7 Wedding Planning Tips from a Photographer and a Bride

bride tribe champagne bottle jessica ryan photography wedding planning tips for brides
  1. Don’t be afraid to get personal with some of your details or parts of your wedding day.

    You will remember more of your personal details years later more than what type of linens you rented or the color of your uplighting! All of those are beautiful additions to your wedding day but I want to encourage you to plan and add personal touches wherever you can. Some groom(s) or bride(s) are nervous to speak in front of a lot of people, but if that is the only thing that is preventing you from writing your own vows, I encourage you to do it anyway! When you are at the alter you will have tunnel vision and I encourage you to only focus on who you are saying your vows too. After all, those words are only for them anyways! On the day you are vowing to spend the rest of your lives together, what better way than to personally voice your love to one another? jessica_ryan_photography_wedding_photography_virginiabeach_virginia_candid_authentic_bride_tips_wedding_planning_tips_bridal_tips_1989If you are saying your own vows I suggest you getting little notebooks like the ones above! They become keepsakes for you two, it is another personal detail for your photographer to photograph and then during your ceremony you are not reading off of your cellphone or a scrap piece of paper.  If writing your own vows still does not seem like a good fit for the two of you, you can exchange hand written letters before your ceremony begins. Ryan wrote Caitlin an eight page letter, front and back! While Caitlin wrote a shorter but just as sweet letter to Ryan! You do not have to be an over achiever like Ryan, but he was known for being the writer and always writing longer letters to Caitlin.  jessica_ryan_photography_wedding_photography_virginiabeach_virginia_candid_authentic_bride_tips_wedding_planning_tips_bridal_tips_1984 jessica_ryan_photography_wedding_photography_virginiabeach_virginia_candid_authentic_bride_tips_wedding_planning_tips_bridal_tips_1985

  2. Go with a couple of colors!

    Who really needs a full-on theme these days? With pinterest the options are endless and I think from seeing so many ideas on there and while working weddings almost every weekend I have realized so many colors and textures can go together. When people do this it tends to be more unique and they aren’t worried about tying every detail back to a theme to fit a certain mold. The question, “what is your theme for your wedding,” is probably the most asked question that I get but I don’t have one! I have a color scheme in mind and some textures that I love but it’s not vintage or tea party or garden themed. It’s not any other theme for that matter, even though my mom is convinced I want a vintage theme. 😉 I love you Mom! I would pick a few colors that you love together and start to select areas of your wedding day where you want to incorporate them into. For example: florals, bridesmaid dresses, centerpieces, etc. Anna & Jimi who got married at Holly Ridge Manor in Virginia beach did a wonderful job of putting colors together and ideas without owning anyone title for a theme.

    Anna wanted to stick to her Suffolk roots by being laid back and casual. She wanted to touch on the country aspect of her roots with the southern venue in Virginia Beach, so her guests wouldn’t have to travel farther to Suffolk. She incorporated the perfect touch of rustic with several colors in her flowers like this beautiful arrangement in the pool during cocktail hour. You can see how their wedding came together here.

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  3. Keep some of your wedding details a secret/surprise!

    When I found my wedding dress you would not believe the amount of texts I got wanting to see the dress! Everyone asked with good intentions, they are excited for me and Cory, but if I sent it to everyone that I asked, I think the only one that would be surprised on our wedding would be Cory! I only brought my Mom and maid of honor, Nicole to my wedding dress appointment and sent pictures to only a few close friends, my wedding photographer and my wedding planner, as well as my soon-to-be in-laws! That still seems like a lot to me but being in the wedding industry, everyone really wanted to see it so I had to politely tell them that I wanted them to be surprised on our wedding day! I wrote a blog about the entire wedding dress shopping experience here, that you can read for ten more tips on just wedding dress shopping!

    Other wedding details or moments you should consider keeping between you and your groom! Cory and I first walked around wedding venues just the two of us, and then when we narrowed it down/new the one we loved we brought my parents to see that one at a later date. We also have some ideas to honor our parents or make moments special for them as well, that we are keeping to ourselves. We want to be able to thank them and make sure that they get to celebrate and enjoy the day just as much as us! jessica_ryan_photography_wedding_photography_virginiabeach_virginia_candid_authentic_bride_tips_wedding_planning_tips_bridal_tips_1987

  4. Stay true to yourselves.

    If your style is a laid back Sunday Morning, fishing, then by all means do that on your wedding day! Don’t get me wrong I love a good party and I love to photograph your family and friends celebrating and dancing the night away with you, but if that is not the two of you by all means do something different! Adding in a few details through out your wedding day that really exemplify the two of you as a couple will help two families coming together get to know either the bride or groom better!  jessica_ryan_photography_wedding_photography_virginiabeach_virginia_candid_authentic_bride_tips_wedding_planning_tips_bridal_tips_2001

  5. Let the groom plan & take over some responsibilities.

    Cory is a big foodie and his mom is a chef as well! Since I am neither of those things, Cory was happy to take over the catering aspect of the wedding and I was happy to hand that over to him! In the beginning of our wedding planning Cory let me know that he wanted to be involved but he also knew that I knew a lot about the wedding industry already so he wanted to know when and where to come in so I did not feel like I was planning our wedding day alone. I am happy that, for the most part, we have done everything together!

    For catering, I did not know where to begin, and I knew that Cory would enjoy that part the most! So he contacted caterers, brought the menus to me and we looked over them together and then narrowed it down to three. We scheduled tastings, which of course I went to those, and then decided on one! But Cory took over all of the emailing to caterers, researching, getting quotes, and even would copy my Mom and myself on the emails. Teamwork makes the dreamwork and you will be less stressed if you do that! jessica_ryan_photography_wedding_photography_virginiabeach_virginia_candid_authentic_bride_tips_wedding_planning_tips_bridal_tips_1997 jessica_ryan_photography_wedding_photography_virginiabeach_virginia_candid_authentic_bride_tips_wedding_planning_tips_bridal_tips_1998 jessica_ryan_photography_wedding_photography_virginiabeach_virginia_candid_authentic_bride_tips_wedding_planning_tips_bridal_tips_1999

  6. Don’t sweat the small stuff.

    I am going to talk about rain now! I know, I know, I do not want to jinx anyone but rain happens! By your wedding day, when all of your moving parts and details come together, rain is really a small thing in grand scheme of everything else! I have photographed plenty of weddings where it rained and we had all different kinds of storms, rain, weather conditions but one thing remained the same for all of those wedding days! Every one of those wedding days had a break in the rain, whether it completely cleared up or we had a thirty minute window of no rain. I educate my couples on being flexible if we are going to have a day like that and when the rain break comes to embrace it and take advantage.

    You could also embrace the rain as it is still falling like Sam and Hayley! They did their first look portraits while it began to rain and they did not rush inside. They made the call to still do their ceremony outside and had a few people drying off the chairs for the ceremony. After they did that the rain stopped for their ceremony! I have had days where it will rain in the morning or early afternoon and then completely stop right before the ceremony. Anything, weather related, can happen and that is something none of us have any control over! At the end of the day you married your soulmate and are starting the rest of your lives together which deserves to be celebrated and be the best day of your lives no matter the weather! jessica_ryan_photography_wedding_photography_virginiabeach_virginia_candid_authentic_bride_tips_wedding_planning_tips_bridal_tips_1996

  7. Remember what matters most.

Above everything else, remember what matters most, though out your wedding planning. You and your fiancé and your love for each other is what matters most! Wedding planning can get stressful with so many people being involved mixed with you wanting it to be perfect, that some people can get side tracked. If you feel this happening to you, stop for the evening or the weekend of wedding planning and do something together that is not wedding related. Go on a special date, do something fun and/or new together that does not involve talking about your wedding day to-dos.

At the end of your one wedding day, you have the rest of your lives to spend together. That is a lot of days that will not include wedding planning talk! 😉 So make the effort and do the work to still connect and do things together that will last and you will enjoy through out your lives together.   jessica ryan photography wedding planning tips for brides