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Wedding Planning Tips

Wedding Planning Tips to help the day run smoothly and to get the best photos possible!

After photographing 150+ weddings, I’ve got a few ideas on how to make your wedding day go smoother and how to take better photos. I’d love to hear your tips for planning weddings throughout the different seasons here in Alberta and your tips for destination weddings!

Winter Weddings

1. Think about having an earlier ceremony time to have more hours of daylight for your wedding photos. The sun sets earlier in the winter months, especially in Alberta!

2. Consider long dresses for your bridesmaids so they can wear boots and long johns under their dresses to keep warm for outside photos.

3. Always have an indoor photo back-up. You can only stay outside for so long for photos when it’s -30 degrees!

4. Have the groomsmen wear thermal socks and put toe warmers in their shoes (activate the warmer pack about 2 hours before you plan to go outside) to keep their feet warm and toasty to keep smiles on their faces!

5. Consider some type of shawl/cardigan/jacket/wrap/mittens/hats/scarves etc. for the bridesmaids and the bride, especially, to help them keep warm for outdoor photos. It’s hard to look happy when you are fighting off hypothermia!

6. Have your reception start earlier in the day as well to not have guests driving home on bad snowy roads late at night. A 5 pm start for dinner after a 12 pm ceremony still allows lots of party time but guests can safely get on the road to travel by 10 pm without feeling like they are missing the action.

7. Pack some warm drinks for the wedding party. Hot chocolate and a shot of whiskey can help keep you warm on a chilly day!

8. Consider hiring a limo to drive you around so that you always have a toasty vehicle to jump into that is close by to warm up!

9. Think about bouquets that can handle the cold and choose flowers that won’t show freezing damage. Flowers are delicate and freeze easily in -20 degree weather.

10. Be sure to moisturize! Alberta’s cold, dry winters can really show on your skin and in your photos!

Spring Weddings

1. Be prepared for anything & everything! Spring is so unpredictable in Alberta that you can have snow in April or it can be as hot as August. Have warm clothing back-ups just in case!

2. It will rain. Surely, at some point for Spring weddings, there will be rain. Buy cute matching umbrellas for your wedding party to use for photos. If it doesn’t rain and you have a super warm day, they also provide some welcomed shade as well!

3. Consider rubber boots. Chances are the ground will still be soggy. You’ll sink in heels in the grass, so think about a pair of rubber boots or flats you can wear under your dress to help make moving around outside easier.

4. Pick seasonal flowers. This is a great time of year for so many flowers so see what is available locally and what works with your colours. Spring truly has the best options for pretty flowers. Can you say peonies and ranunculus? 😉

5. Choose longer dresses for your bridesmaids with a heavier fabric, since chances are it’s going to be chilly on your wedding day.

6. If you have your heart set on an outdoor wedding in Spring, be sure to have a tent and patio heaters to keep your guests toasty as the temperature drops at night.

7. Plan to sneak away from your reception to enjoy the later sunsets to get beautiful evening wedding photos with velvety blue twilight skies.

8. Don’t forget the bug spray!! The mosquitos are the worst in the wet spring months!

Summer Weddings

1. Opt for a look for the guys that doesn’t require a jacket. Go for just a shirt, maybe a vest, but a full suit jacket will have the guys roasting in the hot August sun.

2. Think about a lighter colour palette for the hot summer months. Grey/tan/beige are great choices for the guys and go for pastels for the ladies to help them stay cool.

3. Lightweight fabrics are your best friend for summer. From your wedding gown to the suits for the guys, the lighter the better.

4. Consider a later ceremony time after the hottest time of day to keep your guests cool and have prettier light.

5. Think about doing a “first look” and doing all of your wedding party photos before the ceremony to avoid the bright mid-day sun.

6. Be sure to apply sunscreen! Make sure there’s some sunscreen in your make-up and slather up all other exposed parts so you don’t turn red for photos!

7. Pack blotting paper and powder to use throughout the day to combat shininess.

8. Keep a cooler on hand with icy cold drinks, especially water to keep you hydrated and happy.

9. Shade is your best friend. Choose photo locations that have lots of shade available and stay out of direct sun.

Autumn Weddings

1.Have a Halloween Costume wedding, because you can and it would be awesome!

2. Choose colours that compliment an Autumn setting… mint green doesn’t look great with rusty oranges and reds that you find during the Autumn season. Jewel tones are a great choice for fall weddings!

3. Choose off-white, cream or ivory for your wedding dress so that it doesn’t contrast as starkly as pure white against the rich fall scenery.

4. Try a blue suit/tux for the guys! Still super formal, but blue looks amazing with Autumn colours!

5. Have a later start for your reception (7 pm) so that you can enjoy the beautiful Autumn early evening light for your wedding photos.

6. Autumn is the season to go bold with your theme and colour scheme! Can someone please do leopard print and hire me to photograph it? 😉

7. Have your guests throw leaves as you leave the ceremony.. how fun!

8. Choose dahlias for your bouquet! They are in season and they are awesome!

9. Pumpkins and gourds are expected Autumn wedding decorations, but make them new and exciting by painting them white or covering them with gold glitter, for example. They are inexpensive and can be found pretty much everywhere!

Destination Weddings

1. Plan your travel to allow for delays. Be sure to leave enough room that if your flight is held over for 12 hours, you won’t be late for your own wedding.

2. If you are headed to a tropical location or to the mountains, remember that the sun sets earlier the closer you are to the equator and the sun also disappears pretty quickly behind the Rocky Mountains. Make sure you leave enough time to get photos while there is still sufficient amounts of light!

3. Book a Trash the Dress or a Day After session so you can get more amazing photos in locations wouldn’t have been able to make it to on your wedding day.

4. Plan for wind. Beaches and mountaintops are windy and can wreak havoc on your hair.

5. Think about your footwear ladies. 5″ Manolo Blahnik heels just won’t work on the beach or in the mountains.

6. Research the rules for wedding licences ahead of time to be sure you have been there long enough to legally be married! Residency Requirements vary vastly from location to location!

7. Plan a trip to your destination wedding location before you get married, especially if you are heading South to a resort. This way you can get a feel for the location, the food and the service that you’ll expect on your wedding day and have fewer surprises!

8. Carefully consider the climate for your destination wedding wardrobe choices. Lighter, more informal clothing will help you enjoy your beach wedding while not sweating to death. Opt for warmer fabrics if you are headed to the mountains, especiall in the spring, autumn and winter months!

9. Take me with you. Please. Really. I totally want to go with you!

If you have any other wedding planning tips, I’d love to hear them!! Please share your wedding planning experiences in the comments section below!

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