Wedding planning can seem like absolute chaos at times. With YEARS of experience in the wedding industry, I’ve come across a handful of helpful tips to help you out on your wedding day. I hope some of these can make the day a little less stressful for you, so you can focus on enjoying this day!

Wedding planning tips! Couple at their sweetheart table during wedding reception.
Wedding at Sunol’s Casa Bella Event Center

Getting Ready

There are sooooo many things to think about when it comes to getting ready on your big day, but here are some of the top things that come to mind!

  • Bring a wooden hanger for your photographer to use when taking photos of your dress hanging. It can be a custom one that says “Mrs” with your new last name, or it can just be a simple wooden hanger. Either way, ditch the blue and green plastic hangers from Target!
  • Have a crochet hook handy if your dress has buttons! Especially if there are a lot of them…those suckers take FOREVER
  • Cut all your tags off of your dress, shoes, etc. and bring scissors on your wedding day just in case you miss any. The last thing you want to do is try and rip a tag off your dress, accidentally ripping your dress.
  • Get ready earlier than you think you need to! Tell your HMU that you need to be ready at least 15 minutes before your photographers arrive. It’s better to have more time than you need than not enough. Wouldn’t you rather enjoy a glass of champagne or a few laughs with your bridesmaids in the downtime than be running late???
  • Bring eyelash glue to glue the back of your necklace down to your neck! This way, your necklace doesn’t budge.
  • Have all of your details and stationary ready in a box for your photographer to take pictures of when they arrive. This will help them keep everything organized and ensure they photograph all the things you want!

Ceremony Tips

Wedding Ceremony Planning
Wedding at Sunol’s Casa Bella Event Center

Wanna know how to level up your ceremony with some simple tips?

  • Designate ushers to guide people to open seats, specifically filling up all the aisle seats first
  • If you’re having an unplugged ceremony, have your officiant explicitly remind your guests at the beginning to keep their phones put away (the reality is: unplugged ceremony signs just aren’t enough anymore)
  • Lock eyes with your partner before walking down the aisle for a more intimate experience. Don’t focus on everyone else that’s there
  • If you’re reading personal vows, write them down in vow books or nice letters (this also makes for a great piece in your details photos)
  • Ask your officiant to step far to the side for your first kiss. This way he/she isn’t standing directly behind you in your first kiss photo.
  • Hold that first kiss for at LEAST 3 seconds. This will help ensure that your photographer gets a good photo of your first kiss.
  • When walking OUT of your ceremony, stop in the middle or the end of the aisle for another kiss/dip
  • Spend a few private minutes with your partner immediately after walking out of your ceremony. While you’re doing this, your guests can go find cocktail hour and your immediate family can get organized for photos.
  • If you have control of this, consider having your ceremony against an open background. This will keep the focus on you and leave little room for distraction in photos.
  • Try and have the sun behind you for your ceremony. It’s a little bit tough to explain without giving a visual to show, but you want to be between the sun and your audience for the best lighting during your ceremony. This will allow your photographer to capture the dreamiest photos for you.
  • Avoid standing anywhere where trees will cast splotchy shadows on your faces. You spent a lot of money on professional makeup, and your guests are here to see you, so don’t let pesky shadows ruin your moment.
  • Make sure your wedding party is smiling!! When they walk down the aisle with you, while they’re standing next to you, and when you all exit. RBF comes so natural to people, so make sure everyone knows that they need to LOOK like they’re excited!
  • Include your photographer in the discussion for the ceremony plans! I’m not saying give us the authority over anything and everything, but include us in the discussion or update us on plans so that we aren’t thrown off or surprised when we arrive. When including us in your plans, we will be able to make sure that you have the best lighting for your photos and enough time for all the shots you want.


Let’s bring the party to your reception!!!! Here are some tips:

  • Bring a comfy pair of shoes to dance the night away in. If you’re anything like me, you’re kicking your heels off after an hour, so bring a comfy pair of shoes to party in.
  • Have someone practice bustling your dress til they’re a pro. You want to be able to bustle your dress quickly, so that you’re not running behind on your timeline.
  • Make sure the lighting is adequate at your reception! Set the mood! Whether it’s string lights or candles, ensure that you have pretty lighting for your reception. Not just for photos, but for the experience!
  • Have your friends/family that are giving toasts stand next to you at your sweetheart table! This way, we can get photos of all of you together while they’re speaking.
  • Walk around your reception and spend time on the dance floor WITH your new spouse! This will encourage guests to dance with you, ensure that you’re soaking in the night together, and get you BOTH in photos all night.
Bride and friends partying at wedding reception at Historic Oakdale Ranch
Wedding at Historic Oakdale Ranch

Pre-Wedding Day Tips to Keep in Mind!!

  1. Break! In! Your! Shoes! Your wedding day should NOT be the first time you are wearing your shoes. Wear them around the house for awhile and break them in. That way you’re not experiencing any surprises on the day of, and they’re much more comfortable for you to wear.
  2. Get your ring cleaned! Make that baby sparkle. It should be pretty obvious why, but if it’s not….then here’s why: more people will want to look at your ring than ever before, your photographer will be getting close-up detail shots of the ring, and finally….you don’t want a dirty ring do you?
  3. DO NOT let other people sway your decisions in wedding planning. This day is your day! Not your aunt’s day, not your distant cousin’s day, not your friend’s mom’s day, not your mother in law’s day. This is about you and your fiancee. It’s fine to ask opinions from trusted people who are close to you. But don’t listen to unsolicited opinions that make things harder for you. You should be able to look back on your wedding day and have happy memories, not regrets about what you should’ve or wish you would’ve done.
  4. Check in with your wedding party and see how they’re feeling too! Make sure that everyone has their tasks done, and things are in order. They shouldn’t be causing you any more stress than you need, so check in with them periodically to ensure that things are on track!

Okay…one more thing!

I wanna talk to YOU today about the value of having the SAME photographer for your engagement AND wedding.

Most photographers, including myself, offer engagement and wedding packages/bundles. There is HUGE value to this my friend. You should be comfortable with your wedding photographer. You should know what they’re like, who they are, how they work! You don’t want the first time you meet your photographer to be the day of your wedding. Hiring the same photographer for your engagement photos as you do for your wedding will only benefit you. Don’t believe me? Keep reading…

1: Your engagement photos and wedding photos will be cohesive. Photographers have different styles. Two photographers can pose you and edit your photos completely different from each other. If you want your engagement/wedding photos to go hand in hand and look cohesive, then hire the same photographer!

2: It will allow YOU to be more comfortable with your photog! We can work in pretty crazy situations (trust me…we ALL have some wild stories), so meeting you for the first time and working with you on your wedding day is something we can totally work with, but it should be important to you that you know exactly how your photographer operates. Your engagement photos allow you an opportunity to see how your photographer poses you, how your personalities work together, and a chance to straight up get acquainted!

3: A lot of the times, you can save money by hiring the same photographer for their package deals. Including myself. My engagement + wedding bundle is cheaper when packaged together rather than purchasing a couple’s session separate from a wedding package! This may be true for a lot of photographers, so make sure to ask about this!

If you’re not already following along on the gram, head over to @yumikotanphoto on instagram for more tips and content! And if you have any wedding tips that no bride should leave out, comment them below and help a sista out! If you’re planning a wedding right now, tell me below what part of your day you’re looking forward to the most!

You all deserve magical days!

Ready to book the photographer of your dreams? Inquire with me here!

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