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Cat Alkire | Weddings & Portraits

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Tips for Planning a Stress Free Wedding Day | Cat Alkire Weddings


Whether you're a bride, groom, mother of the bride, wedding professional or a guest - we've all been there. We've all seen or been the bride that has so much to do on her wedding day, that you can't simply enjoy the day.  There are so many reasons why this happens and it's not the way it should be.  Bride's should enjoy every minute of the day that goes by so quick - the day that they've been planning for a year plus. You want to look back on your day and remember all of the good, instead of saying "I was really stressed out, I wish I would have done this, enjoyed that...". Having been a part of countless wedding days as a photographer, I hope that some of these tips can help future brides slow down and enjoy the beautiful day they've planned with the handsome hubby, family and friends! So let's dive in!

Tip 1: Delegate, Delegate, Delegate!

This might seem like a no brainer - but often times I find brides getting phone calls, setting up, and even giving directions on the day of the wedding.  They aren't able to sit back, relax, and enjoy the day they planned so hard.  Every one is there because they love you - they will be willing to help in any way they can.  Delegate who is going to go to the reception and start helping or overseeing decorations.  Give out a bridesmaid or a father's number to help guests with directions, and what I like to recommend, give your MOH your phone to field and calls or emergencies.  You should know as little as possible behind the scene moments on the day of the wedding!


I know that there isn't always room in a budget for a wedding coordinator. But I do strongly suggest a day of coordinator.  Someone who knows what they are doing and how wedding days flow.  They help oversee every detail from getting ready, to tearing down in the evening.  They are the go to for any emergency, can field calls, and will help direct your day to stay on time. Wedding coordinators add such an ease to the wedding day, most brides say one of their biggest regrets is not hiring a day of coordinator and doing it all themselves.. If you are in need we have some amazing recommendations!


We are huge fans of schedules on wedding days.  We will work with you before your wedding to plan out your timeline for photos and events we'll be there for. I highly recommend that you plan out your timeline before and after we leave as well and hand it out to everyone that needs to know before the big day. This includes, hair, makeup, setup, photo times, ceremony times, dinner, and end of the night. If everyone knows where to be and when or can refer to the schedule that you handed out - there will be no need to ask you on the wedding day.  I LOVE creating timelines for brides and grooms to help them along in their planning process.  There are so many things that happen on a wedding day that many don't consider when creating their timeline - and can cause us to have to rush through photos to make it to places on time.  Work with your wedding professionals if you need help planning your timelines!! 

TIP 4: Don't Sweat the Small Stuff

Another one that kind of seems like a no brainer, but is really hard for many brides to cope with on the wedding day. And I get it. You have planned so long and hard and have put your hard earned dollars into this and you find out you're a little behind schedule with makeup, or you forgot one of your reception signs. I know it sucks, but it will all be okay.  The main reason you are doing this is to marry the love of your life. We want everything to be perfect for you - but once you see your handsome man - remember this is what matters at the end of the day. Not the color of the flowers, the signs at the reception, it's the vows you are exchanging and the committment you are making that matters most. 


First looks are super common now and for good reason! Not only is it a way for us to get amazing photos before the fun starts and also have time after for even MORE photos (who doesn't want more photos of the wedding day?!) It also helps many brides AND grooms calm before the wedding starts.  I have seen it so many times, a bride who isn't doing a first look, stressed out, anxious, and waiting to see her groom and the ceremony doesn't start until 5pm.  I am not sure about you - but I never go that long in a day, especially one where nerves are running wild and stress is building, without seeing my best friend.  You are marrying this person because they are your rock, they help ease your mind and give you so much comfort.  Why wait to see him until you walk down the aisle? I have never had a bride regret doing a first look - they always say that it calmed them and took their stress level down.  I have had brides say they regret NOT doing first looks. It is just something to consider!

TIP 6: Take moments away with your groom

This is another big one for me to recommend.  We do always try to take the bride and groom away for 15 minutes during the reception for some photos if light and location permits. This is away for you to escape on your wedding day.  Far too often, you are being pulled in SO many different directions on your wedding, instead of towards each other.  You're constantly looking across the room for each other and by the end of the night you realize that you have spent 10 minutes alone the entire day. This day is about YOU. Take your hubby and get some time to yourselves! I know the day is packed full of things so here is when I suggest doing so:

- After photos are done, before the ceremony - go to a private room and chat for 10 minutes, talk about your excitement, and how great each other looks.

- Before the reception, have your venue give you a room where you can eat your hors d'oeuvres alone. If we have planned out the time for it and have done first looks, we can usually get you to your cocktail hour shortly after it starts! This is a great time to take a breather with your new husband!!

- During the reception - we like to take the bride and groom during all the hustle and bustle and get some "end of night" portraits done, but if this doesn't work out because of lighting or location space, take your time away anyways. Go outside or sit in a quiet room and get refreshed before going back into your reception. Don't worry about guests getting to mad - chances are they are dancing, drinking and won't notice, unless you're gone for like an hour!! 

TIP 7: Think about your "why"

This is a big one. One that I always love talking about. When you do get stressed on your wedding day and you just can't seem to relax, think about why you're doing this. The biggest reason: you get to marry your soul mate and celebrate that love with your closest family and friends. Settle in those thoughts and don't get caught up in the negative stress. You are getting married to the one you love and there is nothing more calming that reflecting on why you love them so much, why you are meant to be, and all the amazing things you've done together. 

Remember this day is about the two of you and your love - when all else fails, try to remember that!

Catherine AlkireComment