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You should focus on you when planning your perfect wedding day. My wife, Helen, and I chose to focus on the music that we love. We met through a mutual love of the same bands and used that to help bring our wedding day to life. We even asked Helen’s brother to play Metallica’s ‘Nothing Else Matters’ during our signing of the register. And for our first dance, we went for cover of Goo Goo Dolls’ ‘Iris’ by Sleeping with Sirens. Plus, our DJ played some good old punk tunes to liven up the dance floor, along with Taylor Swift pop to get grandma up and about.

We wanted to focus our day on involving as many family members and friends as we could. And the music we chose will always remind us of our day. But could we have gone further? Even with the wild forests of inspiration from Pinterest, most of our day was pretty traditional. We simply weren’t aware of all the options available to us. So, I want to make sure that you know that you can enjoy your day however you want.

Have it your way

You’re thinking hard about your perfect wedding day, and probably about what your family will say, but what about you? What is it that drew you and your partner together? What makes you click and laugh on a date? Even better, what do you like taking pictures of and sharing on Instagram?

The most successful weddings that I’ve photographed have something that makes them special for the couple. There’s a bit of their own style, some panache, and a standout factor. They’re the weddings that guests talk about for years. The wedding where the couple have put their stamp on the day and it clear from the start of the day.

Too often couples book the suppliers recommended by the country house or hotel without doing their own searching. They choose the chair covers and colours that the hotel has on display as that what everyone else chooses. But it’s your day and this is your chance to do whatever it is that you want.

Make your day fun for you

Want to go bowling in your wedding dress, then hit those lanes. Want to run through a hayfield, then slip on your trainers. Want your new husband to row you both across a river, then get in that boat – and bring another dress, just in case. It’s your wedding day and it should be all about you.

The dream moments of your day don’t have to be expensive either. It’s all just about using a little imagination and making the day work for you. It’s a huge day in your life, so you might as well make it memorable. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

1. A modern first look or help each other get ready

The first look is normally an American tradition but with so many couples living together before their big day, does it really matter? Share the morning of your wedding day together and help each other get ready. Or meet just before your ceremony for a first look. It’s such an exciting moment and something that you can share together.

Since working at a wedding in Boston, USA, I’ve suggested this to a few couples more are choosing it as an option. Plus, I can capture a lot of your special moments then, so you can enjoy more of your time with friends and family during your reception drinks.

2. Finding the perfect venue to say, "I do"

Find somewhere that suits you. You can have the fancy hotel, the cutesy barn, or something completely different. But just remember that you don’t have to pick a ‘wedding venue’. Not only are there more places getting marriage licenses every day, but you could choose a simple Registry Office and focusing on the wedding reception. In London, many couples choose the Chelsea Old Town Hall Registry Office, so keep it in mind.

Maybe you and your partner went on a first date to a lovely restaurant, or even your local. You know the food’s great, the drinks are top notch, and it’s a place you will feel comfortable. That’s always important. If you feel out of place somewhere, do not book it, despite what others might think. Remember, it’s all about you.

3. Throw lots of confetti

I could speak for hours about confetti. Whatever you do, take some time to focus on this. There’s always the shop bought confetti. It’s small, no one can see it, and you’ll need a lot of it to make any real impact on your perfect wedding day. Confetti can be a part of some of your most amazing photos, so do not miss the chance to enjoy it.

I would suggest choosing something that is big and fun to throw. Big flower petals are a firm favourite. I had one bride this year tell me that she had started drying flowers that her fiancé gave her ever since they got engaged. It made for a great basket of confetti on the day and those flowers have been there throughout their engagement. Another option is the big party poppers – the canon variety. Get them aimed high and you’ll enjoy a shower of confetti.

If you’re not allowed any confetti, biodegradable or not, then go for something that will disappear, like bubbles. Or something big, like paper planes and cranes. Kids can colour them all the way up to the day and you can keep them afterwards as a beautiful memento of your day.

4. Your first dance

Before you start to worry about this one, remember that there are a very minute number of people out there who can actually dance. And I’ll be the first to raise my hand to let everyone know that I can’t. I’ve perfected the ‘dad dance’ – shuffling on the spot and pointing in random directions. For your first dance, you can sway, jump around, or have a full routine. But whatever you do, make sure that you feel comfortable. Maybe even consider not having one. It’s your day, just get everyone up and dancing together – then there’s no spotlight on you.

5. If music be the food of love...

As I opened with, I believe that music can have a huge impact on your day, so do take your time to make sure that it suits you both. This is for everything, including bridal prep. You don’t want the news on in the morning or kids shows. You need something for you and that should continue, right through to the last song. Speak with your DJ, give them a few tracks that really get your heart racing and trust them to keep that up throughout the night.

Trust me, a good DJ or band can make the night. Find someone that you can see play listen to before your day. When we found our DJ, he was playing another wedding, great music all night and no Radio DJ voice. We were sold on him and booked the next day.

There’s always the option of a Silent Disco with a choice of channels. They might seem odd but if you’ve ever tried them, they’re a great laugh and your guests can find tunes that keep them moving.

Remember, it’s your perfect wedding day

If I could urge you as a wedding photographer, to prioritise anything for your perfect wedding day, it’s you and your partner. You don’t have to do anything a certain way, and you don’t have to bow to tradition. Go all out and have the perfect day, personalised to you. You’ll thank yourself for it, and the photos will be amazing.

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