your family formals. It’ll be even more of a challenge if you didn’t make your photographers aware of them before your wedding day. Does grandpa have trouble standing for long periods of time? Let your photographers know ahead of time so that they can be sure to get his portrait quickly, or where there’s a nice place for him to sit instead of stand. Mom and dad are divorced and get along great but mom isn’t too keen on your dad’s new girlfriend? Let your photographers know so that they don’t unknowingly try to get them to stand next to each other looking cheerful. Plan on having lots of children in your photos? Keep your photographer posted so they can get the kid photos done ASAP and move on to the adults afterwards.

4. Plan to take all family formals immediately following the ceremony. This is the most opportune time, as everyone is already in the same place because they all just watched you get married! If you try to have large groups of people relocate to a “prettier” photo spot, or if you choose to just wait until the reception for your group photos, you’ll likely loose a few people in the transition somewhere. Aunt Chris always gets lost. Uncle David will absolutely hold everyone up, because you know he always gets caught up in conversations and loses track of the time. You’ll definitely have a hard time pulling Kristen and Laura off the dance floor. Wait, has anyone even seen grandma recently?? Oh, and not to mention, everyone has now been throwing back drinks for an hour and a half (including grandma), so… good luck with that.

5. Make sure everyone who is to be included knows about it ahead of time. Reach out to everyone on your shot list a week or so prior to your wedding day to make them aware of it. Be sure to tell them exactly where they need to meet and what time. This way they know what to expect and they can plan to stick around after the ceremony. No one needs your mother racing around the ceremony venue trying to find them, meanwhile they’ve already ducked out to your cocktail hour because no one told them they’d be needed for a photo.

6. Appoint someone (or several people) to be in charge of wrangling everyone together at the designated time. You have enough things on your plate on your wedding day. The last thing you want to be doing is chasing people down for a photo. While your photographers should definitely have your shot list by now, they will be of little help when it comes to trying to tell the difference between Grandma Lucy and Great Aunt Marge. Your best bet is to give the task to a few trustworthy family members on each side of the family. Have a cousin or two on your mom’s side, and a few aunts on your dad’s side in charge of making sure everyone is where they need to be and when they need to be there. Introduce them to your photographer(s) so they can communicate with each other about what people are going to be needed in the next shot. Make sure the wranglers each have a copy of the shot list, as well as giving a copy to your parents to hold on to also (this will help avoid the frantic, “Wait, honey! Isn’t cousin Alex supposed to be in this one??” question for every. single. shot). It can also be helpful to send out a pre-ceremony text saying, “Don’t forget! Photos on the front steps immediately following the ceremony!”

7. Allow yourself enough time. Talk to your photographers about your shot list before your wedding day and ask how much time they think it will take to get through all of your groups. If they come back with a length of time that you aren’t stoked about, instead of saying “eh, we’ll just move fast, it’ll be fine”, consider combining a few groups together or eliminating the unnecessary ones.

We figured out what works best to make family formals quick, easy, and stress free throughout many years of experience and trial/error, and we pass that along to our couples in the form of education, worksheets, questionnaires, and other organizational tools. In other words, if you’re an Ayres couple, we’ve got you covered! As stressful as this part of the day could potentially be, you’ll be able to sail right through it with us at the helm. ;) If you’re not currently an Ayres couple, but you’d still like to get your hands on our family formals worksheet, you can sign up here to download it!!

Interested in more wedding planning tips?? Click here!