Key tips to staying “In the moment” on your wedding day | From your wedding & elopement photographer








I am not going to lie – “staying in the moment” on your wedding day is challenging. It’s full of friends, family and wedding professionals rushing around you. Typically, it’s a full day, starting early in the am and lasting until late (or early wee) hours of the next day.

As a wedding photographer that specialises in intimate events, here are key takeaways in keeping my couples enjoying every moment of their wedding day.

The planning process can be a huge part in preparation to keeping your day easy to navigate:

  • Create a list for vendors and wedding party members that has contact information listed of all the people in charge (that’s not you). To remove stress of your phone constantly pinging, put a comment on the sheet with a cut off of when you can be contacted. Here is a contact list outline and mock schedule you can download
  • The week before, connect with vendors and give them a schedule of the day – working with your photographer (me) ahead of time gives us the ability to time block on when specific photos need to be taken.
  • Pack an emergency kit – I have a packing list here for all the essentials.
  • Steam and press clothing during first arrival of the hotel or bridal suite (this should be done the night before your wedding day) Bonus points if you do it before you leave home and again when you arrive for the getting ready process. ***** Wedding party members can be difficult to get on board of taking care of their outfits being steamed or pressed. Make sure they know the expectation – wrinkled clothing always screams in photos.
  • Have your hair and makeup trials months before your big day. There is no guessing game then with your creative partners.
  • A week before the wedding, plan to schedule 30 mins during the day (possibly during cocktail hour) to step away with your partner. Spend the time eating, drinking and just quietly chatting in a space where you don’t have guests or vendors bombarding you. Even if you are an extravert, take the time.
  • Order food for the prep time. No one needs to pass out or feel crummy because they are hangry or dehydrated.
  • Write thank you or personal notes ahead of time to your partner or loved ones to hand on the day of. Even if you are rushing around, they know you are thinking of them and are thankful for their contributions to your day.
  • Make sure you take care of invoices 1-2 weeks ahead of time for your vendors/venue. There is nothing worse than having to leave the dance floor or chase down a checkbook at the end of the night because of this simple practice.
  • Connect with and create a point person for your vendors and wedding party members to ask questions vs. have them connect with you on the day of.
  • Fill up the gas tank. IF you are traveling between venues on the day using your personal cars, or using cars to transport the day of, fill up the tank. Bonus points if you put a case of water & snacks in the back seat for a just in case moment.

One of the biggest take-aways:

This may not be a popular opinion (and I am totally ok with that). I have attended and photographed over 50 weddings in the last 3 years. I promise you, the length of your ceremony matters, as well as how it is presented. Hire a professional JP or have someone who has experience in public speaking. Why? Because I have witnessed the officiant (family, friends, etc.) rush through, becoming distracted, mince words and drop things… basically creating chaos. a 5-15 min ceremony is too short. You spent the better half of the day preparing for this amazing moment, to only have it rushed through. A pro will have your ceremony presented professionally vs. on a few printed off pages of paper, stapled together. Your vows will not be crimped, pulled from a coat pocket. I want your marriage licence to be elegantly displayed and respected.

Give your guests, loved ones and yourselves time to share vows, short stories of your love and maybe a song lyric or poem that relates to you as a couple.

Lastly on this – take a step back before the end, and look at the audience together. Breath and soak it in.

Day of Tips

  • Turn off the phone or give it to your person of honor. Talk to your loved ones. Listen to amazing music. Sip on some bubbly (and water!).
  • Keep the bridal or prep area free of clutter. As a fellow ADHD member, the more clutter there is, the harder it is to keep focus or to find things in a rush. Set up the area the night before if you can. This allows for everything to have a place, and preps for amazing photos with the environment looking clean and perfect.
  • As your photographer, I am the time keeper of the day. As someone who spends 99% of the experience with you, I make sure to honor your emotions and excitement. I know when to ask for photos and when to faid into the background for those candid moments. Hiring people and services that know how to read you and your loved ones is key. I also keep things moving at a flow and make sure the schedule is honored without stress.
  • Consider doing a first look, or exchange of private vows. This takes the pressure off of you as a couple, and you have the ability to get amazing photos, without the audience.
  • If a first look isn’t in your favor, consider sharing notes or a boudoir album/gifts to be delivered. Make sure your photographer is present to capture the expressions.
  • For the more intimate affair, consider getting ready together. This allows for everyone to enjoy the day and for you to share in the excitement.
  • During speeches – set the tone that you will not be going around from table to table or chasing around guests. This may be frowned upon, but it’s a major time suck and takes you away from enjoying your dinner, dancing and drinking. DO ask your guests to come up to you and connect. This allows for them to also enjoy their interaction with you and not feel like you need to flee to the next guest. You are the guest of honor after all, not the host.
  • Save the last dance for just you two. Ask the DJ to clear the dance floor and have everyone to circle around with lights from their phones as a spotlight.

I have so many more tips – Let’s connect on how to make your wedding experience the most personal and epic day!

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All the love,

Renee Sternhagen

Deco Reverie Studios

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