How to Plan a Stress-Free Wedding Day
When planning a wedding, so many details go into building the final timeline to make it perfect. And while an elopement timeline may be less formal than a traditional wedding, certain elements still need to be considered to make the day as relaxing as possible. Couples who choose to elope typically chose to do so because a part of them wants a wedding day that is not stressful. However, as they say, "failing to plan, means planning to fail." You still need to do some prep work beforehand to make your elopement day go by smoothly! And that's where I come in. As an experienced elopement photographer (who has also shot many traditional weddings) I'm here to help guide you through some tips on how to make your wedding day relaxing. And also how to make your elopement timeline more fun and stress-free.
The reality of it all is that society has created this vision for weddings. They are the ONE day that has to be perfect. You need to spend a shit load of money to make sure everything is picture perfect. After months and months of planning, the day comes and you have all of the anxiety because... what if it doesn't go as perfect as you imagined?
It's heartbreaking to see to be quite honest, because no matter if it doesn't go "perfectly", you are marrying your person. That should be enough. Everything else is just icing on the cake. There's no need to stress or have the anxiety. Trust me, I did it all myself and I realized how easy it was to get sucked into the "what am I missing?".
So I wanted to share some of my biggest tips for having a stress-free wedding day. This comes from my experience of having my own elopement, as well as helping over 100+ couples with their days.
How to have a stress-free wedding day
Tip 1. Leave room to breathe in the Timeline
Give yourself time buffers between events so things don't fall "behind schedule", leaving you frazzled and rushed. Believe me when I say; things rarely ever go "on time" at weddings. Traffic, delays, mishaps, and underestimated time for certain things like hair/makeup. It's the little things that add up. Giving yourself more time in the timeline means spending less time stressing. Over-estimate things like driving time, getting ready, hiking, etc. Couples often say their wedding day went by in a blur - so do yourself a favor and give yourself moments throughout the day to soak it all in. Don't try and jam pack everything into a small timeline.
Tip 2. Have a day of coordinator
If you haven't hired someone to plan and coordinate your wedding/elopement already, I highly recommend getting someone to at least be your go-to person the day of. This will help eliminate you as the point of contact for any vendors you've booked and let you relax as you get ready and enjoy your wedding day. You will have a much better experience if you are not being bombarded with calls or texts on ETA or delivery times, but rather focus on being in the moment and marrying your partner. Some couples opt to have a family member or friend help out with this which can totally work if you are having a small event.
Tip 3. Plan ahead
This may seem obvious, but really it's hard to stick to during wedding planning. Leaving yourself time to enjoy the engagement season and the days leading up to your wedding is so priceless. But this will require being really intentional about planning in advance. Don't leave to many details to the last minute, and if a task is on your mind and doable now - DO IT. This will allow you to be more present and relaxed as you know you've planned everything ahead of time. And if planning isn't your thing - consider hiring an elopement or wedding planner to take things off your plate!
Tip 4. Have a packing list
I have tried and failed at packing well without a list. Something is almost always forgotten, or not done in the laundry, etc. Creating a packing list well ahead of time and then checking it off as you go is a game changer. Something as simple as a phone note, or I provide my clients with elopement packing lists for their location/season! Not everyone has the brain capacity to keep track of every single little item that needs to be packed, and that's NORMAL. Save yourself the headache and make that list!
I always recommend making a list a few weeks leading up to the day. There are always items that randomly come up in your mind and you say "ah I can't forget that". And guess what? You forget it. Have a place that when things come up, you can write it down to revert back to.
Tip 5. Have a weather backup
Wedding or elopement days never come with predictable weather. While some wedding venues may provide backup options like tents or indoor areas in case it rains, elopements you have to get more creative. As your elopement photographer, this is something I provide my clients. I typically have multiple options in case of weather forecasts or other unforeseen circumstances. In addition to location backups, having proper outdoor gear is essential if rain or snow is a potential in the season you're planning for. These are things I also include in my packing guides!
Assume you will have bad weather, and think of what you may need beforehand. If you know no matter what, you and your guests will be outside, be prepared with umbrellas.
Tip 6. Change your mindset
I briefly touched on this, but you have to remove all expectations. Remember what is most important of this day, and that is that you are getting married. It doesn't matter if the weather isn't in your favor, or if you're running behind "schedule". It's the beauty of doing things your way. You can pivot. Laugh at the things that aren't perfect. Dance in the rain. Let your attire get dirty. Tell your partner how obsessed you are with them. And just take your time. The day may not go perfectly according to your vision, but it WILL be perfect if you allow it to be. Go into the day with the mindset of, "no matter what happens, today is going to be absolutely amazing."
Tip 7. Have two different wedding days
This fully depends on what is stressing you out, but I've seen it happen in many ways. A lot of people are conflicted between eloping or having an actual wedding. I am here to tell you that if you are conflicted... do both. This is what I did, and what so many of my couples have done, and I can confirm with all of my heart that you will not regret it. By doing this, you will have best of both worlds. A day focused and centered around the two of you (basically no one can ruin this - you're with your favorite person!), then a day centered around being with your loved ones. It is the COOLEST thing to witness (even with myself) that on the day of being with your loved ones, you are so relaxed. You already had the best day. Aunt Sally or whoever wants to be a pain in the ass, let them. Because they can't ruin YOUR day, because you already had it.
Building your timeline
Planning a wedding, any shape or size, can be stressful as heck (I know!) By incorporating these 5 tips hopefully, your day can be a little less stressful. If you're looking for how to craft the perfect timeline, head over to this blog post here.
PS let's be friends on Instagram!
A New Hampshire + Vermont based adventure elopement and intimate wedding photographer team for the adventurous souls. We specialize in New England and destinations worldwide, empowering you to create the most beautiful, adventurous day and give you the memories you'll be able to look back on for all the years to come.
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