It's always going to be easier for your seamstress to make your gown smaller vs. making it larger - especially if your dress has lots of tiny, elegant detailing. Additionally, when choosing a white wedding dress, steer clear of stark white dresses unless you're okay with your white wedding gown appearing to have a blue tint in photos. I'm not sure why this happens, but it does! I personally opted for an ivory/pearl/nude Allure Bridal wedding gown.
Does your venue have you using stairs for your ceremony entrance/exit? While this can be awesome for a grand entrance, you may want to reconsider using the stairs if you’ll be required to walk up stairs. If your dress is tight around your thighs and lower legs, then your dress will likely be restricting the motion of your legs, which can make it difficult to walk up stairs. Want to find out? Practice your range of motion during your dress fittings so you can get a better gauge on how comfortable you’ll be on your big day. And let’s be honest – the only thing you need to make a “grand” entrance at your ceremony is a beautiful, relaxed bride about to marry the love of her life!
You likely aren’t practicing your first dance in your wedding dress since you don’t want your groom to see you in your dress until your big day. Make sure you’re practicing your first dance with the same leg restrictions that your wedding dress makes you have. Wear a similar dress, skirt, or even just wrap a workout band around your legs when practicing. During the cocktail hour and before anyone enters the reception area, practice your first dance with your new husband so you have a good idea of how big (or small) your dance floor is before you get out there in front of all of your family members and friends.
If you’re wearing a pair of new heels for your ceremony, be sure to wear them around your house before your wedding day to help break them in. I’d even recommend wearing them when you practice your first dance (if you’re having one). Consider having a backup pair of comfortable shoes – maybe a pair of wedge sneakers so that it doesn’t interfere with the length of your dress. Which brings me to my next point – be sure you ALWAYS bring the heels or shoes you plan to wear during your ceremony to your fittings! This will help your seamstress get the perfect length (your dress should just barely graze the floor when you’re in your heels or ceremony shoes). Maybe consider an outfit change for the ceremony if you’re planning to go from heels to flats.
Ask your seamstress to switch out the comb of your veil or flower crown from a plastic comb to a metal comb. This should cost around $30, and it is a MUST!! The plastic comb will NOT stay in your hair as well as a metal comb will.
Have your groom + groomsmen bring a second shirt to change into at the reception. Most times, the men will be hot and sweat through their shirts, so it’s nice to have a fresh backup. My advice would be to have them choose a shirt style close to whatever they’ll be wearing to the ceremony so that you keep the same look throughout photos (unless, of course, you’re planning an entire bridal party outfit change).
While ladies will take a ton of time for hair + makeup and will require an early-morning meet-up time, it’s not the same for the guys. The groom and his groomsmen should expect to meet 3 hours before the ceremony. This will help avoid pointless sitting-around time but also give enough time for pre-ceremony photography. Be sure to have light foods and drinks for you and your girls and plenty of food for your groom and his groomsmen.
Have hair and makeup start before you plan for your photographer to get there. You can always stage photos of getting ready. If your ceremony is set to begin at 4:30PM, have your hair + makeup team prepared to start at 8AM. Have your photographer arrive around 1PM to start photos of details (rings, veil, dress, shoes, invitations, etc.). Hair + makeup should be complete by 1:45PM. Florist should then arrive by 2PM. Photos should begin at 2:15PM.
Are you considering having reserved seating for your family members? Be sure you assign someone (an usher, day-of-coordinator, wedding planner, bridesmaid, groomsman – SOMEONE) to make sure those family members know that those seats are reserved for them. Make sure this same designated person is responsible for filling up the seats closest to the altar. It’s better to have empty seats in the back vs. the front, near the altar.
his/her family seating
While all guests should be able to see both the bride and groom during the ceremony, it’s likely that the groom’s family will want to see his face more during the ceremony and the bride’s family will want to see the bride more. In this case, have the bride’s family sitting on the same side as the groom/groomsmen and the groom’s family sitting on the same side as the bride/bridesmaids.
unplugged wedding - no phone policy
I highly suggest having a no-phone policy. You may not need to collect everyone’s phones, but ask your guests to respectfully turn their phones off during the ceremony. It will look so much nicer to see photos with your guests faces looking at the bride and/or groom during the wedding vs. seeing a bunch of cellphones in front of guests faces. You can have your officiant make an announcement right before the ceremony to remind your guests of this policy.
Consider having a cocktail hour and a half. This will give you and your bridal party plenty of time to capture the remaining “staged” photos and still enough time to get to enjoy the cocktail time with your guests.
Have at least one layer of white cake, and have your cake designer make THAT the layer you and your new husband cut into. This will help avoid having photos of something noticeable in your teeth during the cake-cutting process.
first dance + parent dances
Nervous about having all eyes on you during your first dance, etc. ? Give your guests something else to look at as it’s going on such as a photo/video montage of you & your new husband during your first dance and you & your dad, your groom & his mom during those dances.
I would suggest making this a priority, along with videography. What I mean by that is try to be willing to adjust your budget so that you can spend more in these areas since photos and videos will be what you get to keep for a lifetime. You definitely want to be sure you have great quality photos.
Go over the day-of schedule with your photographer so they know what moments you don’t want them to miss.
Have a list of must-have photos (which family photos you want, etc.). E-mail and print a copy of that list for your photographer, and also have a printed copy for your wedding planner or maid-of-honor to have on-hand on your wedding day.
Ask your photographer about his/her turn-around time. Have it in your contract that you’ll receive some photos (set a number) by the next day and the rest of the photos within one month or whatever timeframe you feel is fair. But trust me, you’re not going to want to wait very long!
Make sure your photographer has a team of at least TWO extra people to assist them on your wedding day.
When researching different photographers, look through each portfolio, and find work from settings most similar to where your wedding will take place. You want to be sure the photography team you choose has plenty of experience working with the same surroundings where your wedding will be (outdoors, indoors, lighting, time of day, etc.). And not just that, but that they have plenty of experience photographing PEOPLE in those settings. That may sound strange, but it’s easier for a photographer to get a great photo of a sunset than it is to capture a clear photo of a bride and groom with the sunset without sacrificing the clarity of one or the other.
You’ll likely want to take bridal portraits and any photos with your family and bridesmaids BEFORE the ceremony and vice-versa for your groom & his groomsmen. This will save you time after the wedding ceremony because then you'll only have full group photos + photos as husband/wife left to take after the ceremony. (Unless you’re doing a first look – then I’d suggest taking all bridal party photos before the ceremony and taking family & friend photos after the ceremony).
I would suggest making this a priority along with photography. What I mean by that is try to be willing to adjust your budget so that you can spend more in these areas since photos and videos will be what you get to keep for a lifetime. You want to be sure you have great quality footage.
Make sure your videographer has a team of at least one extra person to assist them on your wedding day.
Ask your videographer about having your groom mic’d up during the ceremony. This will make a huge difference for your wedding video. It should also be able to pick up your voice too since you’ll be standing directly in front of your groom.
I highly recommend having drone footage. It truly adds a special touch to your wedding video and helps capture the beauty and reasons behind why you chose to have your wedding at that venue. Even if your ceremony will take place indoors. It would still be nice to have footage of the outdoor views. *Be prepared for inclement/windy weather to prevent the use of a drone.*
Your florist should know to have all flower arrangements prepared the night before your wedding, and they should know to get to your venue in time to give you, your groom, and your bridal party each their respective bouquets and boutonnieres in time for any pre-ceremony photos.
Your DJ/Band should ask you for a list of all ceremonial and event songs (entrance, exit, first dance, mother/father dances, etc.). He or she should also have a list of music genres you prefer and about 20 of your “must have” songs that you wish to hear while on the dance floor.
hair + makeup
This one is obvious, but have AT LEAST one hair and makeup trial with whomever will be providing your hair + makeup services. Have inspiration photos ready to show your stylists exactly what you want. Also be prepared to show them what your dress looks like because they may have other suggestions that would look best with your dress that you maybe hadn’t considered.
This is simply a suggestion. It’s such a fun way to incorporate extra photos of your guests.