Edward Ashley is a documentary-based wedding photographer and, after being present at a fair few weddings from start to finish, he has a few hints and tips to share on how best to plan for your big day. Read on for Edward’s advice to have a more relaxed, seamless day, so you can concentrate on enjoying it and having fun, and not think about anything else.
#1: THE NIGHT BEFORE
The night before your wedding you won’t want to be arranging, organising, or planning anything. Even if you enjoy a more hands-on approach, and you’re doing a lot of the wedding yourself, try to make sure it’s all finished in the afternoon. This means you can totally relax with your friends and family the night before. You’ll need lots of rest and a good night’s sleep, your wedding day takes a lot of mental and physical strain!
#2: HAVE A TIMELINE
Have a plan of what happens when – not in incredible detail, but just know when the big things are going to happen. For example, when will the ceremony finish, how long will it take your guests to get from the ceremony venue to the reception venue, when are you cutting the cake. Circulate the timeline amongst the relevant suppliers (I’d say of particular importance here is your venue, photographer and videographer). It can be helpful for your bridesmaids and groomsmen to know the schedule too, as they can be really helpful in getting people moving along if you start to run a little late. I’ve known some couples give an approximate timeline to guests too.
#3: GETTING READY
I honestly don’t think I’ve been to a single wedding where a bride has said “I had enough time to get ready this morning”. Getting ready takes so much longer than you expect. I’d plan for how long you think it’ll take, then start an hour earlier. If you’re ready earlier than expected, this is brilliant, you can relax and enjoy a glass of something sparkly with the bridal party.
#4: AFTER GOING DOWN THE AISLE
Once you’ve walked down the aisle, arm-in-arm with your new husband/wife, what do you do when you get to the end? Have a plan. If you’re in a separate ceremony venue, can you disappear into a sideroom somewhere while your photographer arranges your guests for a confetti throw, then you can come outside. Can you be whisked off by your photographer to get some photos? Or would you prefer to have a receiving line to chat to everyone who’s come to see you tie the knot. Either way, make sure you have a plan!
#5: THINK ABOUT FLOWERS
So much money is spent on flowers and so many times I’ve just seen them all be thrown away at the end of the night. If you want to take them home with you, tell the venue so they can keep them to one side for you.
If you’ve got way too many, could you advise your guests they’re welcome to take them away?
If you’re throwing a bouquet – are you having one made up especially or are you happy to lose yours to the guest that catches it?
Disorganised speeches take forever! Make sure you’ve decided the order in advance, and make sure everyone knows how long they’re meant to speak for.
#7: BE ALONE (WITH EACH OTHER!)
Make sure you plan some time to have just for the two of you. The day is all about you and your love for each other, and some couples barely spend a minute with each other. Plan for this. It could be in the wedding car from the ceremony to the reception, it could be when you are checking in to your hotel room. It doesn’t have to be long, but it’s really good quality time that you need to have.
#8: ASK FOR YOUR GUESTS DIETARY REQUIREMENTS WELL IN ADVANCE AND PASS THEM TO THE VENUE IN PLENTY OF TIME
It’s one less thing for you to worry about on the day, and keeps your guests happy!
#9: EAT WELL, DRINK WATER
Sounds boring right? Well, I suppose it is. Again, this is a long day and you’re going to be running high on happiness throughout, make sure you have a decent breakfast and a bite to eat before the ceremony as you’ll be burning through those calories! There’s also a lot of alcohol going round at weddings and your guests will be lining up to buy you drinks all night. Keep hydrated so you don’t end up with a horrendous hangover the next day. You’ll probably never spend as much on a single day ever again – so make sure you can remember it!
#10: GROOMS GET HOT EASILY!
This is a tip that was given to me that I actually ended up using on my own wedding day. Nobody can prepare you for how warm you feel in a three piece suit, especially during the reception when eating a hot meal. A top tip is to keep two or three of the same shirt in a room in the venue somewhere, so you can disappear for a minute or so, throw on a clean shirt and come back refreshed and feeling like a new man!
BONUS TIP: TRUST YOUR VENDORS
Your vendors and suppliers have all been very carefully hand-selected by you. You’ve chosen them because you like what they do. Trust them to do what they do best and concentrate on your happiness and experience of the whole the day. Relax and enjoy!
Edward Ashley Photography provides stunning documentary-based wedding photography, capturing beautiful weddings throughout the UK and further afield. Edward is exhibiting at our Newcastle show on 26-27 Jan at stand A37. Visit him at the show to check out further examples of his work and receive an exclusive 15% off all wedding photography bookings, when booked within 4 weeks of the show.