Top 5 Wedding Planning Tips for Brides

As an experienced Virginia intimate wedding photographer, I have a few tricks up my sleeve! Read along for the best wedding planning tips for the bride-to-be.

Believe me when I say I understand how stressful wedding planning is. We planned our elopement in four short months! From having to fire our wedding planner to getting sick the day of the wedding and almost missing our honeymoon in the Maldives… Trust me. I know where you’re coming from and the struggles you’re facing! Here are some of my top wedding planning tips to hopefully help you have the stress-free day that you deserve 🙂

Vintage, industrial wedding at the Cottontail Wedding & Events

Wedding Tip #1

First and foremost.. plan don’t panic! Out of all the wedding planning tips I could give, the most important one is to prioritize what matters most to you. This is YOUR wedding day. When sitting down to plan, think of what is most important to you and make sure you incorporate whatever that is into your planning.

Sit down with your fiancé and choose your top 3 vendors that you care most about when it comes to your wedding day (wedding photographer, venue, catering, etc.). For example, when we planned our Virginia elopement in Shenandoah National Park we focused on the photographer, food, and the ceremony location before anything else because that is what mattered most to us! After we figured out those details, the rest fell into place.

From there, search for 2-3 individual companies for each one of your top vendors. Prioritize what matters the most to you and book that first. The rest of your weddings vendors may not be your top choice for your day, and that’s ok. It’ll still be perfect. You’ll still get married to your best friend. You’ll still have your dreamy, boho intimate wedding day.

Bonus tip: I know a really good Virginia wedding photographer who would love to work with you… Spoiler alert: it’s me 😉 Book me for your wedding here!

Stunning wedding at the Old Mill Farm, Bedford Virginia

Wedding Planning Tip #2

Create a seperate email for all your wedding planning! This is something I did soon after we got engaged and it helped tremendously for keeping my vendor search organized. Once our wedding vendors were booked, all of our contracts and invoices were also in one place which made everything a breeze!

I also recommend utilizing Google docs for organization! Download the app on your phone and whenever an idea or something you need to do comes to mind, type it in so you won’t forget later. You can also create a seperate folder here for your invoices and contracts.

This is probably one of my favorite wedding planning tips, because it’s such an easy thing to setup but will save you so much time! If you choose to hire a wedding planner or coordinator, you could even give them access to this email or the created Google docs folder.

Fun fact: we actually still use this same email to this day since we both have access to it! Whenever we make dinner reservations for a date night or plan a trip, we use this email for the confirmations. It’s a fun way to keep our wedding day alive 🙂

sparkler exit during an intimate wedding at Selah Springs Farm in Rhiner, Virginia. Best southwest Virginia wedding venues.
Intimate wedding at Selah Springs Farm

Wedding Tip #3

When you start putting together a timeline for your wedding day, consider doing a first look or first touch. Doing this will allow a little extra time for you and your love, and also eases the nerves before the ceremony.

Your wedding day flies by so fast. It’s so easy to forget to slow down and embrace the little moments in the midst of the happy blur. Doing a first look allows you to have some intentional time together, away from the chaos. Time to take it all in and be present with one another – even if it’s only for a few minutes. Several of my past clients have come back to me after their wedding day and stated how glad they were that they did a first look or first touch!

What is a first touch? A first touch is for the couple who decide they don’t want to see each other before the ceremony, but still want a private moment together to ease the nerves. In the first and third picture below are examples of a first touch or first moment. Each of the couples in the examples below decided to either read personal letters or their personal written vows. This is one of my favorite moments of a wedding day, I love intentional moments like this!

You can also use this time to read personal vows to each other! Check out these vow books on Etsy that I bought for our own elopement last August.

Wedding Planning Tip #4

Let’s chat the elephant in the room… money! My top wedding planning tip for budgeting? Cut down that guest list friend 😉

I know how much pressure there is to invite every person you’ve ever met to your wedding. I know how nerve-wracking it is to think someone out there might get offended when they don’t receive their invitation in the mail. But please remember, it is YOUR day. That twice removed aunt-in-law whose name you can rarely remember will get over it!

If you need some inspiration, check out this Virginia intimate wedding day at the Avenel House in Bedford, Virginia!

A few questions to ask yourself when you start working on your guest list:

  • Have I spoke to this person in the last 6 months – 1 year?
  • Will I regret it later if I don’t invite this person?
  • If they were getting married as well, how would you feel if you weren’t invited?
  • Without cheating and looking it up on social media, do you know their last name?
how to include your dog in your bride and groom photos at your wedding, wedding planning tips

Wedding Tip #5

Consider doing a bridal session before your wedding! Coordinate with your hairstylist and HMUA and try to have your trial run on the same day, and then have pictures afterwards in your dress. It’s a great time for you to get an idea for how you’re going to look for your wedding.

This overall eases some anxiety on your wedding day. My best suggestion is to do it about one to two months prior to your wedding. Any adjustments can then be made and you’ll be ready to go the day of with no surprises!

Bonus tip: Bridal portraits make for easy wedding day decor! Print a few of them and place them in nice frames to put in your reception area. We got these simple, gold frames from Hobby Lobby and placed them on tables at our reception dinner.

I hope you enjoyed these wedding planning tips! If you’re looking for a wedding photographer I already know I would love to work with you. Fill out my contact form here to book me 🙂



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This is awkward.

This part of my website is not quite ready yet, but thanks for stopping by :)

stay tuned!