STOP! Right now...don't make one more wedding plan before you find out the 5 most important things you need to know before making any more wedding decisions.
Know what your venue looks like at the time of day you're having your wedding.
This is especially important if you are having an outdoor wedding. You'll want to keep in mind what the lighting conditions will be for your guests and most importantly you and your groom. I don't know about you, but I don't like standing in the hot sun in regular clothes let along a heavy wedding gown.
In terms of wedding pictures, the best time of day for lighting is early morning or just before sunset. Although, any good wedding photographer will be able to produce beautiful images in mid-day full sun. It's not the easiest light to work with, and it's not very flattering, but there are ways to work around it to still get stunning images.
Find out if your venue has beautiful landscapes with plenty of open shade.
When searching for a great venue, take note of the lighting and the landscaping. Wedding venues have some of the most beautiful landscaping, but if that landscaping is in direct sunlight, or even in spotty lighting, it could impact your wedding images. Look for venues that have a variety of different landscapes and backgrounds you can use for your wedding images and make sure those backgrounds are not in direct sunlight, or have spotty lighting.
Determine how many guests you are realistically expecting.
Knowing how many guests you can realistically expect to attend your wedding will play an important role in your venue decision and could alter your wedding budget. You'll want to make sure your venue can accommodate your wedding guests comfortably. You'll also have a better idea how much the catering will cost and will be able to budget accordingly.
The number of guests could also impact the wedding photography. Although any wedding can be photographed with one photographer, no matter the guest count, you might want to budget for a second or third shooter if your guest count is going to be over 100. This allows for more candid shots of your guests and ensures that not only are the important events of your wedding day being captured, but so are the little moments happening amongst your guests.
Plan enough time for the unexpected.
Ok, it's a wedding, something unexpected is bound to happen. The unexpected could throw your wedding day completely out of wack, or they could happen without a glitch to the time line. These unexpected items can be handled with a little pre-wedding planning and a timeline that has enough wiggle room for the unexpected. Work with your wedding planner and photographer to build a wedding timeline that will make the unexpected things the unnoticeable things.
Plan enough time for the formal wedding portraits.
When planning your timeline make sure you allow enough time for all of the formal wedding portraits (family, wedding party, you and your groom, etc.) You should plan roughly 3-5 minutes for each group shot.
A shot list of must have images that you and your photographer put together should help to eliminate any time crunching. It's a good idea to include the parents in this portion on the wedding planning to ensure that they get the images they want as well. It can eat up a lot time on the wedding day when mom brings her list of portraits she wants. This is where planning plays a huge role.
I can't stress enough how important planning is when it comes to your wedding day. A properly planned out wedding is a less stressful wedding. Know your venue, know how many guests, and know your shot list must haves. And most of all have fun planning your special day. Make it yours and enjoy the process. Happy wedding planning!