After having been in the wedding party several times, attending as a guest, photographing them and a past bride…I have thought about weddings A LOT. I have come up with a detailed list of tips and suggestions that I hope will help you plan your big day and get you amazing results and keep you sane.
It is my job as your photographer to ensure you are getting the absolute best photos possible regardless of the situation. This is why I come prepared for any situation that may come up whether it is planned or un-planned because let’s face it, there are no guarantees in life. With that being said, there is a saying that goes “bad lighting means not so great photos”. You might notice when you are out and about especially at a pretty area in your neighbourhood there are a lot of photographers taking photos just before sunset. There is a reason for this. The Magic Hour which is the half hour just before the sun starts to set is the most flattering natural light we can get for photographs. Because of the position of the sun and the lighting temperature, we avoid harsh shadows on the face and squinting eyes of our clients.
I recommend that if you can, try to plan your day or a time slot for both your family formals or at least your bridal portraits at this time of day. Trust me, you will not be disappointed.
2. Crap Corner
Getting ready or preparation photos will most likely take place in a bedroom or hotel room which means, cramped quarters especially when there are several women and all their stuff in the same room. I recommend that you clear out one corner of the room for everyone to keep their stuff. This area is affectionally named the “crap corner”. This will help me and you keep only the most important items in focus during photographs and keep things organized while getting ready.
TIP: Ask one of your bridesmaids to keep the important details together including a copy of the invitation sent out, perfume, your something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue. That way, while everyone is busy getting ready, I can take some time to photograph these items just before you are ready for your Bridal Portrait.
3. Event Guide
An event guide is crucial part of keeping the wedding day running smoothly. I recommend that you entrust this role to a good friend or trusted family member that is not involved in the wedding and someone who knows who the key players are. Their job is to help gather the required participants such as immediate family members, wedding party members and other VIPS needed for the formal photos.
4. Unplugged Ceremony
Let’s admit it, we have all been at some sort of event recently that would normally (you know back before social media and smart phones) have all of our attention that we have found ourselves paying more attention to getting “the” shot to post to Facebook or Instagram. It is just a part of being able to stay connected at ALL times. I recommend that you make your wedding ceremony an unplugged event. It really is gaining popularity in the wedding industry. I can even supply you with a sign or a blurb to put in your wedding program. It really will help your guests to focus on what’s important about your day and allow them to be fully there with you in the moment.
5. Personalized touches
This is one of the very few days in your life that you can truly say is all about you, so I recommend and encourage you to make your wedding day as personal as possible. Most of the time, its the smaller details that really stand out for guests from your wedding day.
Everyone has that story, you know the one that is so uniquely you. It could be how you met, what you did on your first date, when you knew you were in love or even how he proposed. It could also be something like your Sunday morning ritual or the TV shows that you just have to watch together. Don’t be afraid to get creative and incorporate some of these personal touches in your wedding day details and plan.
And don’t forget to have some of those details, if tangible, handy at your bridal preparation location including a copy of your invitations.
TIP: I will be photographing your dress in the “iconic” dress shot. Instead of having your beautiful wedding dress hanging on a plain or plastic hanger, why not invest in a custom metal Mrs or Bride hanger.
There will be multiple vendors not only involved in the planning process of your wedding day but most of them will be around for a portion or during the entire day. It is important that we have an open line of communication with each other prior to the ceremony date and on the wedding day. This is why I ask for their details on your wedding contract.
TIP: Share your timeline with all your vendors, especially the vendors that will with you on the wedding day. Two to three weeks prior to our wedding day, we will be getting together or having a phone/Skype/FaceTime meeting to go over the time line and any final details.
8. First Look
What is a “First Look” you ask. Well it is my most favourite part of the wedding day. The first look is an opportunity for the wedding couple to see each other just before the ceremony without onlookers. It gives you each a moment of quiet to share with each other without any pressure. You can be in the moment together before the rest of the day unfolds. Weddings and all the expectations of the day can be very stressful for the wedding couple. I believe that a first look is great way to calm any nerves that you might be having and help you each to remember what it is important on this day.
9. Engagement Shoot
Having an engagement shoot is not only practical but it is a lot of fun. This is where we can have some fun and get to know each other. An engagement session also provides you with great images that can be used in practical way such as wedding announcements, Save the Dates, custom guest book, wedding websites and Christmas cards.
11. Eat and drink
Please remember to stay hydrated during your wedding day and to sit an eat some food. It will be delicious.
12. Hair and Make-Up
Professional hair and make-up is so important on your wedding day. And it is strongly recommended that you have a hair and make-up trial prior to your wedding day. Most hair stylists and make-up artists will charge a discounted rate for trials when a deposit has been made for the wedding day appointment.
TIP: Sometimes make-up artists can also do hair, but sometimes their services are limited to simple styles. Ask to see a portfolio of their work.
TIP: Schedule your make-up trial for the day of your engagement session and then go out for dinner afterwards for a date night.
TIP: I recommend that you allocate an extra 50% of the total amount of time you expect your hair and make-up to take and add that into the schedule.
13. Remember what’s Important
Like I said earlier, there are no guarantees in life. Simply put, sometimes things don’t go as planned and you cannot control everything. I am pretty certain there has not ever been a wedding that hasn’t had a least one hiccup. When these hiccups happen, try not to stress out. Just keep reminding yourself that as long as you end up getting married that day with loved ones around you, then it has been a successful wedding.