Shelly Pate

Best Wedding Day Tips: How to Plan a Relaxed Wedding

Bride walks towards groom while holding dad's arm

For months you spend countless hours planning for a single day. When the day finally arrives, you can get so lost in worry and stress that you miss it. You miss out on enjoying your wedding day to the fullest because you couldn’t slow down enough to experience it in real time. I deeply believe in going the extra mile to help my couples avoid this! No matter how close you are to your wedding day there’s still time to remove some of those stressors. Here are some of my best wedding day tips for having a super relaxed wedding!

Bride and groom exchange vows during backyard wedding ceremony

 Expect That Portraits Will Take Longer Than You Expect

Couple kisses in front of cheering wedding party at backyard wedding

It is always worth it to invest a little extra time into your photography coverage. This is especially important when transportation and/or larger groups like family or the wedding party are concerned. Portraits are going to take longer than you expect so it helps to factor that into both your timeline and the photography package that you select.

Couple poses with family at backyard wedding

Family Portrait Tips

  • Take them before the ceremony so that no one is distracted or disappearing off to cocktail hour!
  • Or have your officiant announce a reminder before everyone leaves the ceremony for cocktail hour that the family should stay in the ceremony space for photos.
  • Limit to immediate family (parents, siblings, grandparents) with 1-4 larger extended family photos if needed. We can even break it up so we do immediate family before the ceremony and extended afterwards.
  • It also helps to assign a family member to help gather everyone since your photographer won’t be able to identify all family members.

Wedding Party Photo Tips

Like family portraits, there can be a lot of people to keep track of and coordinate in your wedding party:

  • Make it small! I highly recommend having 1-3 people on each side of your wedding party and never having more than six on each side.
  • Limit drinking before the ceremony–nothing wastes time like a drunk wedding party.
Couple cheers with wedding party using best wedding day tips

Wedding Day Tips That Matter The Most: Buffer Extra Time into the Timeline

Getting Ready

When you are choosing your photography coverage and mapping out your wedding day timeline, make sure you leave flexibility for transitions. It’s especially important to leave additional space for the getting ready portion of the day: steps like hair and makeup or getting into the dress often take a little extra time.

Your photographer will give you a deadline that hair and makeup needs to be completed so that everything else runs on schedule. Tell your HMU artists to finish 15-30 minutes before that! A fun bonus to following these wedding day tips is using the downtime between hair and makeup and getting dressed to create fun photos with your wedding party. Remember to have an emergency kit ready to go too!

I share more details on what to include in your emergency kit and how to best set up the bridal suite for the photographer’s arrival right here.

Bride drinks champagne with bridesmaids using best wedding day tips


If your wedding, reception, and first look are at different locations then transportation time needs to be considered. When you hire a shuttle or bus you must confirm the details! I’ve seen shuttles never arrive to pick up guests which delays the ceremony and everything following.

Wedding Day Tips for Commonly Encountered Wedding Day Issues

Wedding bouquet sits in front of woodpile

Give Both the Videographer & Photographer the Time They Need

If you are having photography and videography done you’ll want extra time specifically during your couples’ portraits. Each artist will need a few minutes to themselves or we will be switching back and forth between our shooting positions and angles. Videographers, when working alongside photographers, usually prefer 10-15 minutes just for them to shoot.

Feeling rushed? Do a First Look!

First looks enable you to spend your entire wedding day together and not feel like you’re rushing through everything. You can authentically react to seeing one another instead of jumping right into a ceremony followed by tons of photos and a party where you are surrounded by others. Surprisingly, most couples have a more emotional reaction during the ceremony after doing a first look because it really sinks in. We can then take 95% of your photos before the ceremony so that you can be fully present with all your favorite people the rest of the day!

Couple kisses from underneath wedding veil

Ya’ll Gotta Eat!

Couple laughs with wedding party at head table

This may sound funny out of these wedding day tips, but asking your planner or catering staff to station someone near you during dinner will allow you to actually eat! Everyone is going to want to come visit and talk to you–which is wonderful. But, you two definitely need to eat.

Wedding Day Tips I Can’t Emphasize Enough

Bride helps groom put on cufflinks

I cannot emphasize enough the importance of adding in buffers to your day to account for unpredictable events. If nothing goes wrong, this allows for so much more freedom in every step of the day to truly take it in unhurried. The most dangerous result of one thing going wrong very early on in the day is the domino effect that can then impact the remainder of the day. But, with breathing room in place, it’s possible to handle issues and still remain on schedule. You’ve worked too hard on preparing for this day to skip anything you may have planned!

Got a wedding plan you’re working on? I would love to hear all about it!

The Team

Planner | Jes Frank Events
Catering | Chef’s Table Caterers
DJ | Will Gralley
Florist | LeRoy French Flowers
HMU | Hair & Makeup by Megan Monahan
Rentals | Sammy’s Rental
Dress | Lovely Bride
Cake | Simply Desserts

Wedding Tips Series

Part 1: Make the Most of Your Wedding Morning Getting Ready
Part 2: Best Wedding Day Tips: How to Plan a Relaxed Wedding
Part 3: Private Moment Inspiration: More Than Just Your Wedding First Look
Part 4: Wedding Photography Packages: Knowing How to Choose the Best Fit
Part 5: Getting the Best Wedding Day Photos – Tips & Ideas for Wedding Photo Poses Part 6: Unique Wedding Planning Tips for a Smooth Wedding Day

Featured Categories