Your wedding doesn’t need to be the best wedding in the world; it just needs to be a special day for you - Gagan & Hamza

Real couples, real moments, real advice

So, you’re now engaged and planning your wedding. Exciting, right? Or not? Through our experience of shooting weddings, we have worked with all types of couples – those that plan the wedding like a military operation, those that couldn’t care less, those that just want a party, and some who don’t even think about their wedding until just a weeks before! We’ve seen several blogs offering advice to couples for their wedding day, but we thought we’d take it one step further and ask some of our beautiful couples we have worked with over the past year for their advice to future brides and grooms. What would they do differently, or what are their words of wisdom?

Thank you so much to each and every Cheka couple that helped me with this blog - it means a lot to me.

Below are our couples' own words - unfiltered and directly from their minds and souls.

Leading up to the wedding...

  • Your wedding doesn’t need to be the best wedding in the world, it just needs to be a special day for you. Stop looking at Pinterest a month before your wedding, there will never be enough ideas on how to make your wedding interesting.
  • Wedding planning has this stigma of being very stressful; it doesn’t have to be. It’s really important to remember that you are not alone! When it comes to planning your wedding, trust and delegation is huge. don’t try and take on everything yourself. We had a basic idea in our heads but it was so much less stress when we let other people organise some of the stuff. 
  • You are planning to commit to your partner for the rest of your life, you are a team and you’re in it together; use the strengths that each one brings to help in the process of planning. 
  • Provide a written plan and timeline to each vendor, and include lists of key contacts for the day. Try to avoid including yourself within that list of 'emergency contacts', instead have close friends/family and if you have a planner, ensure they're all connected with vendors.
  • Don’t let wedding stress make you lose sight of the bigger picture; you’re getting married because the two of you love each other and are excited for the future. The actual wedding comes and goes, and is such a small part of your relationship. Remember that you are planning a wedding, a joyous celebration of love, it’s a good thing, so don’t get caught up in the drama (yes drama is inevitable), but the best way to deal with this is to find things that help you stay sane. Everyone has their own method, such as exercise, meditation, yoga etc.
  • Make sure the days leading up to your wedding are not filled with last minute errands and decisions. This will allow you to really enjoy the build-up to your big day without stressing out. 
  • Be clear between yourselves about your wedding budget. Discuss where you are willing to compromise. You need to secure the vendors which are the most important to you quickly – e.g. photographer, wedding planner, venue etc. Remember the best vendors get booked well in advance for a reason. The earlier you start planning, the more time you will get to change things up incase something doesn’t work out. 
  • Don’t scrimp on photography. Except for the memories in your mind, photos are the only tangible things you take away from a wedding. Remember, cheap is expensive in the long-term. 
  • Find vendors you trust and are entirely happy with. Go with vendors that have been personally recommended to you rather than just off the internet. Make sure to vet all of your vendors well in advance. It is a once in a lifetime moment so you have to be very sure of your vendor choice. Once you have engaged a vendor, if something doesn’t feel right, speak up and make changes. Try and get all vendor agreements in writing.
  • Ask your vendors for their advice on any situations you're unsure of! They're experts and hopefully have dealt with many weddings, and therefore can have some great advice. But remember – at the end of the day, it's your big day, so go for whatever makes you happy, not what everyone else wants. Don’t feel you have to conform, or do as we did and elope! 
  • Be organised e.g. have a folder or whatsapp group per vendor, and then a month before, start handing things over to your wedding planner and/ or a trusted coordinator. 
  • Write a Journal. I started mine from the day we got engaged and recorded all our milestones or memorable days in planning our wedding right through to our honeymoon; it’s lovely to look back on. 
  • Definitely do a pre-wedding shoot before the functions start. One of the best moments was my pre wedding shoot, which was the day before all the wedding functions started. I was very stressed prior, but being at one with nature, and having a fun photo shoot made all my stress float away. I was able to just enjoy all my functions after this.
  • Drink loads of water - your skin will thank you for it. 


The beautiful day...

  • Make sure you hand over all the planning and logistics as soon as you arrive at the venue. In a good way, we felt like guests at our wedding, which is what we would hope for all future couples. Feeling like guests meant we got to engage and create beautiful memories with our friends and families and all the people that came out to celebrate us! Now a year later, we’re not talking about “oh this didn’t go right”, or “this didn’t happen on time”, we’re talking about the dance moves that one uncle (everyone has one) was breaking down on the dance floor or how delicious the food was (please don’t forget to eat!). 
  • On the wedding day and all the days of the events, we loved being able to take sneaky moments to ourselves. Even if that means getting the photographer to do amazing photo shoots, (which we were incredibly blessed to have), so be it. That was an incredible way to spend time and unwind during the wedding and it just made for some amazing photos that just captured the blissful time we were having.
  • It can get tough to do this, but genuinely don't worry if anything is out of plan. It usually always happens. It's life. Things can fall out of place, a vendor can be late, you may get roasted by speeches (more than expected) - these are all what make it super memorable and fun, roll with it. Anytime you feel overwhelmed on the day - stop, breathe, and remember how awesome this day is and to have so many people you care about all around you. Your biggest memories are going to be how you are feeling in those moments, and what sweet memories those are. The funny happy stuff is what you will remember.
  • Make sure you don’t get disturbed with any wedding stuff when you are getting dressed. This is your time to relax and look forward to the day. Take some deep breaths before your special moment and remember why you’re doing this. 
  • Be practical with your wedding attire. Ladies if you can get away with not wearing heels, do it! I was so happy I didn’t wear heels under my heavy lehenga at my beach wedding 
  • Enjoy your dress; I was adamant I was not going to carry my dress around all day and didn’t worry about keeping it immaculately clean (impossible in the Masai Mara anyway !) It’s supposed to be worn and enjoyed; it doesn’t need to stay pristine. 
  • Keep each other smiling and happy throughout the wedding day. 
  • A good friend of ours told us to get our best man and woman to give us a time check every few hours during our wedding events. The time always flies by and this was such a nice way to pace ourselves, and not lose track of the days and nights.
  • Try to find the balance between spending time greeting guests and just letting your hair down and having fun. We decided in advance what events over the four days we were going to make sure we formally greeted every guest and those we were going to just enjoy ourselves and not be under that pressure.
  • Don’t forget to eat all that yummy food! You’ve spent months stressing about the caterer and the types of cuisines you’d like to have; you deserve to enjoy it too! Between the nerves and busy schedule it’s easy to skip eating a proper meal. You need the energy and something to help soak up the champagne!
  • Organise supplier payments in advance, or delegate to someone else to manage on the day. 
  • Most importantly, party like you’ve never partied before!
Be practical with your wedding attire. Ladies if you can get away with not wearing heels, do it! I was so happy I didn’t wear heels under my heavy lehenga at my beach wedding  - Gagan & Hamza
Enjoy your dress; I was adamant I was not going to carry my dress around all day and didn’t worry about keeping it immaculately clean (impossible in the Masai Mara anyway !) It’s supposed to be worn and enjoyed; it doesn’t need to stay pristine - Sam & Nick
Remember that you are planning a wedding, a joyous celebration of love, it’s a good thing, so don’t get caught up in the drama (yes drama is inevitable), but the best way to deal with this is to find things that help you stay sane. Everyone has their own method, such as exercise, meditation, yoga etc - Roshni & Chirag
On the wedding day and all the days of the events, we loved being able to take sneaky moments to ourselves. Even if that means getting the photographer to do amazing photo shoots, (which we were incredibly blessed to have), so be it. That was an incredible way to spend time and unwind during the wedding and it just made for some amazing photos that just captured the blissful time we were having - Chandni & Jack
The earlier you start planning, the more time you will get to change things up incase something doesn’t work out - Raina & Shailen
Most importantly, party like you’ve never partied before! - Rachel & Fred
Try to find the balance between spending time greeting guests and just letting your hair down and having fun. We decided in advance what events over the four days we were going to make sure we formally greeted every guest and those we were going to just enjoy ourselves and not be under that pressure - Paveen & Mitesh
Keep each other smiling and happy throughout the wedding day - Amrita & Ram