from a photographer's perspective
You can find more helpful wedding tips here.
The camera loves natural light, so rooms with a lot of window light are great for getting ready in! Hotels are usually pretty dark, so try looking into an airbnb! There are lots of cute ones. Also, it's best to avoid clutter, so try to keep all the suitcases and belongings in another room.
Keep in mind that you’ll be moving a lot during your wedding, so a tight dress isn’t always a great idea. They can hinder movement and become uncomfortable, but it’s totally your choice. If you feel super sexy in tight dresses, then go for it! Maybe have a second dress so you can dance at your reception. I’ve pinned some great wedding dresses for under $1000 here.
Also, don’t forget about the groom! Most of the time the bride gets a gorgeous suite or room and the groom gets tucked away in a small dark room with hardly any light. Let's be nice and give him a well lit room to get ready in too.
Most guys just comb their hair, add a little gel, and boom! They're done! Well, ladies don't have it that easy, so I get it. What do you do about your hair and makeup?
The answer is: Whatever makes you feel your very best! I've started using less and less makeup, because it takes a lot of time to apply and I like to look more natural. However, if you feel most confident and most like you all glammed up, then do it! Confidence is what will look best on you.
If you hire someone to do your hair and makeup for your wedding, schedule them to do a trial run for your engagement session too. Makeup artists specifically apply your makeup to look amazing in photos. If you need any recommendations, you can find some of my favorite HMU artists at the bottom.
Also, if you want a spray tan, try out a natural airbrushed tan well before the shoot so that you know it looks good on you. I’ve heard great things about Shelby Herron Beauty.
It's a thing couples do now, but is it for you? A first look is where the bride and groom get together before the ceremony to see each other.
I love it because it's just the two of you (and me) and you're able to really soak in the moment without all of your guests watching you during the ceremony with their cell phones and cameras out. I mean, it's your wedding day. Why would you want to spend most of it apart from each other?
Want to know why it’s a tradition to save the first look for the ceremony? Most marriages were arranged, so the groom didn’t see the bride for the first time until the ceremony. This ensured that he wouldn’t run away if she was ugly. You shouldn’t have that problem though, lol.
Btw, when wearing white try to avoid bright whites with a blue/purple tint to it. Warmer whites look much better in pictures. Also make sure you’re both wearing the same color white.
Gathering the family up for photos can be a bit of a hassle. Especially if they have food on the brain and all they want to do is head over to the reception. So if you do a first look, we can do most of your family and wedding party photos before the ceremony.
I allot about 15-20 minutes for family photos and that's usually all you'll want to do. Holding the same smile that whole time gets really difficult, so keep that in mind. If you want to put more of a priority on family photos over wedding party and couples photos, that's totally up to you. It's your day.
BONUS: I’m here to help you plan the timeline for your big day, so that’s one less thing you have to worry about.
If you're having an outdoor ceremony, it's best most of the time to put the sun behind the officiant. If you’re not sure which way to face your ceremony site, I’m more than happy to help you with that!
Microphones are great so that everyone can hear you, but they can be distracting. Try to wear little lapel microphones instead of having a mic stand or holding the microphones.
I know that everyone wants to say congratulations to the bride and groom, but I suggest not doing a receiving line. It can be repetitive and take a really long time.
Unplug! An unplugged ceremony is when you ask your guests to turn off their cell phones and put away the camera, so that they can be present in the moment. It also keeps people from standing up and putting their cameras in front of mine. I don't want to miss a single moment just because "Uncle Bob” wants to take photos too.
Right before sunset is my absolute favorite time to shoot couples portraits. If the sun is shining, you get that golden hour and softer tones at this time of day and it all just seems magical. We can do this right after family photos or we can sneak away during the reception. I usually set aside 30-45 minutes for this.
This is where having a first look comes in handy. If we’re able to do wedding party photos and most of your family photos before the ceremony, then your guests aren’t sitting around waiting for almost 2 hours for you to get back and start the party.
The most important thing to ensure we get great photos is trust. If you trust me to create the photos you’ll love, I’ll be able to do my thing and guide and direct you well. It’s all about collaboration and trust!
I am all about preserving the ambience and portraying the romantic atmosphere in my photos. So for outdoor receptions, string lights are an awesome way to help that vibe. If there’s plenty of light sources during the first dance, cake cutting, etc., I don’t have to bring out my flash. (which can be a little distracting) Once we get partying though I’ll bring my flash out for those “frozen in time” shots of your mom killing it on the dance floor.
DJ's love colorful lights and while they're fun for the party, they're not so great for the first dances. I suggest telling the DJ to turn them off for the first dances and bouquet/garter toss and then turning them back on when everyone is dancing.
When it comes to dinner, I prefer to be considered a guest, not a "vendor," for timing purposes. This guarantees that I’ll get to finish eating before the two of you are done.
Click here for tips on a grand exit.
I hope this helps you in the planning process!
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