Wedding photograph by Martin Hemsley, wedding photographerWedding photograph by Martin Hemsley, wedding photographer
Wedding photograph by Martin Hemsley, wedding photographerWedding photograph by Martin Hemsley, wedding photographer
Wedding photograph by Martin Hemsley, wedding photographerWedding photograph by Martin Hemsley, wedding photographer
Wedding photograph by Martin Hemsley, wedding photographerWedding photograph by Martin Hemsley, wedding photographer
Wedding photograph by Martin Hemsley, wedding photographerWedding photograph by Martin Hemsley, wedding photographer

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Top 5 Tips For A Stress-Free Wedding Day

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August 2016

Hi everybody, I hope you are all keeping well. Today I thought I'd put out a different type of blog post away from reporting on my latest Wedding and 'Get To Know You Shoot'. As a wedding photographer, over the years I've had the privilege to attend and shoot many weddings, and have experienced so much joy and laughter. However sometimes, just occasionally, the possibility of a little stress can creep in and before you know it, something can quickly escalate. So I've had a think about these situations I've observed in the past, and put together a list that can help Brides and Grooms enjoy a stress-free wedding day

Stay Hydrated

This may sound obvious, but it is soo important. Even if you have planned your wedding with military precision, it is very easy to forget to drink water. The wedding day itself goes by so quickly and it may feel that the Bride and Groom are bouncing around doing one thing, then the other, then another. We often don't have a spare second to think about how thirsty we get.

The human body isn't used to wearing a heavy wedding dress, or in the Groom's case, a waistcoat and jacket. If you are having a wedding between the months of May and September, the likelihood of feeling hot is very high which will speed up dehydration.

One special treat on the wedding day is celebrating with a pre-wedding service drink. For Brides, you might have a glass of bubbly with your bridesmaids and family. For Grooms, a cheeky wiskey or beer in a pub or bar. This first drink probably happens earlier than on your normal day! Likewise, if you have a wedding car organised to take you to your venue after the wedding service, the chauffeur will take great delight in offering you a glass of bubbly to enjoy for your journey. Again, all good fun. But then guess what? On your arrival at the venue, there will be someone standing there eagerly with a tray and two glasses of more bubbly. It's brilliant fun, but before you know it, dehydration is fast approaching.

So how can we address this? Dead simple, assign someone to keep checking with you if a glass of water would be appreciated. This person can be a bridesmaid, a groomsman, or even a member of your family. Everyone else will be enjoying themselves, and maybe forgetting to drink water as well!

Try To Avoid Running Late

For Grooms, this will be much easier for you before the wedding service. If you have communicated clearly with your Groomsmen, and have been instructed effectively beforehand by your Vicar or Registrar, there shouldn't be a reason for running late before the wedding service.

Brides on the other hand will have a few more things to deal with than the Grooms. For example, make up and hair, changing into your dress, having bouquets delivered and various other bits and pieces. Oh, and this is just for the Bride, multiply this as necessary for additional bridesmaids and members of family. So how can we plan and prepare for this?

It might be possible to have a practise session well before your wedding date with your hairdresser and make up artist. If so, try to make a note of how long it took. Then add on at least ten percent more to the time! Another idea could be to practise putting on your gorgeous wedding dress with the same people that will be helping you on the morning of the day. This can be especially important if your dress has intricate fastenings on the back. So again take a note of the time, and perhaps add another twenty percent more. Why twenty percent this time round? Depending on the intricacy, it may be necessary to start again, or be super precise and be absolutely sure everything is as beautiful as you deserve.

Granted, the wedding service won't start without you, and many people joke about the Bride being fashionably late! However, any delay in arrival will cause stress to a number of people, and also be aware that this delay continues through the rest of the day. In extreme cases this reduces time for you to relax with your friends and family before the wedding breakfast. If this has been factored in by the wedding venue and caterers, then no worries.

Wedding Shoes

Brides and Grooms take great pleasure in choosing their footwear and rightly so. Grooms - if you will be wearing brand new shoes on the wedding day, why not wear them a couple of times around the house to gently break them in.

Same for the Brides, especially if you don't normally wear heels. If you have chosen shoes with heels, another option would be to attach wedding shoe heel protectors after the wedding service. These clever little plastic devices fit to the end of each heel, they help cushion each step impact, and help spread your weight over a wider surface area. This can be particularly useful if you are holding a drinks reception on grass, or even having photographs taken on grass or slightly uneven ground. Heel protectors will help you keep your balance, and also reduce the risk of heels sinking into the grass.

Unless you are a shop assistant, or work twelve hour shifts as a doctor or nurse, most people aren't on their feet for a length of time. Weddings are different however, with much of the day spent standing. This means our poor feet are being asked to perform. Don't forget that feet swell when we are hot.

Another thing to consider is having a change of footwear available, especially for the evening's dancing. Why not change into something comfy for the evening?

Formal Group Photos

Speaking as a wedding photographer, I have to admit this is a period where I have observed on several occasions the stress-free feel of your day can change. It is also a moment of the day that perhaps couples don't realise how long they can take, even with the slickest of organisation. All you need is an Uncle Bob to be in the loo, a flower girl who has lost her flowers, or one of the groomsmen to be getting a round in at the bar, to delay and cause stress to this part of the day.

The good news is there are many things that can be done to reduce the strain and keep the stress-free feeling of the day:

  1. Try to keep the number of group photos to below eight if possible. It can take anything up to five minutes for each photo. This includes finding the right people, and putting them into position along with various other things that can eat into the schedule. So do the maths, and mutiply each group by five minutes.
  2. Give the photographer or their assistant first names of each person required in each group photo. From my experience, leaving the shouting out of names to the Bride or Groom can allow stress to creep in - especially if people can't be found.
  3. Assign one of your bridesmaids or groomsmen to help the photographer during this busy stage of the day. It is best if the person assigned knows most of the guests, and also has the ability to be assertive! The photographer can give them a copy of the list of names. They can round up people in advance and have the next group ready to go before the previous group has finished being photographed. This can make an enormous difference.

Before the wedding day, be aware that the group photos can be a little tiring. Although standing still doesn't sound too bad, you will now start to feel your smiling muscles. Plus the Bride might find that her bouquet starts to feel heavier than earlier in the day. Although it is appreaciated that group photos are an important part of recording the day, perhaps after reading this article you may see the benefit in not having too many of them.

Relax And Enjoy The Day

This may sound a little odd to say. You will have done all the planning way before the wedding day, and there will be an army of people looking after you. If anything happens that hasn't been thought about, or a little 'moment' happens, you will be surprised how many people will help you, or others, out. It is a real honour to be chosen as a bridesmaid or groomsman. It is a chance to dress up and have an amazing day. However, make sure they have been assigned something to do that will make your day more relaxing. Some examples mentioned previously include someone checking if you want a glass of water; another could be making sure you have access to wedding shoe heel protectors; also assigning someone to help out with the formal group photos. The list can quickly grow, but with the right people helping you, your day will be as fantastic as you deserve.

I hope I haven't sounded too much as if I am stating the obvious. Many of these suggestions appear to be common sense as I am sure you'll agree. I wish you all loads of fun during the planning phase for your wedding day. And most importantly, I hope you all have an incredible, fun, happy and memorable wedding day.

Please feel free to share away on social media, or leave a comment below with your thoughts. If you enjoyed this article, you might like to go to my gallery page and see some more wedding photos, click here for the link. If you have any questions then please feel free to contact me via my contact page. Martin.

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