We’ve shot a lot of super fun weddings over the last few years and we thought it was time to share some of the top tips and ideas we’ve seen and experienced that have resulted in a wedding to remember. Which has also helped us take awesome photographs!
Make it what you want.
You don’t need to have fruit cake if you don’t like it. That also applies to pretty much any ‘wedding tradition’ out there. The more traditional your day, the more likely everyone is going to assume that they have to be on their best behaviour. You don’t tend to have as much fun when you’re in fussy clothes and have to behave yourself. From the outset, make the invitations about the two of you and what to expect from your day.
Having said that, you can keep whatever traditions you want and combine them with more modern ideas. We will be honest though, burying a sausage to bring good weather doesn’t seem to have a 100% success rate.
Where can we have the most fun?
Think about what kind of day you want. Festive style, a rave, rock night, a relaxed and chilled cocktail night – you need to make sure your venue fits your theme.
If you’re planning a late night you need to find somewhere with a late licence and curfew. Also, consider the benefits of a DIY venue where you can make the place your own and set your own rules. Make sure you check what you can and can’t do at every venue. Something might just be a deal breaker. Also, get everything they promise in writing, trust us. 😉
Make your preparations fun.
Getting ready can be stressful but it doesn’t have to be. Our top tip for less stress is to make sure you only have the people you want with you. Too many cooks can spoil the broth and having a room full of loads of people asking you questions and all trying to get ready at the same time can soon become overwhelming.
Ensure everyone is fed and watered and there are some of your favourite choons playing.
Make sure you are ready and dressed in plenty of time and allow a bit of extra time for traffic, unforeseen roadworks and all those TikToks someone will be filming. 😂
Consider your outfit + dancing shoes.
Can you dance in your dream dress, can you do the Macarena in those shoes?
Having a change of outfit for the evening and dancing is very common these days and that applies to everyone. Try and ‘shake it off’ in your chosen outfit and see if you can still throw all your usual shapes. If not, it might be worth considering a change for the evening. There’s some excellent party attire out there that looks just as fancy as what you’d wear in the day and will make sure you can enjoy the night as well.
Your ceremony can be fun too!
How do you have a fun wedding ceremony?
Book a celebrant. That’s pretty much it. We’ve written more here if you want to read why we think celebrants are awesome. You can also see who are some of our favourites.
You can even have a friend lead your ceremony if there’s someone you know will do a fantastic job. With these options, you’ll still need to do the official paperwork at the registry office. Until they change the law, or you’re in Scotland. 😉
Get people talking.
It’s very rare for us to shoot a wedding where everyone already knows each other.
When it comes to dinner you can make a rigid table plan where you keep people together in their groups or mix everyone up. The latter usually has everyone back sat together in their own groups as soon as it’s time for pud and coffee.
Here’s where you could try some organised fun.
Some of the best dinner activities we’ve shot have been big table activities. Things like Singo Bingo, Singing Waiters and Gameshow style quizzes. These types of things get people talking, interacting and most importantly LAUGHING.
Singing Waiters might just sound like another TikTok trend BUT they take what is usually a quiet and slow part of the day and make it AWESOME. If you’re having a more formal sit-down dinner they are definitely worth considering. The same goes for Singo Bingo, we saw this recently and it was an absolute hoot!
These types of activities along with garden games and interactive quizzes are great ways to get people talking and laughing.
Be present and chill.
You are the vibe you want at your wedding. If you are absent and stressed, that will rub off on your guests and they just won’t have a good time. Being there in the thick of it, part of all the shenanigans, will make for a much better atmosphere and people will feel relaxed and welcome. Oh and if you buy everyone at least one drink, they’re guaranteed to like you at least 10% more. Some of the wildest weddings we’ve shot had a free bar. Something to consider even if it’s just a welcome drink or a drink token.
Consider the logistics.
Travelling from one place to another and then to another can be stressful. If your wedding isn’t all in one place you need to make it as easy as possible for your guests. Preplanned buses and taxis are great ways to help people relax and not worry about how they’re getting between locations. Also, bus trips can include sing-alongs and epic games of eye spy, with optional refreshments.
Do you want to spend half of your wedding day on the road, do your guests?
When we got married we chose a town centre location as we knew everyone could drive or easily get taxis. We wanted to make it as simple as possible for everyone so they could concentrate on having fun!
OK. That sounds worse than it’s supposed to.
Think about what you enjoy and try to incorporate that into an activity. Glitter bars, photo booths, face painting, inflatables, bouncy castles – the list goes on. What types of nonsense would you both enjoy? Something that helps everyone get a bit silly is always good.
We shot a rave wedding in a basement with glow sticks and glow-in-the-dark face paints.
We shot a wedding with a tug of war and an egg and spoon race that descended into a full primary school sports day.
Whatever you both enjoy, have a think and see if there’s a way you could incorporate it into your day.
By fun stuff we mean silly things you can buy that people might have fun with. Garden games fit in this category nicely along with inflatables, masks, bubbles to blow and anything you’d have loved to play with as a kid. We’ve seen many grown ups who can’t resist a game of giant jenga or to throw themselves into a bouncy castle.
Loads of options to keep the little and big kids amused and if there’s a dress up box it is guaranteed to end up in your dancing photos.
Keep people happy.
This is just basic things. Food, drinks, toilets, seating, signage and a visible schedule. You can’t keep everyone happy all of the time, but if you can keep basic needs met, you stand a good chance of everyone having a good time.
It’s all about the music.
It most certainly was for Emma when we got married. Our ceremony and evening playlist was where 90% of the planning time went! Dress = 10-minute trip to Debenhams, playlist = 9 months of tweaking. You can listen to it here if you want to see what took Emma so long.
If you want plenty of dancing you either need a good band or a great DJ. We would very rarely recommend going with a DJ that’s included in a venue package unless you’ve seen them in action and can trust them. If you’ve spent time and money making every aspect of your day perfect, you don’t want to have any old guy playing nothing but his favourite hits of the 70s for five hours.
There are loads of great wedding bands and DJs out there, who cover all sorts of styles. We’ve seen pop, rock, indie, hip-hop, reggae and soul bands. We’ve seen Europe’s leading Dolly Parton tribute and two different (and very good) Elton John tributes. Oh and we’ve seen plenty of very questionable karaoke, but it is so much fun to photograph! All of these have resulted in full dance floors and epic party pictures.
It’s also all about the food.
Probably one of the most expensive parts of a wedding is keeping everyone well-fed.
Food trucks and ice cream vans are a less formal option and becoming more and more popular these days. Much less formal than a big sit-down dinner that can take hours and hours. Oh and what about a flower wall but instead it’s covered in packets of crisps, a talking point but also more fun than bowls of snacks on a table.
You could also consider having a cake table where people contribute dessert as a way to bring people together. Make it into a bake-off with voting and you’ve got another fun activity to keep your guests entertained.
Invite who you want.
Invite who you both want and leave out who you don’t want. Don’t let relatives dictate who is and isn’t coming. Do you want to spend the day with all your parents’ friends, or all of your friends?
When it comes to small humans, if you want a wedding free of crying babies and shouting kids, consider having a child-free wedding. There’s a trick to having kids at weddings – they need attention and entertainment 100% of the time. If you have kids in attendance this is something you must consider. A simple colouring book on a dinner table just won’t cut it. Weddings are usually big parties where people get drunk and not a great place for small people, especially later in the evening. Hire bouncy castles, get an entertainer or a creche, and make sure they aren’t just running wild as this won’t make for a fun place for a lot of your guests.
The same goes for your pets. Can’t imagine a day without your most special family members, bring them along. You can hire people to look after your dog on the day so they can be the ring bearer, partake in the photos and enjoy a sausage on a stick.
Make your own NEW traditions.
Don’t like cake? Don’t have one. Have doughnuts, a burrito, whatever you like.
Don’t want a first dance? Have a ceilidh or a first mosh-pit. Figure out a different way to get everyone dancing.
There are so many things you can personalise, change and invent. Like the potato game.
Enjoy your day.
Everything you choose will influence the feel of your day. Food, drinks, decor, dress code, music, and venue will all play a part in making your day come together. Remember to leave enough time for everything so you’re not rushed, make sure everyone (including you) is fed and watered and get a good group of people around you to ensure stress is kept to the minimum.
Remember, things may go awry on the day that are out of your control. As long as you’ve done everything you can in advance, just roll with it.
Multi-international award-winning wedding photographers and husband and wife team, Emma + Rich take photographs with our own fun, creative and quirky way of telling your story. Based in Scarborough near York and Leeds, we travel across the UK with our own style of fun wedding photography.