1. Nothing is going to run on time. No matter how hard you try. I’m a very punctual person, but on the most important day for punctuality, time just seemed to run away from me. Jeremy and I had a full hour allotted to our portraits together that morning, and we ended up only having about 20 minutes. But, guess what? Our photos still came out beautiful, and it all turned out fine. No matter how late you’re running, you’ll get your photos and you’ll have the ceremony. At the end of the day, the only things you’re left with are your spouse and your photos–and you’ll get those, so don’t stress.
2. You’ll have a “bridezilla moment.” But that doesn’t make you a bridezilla–it just makes you human. Society conditions a bride to think that every detail of the wedding is an end-all-be-all, so it’s really not surprising if you have a mini-meltdown at some point in your engagement or the day of your wedding. My yorkie, Gatsby, was supposed to be taken to doggie daycare after his portraits, but somehow he ended up zipped in his carrier and left alone in a hotel room. Somebody informed me of this while I was taking photos with my family, and I literally burst out crying. You never know what is going to be the thing that triggers the meltdown, but it’s normal. Resolve the issue and move on. (Gatsby ended up being fine, don’t worry.)
3. Make sure you set aside time to take portraits with your maid of honor–separate from your other bridesmaids. I don’t know if this is a common thing to lose in the shuffle, or if it was just us, but my maid of honor and I didn’t get any photos of “just us” once we were dressed. My maid of honor, Shoshi, was just as busy that day as I was (if not more…) She put so much work into my wedding, and then I lumped her in with the other bridesmaids for photos. That wasn’t fair, and I wish I had a proper photo with her.
4. Don’t plan anything extra for the day of. Focus on the mandatory things, and don’t convolute them with Pinterest-worthy extras that will probably fall through. We had this whole champagne-toasting party planned for the bridal party before photos. I thought it would be a great way to get some cute candids of us partying and toasting–and settle everyone’s nerves. We didn’t end up having time for this, but I still tried to force it. I frantically made everyone do a few quick poses with champagne flutes before beginning the ceremony, because I couldn’t let it go. It suffices to say that those photos didn’t turn out that great, and I shouldn’t have forced it.
5. Your marriage is more important than your wedding. If your fiancé really wants carrots on the entrée plate, and you think asparagus is more classy–it’s not worth going all Morgan Stewart on him/her. After the wedding, the food will all be gone, but you will be left with the relationship you’ve built with your spouse.
6. You aren’t going to have time to eat once guest begin arriving. I ate some pizza while I was having my makeup done in the morning, and then I didn’t eat anything until Jeremy and I shared a chicken panini around midnight, at our after-party. Ask your coordinator (or a family member) to make sure dinner plates are sent up to your hotel room or set aside for you to eat after everyone leaves.
7. Don’t lay any blame on anyone for anything–until the next day. During your wedding day, you’re probably stressed up to your eyeballs, so your view of what’s going on might be skewed. When we were running late with our portraits, I was fuming at my mom. She had trouble getting her contacts in her eyes before getting her makeup done, and in my mind that had derailed the whole schedule. I was so stressed out, and I was looking for someone to blame. I kept me mouth shut, and the next day realized how ridiculous that accusation was! Thank goodness I didn’t yell at her in the heat of the moment, I would feel pretty stupid now. There are so many moving parts in an event like a wedding, don’t pin any blame on anyone while your judgment is clouded by the stress–unless you want to feel really guilty and embarrassed when things calm down.
8. It’s your fiancé’s day too! During the planning process, I was so surprised at how opinionated Jeremy was about everything. It’s so easy to run away with the show, if you’re the bride, but it’s the groom’s wedding too. He’s entitled to opinions on everything–including the aesthetics, which you might think you “own” as the bride. Most girls spend years imagining every detail of their wedding, but they forget that they’re going to be planning with a partner who might disagree with certain things. I’m still learning this lesson, actually. Just last night, we were finalizing the photo selections for our wedding album, and I was so tempted to just say, “Jer, it’s my wedding album, just let me do it.” But it’s his album too, and if he hates that artsy shot that I love, I can’t just steamroll over that.
Photography by John Solano