12 Top Tips for a stress-free wedding

02 Aug 2011

12 Top Tips for a stress-free wedding

Andrew Jackson from Andrew Jackson Photography offers his invalubale advice on how to minimise wedding stress. With the experience of photographing over 250 weddings, he can help you to enjoy every moment of your special day.

Image gallery

Image gallery


Time: Apparently, it waits for no man. And definitely not for brides... There is never enough time on a wedding day, that’s for sure. The day will fly by, so there is a huge advantage in sitting down in advance and thinking through how events will unfold – not just for you but also for your guests. I can almost hear you exclaim ‘we don’t want our day to be planned - we want natural, fun, relaxed’, etc. But by creating a fairly accurate time plan, you will head off loads of potential stress. This plan should include your hair and makeup schedules, any journeys,

the ceremony, time for photographs, the wedding breakfast, speeches and dancing. But don’t worry; its not your job to make it happen - engage the bridesmaids, best man & ushers to deliver it for you...


If your timings are correct, the worst that will happen from over-estimating is that you will have more time to talk to your family & friends and more time to look around and soak up the atmosphere. But if timings slip and you need a few extra minutes, then it’s factored in already and it won’t throw the order for rest of the day.


1) Your wedding day starts from the time you wake up. Plan to enjoy every moment

2) Imagine the day from the point of view of your guests too and take care to manage the quiet times as much as the key moments, so that your guests enjoy the day as much as you do

3) Allow plenty of time to chat to your guests after your photographs have been taken. Everyone will want a few moments with you, not least to tell you how beautiful you look.


When setting the timings for the day start with the fixed elements, such as the ceremony and wedding breakfast and work backwards or forwards until all the pieces of the jigsaw fall into place. For example, if you are having extra guests for an evening party this may well determine the time of your wedding:

• In order for your evening guests to have a reasonable amount of party time, you may want the evening celebrations to start at 7.30

• This sets the wedding breakfast time at 4.45pm - 5pm if the speeches are to have finished before the evening guests arrive.

• Allowing for a decent amount of milling time, photography and fun in the afternoon the post ceremony reception will start at about 2.45 - 3pm.

• If you are having a civil ceremony at the reception venue then a 2pm ceremony is probably ideal.

• A 2pm ceremony would also mean that there will be time in the morning for the guys to go clay pigeon shooting or to play a round of golf, before dressing for the wedding and having a pub lunch. The girls can have a spa massage before having their hair and makeup done etc.


We suggest that you have at least an hour and a half, preferably two hours between arrival at the reception and starting a receiving line or going in to eat. This will give us time to take some fabulous shots of the two of you, a few groups, and candid photographs of you and your immediate families as you chat to your guests.


So many people have been to a wedding where the photographer takes absolutely ages. Everyone gets bored, hungry, thirsty and fed up, so what’s the answer? Well, a small list of group photographs helps. Efficient ushers help too. They will be needed to ensure everybody is ready and present when they are required for pictures. Arranging groups takes time. As a general rule, 5 groups will take about 20-30 minutes, depending on the number of people involved. Of course, you don’t have to have any group photos at all, but if you do, remember that they take time to set up properly.


Ushers often seem uninstructed. They rarely know what their role is apart from handing out the Order of Service. It is helpful to you if you choose ushers who between them will know both sides of the families and your friends. We will need their help at the reception to go and get anybody who is required to be in the group photographs. Using eloquent and effecient ushers to discreetly gather everyone up will help maintain the sense of occasion in your day. Your ushers need to be able to exert a bit of authority and get things moving when necessary.


Before the wedding day we will talk about how your day is likely to unfold. We usually start the day with the bride, capturing some of the final preparations. This is a lovely time for pictures for the bride and closest friends so it is really worth planning this to ensure everyone has time to stop and enjoy a glass of champagne together before the formalities begin. There are always some jobs that need to be done on the day - delivering button holes to church perhaps - so it is a good idea to allow plenty of time for unforeseen hold-ups. Allow time for traffic delays on the way back from the hairdresser; basically, if you have to get back from anywhere it is wise to allow more time than usual, just to be on the safe side. The last thing you want on your wedding day is to be stressed because you are running late.


Tension in the house is to be avoided wherever possible! If you think that you will need your space in the hours before your wedding, say so! If there are a lot of people fighting for the bathroom and all trying to get dressed at the same time, then tension could rise, especially if the house or hotel room is not large. There will be shoeboxes and clothes bags all over the place. So before the day, have a think about how best to get everyone ready, but on the day, ensure that someone is on hand to help you with a well-timed cup of tea or glass of bubbly as you get ready - its important to stay chilled and relaxed and let other people do the worrying!


Ensure that guests who are traveling from a distance have clear directions about how to get to the ceremony; the same applies to getting to the reception if it is elsewhere. One really useful tip to consider is putting the ceremony time on the invitations as 15 minutes earlier than it actually is - you wouldn’t believe the number of guests who creep in late to wedding ceremonies!


Nothing to do with the best man’s speech, this bit is actually for the bride! I wouldn’t dare to tell you what shoes to wear; my only advice is with regard to keeping them clean. For April to October weddings, I suggest you have a pair of comfortable shoes or white flip-flops with you at the reception. The grass may be wet, and if you want to make use of the grounds for some photographs you may prefer to leave your Jimmy Choos or Ginas inside. For winter weddings we recommend having some more substantial shoes that will keep your feet dry and warm. A pair of funky wellies under your wedding dress does the job nicely and also makes a great photograph! As for the dress, every bride wants to arrive at the ceremony looking immaculate. However, the very colour and nature of bridal wear means that even specks of dirt will show. But try not to stress. It is highly unlikely that anyone other than you will notice anything, so try not to let it spoil the occasion. And don’t let it limit what you do on the day – running along the beach, sitting on old stone steps in your husband’s embrace or walking hand in hand through the snow will stay in your memory far longer than any stain on your dress - the most important thing for you is to enjoy the day.

12. RELAX!

Right from the start of your day do relax and enjoy it. Protect yourselves from people who fuss (see 9!). The car may be late, the flowers may be a different shade of pink, it may be raining… don’t let these things worry you. What will be will be. If you stay chilled and are prepared for some last minute hiccups you will have a much better day and look far more attractive in your wedding pictures. Delegate all the ‘on the day’ tasks like taking the orders of service and confetti to the church or delivering the men’s buttonholes to the hotel. Do whatever it takes for you to stay relaxed.

For more information about our how easy & relaxed we can make your wedding photography, please contact us now:

A: 40 Maynard Terrace, Clutton, Bristol, BS39 5PW

T: 01761 452084

W: www.andrewjacksonphotography.co.uk

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