Planning your wedding in Northern Ireland – Ten Tips for a Relaxed Wedding Day
Your wedding day should be one of the best days of your life. Yet planning a wedding can sometimes be stressful and overwhelming. I’m here to share ten tips for a relaxed wedding day.
- PLANNING IS KEY
Six weeks before the wedding, start planning out a timeline for your day, so you know what needs to happen when. Put in the ceremony time first and work backwards to figure out what time you need to start getting ready. So you aren’t rushing around, aim to have at least two hours between the end of your ceremony and sitting down to dinner. Don’t forget to allow travel time if needed, plus plenty of time to mingle with your guests.⠀⠀⠀
Having all this thought out ahead of time takes the stress off the actual day. That means you can relax and enjoy the day with all your favourite people! 🙌
Plan for as much as you can, but don’t stress if things don’t quite go to plan.
- HAVE A PRE-WEDDING SHOOT
Feeling a bit nervous about having your photos taken?
You are not alone! That’s why I love pre-wedding shoots. They are a fun and relaxed session, which really helps put you at ease in front of the camera. That means when it comes to the wedding day, it’s one less thing to stress about, as you can trust that your photographer will be looking for the best light and angles to take amazing photos!
- RUSHING ISN’T RELAXING
On the day, aim to be ready 30 minutes before you want to leave the house.
Figure out how long it will take your bridal party to get ready (ask your makeup artist/ hair stylist for advice), how long it will take to get to travel the ceremony and allow at least 30 minutes to get into your dress. It’s always so much nicer if you can relax for a few minutes before leaving for the ceremony. You don’t want a mad dash out the door, so give yourself plenty of time to enjoy the morning.
- HAVE A WET WEATHER PLAN
Because, it’s Northern Ireland after all!! 😂
It’s good to have a Plan B as backup, in case the heavens open and you can’t get outside. Chat through with your venue and your photographer to see what they suggest. Make sure your venue has somewhere with nice natural light that could work for indoor couple shots, just in case.
- TAKE A FEW MOMENTS TO YOURSELF
Remember that the day is all about you and your love. So don’t forget to find a few quiet moments in all the fun to be together.
- TRUST YOUR SUPPLIERS
You’ve chosen your suppliers because you love what they do! So trust them to do what they do best. I love that my clients trust me, even when my suggestions might sound a bit mad! When you trust your photographer, we get the chance to let the creative juices flow instead of sticking to a shot list, and that is when the magic happens!
Here’s what my bride Cathy had to say about working with me:
“We’re so glad you weren’t afraid to take risks and because we trusted you to go with the flow, we ended up with so many amazing pictures we never even imagined! Thank you so much!”
- PLAN YOUR GROUP PHOTOS BEFOREHAND
I recommend around 6-8 groups, allowing 5 minutes per group as people can wander off! Before the wedding, we put together a group shot list, and this helps the process run smoothly and efficiently, without taking up a lot of your day. Think about it- would you rather spend an hour of your day posing for one group shot after another, or spend time with your guests while I take lovely natural shots of everyone enjoying themselves?
It’s a really good idea to delegate rounding up guests to a best man or bridesmaid who are assertive and know the people on the list. This means that you aren’t waiting around while someone is off to check into their room! Having groups waiting in the right place makes the process much more painless. Make sure the important people in the group shots know in advance when and where you want them to be.
Then stick to the plan! Well- meaning guests can sometimes suggest other group photos, but just remember that they take time and mean there is less time for candid shots.
- ALLOW PLENTY OF TIME TO MINGLE WITH YOUR GUESTS
Allow a couple of hours for your drinks reception. That will give you time to get your couple portraits (around 20-30 minutes) and group photos, leaving plenty of time to enjoy your guest. I would never ask you to be away from your guests for hours on end getting photos. Don’t forget that most venues will call your guests for dinner at least 45 minutes before food is served, so factor this into your timings.
- HAVE YOUR SPEECHES BEFORE DINNER
Speeches can one of the most nerve-wrecking parts of a wedding day! Having your speeches before the wedding meal means that you can relax and enjoy your meal after. Just remember to keep the speeches short and sweet, rather than long and rambling! Your guests will be hungry and your caterers will want to serve your food, so try to stick to the time!
- BREATHE AND ENJOY THE MOMENT
Everyone says how quickly a wedding day passes. Relax, and take time to enjoy the moment you are in, without worrying or thinking ahead.
There you have it! I hope you found these tips useful. If you are already married, is there anything you’d like to add?
If you like to find out more about my approach, click here.
TAKER OF PICTURES, MAKER OF ART, KEEPER OF MEMORIES.
I’m a wedding and family photographer based in Northern Ireland, who loves to tell your story in a relaxed way, capturing images that will make your heart feel happy!