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  • Writer's pictureRhi Scotchbrook

Top Tips for Planning Your Wedding Day

Wedding planning is an exhilarating journey filled with dreams of love, celebration, and a lifetime of shared moments.

As you embark on this joyous adventure, it's essential to approach the planning process with a mix of excitement and practicality. From setting a realistic budget to selecting the perfect venue, each decision contributes to crafting a day that reflects the unique essence of your love story.

As a wedding photographer based in Yorkshire who adores capturing the romance, laughter, and playfulness between couples, I want to share some tips to ensure that every snapshot reflects the joy of your wedding day.

In this blog, I tell you my top tips for planning your wedding day, ensuring that your day unfolds seamlessly, leaving you with loving memories that last a lifetime.

Let the journey to your dream wedding begin!

11 Tips for Planning Your Wedding

  • The Dress: Balance Beauty and Comfort

  • Engagement Shoot: Practice for Picture-Perfect Moments

  • Morning Prep: Let Natural Light Illuminate Your Beauty

  • Keep Smiling and Enjoy Every Moment

  • Walking Down the Aisle: Slow and Spaced Out

  • The First Kiss: Make It Count

  • Confetti: Make It Fun and Eco-Friendly

  • Portraits: Embrace Movement and Sunset Magic

  • Group Shots: Quality Over Quantity

  • Speeches Before the Meal: Enhance the Experience

  • The First Dance: Add Some Pizazz

  • Think Further than Digital Photos: Video and Album

The Dress: Balance Beauty and Comfort

Ladies, I completely understand the desire to look absolutely stunning on your wedding day, but let's talk about a crucial element: comfort.

It's essential to feel at ease and free to move around, ensuring you don't resemble an awkward, shuffling piece of wood in your wedding photos!

While planning your wedding, finding a dress you love is paramount, take a moment to ensure you can move, walk, sway, twirl, and even run in it. It's normal for your dress to gather a bit of dirt, and the sooner you accept this inevitability, the better.

Don't fret about minor imperfections; instead, focus on enjoying every moment of your day because it all reflects in your wedding photos!

Bride and groom natural and fun outdoor wedding portraits captured by York wedding photographer and videographer

Engagement Shoot: Practice for Picture-Perfect Moments

Is an engagement shoot truly necessary? The short answer is yes!

As a photographer, I find it incredibly beneficial, and here's why. It's not just about capturing beautiful photos; it's an opportunity for us to have fun, build a connection, and essentially, it's like a practice run before the big day.

Engagement shoots serve as a fantastic way to help you feel more at ease when the wedding day arrives. Let's be honest, on your wedding day, I will be your multitasking, cheerleading, third wheel for the day, so having the chance to 'work together' (although it doesn't feel like work at all) and be a little goofy beforehand can make a world of difference. 

Schedule an engagement session into your timeline when planning your wedding to set a relaxed tone, allowing us to create real moments that reflect the bond between you and your partner.

Engagement photography session captured by York wedding photographer and videographer

Morning Prep: Let Natural Light Illuminate Your Beauty

When it comes to preparing for the ideal getting-ready space and the perfect shot, consider the magic of natural light.

Position yourself facing or sideways to a window to bask in the flattering glow that will enhance not only your beauty but also the work of your makeup artist and hairstylist.

As well, to create stunning and clutter-free photographs, keep the surroundings where you'll be getting ready tidy. Designate a specific area or room for belongings to maintain a clean and organised space.

Additionally, don't overlook the power of details. From your shoes and jewellery to flowers and dresses, I love capturing these intricate elements.

To streamline the process and ensure a seamless flow, consider gathering these items beforehand. Arrange them in a designated space, whether it be on the side or in a box so that I can effortlessly capture them without interrupting your wedding morning.

These simple tips when planning your wedding will not only contribute to gorgeous visuals but also enhance the overall experience of your wedding day.

Bridal prep captured by York wedding photographer and videographer

Keep Smiling and Enjoy Every Moment

As a photographer, my passion lies in capturing the essence of your love story, freeze-framing those intimate moments that speak volumes about your connection.

Throughout the intricate process of planning your wedding, I'm not merely a documentarian; I'm a storyteller, seeking to immortalise the details that define your relationship.

As you navigate the exciting journey of planning, remember to revel in each and every moment. Let your smiles be radiant, your glances be full of affection, and your movements be a dance of closeness and playfulness.

My photography style is a reflection of this, embracing the natural, the relaxed, and the authentic, all woven together with a touch of romance and fun. 

Bride and bridesmaids group photos captured by York wedding photographer and videographer

Walking Down the Aisle: Slow and Spaced Out

When it comes to the grand entrance down the aisle, when planning your wedding, plan to keep it slow and spread out.

Opt for a more leisurely pace, and I highly recommend waiting until the bridesmaid in front has covered at least halfway down the aisle, if not more before the next one begins the journey.

This deliberate and spaced-out approach not only adds a sense of anticipation but also allows for the creation of beautiful and meaningful photographs of each individual as they make their way down the aisle.

The slower progression and ample spacing offer a wonderful opportunity to capture the unique essence and emotions of each person, ensuring that these moments are beautifully preserved in your wedding album.

So, take your time, savour the walk, and let every step down the aisle become a picture-perfect moment.

Bride walking down the aisle during ceremony captured by York wedding photographer and videographer

The First Kiss: Make It Count

Alright, listen up – your first kiss as a married couple is a major moment, so let's make it unforgettable!

No one's looking for a swift peck; we're all here for the full-on, romantic smooch that radiates love and celebration.

And, let's not forget, as the photographer eagerly awaiting this magical moment, throw us a bone and give us the chance to capture it in all its glory!

Here's a tip: when you finally seal the deal, go for at least a solid 3 seconds, or heck, why not a second round? Trust me, a lingering kiss not only makes for incredible photos but also etches this beautiful moment in your memories as the perfect start to your married life.

So, go ahead and let that kiss linger – you won't regret it!

Bride and groom natural wedding portraits captured by York wedding photographer and videographer

Confetti: Make It Fun and Eco-Friendly

The more confetti, the merrier! When you are planning your wedding don’t forget this.

Confetti photos are an absolute blast, and I highly recommend incorporating this joyful tradition into your wedding day. 

After capturing numerous weddings, I've discovered that while dried rose petals may look lovely in the baskets, they tend to drop quickly due to their weight, and might not create the dreamy effect you're after.

For confetti photographs that truly shine, I suggest opting for paper confetti – more specifically biodegradable wedding confetti. Not only does it float wonderfully, but it's also an eco-friendly choice, ensuring that your celebration is not only vibrant and fun but also leaves a minimal environmental footprint.

So, let the confetti rain down and add a touch of magic to your wedding day memories!

Bride and groom during confetti moment captured by York wedding photographer and videographer

Portraits: Embrace Movement and Sunset Magic

When it comes to capturing the essence of your unique relationship, think beyond static poses and embrace the beauty of movement.

We will infuse your photographs with the natural flow of movement. These candid and dynamic shots not only convey the genuine connection between you and your partner but also bring a sense of authenticity to your wedding album.

Additionally, when planning your wedding consider the magical moments during sunset or the golden hour for your wedding portraits. I usually love to capture some very newly-wed photos of the two of you after the ceremony, but I also like to briefly wisp you away during golden hour. The warm, soft light during this time creates a breathtaking backdrop, casting a romantic glow that adds an extra layer of enchantment.

Bride and groom natural wedding portraits captured by York wedding photographer and videographer

Group Shots: Quality Over Quantity

When it comes to capturing timeless memories with your nearest and dearest on your wedding day, group shots undoubtedly hold a special significance.

My advice is to strike a balance that ensures you get those lovely formal shots without overwhelming the day's schedule. Stick to under 10 group combinations to keep the process efficient and enjoyable.

While these shots are a beautiful tradition, exceeding this number can consume a significant portion of your day, potentially hindering your ability to fully immerse yourself in your day. 

By keeping the group combinations manageable, you allow more time for genuine connections, interactions, and soaking in the magical atmosphere of your wedding day.

For an idea, here’s a simple group list example that you can put together when planning your wedding: (make it one step better and add names)

1. B+G + Bride’s Immediate Family 

2. B+G + Bride’s Extended Family 

3. B+G + Both sets of Parents 

4. B+G + Groom’s Immediate Family 

5. B+G + Groom’s Extended Family 

6. Bride + Bridesmaids

7. Groom + Groomsmen

I am more than happy to accommodate additional group shots beyond those specified above, and also willing to capture a higher number of groups if that’s desired, up to 10 is just a suggestion based on my experience, not a hard set rule.

However, I do kindly request that you prepare a pre-written list in advance. Additionally, it would be beneficial to enlist the assistance of a groomsman or someone with a loud voice to help get together the right individuals for each photo promptly. This ensures a smooth and efficient process, allowing us to capture all the desired moments seamlessly.

Group photos captured by York wedding photographer and videographer

Speeches Before the Meal: Enhance the Experience

I strongly recommend planning your wedding so your speeches are done before the meal, and here's why.

Those preparing speeches are likely a bit nervous, eagerly wanting to get this part over with so they can relax and enjoy the festivities. The meal is designed to be a delightful, stress-free experience, allowing you to unwind, savour delicious food, and anticipate the rest of the evening without the looming pressure of speeches right after the plates are cleared. 

From a photography standpoint, capturing the speeches and guest reactions is enhanced when tables are freshly dressed, avoiding the distraction of dirty napkins, scattered favours, or gravy stains on tablecloths!

This choice is also advantageous for videographers recording the speeches, eliminating the stress of setting up the equipment while hastily trying to gauge when the speeches will begin.

Trust me, navigating cameras, microphones, and ensuring everything is ready beforehand is much smoother when speeches take place before the meal – a decision that contributes to a more seamless and enjoyable wedding celebration.

Wedding speeches captured by York wedding photographer and videographer

The First Dance: Add Some Pizazz

Spice up your first dance with a touch of flair – think twirls, a graceful dip, or even a playful lift.

This is your moment to shine and give your guests something to cheer about!

Here's a pro tip when planning your wedding: plan to keep your dance going for the entire song, or at least for a good two minutes, before inviting your bridal party to join. This duration allows us, as photographers, ample opportunity to capture a variety of angles and play with lighting for that added creative touch.

We'll have plenty of time to capture your guests grooving later on, but this is your unique moment as a couple, alone on the dance floor.

So, go ahead and let loose – it's your time to truly shine!

Couples first dance captured by Kent wedding photographer and videographer

Think Further than Digital Photos: Video and Album

When planning your wedding, leave a little space in your budget for wedding videography and a wedding album.

Digital wedding photographs are amazing, and receiving your online wedding gallery is truly outstanding, however, have you thought about having your day captured as a short film or a full video of the ceremony and speeches? 

Printing your wedding photos to hang on your walls, and having a luxury wedding album bespokely designed so that you can hold your favourite, precious moments in your hands, and turn each page with nostalgia. This is a family heirloom of your love story.

A panoramic shot of the wedding venue captired by Kent wedding videographer and photographer

Ready to Start Planning Your Wedding?

Now you know my top tips for planning your wedding day it is time to plan with ease!

Don’t forget about your wedding photography – I am a York-based wedding photographer and I would love to hear from you. Don’t miss out on capturing every planned and spontaneous detail.

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