Wedding Day Tips
It's your wedding day! Today is supposed to be a day of excitement, joy, and new beginnings. You should not be stressed during your wedding day, or worried about how much time you have until the next thing on your timeline. I have been getting quite a bit of questions concerning when we should have specific photos taken so I've created some tips to make your day go smoother for you and your family. This guide will go over everything starting from greeting ready, to the ceremony + Reception, then the send off. Now, these are just my opinions on when the light is best for photos, so you by no means have to follow this guide. I hope this guide helps you create a schedule that is smooth and everything you want!
Getting Ready + 90-120 minutes
This is the start of your big day! These are some of my favorite moments because the excitement is fresh and all of the anticipation of what to come has just begun to settle in. I typically arrive to the venue just as soon as you get there, so I can take come say hello and then move to the detail shots of everything. (This means Bride + Groom accessories and the dress) After I have scouted out the area I will come back and begin to take all of the getting ready shots of the bride and bridesmaids then onto the groom and groomsmen.
Natural light is one of the most important benefactors of good, crisp images. Of course, it isn't absolutely necessary. But as a photographer who loves natural lighting, please get ready in a place with a lot of natural light, and neutral or light colored walls. It creates a soft and flattering skin tone and won't reflect funky colors onto you or your guests. Brides, talk to your makeup + hair artist about putting you by big windows and to turn off the interior lighting. This will eliminate any orange hue of tungsten light on your skin. Again, this is only a preference, so take it with a grain of salt!
Clutter + Luggage
A lot of times we as photographers can forget about objects lying in the background, and that can create a distraction from the real subject of the photos. So when I arrive to the venue, I will do a quick move of all the luggage and extra clothing to another room or into a closet so your images will be left looking clean and perfect.
First Look + 30 minutes
Personally, first looks are one of my favorite moments of the day. It's the first time you and your s/o will see each other and honestly, it's usually very emotional. You absolutely do not have to have a first look, but I will say it has its perks. First of all, you will be spending your first intimate moment alone with just each other. There is no pressure of everyone watching. You are getting to spend more time with each other as well and it tends to be more candid and relaxed. I will not direct the moment other than simply tell the groom when the bride is coming. I will also only take photos for the first 10-15 minutes and then let you two have the remainder of the time alone before the ceremony begins. Also, if you would rather take the family photos and bridal party photos right after, this would be the perfect time to do so. That way after the ceremony you can go into celebration mode instead of worrying about family photos. This would take another 30 minutes.
Family Photos + 30 minutes
Family photos are essential to the day. My goal is to make this part of your day go smoothly and quickly as possible so everyone is not just standing around for an hour with hurting cheeks. All I ask of you and your s/o is to have a list of each head of a family household of who you want pictures taken with. This way I can call out their name and have them come up for their pictures. I definitely recommend keeping this list as short as possible and doing groups rather than a lot of individuals. (Save that for immediate family and very close friends). Let your friends and family know that they will be needed for family photos so they know when and where to be. Family photos tend to get delayed because of late family members.
Wedding Party + 30 minutes
These will be some of your favorite photos of the day because these are your day ones. I want to make sure there is enough time for group shots and individual photos with each member of the party. I like to keep these candid and focus on you all having a good time together. Typically these only take 30 minutes, but if you have a particularly large bridal party they will probably take longer.
Individual Portraits + 15 minutes
Here's the deal. A lot of times we don't think about individual portraits, but these are super important. One: because you finally get to have a moment to yourself to take in everything around you. And two: you don't have to worry about someone always fixing your flowers or your dress, it'll just be me and you. And personally, it's always great to have some photos of just yourself on your special day! There is no specific time on when we should take these, but it would probably be best to take them when we do the sunset photos.
Ceremony + 30 minutes
Ceremonies tend to be 15-30 minutes long (sometimes longer). The time of the ceremony is entirely up to you, I only ask that it is not shorter than 15 minutes, solely for the purpose of grabbing all the essential shots without being in a huge rush. I would like to get different angles for you guys and have time to switch lenses out. Also, it'll give you time to take everything in and enjoy this intimate moment with your soon to be wife or husband! This moment is the most important part of the day because you are promising your life together. This is the moment that you have been planning for months. It should be a relaxed and exciting moment that you do not want to rush.
THIS IS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT!
I recommend having your ceremony under two hours before sunset. Why? Because harsh light will be rough on skin tones and will take away the richness of the surroundings. Midday light will create dark shadows over your face as well as the wedding party. When the light is softer, no one is squinting and it will make the experience overall more enjoyable for everyone. If possible, it is best to have the ceremonial spot under shade or to be backlit. It is absolutely not necessary though. If you are set on having your ceremony at midday because of venue restrictions or heck, just because you want to, try to have yourselves be backlit (sun behind you) so that way your faces are shaded which will be ideal for editing and photographing.
Cocktail Hour + 1 hour
This is the time to take family photos if you have chosen to not do a first look. Make sure to let every family member you have chosen for photos know that they are needed for photos so we can keep everything running smoothly. During this time I will be photographing you and your now spouse, having a good time with your guests!
Sunset Photos + 30-45 minutes
Alright y'all. These are my most favorite photos of the day as I'm sure they will be yours as well! These are the photos that you will absolutely want to print and post. I just ask that I can steal the two of you right during golden hour so we can make some magic happen. This is the moment where it will only be just us, no bridesmaids, no parents, no friends. This is the time for you two to be alone together and enjoy each others company as the sun is setting after your beautiful wedding day. These photos are meant to be completely candid and typically not posed. At this time I will probably ask you what your favorite things are about each other and what you two are looking forward to in this next big chapter of your lives.
Reception + 2-3 Hours
Receptions tend to be the longest part of the day. As you probably have noticed, I love natural light. I will only use flash if it is absolutely necessary. If you are having an outdoor reception, I want to capture exactly how it looks. Especially if you are having hanging lights and that warm after sun glow. At some point I will be using flash once there is no more natural light left. If you are having an indoor reception, please make sure there is enough lighting in the room as well. Try to avoid having orange lights.
If you decide to have a dj for the reception, my only request is that they hold off on the neon colorful lights until after all the first dances are done. This way you don't have neon green and purple lights flashing on your face during these intimate moments.
The Send Off
Personally, I absolutely love sparkler exits. If you decide you want to do a sparkler exit, make sure to get big ones so they last longer, and try to get ones that aren't extremely smokey. They will produce a lot of light which makes the exit fun and romantic in the photos. As you're going down the line, take your time, and stop in the middle for a big kiss! I want to give you the best send off photos I can take!
During recent years, this has become quite the topic of conversation. I ask all my brides and grooms to have an unplugged ceremony because of these reasons: When your guests are constantly on their phones recording you two, they are missing the real moment of the day. I want your guests to focus on the moment rather than trying to capture it themselves, only because I will already be doing so. It's also a bummer when the bride is walking down the aisle and all the groom sees is a bunch of phones and iPads sticking out in front of her. We do not want any distractions during the most important part of the day! Having a sign or the officiant remind guests to leave their phones in their purses and pockets will also be a good way to announce the unplugged ceremony.
Invitations + Save the dates
Send me invitations! I absolutely love receiving the formal invitation and I will also use them for detail shots. If you don't want to mail me one, make sure to bring one the day of the wedding. If you send it ahead of time that is one less thing to worry about the day of the wedding. Ladies, if you want to go the extra mile, I'd suggest buying a velvet ring box from etsy in the color of your wedding theme! I promise you won't regret it.
Social media and word of mouth has been one of the biggest benefactors of booking weddings for my business. So I always appreciate it when you tag my social handles in your captions when you post one of the images I took! You are more than welcome to post any photos whenever and wherever you please, I just ask that you do not edit over the images I deliver. I spend hours editing and color correcting your images to make them as great as I can make them so don't throw that trendy Instagram filter over it! (ha)
I want your wedding day to be relaxed and fun. It's one of the biggest days of your lives and the ultimate goal is to make you guys happy. Although I am there to capture your wedding day, I am also there to celebrate you two. I want you two to be comfortable and yourselves around me, and if you have anything you would like for me to do for y'all, all you have to do is ask! I hope this guide was informative and answers all your questions.
Feel free to shoot me an email if you have any concerns or need any advice regarding the planning process.