August 29, 2017

How to Avoid Wedding Aches and Hangovers for Photographers

How to Avoid Wedding Aches and Hangovers for Photographers

If you’re an experienced wedding photographer I probably don’t even need to say much more than “wedding hangover” and you’ll know all about it. The wedding hangover is something all of us experience either regularly or it’s something we’ve learned the tricks to overcome. However, if you’re new to the wedding life you may not know how to avoid wedding aches and hangovers for photographers. I can only hope that I can impart some hard won knowledge on your naive and fashionable soul to try and save you from the constant wishful thoughts that you could just slip away, into bed with Netflix and a rather large and disgusting order from McDonald’s. Here goes!

chelsey cunningham photographing a toronto wedding


You may or may not know it but the pain is coming for you. Banish it before it arrives by taking a painkiller on the way to the ceremony. I would also recommend taking another dose during the reception just to make sure that the dreaded aches stay at bay and allow you to focus on being awesome and creative, not how crap your knees, back and feet feel.


Lots and lots and lots and lots and a little bit more. I am terrible for not drinking enough of anything at a wedding. You need to down that godly liquid like your life and sanity depends on it. Cause well, it does! The average amount you should drink in a day is 2 litres of water. That means bring a 1 litre water bottle and drink 2 of them throughout the wedding day. It is especially crucial if most of the ceremony or wedding day is happening outside in the summer time. If that’s the case you’ll need to drink more.

Sport Drinks

It may not feel like you are at the gym or going for a run but working a wedding day is a lot of activity. On top of your daily recommended water intake, I also recommend drinking a Gatorade for that little extra boost. Yes, all these drinks will have you peeing like crazy but that’s a good thing. And you deserve that couple seconds of sit down time. Take it!


If you’re anything like me I am a terrible breakfast person and it is very rare that I eat a good enough meal before I take off to a wedding. This is why bringing snacks to help keep your tummy full and body energized will help you feel way better throughout the day. I recommend a CLIF bar! They’re yummy and packed with all the good stuff in such a little size.


Yes, stress is super hard to avoid on a wedding day, I know. The more stressed you are the more oxygen is pulled away from your brain and down to your other major organs. This means if you are stressed it will be harder for you to think of that awesome pose or shot. It is really important for you to know that you are a creative and that you can take a couple deep breathes and give yourself time to take in the scene and think more deeply about your next photograph. I’m sure your couple will also appreciate just a couple minutes of breathing time.


Trust me, I know you want to look fab and professional at that beautiful ceremony but you’re not going to look too great with a pained, exhausted look on your face because you decided to dangerously wear those little bitty kitten heels. Wear shoes that are good for your feet. Like go to the orthopedics and treat yourself. Birkenstocks? Blundstones? It’s also a really good idea to bring two pairs of shoes. I don’t know the science behind it but giving your footies that change up really helps them out.

chelsey cunningham photographing bride and groom in front of enoch turner schoolhouse


As you already know, getting a good night sleep before the big day will make all the difference. Have a restful evening, do what you know relaxes you and schedule at least 8 hours of sleep for yourself. This is one of the most overlooked things when trying to figure out how to avoid wedding aches and hangovers for photographers.


Of course the more fit you are the less likely you are to get absolutely wrecked during a long, jam packed wedding day. If you’re like me though, you hate exercising. If you’re also not into the typical regimen of going to the gym why don’t you try something more enjoyable? How about hiking regularly or going to your local civic for a fun swim? As long as you’re off your desk chair and moving it’s better than nothing. (That’s what I tell myself.)

Don’t Say No

To a drink or to an hors d’oeuvre that is offered to you. I definitely feel weird about it sometimes because I feel like I’m consuming items that are meant for guests. However, your couple probably likes you and will want you to indulge if it means that you perform better. Seriously, eat and drink as many things that you can get your hands on. You’ll feel awesome.

You! Sit and Eat!

Take as much advantage as you can during the dinner and make sure you eat every scrap! This will help you regain your energy and rest your feet. Of course, if there are speeches you’ll have to do the classic up and down every 5 minutes but don’t be afraid to take it easy during this time of the day. You’ve been working all day, therefore breaks.

Heavy Bags

Gear, gear, gear. Us wedding photographers carry a lot of gear. After 6 – 12 hours of lugging that stuff around there’s no wonder why we hurt so much. I tend to always feel like I have to have my gear on me and at my side, ready to grab most of the day. Therefore, I try not to put it down. I’ve learned this is not the greatest plan and it’s ok, for example, during bride and groom portraits to set my bag down and take that few seconds to go back to my bag and retrieve a lens.

Take Breaks

The washroom is the wedding photographer’s heaven. No one can complain about your need to go. The washroom is an easy escape where you can sit, take a couple deep breaths (hopefully no stinky) and have a quiet moment to yourself.

Weather Essentials

The busiest time for wedding photographers are the hot, summer months. Just because you’re going to be running around silly taking care of everyone else’s needs doesn’t mean you should ignore yours. Just like if you were spending a relaxing day out in the sun you need to think about the essentials you would bring with. You don’t want to get sunburnt so bring sunscreen and make sure you apply regularly. Pack a hat in case you start to fry your head, high functioning brain only, please. Bring sunglasses too because when it’s super bright it’s not very fun for your eyes, and you need those things too.

The “How to Avoid Wedding Aches and Hangovers for Photographers” Kit

  • Four painkillers
  • Two pairs of shoes
  • 1-litre water bottle
  • Sport drink
  • Healthy, filling snacks of your choice
  • Sunglasses, hat, sunscreen

how to avoid wedding aches and hangovers for photographers

The Wedding Hangover

Hopefully, your survival kit and following the tips I have laid out will not result in you feeling a wedding hangover the next day. However, if this still hasn’t saved you, take the day to go through your self-care routine. Take time for you 🙂

Did you enjoy “How to Avoid Wedding Aches and Hangovers for Photographers”? Read more advice for wedding photographers on the blog 🙂