At this point in my career as a photographer, I’ve photographed just about every style of weddings there is: elopements, micro weddings, 300+ guest weddings, private weddings, and spontaneous weddings. Whether you have zero or 200 guests at your wedding, it’s possible to have a relaxed day. Don’t @ me—I’m totally serious. In my experience, there are a few common threads to the most relaxed wedding days. It’s possible for your day to flow smoothly if you follow these three tips.

Revive Coffee and Wine wedding

Make a ballpark budget.

You’ve got the ring. You’ve got the Pinterest board. You’ve dreamed of this day for a long time. It’s tempting to dive in head first. But before you do, sit down with your partner, parents, and anyone else who will be financially contributing to your day and have a frank discussion about budget. Who will be paying for what? Is the budget flexible? Do they have expectations around your choices? It’s best to know these details up front to avoid heartache and strained family dynamics.

Make a list of the biggest wedding expenses (you don’t have to go too far into detail) and what you’re willing to pay for each line item. Once you have your ballpark estimate, add $2-5k extra for wiggle room. Things happen (see below), and you and your wallet need to be prepared.

how to have a relaxed wedding day
Lake Tahoe Wedding

Hire the pros.

As a Lake Tahoe wedding photographer, I’m very familiar with destination weddings. If you’re planning a destination wedding, it’s especially important to have local professional vendors on board. We are always happy to be a part of your day and welcome out-of-town vendors, BUT, remember, we live here, we’ve done weddings here for years, and ultimately, we know what’s best. 

Here’s an example: You go with a hometown florist. Because they don’t know the area or your venue well, they’re running behind, and you don’t have your bouquet for photos. This cuts into pre-ceremony (first look) photo time. When they finally arrive, I (your Tahoe-local photographer) can whisk you away to a nearby forest only known to locals for a beautiful, quick shoot. And your day carries on as normal. When you hire local professional vendors, you’re hiring a team of people who know your venue (and each other) well. And on your wedding day, that’s worth its weight in gold.

If you’re not sure where to start with planning, hire a wedding planner. Asking yourself if it’s worth it? I’ve never met a couple who regrets hiring a wedding planner. Honestly, at the end of the day, the planner is probably going to save you money. 

Expect the unexpected.

Above all, the key to having a relaxed wedding day is to expect the unexpected. Even if you’ve hired all local vendors and you’re working with a wedding planner, you should expect that at least one, small thing will not go as planned. Take some time to remind yourself what is most important to you on your wedding day—I encourage you to pick three things. Then only focus on those things. Maybe it’s the time spent getting ready with your wedding party, your first look, and your choreographed first dance. I know it’s tough, but forget the rest. Trust that you’ve hired the pros and that they’ll handle whatever situation arises. The day will fly by, so do your best to spend time being present for the things that matter: the people around you who are there to celebrate you.