10 Ways to Slow Down + Be Present on Your Wedding Day

You’ve probably heard it from everyyyy married couple: “weddings go by in the blink of an eye.” And trust me, they are so right!! Your wedding day will go by way faster than you imagine, so it’s super important to be intentional about planning it. You want to actually REMEMBER this day and enjoy it, so what’s the point if you get to the end of the day and barely got a moment to breathe?!

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I’m all about encouraging my couples to create a wedding day that feels like them and allows them to be fully themselves. That includes being able to be fully present on their wedding day! So here are 10 simple ways to slow down, be intentional, and stay present on your wedding day!

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1. Start the day off with alone time

Every great day starts off with a great morning, right?! One way to start your wedding day off on the right foot is to simply spend some time alone with yourself. I know you’ll probably be super nervous and stoked, so take a little while the morning of the big day to breathe, rest, and be grateful!

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On the day I got married to my hubby Dusty, I got up super early because I was way too excited to sleep. I went outside, played with my dog Zeus in a field, and rewrote my vows like five times because my handwriting was so shaky! It was so nice starting the day off playing with Zeus and having time to myself to take it allllll in!!


(Check out my Glamping Tiny Wedding in the North Cascades to see all the pics & details!)

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2. Get ready together

Most couples don’t know that getting ready together is even an option!! The automatic decision is to get ready separately, since that’s what wedding traditions tell you to do. “Don’t see each other until the aisle, etc!”


But why not get ready together?!

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This provides you with such an intimate time to spend together. You’re getting ready to promise your love to one another, and it’s the perfect time to relax and enjoy each other’s presence before celebrating with your guests.


For their Bohemian Airbnb Elopement, Ash + Mac started off the day by getting ready together. They took the time to play games, cook, and relax in their Airbnb!!

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Getting ready together gives you not only WAY more time with your partner on your wedding day, but also gives you time to do other activities you enjoy. Brew your fav coffee, make breakfast together, take a bath, do shots, play board games, whatever you want! Use this time to enjoy each other’s company and get ready for your big day together!


For another sweet example of a couple getting ready together, check out Kelsey & Mel’s Smith Rock Elopement!

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3. Make time in your timeline

If you want to have time to slow down and take it all in on your wedding day, you have to intentionally build in that time!


The beauty of elopements is that we can do whatever you want!! There’s typically barely any schedule or strict timeline for elopements, so we’re able to go with the flow and decide what to do along the way.

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But even without a strict timeline, something is bound to run late, you’ll hit traffic, etc. So it’s important to carve out a time ahead of your elopement day where you can spend some time alone with each other!


Whether that’s after your first look, while you get ready, a 15-minute break after your ceremony, or whenever, be intentional about making time to step out for a little while. Your guests will be fine without you – go on a walk or explore an area away from them for a little while! Take this time to reflect on everything that’s happened in the day so far, and to come back to the present moment.

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4. Prepare for things to go “wrong”

Trust me, something will always go “wrong” on your wedding day!! No matter HOW meticulously you plan out your timeline, no matter how organized you are, there will always always be things that are out of our control.

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It’s important to be mentally prepared to be flexible & adapt to whatever we might run into! If you go into your wedding day with high expectations of a “perfect” day, you’ll end up disappointed if plans change for some reason. This makes it easy for you to get stressed, frustrated, and in your head.


If you come into your wedding day prepared to go with the flow & make the best out of anything, you’ll be able to enjoy the moment and stay present no matter what happens!

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5. Trust your photographer

If you care too much about your photos on your wedding day, that’s all you’ll be thinking about!! “How do I look? How will this table look on Pinterest? Does everything look picture-perfect?”

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This will completely take you out of the moment and have you focusing on all the wrong things! And it’s why it’s SO important to hire a photographer you love & trust.


If you don’t trust your photographer fully to do their job and capture your beautiful day, you’ll be super in your head the whole day and not able to stay grounded. Let your photog do their job – they’re there so YOU can focus on enjoying yourself!! They’ll do all the hard work for you!

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6. Turn off your phones

This is suchhhh a big one y’all. The honestly EASIEST way to stay present & grounded on your wedding day is to put your phone away!! 

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Again: your photographer is there to take the pictures and to make sure everything is captured. Your job is to enjoy the day, not take photos to post on Instagram.


If you want to have your phone because you think you’ll need to communicate with guests, your coordinator, etc., assign somebody to handle all that for you instead! One of your besties or family members can be in charge of communication; that way, you’re not responsible for it on your big day, and you can focus on what’s in front of you rather than get distracted by your phone.

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7. Choose the right location

Choosing the right location for your wedding is soooo important for many reasons! Your location will affect the atmosphere of your wedding day, so it’s important to choose a place that you’ll be able to feel relaxed, peaceful, and inspired.


There’s a reason why I’m so big into adventure elopements – because my soul feels at peace in the outdoors! And so do most of my couples’! They love breathing in the fresh air of the mountains or the ocean, and being in the outdoors inspires them + puts them at ease. That’s the way you want to feel on your wedding day!!

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For example, Kelsey & Alex wanted to elope at a waterfall in Oregon because they knew they would absolutely love that atmosphere. The location we chose ended up providing the PERFECT environment for their calm, intimate elopement day! Check out their Intimate Waterfall Elopement at Sahalie Falls!!


If you’re having trouble choosing where to elope, check out my blog post on Where to Elope in Oregon: The Most Beautiful Elopement Locations!! I cover sooo many amazing options in there!

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8. Take fun Polaroids

One thing I love to do with my couples: take Polaroids on their elopement day!!


Photographers can’t always provide sneaks to you super fast, so taking Polaroids of my couples is an easy and super fun + memorable way to give sneak peeks the day-of! Plus, Polaroids are keepsakes you can have forever!

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Buy a Polaroid camera for you & your partner to bring to your elopement day. That way, if you’re tempted to take a photo of something – maybe a moment that is really special to you and you just feel the need to capture it right away – you won’t need to pull out your phones! Take fun Polaroids of each other whenever you’re feeling grateful or super happy. It’ll keep you in the moment but still provide you with memories to last forever!

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9. Write love letters to each other

Whether or not you’re doing a first look & are going to see each other before your ceremony, you can find a time to read letters to each other!

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Write these letters a few days before your wedding, or the morning of. Up to you! But either way, reading letters to each other is a super sweet way to connect with each other before your ceremony. You can do it facing each other, if you did a first look or got ready together, OR you can read them back to back if you don’t want to see each other yet!


You can also simply ready our vows in private!! If you’d rather not say your vows in front of your guests, say them at a private spot, just like Taylor & Jayko did for their Mount Rainier Elopement. This gives you a time to really be present with each other and remember why you’re here!

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10. Be intentional about time with your guests

Finally, be intentional about the time you’ll have with your guests!


Whether you’re hanging out with your guests (friends/fam) for an hour or for the whole day, be intentional about what you do with them. What activities would be meaningful to you & to them? What would make the time with them the most special & in-the-moment?

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Maybe that would include a time to play board games at night, drinking your fav drinks in your cozy Airbnb.


Or maybe you really value cooking with your family, so you all cook a meal together in your Airbnb.


If your love language is giving gifts, find meaningful wedding favors that your guests would love & be thankful for.

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Find a way to provide your guests with an amazing experience, while also doing things YOU two will love!! This will help keep you in the moment, enjoying the time with the people you love most.


Want more wedding & elopement advice like this?! Check out some of my recent fav blog posts below!!

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