Obviously the dress is a staple to your wedding day. I have a few tips about your wedding dress that will hopefully make your wedding day a little easier!
First and foremost, I hate to break it to you, but your dress will get dirty. It’s inevitable. Especially if you plan on having an outdoor ceremony and/or reception. Obviously, I’m not going to make you jump into a puddle of mud (unless you want to?), but do keep this in mind so you don’t end up stressing out about it on your wedding day! Trust me, the sooner you accept it, the easier it will be to deal with when that time comes.
Strapless dresses are gorgeous, but they do come with a price to pay. Every bride I’ve had who wore a strapless dress ended up spending the whole day having to adjust herself, by lifting up the dress and repositioning her ladies. And when it comes time to dance, all bets are off. If a strapless dress is your dream dress, get it! But just be prepared with some fabric tape or a trusty strapless bra to wear underneath to avoid any accidents! Overall, consider a dress you'll be comfortable to walk in.
If your feet aren’t going to show, don’t be afraid to wear something comfy underneath! I’ve seen brides wear boots, sneakers, and flip flops under their wedding dress. Definitely take this into consideration if you plan on having an outdoor ceremony, because stilettos aren’t very functional when walking in the grass!
The most important thing is making sure there is enough natural light in the room. The best place to get ready is right next to a window. (Bonus: This lighting is also the most flattering!)
Make sure you get ready in a room where you will have ample space to move around freely. This will not only help me get the best images possible, but also help you feel at ease and not overwhelmed by clutter and crowds!
In my experience, hotel rooms aren't cute. The light can be dull/dingy, and the commercial decor tells no story about who you are as a couple. If it’s possible, I highly recommend getting ready at home or renting an AirBNB! This always give the photos a cozy, natural energy and will help make you feel more at ease.
I like to snag a few photos of the little things that add to your big day, so have your shoes, hair accessories, jewelry, perfume, tie, watch, pocket square, cuff links, and anything else you feel is sentimental to your wedding day ready to photograph!
I highly recommend doing a trial of your hair and makeup before the big day to make sure you love it and it feel like you. I've had a few clients unhappy with their hair/makeup and as a result, unhappy with their photos. For hairstyle, style it in a way that will still show your face when you're standing at the alter!
THE FIRST LOOK
This is when you two have a moment of privacy to see each other for the first time before their ceremony. This is a personal decision that is completely up to you guys. Of course I encourage you to plan your day however you see fit, but I will tell you what I love about The First Look.
You get to embrace the moment together, alone, which can make it so much more emotional and sentimental, whereas during a traditional ceremony, you won’t get to talk to each other or take time to soak everything in because the ceremony will immediately begin.
It’s nice to get all the nerves out of the way for the remainder of the day. I cannot tell you how many couples tell me how relieved they feel after finally seeing each other and how easy the rest of the day is!
MORE TIME, MORE PHOTOS
Since you see each other before the ceremony, we have the option to do family formals and wedding party portraits before the ceremony. With all of that out of the way, we’ll have more time to focus on couple portraits before & after your ceremony. You’ll even be able to enjoy cocktail hour with your guests, and that’s pretty uncommon with traditional timelines.
Obviously it’s your choice! If you really want the first time you see each other to be across the aisle, I fully support that! Just know a traditional timeline will cram all portraits (wedding party, family formals, & couple portraits) during cocktail hour!
As I mentioned previously, the best time to do group photos is before the ceremony, because after the ceremony, everyone is super hyped on your marriage and ready to celebrate. I find it easier to rally everyone up before the ceremony when everyone is calm.
Before your wedding day, we will work together on a photo list so you can be sure you get all the different group shots you want.
Photo 1: Your Name, Partner's Name, Dianne, Henry
Photo 2: Your Name, Partner's Name, Arthur, Vivian
Photo 3: Your Name, Partner's Name, Dianne, Henry, Arthur, Vivian
This will allow me to go down the list the day of and check things off as we go. Keep the list simple and the shots most important to you, as the more groups we have, the less time we'll have for your couple portraits.
I also don’t recommend having any other family members stand around with their cameras or phones during this time. This confuses guests getting their photo taken and they won’t know which camera to look at, which, surprise - adds more time! Please just give a heads up to any family members who will stick around that they will have plenty of time to capture photos later!
Woohoo! My favorite part of the day! This is what it’s all about guys. YOU.
If you do a First Look, plan to set aside 15 minutes to do some couple portraits before the ceremony. After the ceremony, we will do more portraits for about 30 minutes. If your ceremony doesn’t already fall around the time of sunset, plan to set aside another 20 minutes for some sunset portraits. (I highly recommend this. Sunset is the best time of day to shoot!)
If you don’t do a first look, you might have less time for couple portraits. You’ll get about 30 minutes after the ceremony, and again, if it doesn’t already fall around sunset time, I’ll sneak you away for some sunset shots!
My advice is to not skimp on this, because these are the photos you’ll be sharing for generations to come. Talk with your coordinator and make sure you plan the day around this. If you need any help, just let me know!
The best time to have your ceremony is either very early in the morning (before 10am) or later in the evening (about 3 hours before sunset). Anytime in between, the light will be harsh, and during summer months, uncomfortably hot. If there’s no getting around having your ceremony around noon, see if you can have it in a shady area or have the sun positioned behind your officiant.
What’s wrong with harsh light?
It will create unflattering shadows below your eyes, and often times you’ll be squinting in direct sunlight.
If you’re having a night time ceremony, talk to me, because it’s extremely important to set up enough artificial light.
I know a lot might be going on, but try to stand so that you're centered with the alter. If you have long hair, consider whether or not your hair will be covering your face when I shoot from the aisle. (This happens frequently!)
When you guys kiss each other for the first time, make it a good one! I mean it. Kiss each other like you just got married!
When you two walk back down the aisle arm in arm, take your time! (Don't run!) Throw your arms up, smile at your guests/each other, kiss again at the end of the aisle!
THE UNPLUGGED CEREMONY
I am invited to your wedding for one reason and one reason only: to photograph it. Your guests are invited to witness you two get married.
Have you ever heard of an unplugged ceremony? This is when you kindly request that your guests keep their cellphones and cameras tucked away in their bag during the ceremony. I 100% recommend it.
It's great for two reasons:
1. You won't have to worry about your photos having iPads covering people's reactions, or a sea of phones distracting from or obstructing your first kiss.
2. Your guests will be able to truly enjoy your ceremony and remain present during your vows, the ring exchange, the kiss, everything! We don’t realize how fumbling with our phones and cameras can actually take us out of the moment we're trying to remember.
If you really don’t want to ask your guests to unplug, inform them not to stand up, lean in the aisle, or hold their phones up too high above their heads. (They can take as many pictures as they'd like for the rest of the evening!)
I recommend lighting your reception with lots of ambient light, like string lights. Also consider the lights your DJ will set up. Colored lights (red, green, blue) can be fun for dancing, but this lighting is impossible to work with during post production. For your sentimental moments like first dances, I recommend informing your DJ to keep the lighting natural so you won’t have a pink or green face in your photos. When it’s time for dancing, DJ can go to town with lighting!
The Grand Entrance is when you two are introduced to guests at the start of the reception. If this will be included in your timeline, my biggest tip is to not actually run during your entrance! Power walk, dance around, take your time! This will make it easier for me to grab as many shots as possible.
The best time for me to eat dinner is when everyone else is eating dinner, that way I don't miss anything important. (Who wants photos of themselves shoving food in their mouth anyway?)
Plan ahead with your venue or caterer to ensure I (and my second shooter if applicable) receive a meal at the appropriate time.
THE SEND OFF
The Send Off or Grand Exit happens at the end of the night when you two leave. There are so many fun options for this, it can be hard to choose! Double check with your venues to see what is allowed, and please be sure to be environmentally cautious and choose things that are non-toxic, flame retardant, and bio-degradable.
- Sparklers (check with venue first)
- Bubbles/Bubble Machine
- Bio Degradable Confetti
- Smoke Bombs
- Fog Machine
- Snow Machine
- Ribbon Batons
- LED Candles/Lanterns
- Sky Lanterns
If you’d like, you can top it off with the tradition of jumping in a "Just Married" car and drive off into the distance to start your new lives together!
NOTE: Photography coverage might not extend until the very end of the wedding, or the guest count may start to dwindle as it gets later. If this happens, we can just do a “staged” send off where we get the shot before I leave and everyone can return to the party afterwards!
If you have a question that hasn't been answered here, please feel free to contact me!