It kind of feels like actually enjoying this event that you’ve spent 18 months pouring your heart and soul in to (plus a fair amount of cash!) is a pretty big deal. For a lot of my couples being the centre of attention all day can feel a bit overwhelming but here are 8 little tips to help you get the relaxed, enjoyable day you’re dreaming of!
1-IF YOU REALLY HATE THE IDEA OF DOING SOMETHING, DON'T
If you hate the idea of doing a first dance then man just don’t do one. Get the DJ going early, buy your guests a round of Jager Bombs and get your friends all up on the dance floor together, have some fun! They’re your friends, they know you, they’ll understand. If the thought of doing a speech means that you’re going to spend half of your wedding day filled with crippling anxiety then for the love of god, don’t do one, it doesn’t matter. And you know it might sound odd coming from your photographer but if you really cannot stand the thought of posing for portraits then I’m not going to make you. Let’s make it candid, totally documentary. This is your wedding day so listen to me, do what ever makes you happy.
2-ASK GUESTS TO LEAVE THEIR CAMERA ALONE AND ACTUALLY BE A PART OF THE DAY (ESPECIALLY DURING THE CEREMONY)
You’ve hired a photographer. You’ve looked for one who’s relaxed and captures natural moments because you hate the idea of having your photo taken all day. The reality, you spend all day posing for mobile phone camera pictures and selfies with your guests. So let your guests know they can chill and actually be present at your wedding. I’ve got it covered. Honestly, Aunty Pam, this shot your photographing over my shoulder with your i-phone, I’m all over it, relax and have yourself a sausage roll!
3-REMEMBER, YOUR GUESTS ARE GROWN UPS
I don’t know about you but I find hosting any kind of event really stressful. I’m so worried about everyone else, are they all ok? are they enjoying themselves? is the conversation flowing? so much so that I completely forget to relax and actually enjoy myself! Silly really! And you know weddings can magnify that ten fold, all your friends from different parts of your life suddenly coming together, 2
families probably meeting for the first time, Awks or what! But your guests are grown ups, they’ll be ok, they’ll find their social feet, let that worry go!
4-INVITE THE PEOPLE YOU REALLY WANT THERE
Invite people you know and actually like, crazy right! But does that second cousin you’ve seen once in 20 years really need to be there, along with his girlfriend of 2 months, just because your mum says so? Perhaps instead of having 120 people you kind of know, make it 60 people you absolutely freaking love, who won’t care if you have a first dance or do a speech, who won’t expect anything from you because they are your friend and they really know how you tick. And you know with a few less people you’re always going to get a more relaxed vibe (and it’ll cost a bit less so bonus!).
5-ACCEPT THAT THERE WILL BE "THOSE" MOMENTS AND LET THEM GO.
They’ll happen, it’s usually close family, especially parents. They’re just trying to help and remember to them you’re still their baby and they still need to look after you. Also, as a parent of 3 young kids myself I can promise you they’re probably going through some pretty heavy emotions watching their child get married, emotions that I can’t even begin to imagine at this point. Add to that they’re probably from a generation when perhaps wedding photography was a bit more formal and I’d say it’s fair to cut them some slack. So when mum or dad is asking me for an extra group photo with your second cousin and his girlfriend of 2 months and you’re thinking to yourself “OMFG Stop!” don’t worry I’ve got you covered, it doesn’t bother me at all, breathe, remember that they love you, don’t let it take over your mindset.
6-GET ORGANISED, HAVE A PLAN
It’s tempting to equate having a relaxed wedding with having no plan, but it’s a bit of a trap. And I’m all for the DIY couple, heck they’re some of my favourite weddings but honestly, on the day you do not want to spend every in between moment organising the next. A good plan can make the day flow so much better and a good wedding coordinator is worth their weight in gold and yeah they may be an extra expense but it can mean the difference between you actually enjoying these things you’ve planned and spent your hard earned money on and just spending the day organizing them for everybody else. A lot of venues and good quality caterers have a coordinator on the day but if they don’t then maybe your most super organised friend (you know, the one who loves nothing more than a beautifully planned schedule and an Excel spreadsheet) could be up for the role or at least take a bit of the strain off your shoulders. Sit down with them before the day, make them a part of the plans, tell them you’ve chosen them because you trust them, buy them an awesome gift to say thank you!
7-REMEMBER EACH OTHER, REMEMBER WHAT IT'S REALLY ABOUt
You’ll often hear people say how much of a blur their wedding day was. That’s kind of the point of what I do, to try and bring it back in to focus for you. But when you bring together all the pressures I’ve talked about it can be all to easy to forget about why you’re really there. Take 5 minutes together. This actually happens quite often during your photos with me. It’s more than likely the first and only time you’ll be together away from your guests and the first chance for you to really talk and you know just de-compress a little. So it can be a perfect opportunity at the end of the photos to literally sit down and take it in for 5-10 minutes alone. I’ll leave you to it, I’ll go back and tell the guests you’ll be back shortly. Remember each other, remember what the day’s actually about.
8-DON'T BUILD IT UP TOO MUCH IN YOUR MIND
“IT’S THE MOST IMPORTANT DAY OF YOUR WHOLE LIFE!!!!!!!!!!!!” You’ll probably hear this a lot in the next few months, in the blogs, the magazines, the websites you read, and as wedding photographers we are as guilty as anyone in the industry of ramming this message down your throat, and hey I’m not saying your wedding is not a really big day and not a hugely important moment in your lives, I wouldn’t do this if I didn’t believe that, but if you spend 18 months building up to “the most important day of your life” in your mind then you can be sure of one thing, you’re going to be absolutely exhausted by the time you get there! How about the day you decided to go to the pub with your friends instead of staying in and you met the person sat next to you right now. I’m sat next to my wife on the sofa as I type this, she’s eating her dinner, the day we met, that was the most important day of my life. It meant I’m sat here, right now, happy. Your wedding day is a big thing, but there will be other days and there have been
other days, day’s just as important. This one, before anything else is supposed to be a celebration, you need to hold on to that.
If you ask me it’s the most important thing, not the decorations, not the cake or the dress, not what anyone else thinks about how cool your day was. Being able to look back yourselves and absolutely know you did it your way and you had an amazing time doing it. That’s what matters.
It can be daunting, it can be easy to get swept along and feel like you’ve lost a bit of yourselves in the day. Surround yourselves with good people, good friends, good vendors and suppliers who actually care and I promise it’ll all come together.
Paul fuller photography
Check our Pauls work at - www.paulfullerkentphotography.com/