I read a recent post from a fellow photographer about a wedding in which everything was chaos down to the wrong band being hired. It made me reflect back on all the weddings I have worked over the years that also suffered the tragic side effects of lack of proper planning. I decided to dedicate this weeks blog to the art of wedding organization and share some helpful tips for all you soon-to-be brides out there.

Plan enough time: The #1 culprit for missed or rushed wedding day photos is the lack of time. Lack of time can also be the cause of delays in your itinerary, cutting corners where you really shouldn’t and tons of unwanted stress. Wedding days are chaotic enough because you are literally trying to remember and manage dozens of moving parts all at once and depending on other people and vendors to also be on time and fulfill all of their obligations as well. Details are missed, directions misunderstood, things forgotten, and people running late. I have seen everything from forgetting the wedding bands to the pastor showing up an hour late. So the best first step you can ever take in planning is to allow yourself plenty of time for each portion of the day and never underestimate just how fast the time will go once you are in the full swing of wedding day operations.

Reputable and reliable vendors: Choose reputable and reliable vendors to help make your wedding day vision come to life. A professional vendor will always have a contract and be willing to share references and reviews with you. Read over the contracts to make sure that none conflict with any others for the day and speak to your venue regarding any restrictions or limitations they might have. Nothing more upsetting then arriving on scene to find the officiant does not allow photography during the actual service and now having to plan for a full re-staging of everything including the unity candles. Knowing obstacles and vendor contract terms in advance helps you create a strategy for overcoming and working around those obstacles so that your time and results are the best possible.

Communicate with your bridal party: You have chosen a few special people to play a significant role in your day. But surprisingly, not many people actually know what being a member of the bridal party means. Many people assume its just the ensemble and showing up for the big day. You chose these people for a reason so do them a big favor and go over with them exactly what you are expecting of them in terms of cost, commitment and time so that there is no misunderstandings causing tension for the big day. Do not be afraid to give specific time lines and communicate any preferences to them. Your day will run much smoother if your team mates know the game plan.

It’s all in the details: As tedious as it sounds, finding yourself a good wedding day check list or planner may be the help that you need. There are many great resources out there that will outline everything from when to begin shopping for the dress to how to calculate the beverage or alcohol consumption for the number of guests attending. Make a spread sheet or check list to keep you on track with eyes on the prize. If the budget allows, consider hiring a professional coordinator with great references. As the bride and groom, you obviously do not do this all the time. But a pro planner does this for a living so they have seen just about every wrench that can be thrown into a wedding days best laid plans and they have the experience to help you avoid it or at the very least overcome it with an awesome plan b. So if you have the funds, leave the details in the hands of a professional and you just focus on enjoying your day.

In closing, I truly hope you found this helpful. Keep in mind that your photographer is only one gear in what needs to be a well-oiled machine. If there are parts missing or not working, it can really effect the final outcome of your wedding day images. We can only capture the day as it unfolds and we rely on time and organization to provide the quality results we are hired for. The truth is, no wedding is ever 100% perfectly executed accordingly to plan from start to finish. But if you plan enough time, hire reliable vendors, communicate with your bridal party, and keep sight of the details, your wedding day can be so much more enjoyable for both you and your guests.