I’ll get right to it- planning a wedding is a lot of work. I am sure by now, depending on your personality type, you either hate the process and never want to do it again, or you love it, but are just ready for the big day to get here. There’s a very small group of people who decide to become full-time wedding planners after having planned their own. Most likely though, you’re somewhere in middle. Either way, your goal is for the day to be perfect for the two of you, your closest friends, family, and other guests who will be attending. I know it is YOUR big day, but in the planning process, many of the details you’re working on are to help your guests have an amazing time also. The day is going to be here faster than you think, and we want to help bring a few things to your attention that you might not otherwise think about. Over the course of the next several weeks, we’re going to send you a series of emails with some thoughts and suggestions that will optimize your wedding day from the photography perspective. Once we put together this series of emails, we realized that it’s not only beneficial for the pictures, but it will help make the entire day run smoother, relieve stress, and give you more time to enjoy the day with those you love. We are there to capture the day for you in a way that you’ll love and cherish forever and sometimes we see little adjustments that can be made to help the day run like a well-oiled machine and lead to the best outcome possible.
I want to start off this series of pointers with one of more subtle parts of the day- Prep.
Meeting up with the ladies at the hotel or salon is incredibly common for us. It is a more relaxed part of the day, but can lead to a lot of great candid moments and an opportunity for us to get detail shots. With our full-day coverage, we normally recommend we arrive an hour and a half or two hours before the end of hair and makeup. This gives us plenty of time to get the prep shots we need without getting too redundant. During this time, we also will get a lot of the details taken care of like shots of the dress, shoes, jewelry and more. We have found that it is best to have a clean room for all of this to take place in. If you’re getting ready in a suite, consider having all of the action happen in one room while the bedroom area stays clear. Of course, this is not always possible, so don’t sweat it if your situation doesn’t accommodate. The dress, shoes, and jewelry are all very common, but you may also want to consider bringing a clean copy of all of the stationary to get shots of. Also, if you don’t have a custom dress hanger, we recommend bringing a basic wooden one. Your dress deserves more than just the chinsy plastic hanger from the seamstress. These minor details won’t make or break the final product, but when there is a level of consistency in the images, they look much better in the wedding album.
If you’re having hair and makeup done in a salon, you can skip ahead to the next section. However, if you are planning on having people come to your house, hotel, or bridal suite, we always recommend having them set up near a window- specifically for makeup. Most stylists know this already, but artificial light is has a different color temperature than natural daylight. Windows allow the best lighting to be used and lead to the best shots during this time of day. Also, while we’re on the subject, consider encouraging everyone who will be getting ready with you to keep as much of their personal belongings somewhere else. A room with 10+ people and their stuff can get cluttered and distracting. This also applies to food, drinks, and similar items. Nothing sticks out in an otherwise perfect shot like a half-drank bottle of Aquafina. When you’re looking through your images for the first time, you might not notice these minor distractions, but over time, you’ll begin to see them and wish you brought it up to everyone on the wedding day.
Once everyone has had their makeup and hair done, we recommend that we grab a quick shot of everyone in their robes before they head off to get dressed. Once they are ready, we advise only having a few people help you get into your dress. The more people that are standing over top of you, the more challenging it is to grab those special moments. Having everyone else stand off to the side is ideal and allows them to be part of the moment, without being a distraction. Your ladies are going to want to help as much as possible throughout the day, but more often than not, it’s not actually that helpful to be at your ever beck and call, and can sometimes ruin a perfect moment happening. We’ve seen this many times when someone thinks they need to ruffle the bride’s dress, adjust her hair, or carry the train so that it doesn’t touch the floor. This all might sound very anti-bridesmaid, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. They want your day to be perfect in every way, but more often than not, they take the default action of stepping in to help when it isn’t actually necessary. Once you’re dressed, now is a great time to put on your jewelry, shoes, etc. We recommend waiting as long as possible to put on your veil if you’re wearing one. If you put it on too early, it can pull your hair and be a general pain in the butt longer than it needs to. We’re always happy to help you with it later on if you would like. Once you’re completely ready, if there is time, we’ll grab a few portraits of you. This is often a great time to take a deep breath and soak in the moment and what is about to happen. Enjoy!