I feel like there's a few things every bride should know when it comes to planning their wedding, and it might not be things you think of in the beginning!
A lot of planning goes into planning your dream wedding, so the first thing you need (besides getting engaged!) would be having a budget and a few wedding dates in mind in case your venue isn't available the first date you have chosen. The budget helps when choosing where you want to hold your wedding and what venue you choose. There are hundreds, if not thousands of wedding venues to choose from in the Ottawa area alone, so you should also figure out the style you want to go for. Do you want a more modern wedding? Maybe you love the country side? Maybe you want a more intimate setting at a local winery (p.s. Hey, my names Leesa, and I might be slightly addicted to wine. Can I photograph your winery wedding?)! The wedding date is an important thing to have when looking at venues because they might not be available the one date you have in mind, so having a few back ups is necessary. For example, I'm currently planning my own wedding and my venue had the reception available but not the ceremony so we had to switch dates in order to have the ceremony space as well as the reception area, which we are super okay with!
Also, I highly suggest having Friday's and Sunday's as an option. Some venues tend to be lower in price during the week-days and Sundays (besides a long weekend). Love is the same any day of the week! If your friends and family truly care to be there to celebrate with you, they will make the effort to make arrangements to be there - that's how I see it anyways!
Secondly, you should reach out to those vendors you have been stalking on Instagram you have fallen in love with (besides your spouse-to-be). Chances are, the ones you love are also loved by other brides and everyone would want to hire them to make their dream day come true. I highly suggest booking all your vendors as soon as possible, I mean, within reason. Some vendors, such as photographers, book out a year in advance, so it's always better safe than sorry to book these guys as soon as you have a venue and wedding date booked.
Thirdly, remember to enjoy your time together while planning. Compromise, get drunk one night and open Spotify and search for music. If you don't have a song that has a special meaning to you, this makes a fun night. Also choosing your ceremony music, introduction to the reception song and father-daughter/mother-son dances are also a hard one to choose. Music to me is kind of an important thing cause I LOVE music and I want to choose the right ones for everything. It should also tell a story, but for my fiance and I, we don't have a special song - we literally sing badly on purpose to every single song - so this was a fun thing to hang out on a Sunday night and do together.
The day of, make sure you EAT FOOD! I cannot stress this enough! I completely understand there are nerves and excitement, so much going on, but make time to eat! I always make sure my brides have food or are eating that day. Champagne and wine is all fun and games until someone passes out during the formal portraits - no one wants that, so just make sure to have some snacks on hand, maybe a fruit/veggie platter and sandwiches. Your body (and photographer) will thank you! No one wants to see a bride passed out on their wedding day!
Also, bring a change of shoes with you if you are wearing heels - your feet will thank you. I highly recommend Tom's - they are SO comfortable and you can find some super cute stylish ones! I always rock them on wedding days and it's been the best investment of my life.
After the ceremony, take a few minutes alone with your new spouse. Get out of the ceremony area as soon as possible so that you don't get bombarded by your friends and family right away. Everyone has been waiting all day to see you, but trust me, your spouse has been waiting a lifetime to be in that moment with you - your family can wait a few minutes. Your photographer is a great person to get your out of there - we can make sure to get you out ASAP for a few minutes to take a breath, then get the ball rolling on your formal portraits.
As your professional photographer, I always suggest having someone to go and grab all the people for your photos. You as the couple should never run around finding the people who need to be there for photos. I want you to stay put (yes, that includes you grooms!) and get a friends or family member who knows all the people in your families who are on the list you've provided to the photographer, to go and get all the people. This makes the portrait section of your day go by quickly and they can be done with photos to go back and enjoy the cocktail hour.
Lastly, take a moment during the night to take mental notes of the day. Every once in a while, take a step back and just look around at all the amazing friends and family who have come celebrate with you and just take it all in. Despite all the planning that goes into planning your wedding, it only lasts a few hours and it goes by quickly. You won't remember every detail - that's what your photographer and videographer is for - but take a moment to note who's on the dance floor, who's taking a shot of tequila, who's crying in happiness, what grandparent made it past midnight and who is laughing so loud it makes you laugh. So grab that glass of wine or champagne, and step back, take a breathe and look around.
When all said and done, all every bride ever wants is for the most perfect wedding day surrounded by friends and family who want to celebrate a union between two people who love each other more than life itself.
First Photo: Raz & Maicel
Second Photo: Brittany & Rob
Third Photo: Sonia & Jason
Fourth Photo: Aly & Alex
Fifth Photo: Aimee & Bobby
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