The Wedding Planning Tips We Give All Our Couples

At Matt Mead Photography, we believe building relationships with our clients allows us to better serve them. It’s why meeting face-to-face with all of our inquiries is important to us. At this meeting we learn about your vision for the day and create a photography package that best fits what you want. As wedding photographers, we’ve figured out a few key ways to ensure you get the most out of your experience. What follows are the wedding planning tips we give to all the couples we meet (whether they book us or not).

Decide how many pre-wedding photos you want

Our first wedding planning tip is to discuss what types of photos you’ll absolutely want to look back at from the day. While most people are more focused on starting with the ceremony, don’t forget about the pre-wedding activities of the day.  At Matt Mead Photography, we’re all for capturing these precious moments. Would you like for us to meet you when you first gather with your bridal party for a trip to the hair salon or barber shop? Or would you rather we start with the excited anticipation of zipping up your dress or tying your tie? There is no wrong choice here. When you and your partner are on the same page about pre-wedding shots, we as photographers will be able to make your photo collection feel totally complete.

Bride looks over her shoulder and smiles at the camera while getting ready for her wedding

Go for the First Look portraits

Many couples like to uphold the tradition of avoiding seeing each other before the ceremony. Some will even spend the night apart, just to create more suspense and an even more emotional reveal. While other couples choose to see each other just before the ceremony and ask us to capture the moment. This series of photos is called a First Look.

Bride touches groom's cheek during first look portraits before their intimate back garden wedding

If you’re undecided about first look photos when planning your wedding, we say go for it! A first look session provides you with an intimate moment to look into each other’s eyes, take a deep breath, and simply be alone together. This is your opportunity to spend some quiet, uninterrupted time together before the hubbub of the day begins in full swing . It’s your wedding day: you deserve to enjoy and be present for it. The photos will reflect all the emotions you felt in that moment, too.

Groom reacts to seeing his bride for the first time on their wedding day during intimate first look portraits

Still not sure? Head on over to our blog post outlining the pros and cons of having a First Look on your wedding day.

Make time for first look type photos with your parents

Regardless of whether you do a First Look with your partner, we always advise setting aside 15-20 minutes for some pre-wedding photos with your parents. You’ll love a sweet, quiet moment with your parents right before heading down the aisle. From a photographer’s perspective, some of the reactions we’ve seen are incredible. When you look back on all your wedding photos, we’re confident these will be some of your favorites.

Bride has first look with her father at Sheraton Bayfront Hotel in Erie, PA

Father hugs his daughter, the bride, before her wedding ceremony at the Sheraton Bayfront Hotel in Erie, PA

Father reacts to seeing his daughter, the bride, in her wedding dress

Don’t forget to eat.

This is a piece of easily overlooked wedding planning advice. In all the chaos of the day, eight hours can whiz by without any sustenance except beer and mimosas. We all know that’s a recipe for 1) becoming hangry, and 2) a pounding headache, neither of which are ideal for your wedding. Keep a few granola bars in your bag, or be ready to send a bridesmaid around the corner for chicken nuggets to munch when your photographer isn’t looking.

Part of wedding planning tips, bride eats chicken nuggets while getting ready

Bride and groom munch on candy bars during bridal portraits

Make a trusted wedding guest the point-of-contact for your vendors

In the weeks and months leading up to your big day, you’ll probably spend a lot of time with your vendors. However, you’re not going to want to spend your wedding day fielding questions from your vendors.

A huge wedding planning tip would be to enlist one of your most trusted friends or family members to serve as your vendors’ point-of-contact. Spend some time before the day prepping them on everything they may need to know. Then, when one of your vendors has a question, they can easily get an answer without having to interrupt your celebration.

Plan out your post-ceremony photos pre-ceremony

Yes, you read that right! After your wedding ceremony, you’ll likely have a mob of family members ready to organize for group pictures. These are always treasured shots and are a big part of the day, but they can be hectic. In order to keep things on schedule and organized, it’s wise to list out exactly who you would like in these photos and share it with your photographer ahead of the wedding day.

Bridal party outside of the Washington County Courthouse

Once you’ve made your list, our tip is to notify everyone you want in the photos during the rehearsal dinner. Planning helps to ensure that everyone has the chance to say “cheese!” without making you miss the reception.

Don’t forget to feed your vendors

This may seem like an obvious reminder, but this wedding planning tip can help save you from a very awkward mealtime conversation. Although DJs, bartenders, and photographers are not technically on your guest list, they’re still a big part of your celebration. Which is worse — facing unexpected costs on the day of your wedding, or dealing with hungry DJs? By factoring vendor food and drink costs into your budget, you can avoid both outcomes.

Hold your reception events early into the celebration

With so many different reception traditions to partake in, it can be tempting to stagger them throughout the night. However, we find that it’s best to schedule special moments like the first dance, cake-cutting, and bouquet toss fairly early on.

Bride and groom kissing as they prepare to cut the cake at their Anchor Plaza wedding

All these exciting reception rituals are really great photo-ops. Trust us when we say you won’t want to have to worry about staying camera-ready for the entire reception. Holding these events within the first two hours of your celebration ensures that guests will still be present and engaged. Afterwards, you can let loose without worrying about when your next scheduled item starts.

Decide if you want to make a grand exit

Many couples spend a lot of time thinking about how they’ll stand together at the altar. A less common daydream is how you’re going to leave! Still, there’s plenty of stunning send-offs to potentially incorporate into your ceremony or reception.

Bride and groom smiling during bubble exit after wedding at Bushy Run Battlefield

Our advice is to consider your options during your wedding planning. If you’re looking for a little more flair, you could opt for bubbles or even sparklers! These second options require a bit more planning, so allow yourself time to gather the proper materials. For example, if you plan to have a sparkler exit, invest in smokeless sparklers. They bring all the drama without taking the focus off of you and your partner!

Bride and groom kissing during sparkler exit at the end of their Port Farms wedding

Get a wedding album

At Matt Mead Photography, we believe every wedding tells a great love story. We keep this in mind when photographing your special day. Through your collection of photos, we show you how the day unfolded from our perspective. We are here to preserve all the day’s big moments — even the ones you didn’t even know were happening. While we deliver your photos through an online gallery, we believe a wedding album is the best way to do this. It’s why we include an album in all of our wedding photography packages. Our final tip when planning your wedding is invest in your wedding album. It’s the best souvenir you can have from one of the most precious days of your life together. That way, any time you want, you can relive your wedding day by looking through your wedding album.

Wedding album laid opennext to canvas cover and care instructions

And here’s one last bonus wedding planning tip: work with photographers you trust! At Matt Mead Photography, we take pride in building relationships with our clients long before the event. This way, we’re fully prepared to capture your vision. Contact us today to inquire about availability or schedule a consultation. It would be an honor to work with you!

For more insight into how we work, check out these blog posts:

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At Matt Mead Photography we believe that building relationships with our clients is the best way to serve them. That's why we value meeting all of our couples face-to-face by video call. We look forward to meeting you soon!


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matt mead photography 1821 oxford st. erie, pa 16505  (814)315-3353