fearless photographer Heather McKay

Top 10 Tips for Smooth Wedding Planning

Hey, I get it! There are a million blogs and opinions out there, but believe you me… I’ve pretty much seen everything at this point in my long career. Also, I talk to my couples after the wedding. Sometimes I get them drinking, or they get me drinking, whatever…. Either way, here are my very best top 10 tips for smooth wedding planning, based on my experience at hundreds of weddings, big and small, rain or shine, high end or DIY….

top 10 tips for smooth wedding planning

Here are her all time top 10 tips for smooth wedding planning and a having a completely stress free day:

  •  Don’t re-invent the wheel.

6,000 weddings happen in Rochester alone each year. Why do all this work on your wedding yourself? Ask your married friends their opinions before you begin searching for vendors. Specifically: “what was the one thing you wish you spent less/more money on?” and “one thing you would do differently?” Then, pick your top 3
most important wedding items and focus on those 3 things. The rest is just icing on the cake, right?

  • Take dance lessons.

One of my past Grooms said that this was the best part of the entire wedding planning process. Ester Brill (Your Wedding Dance) teaches Rochester wedding couples and their parents how to spice up what you already know… EVERY couple of mine that has worked with her recommends the lessons. The added bonus is that the photos are more interesting and you feel more confident!

creative wedding reception photos

  • Ignore the weathermen

For at least a week before the wedding. They are ALWAYS wrong. Especially the hour by hour forecast. Interesting weather makes for interesting photos anyway. Do you like rainbows? Guess how you get those? Rain.

Fall weddings in the Finger Lakes

  • Leave extra time for hair/makeup.

End of story. When the champagne is flowing, and the Stylist hears ‘4:30 wedding ceremony’ nothing else seems to matter. This is hands down the #1 reason that the rest of the day feels so rushed.

  •  Eat a full breakfast.

Protein is your friend. You won’t stop and get another chance to eat for 6+ hours. Add that fact to the reality that you’ll want to mingle at your wedding and will only nibble on your dinner.

  •  Kiss twice, then stop and soak in the love.

At the end of the ceremony, people want to congratulate you and take pictures. Pause and let them before you bolt down the aisle. It also helps you remember this part of the day. Added bonus, when you pause it allows for more emotion from you and your new husband/wife.

top 10 tips on smooth wedding planning in the Finger Lakes

  •  Be a Zen Master

Seriously. Let go of everything on the day of your wedding. Someone annoying you? Ask someone to remove them from your immediate vicinity (I’ll do it!). Your eye makeup/hair/dress not quite right? NO ONE will notice but you. Believe me. I’ll tell you if it won’t look good in pictures. Other than that, not one person will scrutinize your face/hair/dress/etc the way you will. Your guests only see the complete package. Timeline messed up? Don’t worry. We are all along for the ride and I can make up the time elsewhere.

  •  Pack a grab bag full of day-of supplies.

Do this ahead of time, not as you are packing to leave for the ceremony. Include: bobby pins, safety pins, face powder, lip gloss, water, more water, hand held fan, sunscreen, tissues, more tissues, moleskin, protein bars, flip flops, sewing kit, sweaters for the girls, a flask.

  •  Keep formal portraits to a minimum.

A long list of ‘must have’ shots makes for boring wedding photos and your tired-of-smiling face. My past couples know that I have a magic trick to getting a lot of formals done efficiently, however they still take time away from magic creating and fun having. Decide what is really important to you, your Mom and your Grandma and let the rest go. 99% of these ‘must have’ images never make it into the album and aren’t purchased.

how to plan the perfect wedding

  •  Over think that dress bustle.

Practice, practice, practice bustling the dress (not, you, the Bride… but your Bridesmaids. and friends. and Mom.). The dress lady makes it look easy, but she won’t be there to do it. Usually, I end up doing it. Also, ask them to reinforce the bustling strings/buttons. Seriously, when you are dancing all night, that heavy dress just falls apart. Specifically on the dainty lace dresses. Usually there are a few buttons and a tiny string that goes on them. Yeah, those break every single time. A little forethought and you can party all night long. While you are at it, make those dumb strings your something BLUE so we can find them 😉

How to plan a wedding

What was the best thing you did to ensure a smooth wedding day? What do you wish you did differently? Disagree with anything here? Leave a comment and let me know…

Rochester’s best Wedding Photographer gives her top 10 tips for smooth wedding planning, based on her experience at hundreds of weddings, big and small, rain or shine, high end or DIY.