Here’s some friendly advice that covers all aspects of planning your big day.
There is A LOT of planning when it comes to weddings. Some exciting stuff, and some rather boring admin jobs. It all needs to come together to give you the best day ever so I’ve put together just a few tips, hints and shortcuts to help you along.Hopefully they will be of some use to you.
1. What kind of wedding?
The most basic thing first- what kind of wedding do you want? It doesn’t need to be a specific choice, you can keep it vague and go for a ‘mood’. Do you want a city chic, vintage, traditional, quirky or even just simple ceremony in the countryside – have an idea in your head because it will help you in the long run. As a wedding photographer in north Wales it helps me if I have an idea of what you are planning.
2. The great wedding tip – Start planning early.
Venues, hair stylists, photographers, make-up artists and videographers all book up really early. You don’t want to leave these decisions too late!
3. The B word- budget!
Weddings are not cheap. I guess you probably already know that. You need to sit down as a couple and work out what you want to spend. Some things you can DIY, some things though you really need to hire the best professionals you can afford. Photographers for instance (yes I know, I am one), do you want to trust this ‘once in a lifetime’ event to the cheapest quote? Same goes for dresses, make-up and even wedding entertainment. The old saying ‘you get what you pay for’ has never been truer. Why not have a free consultation with the wedding planner Helen from Perfectly Planned By Helen about budgeting.
4. Everyone has an opinion.
Opinions are like heads- everyone has one. Be prepared for your family friends and even strangers to offer you advice on what’s best for you. My advice is to listen to it with a smile, say thank you (you don’t want to be rude right!) and then carry on with what YOU want.
5. Get wedding insurance.
Yes, before you book anything get wedding insurance. It’s not expensive, and it may just be the best thing ever if you need to claim. Wedding venues could be flooded the day before your wedding, the cake could get squished in the van on the way or any other supplier you choose could go out of business, leaving you in a panic. These things almost never happen, but insurance is a must! As a wedding photographer in north Wales I’m insured to cover all eventualities. It makes sense that you are too.
6. Hire a wedding planner.
Why not get in someone who’s been there, done that, and has a proven record in arranging fabulous weddings. They’ll have supplier contacts at their fingertips, and maybe even be able to get you better deals. They will also be able to give you so many great ideas that you may not have thought of yourself. Plus, they can be there on the wedding day to make sure everything runs smoothly, leaving you to enjoy your day.
7. Take time to meet all your potential suppliers.
Meet every single supplier face to face. Either at their studio, office or hotel. If you can’t do that, then video calls or Facetime are a good alternative.
8. Make sure you confirm every little thing.
If you work with a great wedding planner you won’t need to worry about this bit, but if you don’t, then about a week or so before the wedding you should confirm with all of your suppliers and important people. Send them an email with your timeline, and your wedding day contact list to everyone involved. Many of your suppliers will appreciate this.
9. Keep it all in one place?
Consider having your wedding ceremony and reception in the same place. A church ceremony is always beautiful, but so are civil ceremonies these days. You’ll save on transport costs and you’re less likely to lose an aged auntie on the way 🙂 A great hotel like Wigfair Hall would be an ideal place to do this.
10. Visit wedding fayres.
These are a great place to get started. You can have a chat with suppliers without having to make an appointment. If you don’t ‘click’ with them it’s easy to move on to the next one. If you do find someone you like the look of you can make time to see them at a later date and dig a bit deeper into how they can make your day the best it can be.
11. What about flowers?
Flower arrangements and bouquets are as individual as you are. Research what you like and visit a few to check out their own styles and if is exactly what you want. Andrea from Luna Flower< in Rhos on sea says “Book the florist whose style you like and who you get on with. Book them as soon a possible before your big day, we book up quickly. As an experienced florist we will be able to advise you what flowers are available in your colours and when they’re in season. We’re more than happy to meet you at your venue too, to offer ideas on decorating it.
12. No photos during the ceremony.
This is a tip from me, a wedding photographer in North Wales! During the ceremony I want to see your guest’s faces. So will you in your pictures, not the backs of phones, iPads or other cameras. The easiest way is to ask the ceremony official (vicar, priest, celebrant or registrar) to make an announcement saying that there are to be no photos until the ceremony has finished. Everyone then will be ‘in the moment’ and actually part of your wedding ceremony.
13. Have a dedicated email address.
If you want to keep a track of all your wedding emails, and keep your regular email account free of it just set up another dedicated email account. Something along the lines of tonyandanwensweddingstuff @ gmail dot com will do nicely. It’ll help your suppliers too as they will instantly know it’s from you and it’s less likely to get missed or deleted.
14. Have a make-up trial.
Whether you’re a ‘scrubbed-clean face’ kinda girl or a ‘full make-up before you see anyone in the morning’ kinda girl you really should at least have a chat with a professional make-up artist before your wedding. You WILL photograph better if you allow yourself to be guided by someone like Keena Roberts, a make-up professional in North Wales. She explains “Even for those brides who wear little or no makeup, I always recommend having some applied for the photos. A good makeup artist will always listen carefully to their client and create a look suitable to each bride. Having a make-up artist on your big day is going to ensure you look incredible and that your makeup is going to last from morning until the late hours.”
15. What about drones then?
Drones are getting more popular at weddings. As with all things though you need to research this thoroughly. As drone pilot Geoff Tudno explains “Professional drone pilots have to be trained and licenced to comply with all kinds of regulations. Using state of the art equipment we get super smooth footage that really adds another dimension to your wedding coverage. Because of the risk of inclement weather here in north Wales, if we are unable to fly there is absolutely no charge to the couple.”
16. If a supplier offers many things.
If you find a supplier that offers may things you want for your wedding it makes sense to book them all with them instead of lots of different suppliers. For instance Event Lounge in Llandudno offer DJs, a fun casino, photobooths, and magic mirrors. They offer many different packages, all of which means you only have one company to deal with. We all want an easy life right!
17. How about live music?
Live music played well is just a lovely thing to hear. It adds a touch of class to any event. Speaking to Dylan Ceryw, an amazing harpist, he says, “Its always a good idea to have live musicians. Using recorded music is OK, until the CD sticks in the player or the wrong tracks starts to play. You could stream the music but what happens if the WIFI is dodgy?” He continues, ” Pick plenty of pieces for the Ceremony, and something special to the Bride and Groom during the signing of the register. About 3 – 4 is great so its always good to have back up music. Something slow is always good to walk down the aisle, and something uplifting / upbeat as the Bride, Groom and Guests leave the ceremony. Its gets everybody in the mood to party.” wedding photographer in north Wales
18. More music, more great wedding advice.
In the morning, when you and your bridesmaids are getting ready you’ll want a great uplifting soundtrack playing. Put this playlist together in the weeks before your wedding so you can really enjoy the build up to your ceremony. As a wedding photographer in North Wales I love music and you’ll find me singing along (yeah, sorry).
19. Use the scenery. PLEASE!
If you’re getting married in North Wales make sure you and your photographer get a chance to make the most of the stunning scenery here. You’ll only need a few minutes, but those minutes will absolutely be worth it. Have a look at what some of my own favourite beautiful North Wales weddings right HERE to see what I mean.
20. Those dreaded red blotches.
More make-up advice. Keena also mentions, “When brides get nervous, certain areas like the chest and neck can go red. I use a green color corrector mixed with a bit of foundation to counteract any redness.”
21. Shoes, shoes and more shoes.
Wedding days are generally hectic, long, fun, and you’re on your feet most of the time. Those Jimmy Choos looks amazing but you’ll need a change or two. If you’re going off road for some portraits bring a pair of flat shoes or walking shoes (nobody will know if they are hidden under your wedding dress). Flip flops or comfy flats will help you dance long into the night. Your feet will thank you for it.
22. The groom’s speech.
This is a great wedding tip for the guys. The groom’s speech is easy, even if you have never stood up in front of an audience. You just have to say a few thank you’s, and NEVER forget to say how amazing your new wife looks. Seems obvious right, but I have heard so many speeches where the groom forgets 🙂 Try to keep your notes on one page, that way you’ll never lose your place or drop a handful of cards.
23. Personal grooming.
It’s not just the bride being photographed. The groom should spend a bit longer on his personal grooming than usual. Get a fresh haircut, treat yourself to a professional wet shave, trim eyebrows if they need it. When you look at your wedding photographs it’ll make that effort seem like a worthwhile job.
24. Grooms have an opinion too.
It’s the groom’s wedding day too. If you’re not happy with a certain aspect of your day, say so in the early stages, before things get booked. If you’d rather have a relaxed no-jacket look instead of tails and a top hat, then say so. It’s your day too. As a wedding photographer in north Wales I know that if the guys are feeling relaxed it will show in the pictures.
25. Things can go wrong.
This is real life remember, not a Disney film. Things can and do go a bit wrong sometimes. It can rain, cars do break down, guests can fall over, something can get misplaced. IT’S NOT THE END OF THE WORLD! You’ll still marry the love of your life, and that’s the most important thing. Don’t micro manage everything, let the day do what you’ve planned and enjoy it. If little things go wrong, it makes for great stories in the future when you think back to your wedding day.
26. My best wedding tip – Take a time out.
Lastly, take time during your wedding day as husband and wife to take it all in. A moment of solitude in the hustle and bustle of your wedding day to just enjoy it. Go for a walk in the grounds, tell everyone to let you have a moment alone. It’s your day after all!
Tony Fanning photography is available for weddings throughout the UK and even abroad if you are planning a wedding further afield.