When it comes to stressful moments in your life, planning a wedding ranks high on the list. Whether you are planning a small elopement, or a grand wedding reception for hundreds of people, planning a wedding is stressful. Between finding a wedding venue, determining a guest list, establishing (and sticking to) a wedding budget—planning a stress-free wedding seems almost impossible!
In my many years of photographing Los Angeles weddings, I’ve seen brides at both sides of the anxiety spectrum. I’ve photographed laid back brides who let everything just roll off their shoulders and I have photographed brides who were so stressed they couldn’t enjoy their own wedding day. I wish there were some magic solution to having a stress-free wedding. But, over the years, I’ve learned some tricks on how to stay calm on your big day so you can really enjoy it. Here are some of the top ways I’ve found to enjoy a stress-free wedding.
Planning a Stress-Free Wedding?
Getting engaged and beginning to plan your wedding should be a joyous time of celebrating your love and commitment to one another. And yet, planning a wedding can be one of the most stressful moments in a couple’s life. There’s this expectation that wedding planning should be a happy time. When it isn’t, brides and grooms can feel disappointed, confused, and even a little bit ashamed. This is supposed to be the best day of your lives, right?
So why are you feeling so much anxiety?
First off, it’s okay to feel whatever you need to feel. This is your wedding. It’s okay to be scared. It’s okay to feel nervous. Weddings are a huge commitment, and hopefully, it’s something you’re only going to do once. Feeling like planning a wedding is stressful is not only okay, but it is totally normal! Forgive yourself a bit. Know that it is okay to feel stressed, overwhelmed, and maybe even a little frustrated. Know that whatever you feel is okay. It’s a big day!
As a professional wedding photographer in Los Angeles, I’ve seen weddings of all sizes. And when you strip away all the extra layers of tulle, florals, ceremony musicians and butler-passed hors d’oeuvres, a wedding at its core is a monumental life transformation. It comes with a host of emotions and anxieties. There are expectations to meet, budgets to consider, and timelines to plan, sure. But there are also anxieties that lay beneath the surface like unspoken family tensions and body image issues.
In order to have a stress-free wedding day, talk through those anxieties as they come up. Don’t be ashamed to talk about them. Lean in and talk to your fiancée. Talk to your bridesmaids. Share your feelings and fears early and often. The earlier in the wedding planning process you tackle the little things that are making you nervous, the better chance you have of making sure those little things don’t turn into big things on the day of the wedding. Be mindful of your thoughts and stay anchored in the present.
You might even consider meditation or yoga as ways to manage your thoughts. Meditation is clinically proven to reduce stress. If you are interested in meditation to reduce your stress, Ten Percent is an amazing app to get you started.
Set a Timeline for Your Wedding
One of the best tips that I can offer on ensuring you can keep calm on your wedding day is to build a solid wedding day timeline, and then to stick to it. I have said before, a wedding day timeline is my best friend and a thoughtfully planned wedding day timeline is a bride’s best friend, too!
A wedding day timeline helps you to stay on track and on target. It’s a game plan that allows all your wedding vendors to be working off the same playbook. As an LA wedding photographer, I have worked with some wedding planners who are absolute geniuses and they swear by a timeline. Once you have that wedding timeline established, it allows you to know that everyone knows where to be and when to be there. Which leads me into the next tip on staying calm on your wedding day…
Just Let Go
This next tip I have for having a stress-free wedding day is simple: Let go.
I’ve photographed more weddings than I can count. So, trust me. No matter how much thought and time and love and care has gone into the plan, it will never be perfect.
But that’s okay!
There’s beauty in the story that unfolds on your wedding day. That’s where the best stories come from. Trust me on this, your wedding guests are there for you and your love. (And good food helps, too. But mostly the love.) Brides tend to not want to relinquish control of the day and are stressing over the execution even on the morning of their wedding. It’s really a shame to watch.
So, here’s my best advice: be like Elsa and let it go. It’s YOUR day. Enjoy it. You’ve done all the hard work, now let your wedding planner take care of all the details. Your guests won’t know that the groomsmen were supposed to wear matching socks, but your cousin Mike forgot his. Your guests won’t know that the roses were supposed to be burgundy and showed up red. No one is going to know that the linens were ivory instead of diamond white.
It’s okay. Let it go!
I don’t blame you if you are a perfectionist. As a wedding photographer, I became one myself. But there is a big difference between our roles. I am working. You’re supposed to be enjoying the best day of your life. As your photographer, I’m in constant pursuit of the most memorable and meaningful moments during your wedding. You should be experiencing them, not worrying about your cousin Mike’s socks. Embrace the moments. Laugh at the chaos. Enjoy the beautiful experience you are living among your loved ones!
It’s Okay to Be Selfish
That’s right. The next advice I have for being calm on your wedding day is to be a little bit selfish. Be selfish with your time, be selfish with your experiences. A wedding may be a monumental, transformative event, but it’s only one day. Maybe twelve hours. So, don’t worry too much about what your guests are doing or not doing.
The wedding day is about YOU and YOUR PARTNER. Don’t feel guilty about drifting away from the party to take beautiful portraits of your first sunset as husband and wife. Don’t feel guilty about soaking up every moment of happiness on your wedding day. Being a little selfish during your wedding day will allow you to enjoy it. After all, this is your big day. Not your mother’s, not your sister’s, not your cousin Mike’s. It’s yours. Remember, most of your guests are happy to be with you at your side during your long-awaited special day.
Do What’s Best for YOU
In recent years, smaller and more intimate weddings have become more and more fashionable. The small, intimate Malibu elopements I photograph are just as romantic as huge Los Angeles wedding events. I think the main reason for this trend of smaller weddings is that couples have started to prioritize the true meaning of a wedding.
A wedding is about two people uniting into one, celebrating a new life together, and should be enjoyed. If you want to have a big wedding, that’s wonderful. If you want to elope in the mountains, that’s perfect. You want to have a quiet, intimate ceremony on the beach at sunset, that sounds beautiful. In order to have a stress-free wedding day, you need to have the wedding that is best for you and your partner. Remember, those guests are there for you, so don’t worry about what they might think.
You’ve waited for this moment. Make sure your wedding day is about you and your partner first, and everything else afterward. That’s the best way to make sure you keep calm on your wedding day. It’s all about your priorities.
Trust Your Photographer
I can’t stress the importance of finding the right photographer for your wedding. Great portfolios are easy to find these days, so seek a photographer who makes you feel comfortable. Trusting your photographer is the best way to improve your chances to have a calmer wedding day. Talk to your friends who had a chance to experience something similar.
Having a passionate wedding photographer could be a game-changer for your wedding as the day goes by. Passionate photographers take what they do very seriously and will make you feel comfortable along the way. After all, all those years of experiences have taught them right. They will help you feel comfortable in front of the camera, make sure to help you pose in a way that feels natural and beautiful, and will melt any anxiety about looking good in wedding photos away.
And Most Importantly… Get Married!
Finally, please don’t push yourself too much. Plans NEVER comply 100%. Things will go wrong that are out of your hands. Maybe someone will complain about the food. Maybe there will be a terrible traffic jam. Maybe it will be cold and rainy. The point is to focus towards what really matters. Anything that goes wrong will just be a great story to tell your kids years from now.
I strongly believe that a stress–free wedding is very much achievable. So, keep calm on your wedding day. Leave the heavy lifting to your Los Angeles wedding vendors and we will take good care of you. If you have any wedding day anxieties, make sure to reach out. I might be able to help!