I wish I knew that… about what to focus on for the wedding day

by jaime on June 5, 2012

I chatted up some of my wonderful friends and asked them what they wished they knew – or what advice they got – before their own wedding. We’ve already had a great tip from June about working with vendors and Angela shared what she wished she did differently on her wedding day.

Here are three more great wedding tips about what to focus on before – and during! – your special day!

“Spend your money on the photographer and the DJ; that’s all you will have time to remember and/or enjoy. Also, put a bride’s maid in charge of keeping a drink in your hand, I didn’t finish a single drink until we got to the hotel!” – Jayme

“Someone told me to have the time told to me frequently thru out the day and night, that way time doesn’t disappear too much during your big day… It seemed to help me remember to live in the moment.” – Shanna

“Video video video!!! I 100% regret not having a videographer. Check for students on CraigsList looking for experience, it will save you money.” – Erica



a July 6, 2012 at 8:25 am

The only problem having a student who needs experience do it is the risk of POOR video or (as in my case) no video at all! I got married just before graduating college and had a friend do it. He just stopped returning my phone calls/texts/facebook messages. Eventually he gave me my money back, but what I REALLY wanted was my wedding video! :(

Beth August 5, 2012 at 12:29 pm

This isn’t our first wedding for either of us.
I’m interested in ideas for mature (in our 50’s)
Bride & groom . Etiqutte etc.

Claire November 19, 2013 at 5:44 pm

BETH my dear! you know what is important to you!!! pick some things that you love the most, I think some sort of destination would be fun, even if it isn’t in Jamaica, like a resort that isn’t far from you or I have friends that got married in their 50’s and they rented a camp for a weekend and got married by a lake, close family and friends stayed in the cabins and the reception was in the mess hall, make it your own, don’t feel obligated to other people or societal expectations of a huge lavish affair (unless that’s what YOU and your other half want, then by all means go for it)

Jennifer August 6, 2012 at 10:56 am

Beth, what kind of theme are you wanting??? Just because you are in your 50’s doesn’t mean you can’t do youthful fun stuff ;-)… You should cut loose!!!

julie August 21, 2012 at 2:28 pm

that second one doesn’t make any sense the way it’s written….

Heather September 27, 2012 at 9:21 pm

I had to read it about 10 times before it made sense, but it does. I think if they wrote “…told me to have the time of day told to me ……” It would be easier to read.

Rebecca Sweat August 21, 2012 at 2:56 pm

Paying for a good photographer is the most important to me. I got married in March and we had my husband’s cousin do the pictures. She has good quality pictures but has given me less than 30 pictures. Also we had little disposable cameras at the reception so she didnt take any pictures at the reception. So definiately spending money on a good photographer is worth it.

Karen August 29, 2012 at 11:23 am

I would say definitely get as good a photographer as you can afford – we had to budget and although we got some lovely pictures, a lot were repeated, just in black and white, rather than being another unique shot in black and white, so not a massive amount of photos overall, some I asked to be taken never got took, some were badly exposed/just not very good. Also, we are so glad we got the wedding videoed. The day flies by in a blur and we have watched our dvd so many times and wouldn’t remember the speeches and stuff as well as we can now, with out it! It’s also kind of nice to see yourself how others would have seen you on your big day. We had to budget on the dvd too, and again not perfect but good enough.

jaime August 29, 2012 at 12:54 pm

Great advice, Karen!

Melissa December 29, 2012 at 2:37 am

Hi Karen,

So sad to hear this about your photographs…unfortunately this is something repeated to me many times (I am a photographer). This will not help you, as your day has past already, however if I may, I would like to give others a few good pointers for choosing someone.

You must have a meet and greet with any and all of the photographers you are deciding on.
You must see at least 5-10 full wedding portfolio’s from each before deciding. (seeing just a couple of shots of the ceremony shows you nothing, you need to view the entire event to know the photographer can take quality shots from the ceremony to the official photo shoot to the reception)
You must have a connection with your chosen photographer (this is very important! Think about it…you will feel yourself, comfortable, free, fun…with someone you click with…if you do not click, believe me, this will show in your prints), the right photographer for you, will be asking you the right questions…what is it that YOU want, please provide a list of shots that are a must for you, pre ceremony (at home getting dresses, both bride and groom),location of ceremony, reception, official portraits, how many members in the wedding party…etc.etc.etc…a professional with the skills to give you professional qualify wedding art WILL ensure you are all on the same page prior to your big day.

Most photographers will have packages to fit most budgets. When reviewing pricing please remember what goes into the price….assistants (if you are choosing to have photos of the bride getting ready and the groom…that will consist of two teams as this is two different locations), the timetable for the day of the event, and hours of meetings leading up to your big day…ie…first meeting, location meeting, etc., the hours and hours of print selection and editing, when you see packages starting at 2500.00 you have to remember it is not just for going out for 8 hours and shooting your day… there are many outside hours that go into capturing your fairy tail day.
All of the fine print needs to be discussed and you need to ensure you are aware of any policies the photographer may have….deposit require, cancellation refund, final payment due, expected digital showing date, exactly what your package includes (prints, digital prints, USB or CD’s, canvases, etc).

I am in Canada, so not sure about the US, but you can also go to the professional photographer society in your area and check to see if there is someone there that you may like.

I very much agree that you need to spend money on your photographer, because you do get what you pay for. However, as previously said, most professional photographers can work on smaller budgets, you will receive less, but the quality will be there. If you have a very minimal budget and can not find a professional that can work within your budget, a suggestion would be going to your local College/University and speaking with the professor that is teaching photographer courses to see if they could recommend a student that would be capable of doing the job (the professor is going to give you their prize students, as it is a pure reflection of their teaching).

At the end of the day, just remember…review completed portfolio’s, connection, connection, connection, be very clear that you are all on the same page prior to the event regarding payment due at the event (a deposit will be required when booking, can be as much as half), “must have” shots, hours photographer is booked, expected delivery date of the digital prints, etc. There is a capable photographer near you that can give you the memories that you want and deserve…you just have to dig a little to find them.

Lastly, breath, a photographer that is right for you will make this an amazing time for you and your partner…from start to finish.

SMiaVS August 29, 2012 at 6:51 pm

Yeah, I don’t understand what they’re getting at with the second tip either….

Karen August 30, 2012 at 10:33 am

I think the second tip is basically saying, as much as no one wants to ‘clock watch’ on their wedding day, it could come as an awful shock to find out there’s only an hour or so of it left when you thought you had 3 and just to obviously have some awareness of the time throughout the day and make the most of your time on your day, enjoying and not wasting it, by spending time on anything unnecessary that you will only wish you hadn’t, such as (just an example) taking a power nap on the afternoon or something, or taking ages to have a freshen up rather than a quick touch up, when you could have been enjoying spending the time with your guests i.e. your friends and family on one of the most special days of your life! I must admit the afternoon between our wedding breakfast and the start of our evening reception flew over and I was shocked to realise the time and that it was the start of the evening do, when guests began to arrive!

hailey October 13, 2012 at 2:47 pm

i feel like no one should have to explain this so thoroughly.. it made sense the first time.

Karen October 21, 2012 at 12:17 pm

Obviously not to some!

Erin February 16, 2013 at 3:06 am

It just means to remember to live in the moment. If you’re too busy to look at the clock, it can be nice to have someone tell you the time, so you remember what you were doing and take a chance to slow down.

Claire September 4, 2012 at 7:13 pm

Make sure you aren’t the only one who knows the whole plan. If someone else is in charge, you get to enjoy yourself. On our way to our reception, I had to call my mom four times because I forgot things (like my bouquet…) If I had arranged for someone to handle the logistics ahead of time, I wouldn’t have had anything to worry about!

Mary September 26, 2012 at 9:10 pm

About the photographer–as stated, importance of a *good professional* photographer cannot be emphasized enough. Ask your photographer about their *insurance*. IE: if the *photographer* messes up (like mine did 28 years ago, not that I’m still upset or anything…) and drops their camera but continues on taking photos, none of which actually came out, does the photographer carry enough insurance to pay for gathering together all those people on another date to get photos? Except for a few photos in the chapel, my photographer might as well not have been there. And that combination of family and friends was never to be seen in one place ever again….

Kathleen September 30, 2012 at 4:30 am

When you’re thinking of something you think you need for the wedding, take a moment and ask yourself – “Are people going to think about this in 20 years? Am I? Will we think about or remember it NEXT year?” You know, like chair covers and fancy foil-lined invitation envelopes.

I’d definitely vote the most important places to spend your money are on VENUE, FOOD and PHOTOS – everything else is gravy. I insisted on a hall where there was only one room and we had the place to ourselves. I had looked at many *banquet facilities* where there were many rooms, and all I could picture was being able to hear the music from the other events taking place there and random people walking in to our reception. I suppose it was my little way of making sure WE were the center of the universe that day :)

Photos – I think that’s pretty self explanatory, they’re the very best tangible memory of that day. And don’t be scared to tell your photographer exactly what you want….you’re the one who will look at these pictures for the rest of your life….and he’s working for you, isn’t he? :)

As for the food, well….my parents are from small towns, and they had their reception in their church hall, where all the *old ladies* hand made all the food….and still do to this day for all weddings and funerals – some of the BEST food on earth in my opinion and most everyone from around there. As most of these old ladies are my relatives – aunts, grandmas, etc, they were all at my wedding. 15 years later, these goddesses of delicious food are STILL talking about the food served at my wedding, which was NOT made by them. It makes me smile every time someone brings it up!

Michelle December 13, 2012 at 8:52 pm

One of the best pieces of advice I got was on the day of the wedding, all you have to remember are three magic words, “I don’t care.”

“Where should we put this extra vase?” “I don’t care.” “Which pictures should we start with?” “I don’t care.” Etc. Designate someone to care for you. This is your day, don’t spend it stressed over the little things!

Jeannine January 12, 2013 at 9:30 pm

Hire a wedding coordinator at least for the day of! You want to enjoy yourself not answer EVERYONE’s questions, deal with vendors, getting presents to your room that night, etc.

Katie July 22, 2013 at 11:34 am

I thought that’s what the bridesmaids and maid of honor were for…

Shawna March 12, 2013 at 9:39 am

I have been reading the posts about photographers. I myself am a student and learning photography. I have done 5 weddings and so far have been told that I am better then what they thought a student would be at photography. I myself will most likely not use a student for wedding photos in the future, but if you can find one who has experience and isn’t asking too much for photos that would be a good deal. I only ask for $100-200 for a wedding photo shoot and the bride and groom get all photos (original and edited) on a flash drive along with all printing and copying writes written in a letter signed by myself in case they have issues with getting prints since I can’t physically print the photos. I have three more weddings I’m doing in the next two months along with newborn photo shoots. Hope that helped a little since I am looking into making my own business.

Celene Toyai June 12, 2013 at 7:45 pm

Where do you live? Interested in shooting my wedding in western Nevada?

Diana January 30, 2014 at 10:46 pm

Are you still shooting weddings like this? Have you succeeded in your business? Do you know anyone doing what you did when you first started out, if you aren’t still shooting weddings like you were back in June?

Mallory August 8, 2013 at 11:56 am

The thing I most regret was picking a video person who did not show up…It made me so sad because I didn’t even know the person wasn’t there until after all was said and done and it made me cry so I’m glad no one told me BEFORE I walked down the aisle but I will hold onto the moments very dearly in my mind since we won’t have the video to ever see… :(

Alide September 23, 2013 at 8:23 am

I was very budget aware for my wedding and did quite a lot of trading. I ask friends and family (in a very tactful way) to gift us with there help or services. It worked out very well and I shaved off a huge chunk of the bottom line. I did, however, ask my photographer to shorten her stay with us and told her the later part of the evening was less important to us. BIG MISTAKE! What we ended up with was beautiful pics of us getting ready and the ceremony and the first dance and that was pretty much it!!!! No pics of guests, no pics of the gorgeous grounds and what we planned and decorated, no pics of the tables and general theme of the outdoor wonderment that we had created. Sad… we only have our memories and no photos of it at all…..

Stacie May 25, 2014 at 5:21 pm

How did you ask them? Ours will have to be low budget as well and I would LOVE to have my friends and family help out instead of getting us gifts.

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