Shelly Pate

Wedding Day Checklist: Things You Didn’t Know You Wanted

Couple cheers at Dover Hall wedding

For the average bride or groom, your wedding day is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. This means it’s an event you haven’t previously planned, and have only participated in as a guest or member of a wedding party. So even with all the preparations you make there may still be something that you forget! Listed below are the BEST items my couples had on their wedding day checklist that you can add to yours!

Magnet for Boutonnière Backs

Groom buttons suit jacket at outdoor wedding

Having been a bride once and a wedding photographer countless times I’ve witnessed the missing pieces of a wedding day puzzle. One tiny piece that commonly goes missing are the pins that attach boutonnières. Those pins are hard to attach perfectly and often break or bend. At least one groomsmen per wedding will watch his boutonnière fall off entirely! 

Request up front that your florist place magnet backs on the boutonnières for ease of use. It’s also a guarantee that no one will get poked! I would recommend having the florist throw in some additional pins just in case the magnet needs a little help.

Bride attaches boutonnière to groom's jacket
Groom gets ready for wedding day

Vow Books

Bridal accessories set with pressed flower vow books

You can go simple or have your vow books personalized–there are so many options! It looks so much better in your photos to read out of a handcrafted book than off of your phone or a single piece of paper. Briar & Ivy make the most gorgeous handmade pressed flower vow books!

Bridal accessories set with pressed flower vow books

Wooden Hanger

Wedding dress hanger with bride's name on it

A wooden hanger is perfect for your wedding dress photos. Plastic hangers will not do your dress justice! You can get them personalized with your name or “bride”, but the simplicity of a wooden hanger also looks beautiful by itself.

Wedding dress hangs on personalized hanger

Emergency Kit & Tools

Bride puts on her wedding dress

Besides the emergency kit essentials such as touch-up makeup, a small sewing kit(with scissors), bobby pins, and safety pins, it’s also important to keep some basic tools handy. If this isn’t something your wedding planner already has then bringing along a small set of tools that includes a screwdriver, hammer, nails, and double-sided tape (for wardrobe malfunctions) can often end up saving the day if something malfunctions.

Comfy Shoes

Bridal shoes with flowers set on floor
Personalized bridal jacket and shoes

Whether these are for the dance floor or just to give your feet a break during the day, you’ll want to have a change of shoes available. I personally wore sparkly rose gold Keds under my dress. If you are taking photos out in nature, you might even want to opt for boots! I personally feel like boots under dresses are for the most badass babes! Go ahead and add a second pair of shoes to your wedding day checklist!

Couple shows off shoes at Oregon coast elopement
Couple runs at Iceland elopement
Couple walks holding hands at Oregon coast elopement


Couple stands under umbrella at rainy dc wedding

My theory is if I am fully prepared for every weather scenario, I probably won’t need to use any of them. BUT if I am not, I’ll need them like nobody’s business. So, with that in mind, I would recommend ordering umbrellas (clear ones look so cute and whimsical, black ones have a classic look, or embracing color is so fun!). If you don’t end up using the umbrellas, you can return them or if you have a wedding party it can be part of their gift.

Bride and bridesmaids hold bouquets at outdoor wedding

A Little Alone Time

Couple cheers with cocktails at outdoor wedding

Babes, you just GOT MARRIED!! I know you want to celebrate with everyone you love, but trust me–taking a few moments just the two of you will help you remember this day better than a photo. Believe it or not, I’m saying this even as a photographer. Stepping aside for a few minutes (even if it’s just 10) not for photos but to have cocktails or appetizers together really helps you better enjoy the remainder of the day. You get some quality moments with each other before your attention turns to everyone else as you start mingling with guests.

Couple kisses under veil at wedding

Limit Formal Family Photos

Again, this may sound crazy coming from a wedding photographer, but trust me on this one. You may have a huge list of family groups you want, but the day of you are going to be over these super fast. You’ll want to get to your party! Here’s my PRO TIP: keep these photos to immediate family and grandparents! Your photographer (ahem, me!) can get more casual and candid photos of family members throughout the day.

Your wedding day only comes around once, so having a wedding day checklist can only help in making your day the best it can be! Are you working on your wedding day checklist? I would love to help!

Couple embraces wrapped by wedding veil

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