There is probably nothing more nerve-wracking than the day of your wedding. Even as a photographer, I get jittery! But I’ve been though it so many times that I’ve found a few things that people can do to make their wedding day easier.
First of all, the best advice I can give you is to take care of yourself. If you’ve got to have a bachelor or bachelorette party, try not to do it the night before. Don’t consume lots of alcohol the night before or that day. It may sound like I’m telling you not to have fun, but you’ll get a better night sleep if you’re not drunk the evening before, and you’ll be more present in the moment if you’re not drinking at your wedding. Besides, ladies, wedding dresses are difficult to maneuver in. You have any idea how hard it would be to constantly have to go in the bathroom stall and try to deal with that dress? Come on! Also, remember to eat. Something starchy and filling like a bagel in the morning, then just take a break every once in a while to get something in your stomach. Staying hydrated will also keep you more comfortable.
Second, things are going to go wrong, so have contingencies in place. Trust me, even the best-thought out plans will have a couple of bumps. One wedding I photographed, the dry cleaners lost the groom’s tux. Another wedding had the caterer’s employees go on strike and there was nobody to serve or deliver the food. There really isn’t any way to plan for these things, but you have to be adaptable and be willing to compromise to get a solution. Appoint one of your attendants to run interference for you if necessary, or you can have them deal with anything you can’t or don’t want to. Have at least one ally who knows what the plan is and can help when things go off course.
Third, remember that it is only one day. All of the effort and energy you put into the wedding is not going to ensure that you have a great marriage. Try to keep that in mind. Work with your partner with the planning so that you are both happy with the results – practice being a team! Don’t blow all of your money on a 10 piece orchestra or an oversized diamond wedding band. Plan for all the rest of your life, too. After all of the celebrating is done and the party is over, you will have your regular life to go back to. Make sure you’re not in debt up to your ears or fighting about every little thing that didn’t meet your expectations on your wedding day.
Finally, once the wedding starts, you have to let go. Stop trying to control every moment of it and just enjoy what you’ve created: this life that you are going to have with the person you love, your friends, and your family. The best wedding photos I’ve taken are because the couple is happy and participating in the actual wedding, enjoying their guests, dancing with their family and friends, and actually feeling those joyous moments. Keep these things in mind and hopefully your day will go smoothly!