Being part of the wedding photography industry, I can say firsthand that we as photographers know a lot about what goes on behind the scenes on a wedding day! From my inside perspective after photographing nearly 200 weddings, I hope this blogpost will give you some insight on what things I believe you really shouldn’t stress over and worry about. You can plan and plan forever, but God’s plans aren’t always what we have in mind to go along with our “perfect vision.” If there are five things I could tell any bride to help them let go of a little stress, it’s these pointers below!
You’ve opted for an outdoor wedding. Or even just outdoor portraits. Maybe it’s in your backyard, or at a dreamy, blossoming apple orchard, or in your favorite nook in the woods. Either way, there’s not always really a good back-up location nearby that fits your vision at all. Maybe you have a tent, but thats not 100% reliable, and what about the special locations you’ve plotted out for your portraits? If you’re located in Michigan’s U.P. too, you definitely can attest to the fact you can NEVER truly predict the weather. Instead of obsessively checking your weather app and letting your blood pressure rise at the thought of anything less than sunshine, embrace the less ideal weather!
When it comes down to it, you are still marrying your best friend. That is what matters. A little rainstorm rolling in? Go dance in it and make the best of the situation! Some of the best weddings I’ve photographed are the ones where my couples still live out loud vibrantly, regardless if the sun chose to hide. And guess what? Your fancy clothes will dry out and pictures of guests huddled under umbrellas together are absolutely beautiful memories.
It’s definitely raining in the photo below… rain didn’t stop their shenanigans… the rain shouldn’t stop yours.
2. Getting Your Dress Dirty (It Happens No Matter What!)
Ooo, this is hard for a lot of people. Scrolling through our Insta-feeds, we’re getting pretty accustomed to seeing epic elopements on National Park mountaintops. The imagery of couples tromping through dirt, sticks, sand, and mud is everywhere. Okay, maybe you’re not that adventurous couple. You’re not going to get your fancy attire dirty if you’re avoiding the outdoors, right?
Even if you get married in the most immaculate venue, your dress will, without a doubt, get dirty to some degree. Your lofty tulle skirt can be many shades darker along the bottom by nightfall no matter where you are. Wedding dresses can be expensive, but they can absolutely be cleaned in the end. There are companies out there that can professionally take care of them. When you’re living out your wedding day, do just that! There’ll be time to pick out pine needles and twigs later, but for your wedding day, let it go and be present. From behind the scenes, usually the only people noticing the dirt are the bride herself, maybe her mother, and perhaps her maid of honor.
On the contrary, you would always be surprised at how little certain things do effect the cleanliness of a wedding dress. In the following photo, this stellar bride was literally running through Lake Superior’s water BEFORE their wedding ceremony in an orchard! By the time they arrived at the ceremony site, her dress had dried, and the sand easily shook out of her dress. None of the guests knew where her dress had been right before the isle moment.
3. Windswept Hair
I can’t tell you how many times a bride and I have chosen a breezy location and the wedding party is up in arms about how the bride’s hair is not. going. to. be. absolutely. perfect.
To begin, perfection doesn’t exist here on Earth, and when the wind picks up, photographers rejoice! Motion makes everything more organic. Mother Nature is doing her part in making the scene more effortless, more real. Have some flyaways in your face that you’re unsure about? Your photographer will step in and adjust those strands if needed, but I promise you that the wind is in your favor and the pictures will prove it.
4. Not Everything Will Run on a Rigid Timeline
Let’s face it, most of us haven’t been married before (and even if you have, it’s not like you’re getting married often!). Brides aren’t expected to be timeline experts. So when they create a rigid timeline and everything starts to run behind - hello stress! Don’t be afraid to give yourself extra time throughout the day. Chances are something will run later than you expect, whether its hair and makeup or your father’s thank you speech. If you end up with extra time anywhere throughout the day instead, well, score! Downtime isn’t a bad thing! Some calm is good when you’re entertaining for a crowd on one of the biggest days of your life. Maybe you’ll even get a moment of silence to truly soak everything in (it’s okay to pencil that time in).
5. Let Go of the Expectations of Others
Oh, man. Tradition. It’s beautiful, sometimes. But when it comes down to your wedding day, what you do and how you celebrate is absolutely up to you and your partner. While we really want to be people pleasers, it’s impossible to accommodate everyone’s wishes. As a bride now myself, it’s alarming to see how many people I never talk to now suddenly have an opinion on where we should get married, who we should hire for this or that, how we shouldn’t see each other before the ceremony, and the list goes on. My advice: listen to what they have to say and thank them for their consideration, but then ultimately listen to your hearts as a couple.
We’ve been very pressured to marry in our church by many outside sources. We’ve been treated very differently than other couples trying to marry in the church, there’s been an issue with double standards. I love our church and we do plan to have our marriage blessed and recognized as a sacrament, but the traditional setup isn’t for us! You will find us seeing each other for the first time before our ceremony in the woods and having my grandpa marry us at a place that holds so much meaning for us both.
Your wedding is designed by you as a couple with the actual marriage in mind. It’s easy to feel lost in the clamor of the opinions of others, but your heart will always be honest with the best interest for you and your partner in mind, whether its to do with having a first look, how to decorate, where to spend more, or whatever else.