20 Wedding Planning Tips To Better Organise Your Wedding

 

After 9+ years of shooting events, we made a list of the most important wedding planning tips to share with you. How I WISH I had known these tips when we planned our own wedding!

They should save you some time, stress, and most definitely, plenty of money.

 

Create a separate email for the wedding admin


The best way to stay organized and not be swamped with Spam on your personal or work email is to create a separate email just for your wedding admin.
All in one place, you can both access and things are much better organized (had no idea a few years back!). 


Get practical wedding gifts


Here’s a list of things you would most likely never use again after your wedding day: personalized bridesmaids slippers, His/ Hers T-shirt, personalized groom’s underpants, garter, personalized shoes. 

Basically, anything with your own names/ wedding date on/ Wifey for Lifey/ Mr.and Mrs, are things you would most likely never wear again, although it may have sentimental value.

Please, think of alternative or more creative and Earth-friendly options! There are so many other gifts you could get instead.

If you need some ideas, we have 2 helpful articles for wedding gifts you could get your bridesmaids/groomsmen/parents.

Etsy bridesmaids gift ideas

Etsy groomsmen gift ideas

Here are suggestions for bridesmaids’ gift ideas, they will actually love!

Bridesmaids proposal jewelry

Bridesmaid knot jewelry

Personalized necklace 

gold personalized initial bracelet bridesmaids

Bridesmaids jewelry gifts

Lime and Salt

Personalized bracelet

Dainty Earrings

Opal earrings

Pearl necklace

dainty pearl necklace bridal bridesmaids gift

Bridal jewelry

Gold crystal wedding earrings gift

Travel jewelry case

Hair accessories

You will find tons of gorgeous options on Etsy, of course!

Gold floral leaf wedding hair pins

All things linen robes and pyjamas

Because we have found so many stunning options for bridesmaids’ robes, we made an article especially for this, to help you even more!

The Prancing Hare

The Linen Trove

Man in the Studio

Chaliskan

Meekauk

bridesmaid robe gift

Sand Snow Linen

ZUZUis

Mantaikotai

Son de Flor 

Handmade candles

What beautifully presented box with a handmade candle, for a bridesmaid’s gift idea! You could add here something more personalized if you wanted, like a card with a photo of you together?

Home Crafted Candle Co

soy wax candle gift box

Vegan Bunny Co

Embers and Roots

Personalized water bottle (with her initials)

If you like personalized gifts, don’t forget that your friend may want to use them when going out. Instead of branding your wedding date or names, why don’t you just put her initials on, instead?

Stainless steel bottle, personalized

personalized water bottle bridesmaid gift idea

Bamboo and glass water bottle

Eco-friendly gift kits

Some of my absolute favorite bridesmaid’s gift ideas would be an eco-friendly kit! You can find quite a few people on Etsy offering this, so you don’t have to put it together yourself. How pretty does it look!

Makeup Remover Kit

Eco-Friendly pamper box

great spa gift box idea for bridesmaids

Skincare pamper box

Makeup or jewelry bag

This is another practical gift you could get. Personalized or not, it would make for a very useful gift as well as beautiful. If your budget allows to add a piece of jewelry or a beautiful lipstick for the wedding day, even better!

 

Personalized makeup bag

personalized jewelry travel case bridesmaid

Personalized handmade luxury velvet bag

Personalized boxes

Fairtrade coffee

Coffee beans

Perfume, of course!

Jo Malone Lime and Basil scent ( the most popular)

bride getting earrings on on the morning of her wedding by Gloucester wedding photographer
Priors Court Barn Wedding Gloucestershire

Unplug

On your wedding day, it’s time to relax. Rain or shine, you are getting married. There’s nothing else you can do last minute, so Put Your Phone Down, please. Better yet, have it packed in your overnight bag. If vendors have your bridesmaids’ numbers for URGENT matters, that’s more than enough.

You can even have a special message on a board before entering the wedding ceremony, to let your guests know they should put their phones away. Your wedding photography is already booked anyway.

Main things brides usually forget or leave for too late to plan

Wedding planning is basically a neverending list of things you can do or get for your dream day. To add even more to your list, these are the things couples unfortunately completely leave out or plan very last minute:

 

Bathroom basket for the guests

Hand lotion

Bobby Pins

Hair ties

Hairspray

Dry shampoo

Pain relief

Sanitary pads

Tampons

Clear nailpolish

Nail fail, nail clipper

Hairbrush

Clear plasters

Dental floss

Lint roller

Mints

Tissues

Face wipes

Lip Balm

Deodorant

Mouthwash

 

Children wedding favors

Sweets in jarparty paper bags/ animal paper box / any type of container

Paper Labels Stickers (useful for many things on the wedding day)

Kinder chocolates / lollipops / pop-cornGummy bears pack

Bubbles

Balloons

Coloring crayons 

Boys colouring book / Girls colouring book

Racing cars for boys  (get a set to divide)

Small dolls for girls

Kids nail polish

Stuffed toy (get a set to divide)

Playdough (get a set to divide)

Small Lego set

Sticker pads

Card making set (to give to the bride and groom)

Animal face masks (dress-up fun)

Squidgy balls  (get a set to divide)

Temporary tattoos for kids 

Watercolor temporary animals tattoo stickers (these are so sweet!)

kids activity box full of fun items for the children wedding favors

 

Bridal emergency kit

Chocolate

Mini Sewing Kit

Safety Pins

Polish Remover

Nail Polish

Manicure Kit

Bobby Pins

Tissues

Lint Roller

Mints

Clear plasters

Nipple covers

Lip Balm

 

Dress steamer

Brilliant for really tricky to iron dresses

 

Dress nicely in the morning

On the morning of the wedding preparations, you would still be photographed.
Something with a low neck or a zipper would be much more practical when you have your hair done and need to change into the wedding dress. Otherwise, scissors may be necessary. A linen robe would look wonderful instead of an old t-shirt! 

wedding planning tips dress nicely for wedding day
Wanborough Great Barn Wedding

Baking powder is magic


This is a trick I’ve learned in Holland from a bride who had to keep her field flowers overnight. What she did was add baking powder to the water for your wedding flowers. The bouquet looked absolutely perfect for her wedding the next day!

 

Bride – last for hair and make-up

There are several practical reasons why we advise brides to be last for their hair and make-up:

Firstly, your hair as a bride needs to last as long as possible. Do allow around 2 h to have it done + a bit extra for getting dressed.

Secondly, it’s a good time for your photographer to arrive in the morning. Your bridesmaids are all pretty and made-up instead of spinning in circles and trying to hide away from the camera. It happens every time, I promise.

I hope these 2 should be good enough reasons for you to schedule your morning around this.

For lots more wedding timeline tips and how to organize your day, you can simply download for FREE our wedding timeline guide. Completely done for you, including spreadsheets you can use throughout the day. No catch here, promise.

New shoes- ouch!

Whether they are bridal shoes or grooms shoes, your feet would hurt. A good thing to do would be to actually wear them around the house plenty of times until they’d feel comfortable.

It’s one of those things that are SO basic but I’ve seen people ditch their thousands of pounds worth of shoes for comfortable flats. They can be your best friend or worst enemy on the day.

Also, always have a spare pair of really comfy shoes, especially for the evening part. There will certainly come the time when you heels just need to go.

bridesmaids helping bride getting wedding shoes on before her wedding ceremony
Hyde House Wedding

Crochet hook (number 4.5 / 5 for your wedding dress)


If 20 minutes later your bridesmaids are still struggling to button your dress, worry not, we have the solution – a crochet hook! It does the job in under 5 minutes and no nails will be harmed in the process.

 

Lunch + vendors meals

A wedding day is filled with excitement, adrenalin and you most likely forget important things – like eating.

As a bride, you should absolutely be a priority to eat in the morning and at lunchtime as well as for the bridesmaids or whoever is with you in the morning. Your parents, friends, photographer, children, everyone needs to be fed to keep people standing ’till the end.

Keep it simple – croissants, plenty of fruits, sandwiches, dried fruits, they all are more than enough to keep everyone energized and happy!

Champagne doesn’t count as food. Unless there’s a bucket of strawberries in.

feed the vendors wedding planning tips image of photographers shooting in grass


Taxi, please!


This is a mistake we see at so many events – people don’t really consider transportation before the wedding ceremony. Ordering a taxi on the same day is never a good idea because it can be quite unpredictable, especially in the countryside!

So please, do book your taxi at least one day in advance. It’s way less stressful! 

Have clear signs


A couple of junctions before the wedding venue/ church/ cocktail hour location/ make sure there are very clear signs people can follow to your ceremony or reception.

Balloons, written signs, a unicorn, whatever you can imagine, but please use something.
You don’t want to have a big surprise and get stressed out on your wedding day when vendors or guests get lost on the way (I’ve seen it happen more than once)…

Confetti secrets

Confetti shots are some of our favorite moments of the day and everyone loves them. What we’ve discovered, though, is that there are so many different types of confetti and some of them.. just stick with you throughout the day. 

Some couples choose lavender confetti because it’s popular and also churches would accept natural flowers to paper ones, of course. Keep reading, though.


What we found is that lavender, or rice, or other tiny bits of flower petals are such a pain once the shot is done. They stick in your hair (looking like dandruff in photos all day long), in your dress, and in other places you can imagine yourself. So please, try and avoid them.

Types of confetti we recommend

Confetti bubbles

Biodegradable confetti petals

Tissue paper confetti

20 cm Confetti Shooter

Silver 40 cm Party Popper

Gold 40cm Party Popper

confetti shot during a wedding at plas dinam wales
Plas Dinam Country House Wedding

 

While we’re at this, why don’t you check these alternative wedding confetti ideas? There’s some extra information here on the types of confetti you can choose from for your wedding. 


 Family photos (formal group shots)

Although they may sound boring for some, I think these are essential. Making sure you show value and appreciation for your family taking part in the event, is priceless.

Also, people don’t stay forever and that might be one of your last memories of them. So make sure it’s documented!

  1. Plan between 10-15 group shots maximum. Too much will be overtiring, especially for the couple. 
  2. Plan to have them during daylight
  3. Elderly people first on the list.

Make sure you let your photographer know if someone very important is present and must have a photograph taken. For an entire post about formal wedding group shots, please check the link, you will also get to >> DOWNLOAD THIS FREE DOCUMENT << to help you get started with your list!

If you haven’t already, I highly recommend you download this complete Wedding Timeline guide to help you plan the timetable of your wedding day like a breeze. It comes with an Excel Spreadsheet of how we suggest you think about planning the day – for boys and girls!

bridesmaids and groomsmen by Wales wedding photographers

No speeches during Sunset

I know, you probably aren’t a model. It will shock you, but we actually love photographing ordinary people and making them feel and look amazing.
For that to happen, we would need at least 15-20 minutes during the canapés, when people won’t notice you missing for a few minutes.

If the weather is good and there’s an epic Sunset, we would have to literally kidnap you for an entire 5 minutes! Some of the most flattering and beautiful light is in the evening, it’s called the golden hour!
This is an example.

bride wearing a justin alexander wedding dress and groom wearing an asos suit for their preston court wedding venue by Canterbury wedding photographers
Priors Court Barn Wedding

sunset golden light images

Oxfordshire Wedding

Avoid tall (flower) arrangements on the bride and grooms table (at least)


Ok, ok, they look pretty nice in pictures, when everything is set up and nobody is in the room.

BUT! It is so so hard and almost impossible to have a nice photo of people at the table when something 1m high is standing right in front of them!

There are always faces covered and no matter how much of a ninja photographer you were, there’s no way you will be able to get good photos!
It may be my personal preference, but there was more than one occasion when I had to remove the decor from the main table so I could get a good shot of the people’s faces during the speeches.

Sorry if this is a bummer, but you’ll thank me later.

 

 Too many decorations left over?

  1. Have someone collect everything. Go enjoy your honeymoon, then come back and sell it, or even start a business if you loved the process of crafting and designing.
  2. If you splashed money on flowers, what about donating your wedding flowers to a nursing home or a hospital? They could bring a smile or two instead of being chucked away.

top table for bride and groom at Coombe Lodge Blagdon wedding venue
Coombe Lodge Blagdon wedding

Phones and speeches don’t go together

We love technology, too. But not when it comes to wedding speeches. There’s just something really off when a bride, groom, or anyone else who is having a speech is reading it from their phones. The old pen and paper are still very much appreciated by everyone listening.  You could actually keep that in a keepsake box for your children to read one day!


Entertainment – makes or breaks the party

No matter how much money you’ve invested in the venue, food, vendors, if your reception has nothing happening, people won’t have much to remember.
Wouldn’t you want your friends and family to remember your day by how fun it all was? And how often do you get your best friends all in one place? One thing I’ve learned, no matter the age, people love to have fun and they’re always up for games and for striking a silly pose!

As always, we have a super in-depth article with 50 wedding entertainment ideas you should definitely check! It is one of our most popular articles ever!

These are just a few ideas on how to make your wedding day memorable for your guests:

  1.  Live band
  2. Awesome DJ
  3. Magician
  4. Games before dinner starts
    Heads or tails/ Answer fun questions/ treasure hunt  
  5. Games during the reception
  6. Photobooth
  7. Selfie stick on dinner tables
  8. Cocktail hour games
  9. Bonfire (with snacks, of course)
  10. Fireworks
  11. Musical chairs

    Read this article for many more entertainment ideas for your wedding day!

wedding planning tips to better organise a wedding day

Sparklers

  1. Make sure you get long sparklers for your wedding day.
  2. Have plenty of matches for many people to start lighting the sparklers at the same time.
  3. One guest always gets more excited so he’ll be first to light it – that’s why they need to be long!
  4. Safety first – so have jars of sand ready for leftovers
  5. Everyone should light them at the same time
  6. Mind your hair!
  7. Sparklers photographs make for some beautiful memories, but make sure they last long enough and the bride and groom should definitely hold one, too!
    We share a more in-depth article about tips on how to plan the best sparklers exit on the blog, so save that for later!

 

Here is an exact sparklers kit you can order

Long wedding sparklers

Wedding sparklers bucket

Lighters

bride and groom kiss during the sparklers exit at the reception


Be flexible

There’s a slight possibility some things won’t go as planned.

If it rains instead of the beautiful sunny day you asked for, don’t worry, we’re all waterproof.

Stressing won’t help but might make people uncomfortable around you on the wedding day. You should just enjoy and think of all the free time you’ll have after the wedding admin is finished!

However though, if you live in a country where it often rain, definitely consider getting a few clear umbrellas for you and the bridal party. It will give you peace of mind and also allow for outdoor wedding portraits.

wedding planning tips

 

These are all of the 20 tips to help you better plan and organize your wedding day. We’ve seen all of them happen, so please note them down and you’ll be rocking your wedding planning!

We share lots more wedding planning suggestions tips and advice on our blog!

 

We have so many really useful articles on wedding planning, you should definitely save: 

20 Most romantic honeymoon hotels in Cotswolds

Wedding emergency kit list

Children wedding favors ideas

Groomsmen gift ideas of Etsy

Etsy bridesmaids gift ideas

Best Bridesmaids Robes for wedding gifts

Best sparklers to buy for the wedding Exit- exact kit

What to put in a wedding bathroom basket

 

This article contains a few affiliate links meaning, at NO additional cost to you, I can earn a small commission if you make a purchase of any of the products. We would only recommend things we trust and have seen work at other events. Our aim is to make life easier for you, saving you lots of time and research.


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20 wedding planning tips i wish i had known about

WE'RE SAM + DIANA

documentary cotswolds wedding photographer

We are a husband and wife team based in the beautiful Cotswolds area. We love the outdoors and shoot primarily non – traditional barn weddings and elopements for laid back couples.
We help remove the stress and pressure from your wedding day and do our best to make you feel at ease and extremely relaxed in front of the camera, so you will dearly remember your experience.
We are also founders of Mad Hat Photo Booth, a wedding and events photo booth hire in the Cotswolds, Birmingham, Gloucestershire and beyond!

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