Enjoy being stressed out? Of course not! After shooting so many weddings, we’ve come up with a few pointers to make your big day less complicated and more wonderful.


Have your first dance right after the grand entrance.

It’s hard to match the energy of the moment with everyone on their feet clapping and cheering as you enter your reception. Why not take advantage of that and head straight to the dance floor to enjoy that first dance? As a bonus, if things run late and you don’t want to pay extra for your photographer to stay late, you definitely have your first dance covered.


Select an all-in-one venue.

When you can get ready, take photos, and have the ceremony and reception all in one location, you’ll have the easiest of weddings! Timelines frequently breakdown because of two things: poorly organized family photos (we’ll get to that next) and moving people. When you start and end the day in the same place, you’ll save yourself loads of time and stress.


Limit your family photos to larger groups.

We’ve all been there . . . family photos that go on and on. Painful cheeks from all that smiling. Why? Because family photos run wild. Ask yourself—do I really need a picture of us with my parents and grandparents, two more pictures of us with my parents, and a separate picture with my grandparents? Would you really hang 30 different images of all the family groups on the wall? Or would you hang one large shot of each family? Stick to larger groups and everyone will be happy.


Think about what really matters.

When you’re considering the many, many decisions you’ll make regarding your wedding, it’s good to keep your main objective in mind. Ask yourself if in 30 years you’re going to care about this particular detail. If you won’t miss it then, you won’t miss it now.


Ignore the noise.

Wedding blogs and websites need to constantly put out new content to keep people coming back. Keep that in mind the next time you read a “must-haves” list. If it were titled honestly, it would be something more like “ideas that might work for some couples but not for others.” That probably wouldn’t draw many viewers, right? Stick to what you want, not what others say you need.


Forget “Perfect.”

Everyone attending your wedding is on your side. They want you to be happy. If everything doesn’t go exactly to plan, no one is leaving. Everyone will rally to make your day the best it can be. I’ve seen guests alter and repair wedding gowns, bundle up on chilly days, sweat it out on hot days, patiently wait while dinner runs late, re-sign guest books when the ink didn’t stick. You’ve invited people who love and support you. They don’t need perfect. They just want you happy.


It’s a wedding, not a photoshoot.

Finally, just remember that your wedding is a wedding, NOT a photoshoot. I always tell my couples that if you first and foremost live and enjoy your wedding day, lovely images will come naturally. There’s no need to plan every shot or make a long list of “must-have” images. If I’m able to mindfully observe what’s happening around me, you’ll end up with moving images that capture feeling and emotions. It’s hard to do that when caught up in following a list.