For Brides: 11 Ways to Ensure You Have the Best Wedding Day

virginia wedding photographers share how to have best wedding day

Hello there, bride! Welcome back to our blog series, For Brides, that was created with you in mind. We’re so excited to share the next installment of our blog which is titled “11 Ways to Ensure You Have the Best Wedding Day” featuring tips and tricks that think will help you have a more meaningful, more memorable, more enjoyable wedding day. We’re sharing everything from why your timeline is important to setting a good example for your guests by staying on the dance floor. We hope you enjoy the tips we’ve shared! As always, if you’ve benefited from this information, we invite you to share it with others.

1.) Hire a Wedding Planner or AT LEAST a Day-of-Coordinator
planner assists bride at estate at white hall wedding
“Your wedding planner will keep you on task, save you money, reduce stress, and can do the hard things like telling your overwhelming future mother-in-law or your opinionated maid of honor to back off (in a very nice way, of course) so you won’t look like the bad guy.” – Amy Braziel, Coast to Country Events
Your planner will also be the one to keep everyone on schedule on the wedding day, which is crucial. Helping with your dress, checking in with other vendors, solving crises are just a few of the things they do on your day. A good planner or day-of-coordinator is worth their weight in gold.

2.) Plan Your Timeline Well
bride and groom holds hands around a door in chesapeake virginia
In order to have the best wedding day, you need to have the best timeline for the day. This timeline is what all of your vendors will follow, but also your guests and bridal party. You will want to plan out your timeline with BOTH your planner and your photographer so that you can ensure there is enough time for everything to take place. Some common items that some brides forget to add to their timeline (that could greatly enhance your day) are:

  • First look with dad
  • First look with bridesmaids
  • Sunset portraits (see #5)
  • Alone time with your groom (see #4)
  • Take a group picture with your wedding guests (see #6)
  • Have a last dance, just the two of you (see #9)

Additionally, you want to make sure all your vendors have the final timeline so that no confusion occurs. If you have a planner, she will ensure all vendors receive the timeline, but if you don’t have a planner, you will want to send it out yourself.

3.) Do a First Look
bride and groom first look at callwassie island club south carolina
Though many people treat the first look as if it’s a curse word, we promise you that it’s not. While we totally understand the desire as a bride to get that tears-falling-down-his-face reaction from your groom when you walk down the aisle, what if we told you that you could get that same reaction, but in private, between just the two of you AND have more time to enjoy your wedding with your guests? Choosing to do a first look relaxes the day, allows you tackle more portraits before the ceremony which allows you more time with your guests during cocktail hour/reception and allows you to breathe a little easier throughout the day. If you want to maximize the time you’re spending interacting with others, doing a first look allows you to be less stressed and enjoy the day with your guests AND your spouse.

4.) Schedule Alone Time With Your Spouse
army officer groom and bride cuddle on couch at intimate 718 venue wedding
Your wedding day will go by faster than any other day of your life. One moment, you’re getting ready for the day and the next, you’re saying goodbye at the end of the night. Though this is usually indicative of a wonderful day, we don’t want you to miss the important moments in between. Setting aside 15 minutes of time after your portrait time, but before you enter the reception to spend with your spouse is one of the best ways to truly soak in the excitement and joy you feel after just marrying your love. It allows you to spend your only alone time together of the whole day and reset, take a breath and gather yourself together before joining your guests. This 15 minutes is one you won’t regret taking.

5.) Say YES to Sunset Portraits
bride and groom walk at sunset in waynesboro virginia
If your portrait time after the ceremony does not align with the time that the sun is setting, you should add “sunset portraits – weather permitting” to your timeline. Right before sunset, your planner and photographer will be watching the sun as it’s preparing to set and will pull you outside for 10-15 minutes to capture just a handful of beautiful, golden hour, sunset portraits of you and your spouse. If you time it well with your reception, these photos can take place during the time that your guests are eating, so they won’t even notice that you’re gone. These portraits are always super dreamy and romantic, so you always want to say “YES!” to sunset portraits.

6.) Take A Group Picture with Your Wedding Guests
group photo of wedding guests at estate at white hall
One way to ensure you have a photo with every guest at your wedding is to ask your photographer to take a large group photo of you, your spouse and all your wedding guests. This is a fun way to be able to remember all your guests who were in attendance, as well as a way to make guests feel incredibly welcome and valued. To execute this photo, you’ll want to talk with your photographer prior to the wedding day so that they can bring the proper equipment/lens that they need to capture it. Also, it’s important to place this specific photo on your timeline so that your DJ can announce it when it’s time. A good time to schedule this photo would be immediately after toasts and cake, as your DJ will already have your guests attention and because many guests will leave after the cake is cut.

7.) Have an Open Bar
groomsmen drinking together before wedding at hermitage hill farm and stables
While having an open bar is not the only way to get people on the dance floor, it is a sure way to do it. We know there is a fine line between having fun and having too much fun, allowing your guests to choose a drink of their choose to enjoy through the reception often gets more people on the dance floor than those that choose not to serve alcohol. Not a fan of serving alcohol at your wedding? We recommend having your wedding reception after dark so that the room is darker and your guests feel more comfortable dancing the night away.

8.) Set A Good Examplewedding guests dancing at vineyard estate at new kent winery
“When I see a packed dance floor, typically the bride and groom are right in the center of the crowd. The guests take their cues from the couple. If your guests see you smiling, eating, drinking & dancing…guess what, they will too! So, show them how its done and enjoy each special moment of your big day.” – Nikki Echols, 196 Events


9.) Have a Last Dance, Just the Two of You
last dance for bride and groom at womens club of portsmouth
One of our favorite new trends is choosing to have a last dance, just you and your groom. To make that happen, you would ask your DJ to make an announcement to have all the guests head outside to prepare for your grand exit while you and your groom hang back to prepare for your last dance. Once everyone has exited the building, you’d have your coordinator close the doors to the venue and you and your groom would have a private last dance before you end your wedding night. It’s the perfect way to capitalize on a beautiful wedding and it makes your day that much more memorable.

10.) Make A Grand Get Away
bride and groom kiss under sparklers at exit from reception at breaux vineyard
“Give your farewell just as much attention as your entrance. At this point the remaining guests have partied the night away with you and stayed until the last song, why not treat them to something special? Sky lanterns, sparklers, bubbles, and even glow sticks for your guests to wave are just a few great choices. The perfect send off will leave your guests in absolute wonder and in awe of what an epic night they just had.” – Nikki, Echols, 196 Events

11.) Don’t Forget to Breathe
bride smiling getting ready for ceremony
As the day begins, you may feel anxiety/excitement/nervousness building within you as you think of all the things that have to go right to make your day come together. Executing a wedding day is a huge event and one that you’ve spent many months (or years) planning. Whether you have a planner/coordinator or not, most brides have a few worries on their wedding day. It’s important that before your wedding day arrives, you accept that there WILL be a few hiccups on your day. It’s inevitable. When those hiccups occur, just take a deep breath, accept that it’s all going to be okay and remember that the ONLY reason you’re doing all this is to marry your groom. Once you put into perspective that getting married is the only mandatory thing of the day, the rest of the little things seem less and less important and you’re able to let it go and breathe.


Michael & Chelsea

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Want to read more blogs from our “For Bride” series?”

7 Reasons to Have a Bridal Session Before Your Wedding Day

10 Items That Will Enhance Your Bridal Detail Photos

5 Reasons You Should Hire A Husband & Wife Photography Team

What To Wear To Your Engagement Session

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