We've seen a lot of incredible wedding days that go smoothly, but there have been some with a few bumps in the road that could have been avoided. We want to save you that headache so here are a few things to really think about as you plan your wedding day. It's a heavy one, but stick with it and we hope at least one of these points is helpful.
Getting Ready Locations
Try for your getting ready location to be near or at the venue. This saves on travel time and any mishaps along the way, including traffic, accidents, and the occasional car breakdown. It's also best if you and your partner get ready at the same hotel. You can get rooms on different floors to prevent bumping into each other and leave it up to your team to guarantee that you won't see one another. This makes it much easier for the photography and video team to quickly get from one room to the other for those important shots. It's also smooth for your maid of honor and best man to be able to meet up in case there are any surprises or any last minute changes.
Permits and Filming Restrictions
Your ceremony and reception venues are probably A-ok with photos and video on the day of your wedding, but how about your getting ready hotel? For the most part, we have not run into any issues when couples get ready at one hotel and want photos, but their wedding isn't at that location. However, there have been rare occasions where we are told that we cannot photograph or film and have even had hotel personnel, security, or police tell us and the photographer to put away our gear and exit the premises. In those cases, only photos and video inside the rooms are allowed, so those gorgeous shots outside the hotel may not be possible if you choose a hotel with strict photography and videography policies. We are happy staying in the room to do all the shots, but we know a lot of couples like venturing out for photos and video, so just make sure we have permission. Aside from the getting ready hotel, some places of worship, like churches, are very strict about where the photographer and videographers can be on the day. Make sure to look into their policies before booking if this is something that means a lot to you. Feel free to let us know in advance what their do nots are so that we don't upset anyone and also so that we can potentially discuss work arounds.
How are you and your partner getting from your getting ready location to your ceremony site? It's in the same place, wonderful. If it's not, make sure you have reliable transportation and a plan B. Even though antique cars are absolutely gorgeous, we have seen our share of them break down and push things on a timeline behind, which causes stress for the couple and sometimes leads to additional charges by the venue and vendors if you have to push back your end time.
Weather Accommodations and Considerations
Weather, especially in Florida, is extremely unpredictable. If you are having an outdoor wedding, do you have a plan B? Can the event be moved inside? Did you rent a tent? Some planners reach out to you days before to confirm if you'd like to add a tent for an additional fee depending on the weather that week? Our advice... do it. Some couples have wanted to save on this feature and weather ends up ruining their day due to nonstop rain. Guests then have to run and take cover wherever they can. This derails your whole day and you then rely on the weather cooperating to be able to do a lot of what you had planned. Also, planners should keep this in mind, but having at least a pair of umbrellas, especially the clear ones is always a good idea. Even if it's raining, we can use these to take some great photos of the couple. We bring two clear umbrellas with us in the car to every wedding.
If you have doubts about inviting a particular someone to your special day, maybe go with your gut? Sometimes our instincts tell us that maybe Uncle Bob would probably not do well a at the wedding because he can't stand Uncle Tom. These are tough decisions, but it may prevent unpleasant exchanges or arguments on the day of the wedding. You want this day to be full of supportive, loving individuals by your side. Weed out anyone who you think may cause unnecessary trouble on such an incredibly special day.
As videographers, we have lavalier, or clip-on mics, and recorders that hook into the DJ or venue's speaker system. However, we do not have microphones with speakers that will project the audio of your vows to your guests on the day of the ceremony. If you have a lot of guests, make sure that your DJ will provide a mic for the ceremony that your officiant can use so that guests can hear your ceremony clearly. Having this DJ setup also helps us as videographers to get backup audio of the ceremony using our TASCAM recorder. Also, have you heard how your DJ is a master of ceremony (MC)? Be sure you like his or her style. In the past, some couples have been shocked or just didn't vibe with their MC and it really made for an awkward night for the couple and guests. We have heard everything from mispronounced or omitted names when announcing the couple and bridal party to inappropriate jokes.
Take Care of Yourselves
Whether it's hardcore partying the night before the wedding, or just drinking a little too much on the morning of, this has
been an unfortunate choice for some couples. It's resulted in nauseated brides who are dehydrated and require many breaks throughout the day because the hangover is so bad. It's also been the cause of grooms not being fit to stand from drinking a little too much while getting ready with their friends. Try and take it easy the night before and the hours leading up to your ceremony. You'll have a lot of time to catch up on those drinks when the reception comes around. Trust me, everyone is going to want to do shots with you :)
Also make sure to eat and stay hydrated! We know nerves might get in the way of an appetite that day, but at least snack,
because it is typically a long day and you
need the energy.
Have you met with your officiant to discuss what you want said at your wedding? Are there certain things that are off the table? Do they know your name?... Yes unbelievable but we have had officiants completely mispronounce at least one of the couple's names. We have had others who forget to pronounce the couple as married, or somehow skip the kiss and they have to be told by someone in the crowd. Others like to be stand up comics the day of the wedding and overdo it sometimes. Or you have ones that repeat the same thing for every ceremony without any original addition about the couple being married that day. Make sure to go through what will be said or at least what you would like your ceremony to represent to you and your guests. What is the tone? Is it serious? Is it spiritual? Is it goofy and relaxed? Is it personal and requires someone who knows you both very well? What does this ceremony mean to you? All of those are important questions in deciding who your officiant will be.
Let your speechmakers know you want to keep it short and sweet. Why? Well, it not only helps you eat faster (sometimes food isn't served until after speeches are completed), but guests are always much happier with a speech that is on the shorter side of things. It can still be heartfelt. The biggest hits seem to be within 1-3 minutes. Also, we try to position our speakers in a place where they can make eye contact with you as they speak while we capture them saying it to you. Thinking about where you want your speeches to take place might not be a bad idea. You can let your DJ know and he or she can coordinate that for you just as you want it on the day of.
There's nothing more helpful with logistics than having an experienced planner that takes into account every detail and anticipates any problems before they happen. It's the kind of planner that has thought of everything and considered it, so that you do not have to worry about a single thing the day of your wedding. Even if you did not hire a planner because you want to save a bit on your budget, make sure you have a day-of-coordinator that can make sure everything is running on schedule for you so that you can make the most of your time without stressing the small stuff. Stay tuned to a future blog on some incredible planners we have worked with in the past.
We know that was a lot to take in, but we wanted to keep it real. All in all, every wedding day is different and frankly, unpredictable. These are just a few things to possibly consider. And if something happens to not go according to plan, as one of our brides would say "Don't sweat the petty stuff, and don't pet the sweaty stuff."