How do you do that, you ask? Answers may vary...but from my experience in shooting around 200 weddings I'll offer you some advice.

#1 - Book an engagement session...

This is the perfect opportunity to meet your photographer, get some practice being in front of their camera, loosen up a bit - because let's face it - we're not all super models! Added bonus? You get kick-ass photos of the two of you to use for save the dates, guestbooks, invitations, table decorations, or wedding reception slideshows.

#2 - Plan ahead!

Typically, I provide my clients with a recommended timeline - this isn't something all photographers do. But with my experience, it's absolutely necessary! If you plan your day in a detailed hour by hour fashion, and include PLENTY of cushion time for each event, your day will run so much smoother. Giving you time to relax and stay in the moment.

#4 - SMILE!

I can't say it enough!! Your photographer is documenting your entire day - an incredibly happy day - and if you're not smiling, you'll end up with photos of you not smiling. It doesn't have to be a full on pearly white smile. A slight smirk is enough, and better than a frown. Britta - the bride & inspiration for this post - didn't let anything get her down all day. She was present in every moment, and her face showed exactly how happy she was.

#5 -Details are pay attention to them.

Your day is full of so many moments, and it goes by quicker than you can imagine, but let me tell you - as a documenting photographer - the details matter! And I'm not JUST talking about flowers and jewelry. I'm talking about where you're getting ready, making sure you eat, making sure your bridal party are taken care of, showing your appreciation to all who have supported you on your journey to one of the most important days of your life! Britta was fortunate enough to have access to a vacant apartment. She had everything arranged and ready when I arrived. Her bridesmaids each had their own mirror, chair, vintage hankerchief and a personalized card. She included her parents in the moment, giving them a thank-you as well. The room where she got dressed was empty and free from distractions, providing her with gorgeous images during her getting ready. Most importantly...she was present. In the moment. Enjoying her bridesmaids and parents reactions to her appreciation, making her day even more memorable. If you make sure you've gotten these things on your to-do list, you won't be left scrambling on the day of.

#6 - First Look, or not.

Britta & Scott decided to have a first look. This is something, that for THEM, helped to alleviate the stress of their day. It's not for everyone. Make a list of the pros and cons, then make a decision and own it. Then plan your day accordingly. We took care of all their bridal party photos before the ceremony so that they could enjoy cocktail hour with their guests, rather than be tied up doing photos. Plus - they we super eager to see each other!

#7 - Make it Personal

Britta and her Dad made their arch, in front of which they got married. This is a memory they'll have forever - and they didn't have to worry about renting something. They also incorporated Scott's vintage Jag. This was where he proposed to her - they also had engagement photos done with it - and so naturally, it was included in their wedding day. How wonderful to have something unique to them, and their day. You can include heirloom jewels, or - in Britta's case - a handmade, one of a kind, dress. All of these things collectively may not alleviate stress - BUT - as you go through your day, these details will be important to you, grounding you and keeping you in the moment. Reminding you that this is YOUR day, and you're meant to enjoy every last thing that makes it special to you.

#8 - Remember WHY you're doing this.

Your love for each other has brought you to this point. Nothing and nobody can take that away from you. Embrace it - feel it - and know, that as long as you do that, nothing can ruin your wedding day.

#9 - HAVE FUN!

You've planned this for a long time. Whether you have a huge guest list or a small one. 30 people in your bridal party, or two. An indoor or outdoor reception. Whether it rains or is a sweaty, humid mess. Have fun. Dance, smile, laugh, embrace your guests, and stay present in every moment.

After all is over...your photographs will be what you have to re-ignite those feelings for many years to come.