here's a few tips to have the best wedding day ever.

Start planning early

You don't have to have EVERYTHING planned the minute you get engaged - take a breather, enjoy staring at that ring on your finger - but if you know the top vendors you want to work with (photographer, florist, DJ, venue, etc.) then you should start making inquiries sooner rather than later. These days, we book up pretty fast!

Book vendors you trust & LOVE

Your wedding day is about more than how everything looks, it's more important about how you FEEL. You should be surrounded by people you love and trust to celebrate in the biggest way possible with you - including your vendors. If they aren't hyping you up and making you feel amazing about your day, it might be time to cut ties and look for someone else.

Online vision boards have a limit

Remember that when you scroll through Pinterest, you are often seeing inspiration photos from styled shoots, not real wedding days. (Let's see more #nofilter, am I right?!) Pinterest is a great place to be inspired for wedding ideas, but keep in mind that your wedding album will not be a shot-for-shot remake of your "It's a Nice Day for a White Wedding" vision board. 

Gather your details ahead of time

Anything special for your wedding day - something old, new, borrowed, blue, jewelry, invitations, shoes, veil, garter, love notes, etc. Hand this task over to your maid of honor, family member, etc. so that when your photographer arrives asking for them, you don't have to run around to find them while finishing hair & makeup.

Bring a change of shoes

You might not wear them. But just bring them. It's much more fun to dance the night away and enjoy the company of your friends and family when your feet aren't throbbing.

Your dress will get dirty

Bottom line your dress will get dirty and the underside will be absolutely filthy by the end of your wedding day. My best advice to brides who are worried about the dress getting dirty is to just take a deep breath and enjoy the day and just roll with a little bit of dirt. Don’t worry it won’t show up in the shots and I guarantee the guests won’t notice either.

Do a hair and makeup trial

Whenever someone asks for my biggest wedding day regret, it's ALWAYS the fact that I didn't do a hair/makeup trial and we were not on the same page come the wedding day. These pictures will be on your walls for the rest of your life - do yourself a favor and book a trial run so you LOVE how you look. Plus this gives you the perfect opportunity to do bridal portraits!

Schedule enough time for photos

I may be biased, but this is really important. Ask your photographer for their timeline suggestions. They build these based on the time of day your ceremony will take place, if you are planning on doing a first look, if there will be multiple locations, etc. You hired your photographer for a reason - trust them!

Minimize your locations

Speaking of multiple locations - your wedding day will flow smoother and stress-free the fewer locations you have to worry about. A lot of venues have built-in bridal suites and a place for the guys to literally just throw their clothes on before the ceremony. It's not fair ladies, it's really do they look so good with only five minutes of effort?! If multiple locations are a must, make sure EVERYONE is on the same page prior to the wedding day.

Consider a First Look

We've all seen the photos of the groom crying as his new bride walks down the aisle. We've come to expect them at our own wedding - maybe you're thinking" if my husband doesn't look like this when I'm coming down the aisle, then I'm going to be PISSED." Listen up - not every man will cry. Especially not in front of a whole crowd of people. BUT, when you do a first look with just you two and your photographer there to capture it, the sky is the limit on what emotions may occur! I've watched full-grown men have to compose themselves after completely breaking down over how gorgeous their bride-to-be is (my stomach is getting butterflies just thinking about it again!). And I've watched that same man tear up as his bride walks down the aisle towards him. Bottom line - consider a first look with the love of your life. It will be worth it!

Smile during the ceremony

I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I’ve wanted to scream a joke at a wedding party that isn't smiling during the ceremony. Let's leave the RBF in the all the way back to high school hallways. This goes for everyone! Remind your wedding party that they need to smile during the ceremony! During the entrance, it always looks best if the couples entering are smiling and laughing at each other. While standing up during the ceremony, some smiles and glances at family and friends in the crowd are perfect. During the exit smiling and high-fiving the guests in the aisle is wonderful. It should be one of the happiest times for everyone involved…show it!!


My best recommendation regarding the kiss is to actually kiss multiple times! Take your time. Kiss at the front, kiss & dip as you are walking back down the aisle, kiss at the end of the aisle, kiss at the exit, and KISS ALL DAY. It's never not cute...unless maybe there is a gross amount of tongue. Save that for later.

Include a sneak-away session

The photos last about 15 minutes and are typically scheduled during your reception and after dinner. Not only do these photos tend to be incredibly romantic, but they also give the two of you the chance to breathe and just BE TOGETHER without someone's aunt's sister coming up to give you a plum lipstick kiss on the cheek.

Tipping vendors

There are no hard and fast rules here and certainly no expectations from any of the vendors. The general rule here is that you really should try to take care of a vendor that goes above and beyond what you expected from them. If you do tip by no means does it mean cash, it could be as simple as a heartfelt thank you note. The one exception is if you have wait staff serve you at your wedding…make sure you ask the caterer if the “service charge” is an actual tip or just an on-site fee. The bottom line if a wedding vendor goes above and beyond the call of duty, do your best to thank them in some way.

Emma Craven Photography is a wedding & birth photographer located in Western Pennsylvania. She believes in capturing life's biggest moments - the days you can't "redo". Her photos will reflect your day as it truly was - with a natural, moody feel - inspired by nature - she aims to capture every little detail so you can be present in the moment.