from a photographer's perspective
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 love natural light and capturing what's real and in front of me, so I suggest not over doing it on the makeup. It's entirely up to you though!
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.
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 standing on either side of you 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?
Another bonus is if you guys see each other before the ceremony, we can do most of your family and wedding party photos before the ceremony! This will offer up more time for couples photos after the ceremony and it'll get you to your reception earlier so you can eat and party!
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. This is why I advise we do most of your family photos before the ceremony.
I allot about 20-30 minutes for family photo 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. It's better for lighting if you’re out in the open sun.
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, because "Uncle Bob” wants to take photos too.
Right before sunset is my absolute favorite time to shoot couples portraits. 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 you do most of the photos before the ceremony then you’re 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. Here’s a recent wedding that shows what I’m talking about.
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 eat first, so I can finish eating before the two of you are done eating.