Over the years I’ve been fortunate to take part in many weddings, truly honoured to provide brides and grooms with memories for a lifetime.
It was however in recent years when I started to realise that as much as I love my job as a wedding photographer, there’s plenty more I can give to happy couples.
After all, witnessing so many weddings has allowed me to take the best parts and the best lessons from each one.
In-fact, one of the favourite parts in the job is setting up happy couples for success and when it comes to weddings, it really is all is about the preparation.
Of course not everything can be controlled. That said, the majority of the wedding day can be.
So, today we are going down in alphabetical order and looking at a planning list that was built especially for couples planning their wedding.
The Wedding Checklist
A – A4 folder
It is no coincidence that the first letter is also the one that provides the home for all your checklists and wedding admin. Here’s the secret though - find an A4 folder that you absolutely love including colour and patterns. This folder will become your best friend, make sure it brings you are smile when looking at it. This folder is where you will keep every hardcopy detail and combine it with your online lists.
B – BYO / Band
When looking at wedding locations or venues, make sure to ask the event manager regarding BYO on the day. Some venues will allow the bride and groom to provide certain item such as alcoholic drinks. The BYO strategy can save lots of money and is a great way to include the drinks you want to have at the wedding.
Our second B is for band. Some weddings have bands, some have a DJ, some have both, and some have none. A band can be a great addition to the event. When interviewing bands, make sure you get to see some examples of past wedding they have performed at and ensure their music is to your taste.
C – Car / Celebrant
Probably sounds a little simple but a car that will take the bride and groom or possibly the other bridal party to the event is something that should be documented and planned in advance. Especially if it’s a unique car you are looking for. If you have the car sorted already, Cake is another crucial one.
Celebrant is another big one and the options are many. There's plenty to discuss with the celebrants such as length of the ceremony and any specific details the bride and groom want to include. Make sure to do your due diligence before committing to one.
D - Dress
We could have easily not included dress in the checklist as after all, a reminder for a wedding dress may be irrelevant. That said, getting in to a habit of writing and documenting every detail in the folder (see A above) will ensure you are set for the day
E – Event coordinator
Many choose to organise the day themselves and that is incredible. Some however prefer to go with a wedding coordinator option. So, that is certainly one thing to keep in mind.
F – Flowers
A quick online search or a chat to family and friends will provide you with many options for your wedding flowers. Like everything, to make sure you are happy and comfortable with the price, get a few quotes.
G – Grandparents
This is not to say that every wedding has grandparents attending and taking part. That said, grandparents made the list, simply because there’s nothing more special for a grandparent to be included in their grandchild's wedding. Some couples like to have the grandparents have a specific role on the day.
H – Hair
Similar to the flowers, hair is a broad topic but make sure to talk to friends, get some referrals, and book in advance for the place that will be designing your hair on the day. Another thing to keep in mind, you may have others in the bridal party and close family wanting to do their hair so keep a nice list to ensure it is all set for the day
I – Invitations
If you have attended any wedding expos you would have noticed invite providers. When it comes to invitations the options are endless. You can find someone online, someone at a wedding expo, or a family or friend. One thing to keep in mind though, make sure there’s a timeline for when the invites will be done. You want to give yourself plenty of time to send them out to the wedding guests.
J – Juice
When people think of wedding drinks they typically think alcohol. While that is great, make sure that you have plenty of non-alcoholic drinks available on the day. It is a great way to make sure there’s something for everybody.
K – Kids
Depending on the wedding, some include kids attendance and some don’t. If kids are invited to the wedding, it’s always a good idea to have some type of small activity for them at the wedding. This will allow their parents to take a bigger part in the celebrations. A few ideas would be some colouring in books or pictures. Another option would be a giant Jenga or dominos.
L – Love
Planning a wedding can be intense. It is crucial to take a moment to sit back, be with the one you love and are about to marry. If it feels like the wedding planning is getting too much, don’t be afraid to take a time out.
M – Money, or in other words, your budget / MC
One of the first things you want to do when starting the planning journey is set your wedding budget. Create lists such as ‘must have’ and ‘nice to have. Setting a budget will help guide the journey.
An MC for the event is a big one. This won't only create a better flow on the day but will also take a lot of pressure off the bride and groom.
N – Negotiation
Couples planning their wedding know that every dollar adds up. When chatting to venues, suppliers, and others involved in the big day, it is ok to try and negotiate prices. This can certainly be done in a nice one by simply enquiring regarding any special deals.
O – Old
Most know the saying ‘something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue’. If this is a tradition you are planning to go with, think about it in advance. Don’t leave details like this until the last minute.
P – Party decorator / Photo booth
No doubt once again this comes to a personal choice, but a party decorator can be a great addition to the big wedding day. And good news, there’s plenty of them around. Again, depending on the wedding location, a bit of research will result in many options.
In P I have also placed a photo booth. The booths are a great addition to any wedding and the guests love them. It's a great way to capture the guests and a perfect memory for the guests to take home with them.
Q – Questions
This cannot be stressed enough. It is strongly advised to always come with a list of questions. Every venue you visit, every florist you chat to, every wedding photographer you speak to and every other vendor you consider, come prepared.
R – Relative list for wedding photos
To make your life a lot easier and to make sure you are making the most of the time with the wedding photographer, make sure you have this crucial list. This list contains all the people and the different combinations you want to capture in the family photos. Make sure this list is provided to your photographer before or on the day. Even better, it is recommended the list is provided to one of the bridal party members who will coordinate it during the wedding.
S – Suits
Suits is another item it is recommend to book in advance, especially if a number of groomsmen are involved and are planned to be matching. This is another opportunity to look for some good deals. Either way, it’s important to make sure the fitting is all done ahead of time to ensure the right sizes
T – Time frames
Planning the day is one of the best ways to ensure a great flow. That is best done by setting time frames such as, photos, ceremony and so on. If you’re not sure where to start, don’t worry. When chatting to wedding venues, you will get some great advice regarding the planning.
U – Umbrellas
If it’s raining or it’s really sunny or you just like the idea for decorations, umbrellas can certainly be one of those items that are easily forgotten. If you are planning a beach wedding or there’s a chance it will rain on the day, have some umbrellas ready to go.
V – Videographer
In a previous blog, we looked at why it is recommended to also higher a wedding videographer for the day. This of course is another personal choice but having a videographer at the wedding gives the bride and groom the opportunity to re-live all the emotions from the day for many years to come.
W – Wedding Photographer
This is probably the one I am most excited about. After all, I am a wedding photographer and in-love with the idea of creating lifetime memories for happy couples. In recent blogs I have provided many tips regarding wedding photographers, including how to interview a wedding photographer and how much a wedding photographer in Perth should cost. Similar to other items, book in your photographer way in advance and certainly meet them prior to the big day.
X – X-ray
During the wedding planning journey you will likely come across many options. We use the term X-ray to make sure that you don't just settle for the first option that you find. If there's something specific you are looking for, use the X-ray method to find it. After all, it will be worth the effort for the once in a lifetime event.
Y – Your day
They say that nothing brings family and friends together like a wedding. While this is true, it is also common that with family and friends, often comes opinions and feedback. Of course, each person is different but the most important thing to keep in mind here is that it is your day. The happy couple need to do what works best for them so try not to get too caught up with the external noise.
Z – Zoom
It is very common these days that some family members may be overseas and unable to attend the wedding. A great way to make sure overseas people are still involved is to have them tune in for part of the wedding. That said, this is something that a family member or friend attending the wedding should be responsible for. The bride and groom should not have to worry about that on the day.
I really hope this list helps start the wedding planning.
If you have any questions, contact me at Sevs Weddings and I would be honoured to help.
Wishing you a lifetime of happiness.