I have compiled wedding planning tips that my brides wish they knew before planning their wedding!  Over the last 10 years of photographing weddings, anytime a bride said she wish she knew something before planning her wedding, I wrote it down in the notes section of my cell phone.  Anyone else use that notes section for random things?  I digress……

So, here is the list that I have from my notes.  They are in no particular order.  If you want more details, I highly recommend watching the video I created below talking about each tip in more detail.

  1. Adding a cushion to your timeline for each item on your timeline.  As an example, add 15 minutes to family portraits or adding 5 minutes to the first dance, etc. This way you may not go off schedule.
  2. Ask this question of each of your vendors.  They are experts and can help you learn a little something about their industry, “What are two things that brides typically don’t know about (insert their area of expertise here like wedding makeup, catering, photographing a wedding, etc.).     
  3. RSVP’s –> people are awful about RSVPing.  You’ll probably have to call people to confirm if they are coming or not.
  4. Email the save the dates.  In that email, you can ask people to reply to the email and send their current mailing addresses for wedding invites. 
  5. Create a wedding only email so it’s easier to find things like invoices, contracts, etc. 
  6. Using an online wedding expert tool like Zola, WeddingWire or The Knot.  My favorite is Zola!
  7. Take your sample invitation to post office to see how much it costs to weigh, so you know how many stamps and so you can decide if you go over to two stamps, you can take out one item to save money.
  8. People bring plus one even if they weren’t invited to.  You may consider having a table set up just in case or insert the number of people on the RSVP card.  If you have 1 person, include a 1 where it says how many people will be coming.
  9. Give your phone to a friend or wedding coordinator, so you aren’t bothered by random questions from everyone while you are trying to get ready. 
  10. Don’t buy anything until you have finalized your DIY or wedding decor plan.  You may end up with random stuff that you got impulsively but don’t use. 
  11. Don’t expect your fiancé to care as much as you do about the same things. Ask him what’s most important in wedding planning and have him help with that. 
  12. If you aren’t having a wedding planner, you should seriously consider a month of or day of coordinator.  Even if it’s a trusted friend who is organized, not easily stressed and someone who is not part of the wedding party.  (see the video below for more detail).  If you are looking for a good wedding planning/coordinator,  I  highly recommend my friend Amy McKinney of Eventive Planning.  Let her know Jen Vazquez sent you!
  13. Remember this is YOUR wedding!  Have a wedding that you and your fiancé want, not what your mom wants, not what’s tradition, or what’s popular. Do you boo.
  14. Have snacks that are easy to eat and you love available when getting ready.  Things like Fruit, crackers, gum, mints, toast or whatever works. Even if you have a hard time eating while nervous, you don’t want an empty stomach since you will probably be drinking to toasts.  That is not fun on an empty stomach.  
  15. Ask your dad to help you “take it slow” down the aisle.  Take your time, look around and take it in, then look into your groom’s eyes. 
  16. Have a family member on the groom’s side and the bride’s side to help find family members so they are ready when their group is called for portraits so you lose them to the bar.   
  17. Have your bride and groom portraits taken away from everyone else.  You can have a private moment and get your portraits done.  Being near people, everyone will want to congratulate you and that takes time and will make the portraits take longer and you’ll arrive at cocktail hour later than you planned.
  18. Purchase inexpensive flip flops and put them in a basket on the dance floor.  This allows ladies to take off their heels off and dance the night away.
  19. Don’t change your hair length, your skincare or your hair color 2 months before your wedding. 
  20. Watch what you eat and drink and take multivitamins, b12 and D. 
  21. Get a credit card with miles and use it to pay for all your wedding stuff. Then you can use the miles for your honeymoon.   
  22. Have an unplugged ceremony.  This will help so you don’t have cell phones in all your ceremony pictures or worst, a huge iPad.  YES! There is always a guest that brings one. 

Now for two bonus tips.  These are things that I tell every single bride when she’s planning her wedding:

  • No matter what happens on your wedding day (cake can fall, dress doesn’t fit, someone is arguing), you are marrying your best friend and at the end of the day, that’s all the matters.
  • My brides always say after their wedding that their wedding day flew by!  So, have someone on your wedding day tap you on the shoulder every hour.  Stop and look around at everyone and everything going on.  This will help you to have 8-13 times during the wedding that you will remember.
The Ultimate Guide to Planning a Backyard Wedding

The Ultimate Guide to Planning a Backyard Wedding

Getting married is a major life event that you’ll never forget. If you’re planning to walk down the aisle with that special someone, a backyard wedding is a great way to say your vows and tie the knot on a budget. Whether your outdoor space is large or small, it’s easy to plan a backyard wedding if you know where to start. From summer celebrations to a beautiful autumn ceremony, read on to learn how you can plan your wedding for a special moment right in your own backyard.