Every wedding is a unique & intimate affair, with several decisions and choices to be made to compliment the couple’s overall style & tastes. While making these decisions and organizing the wedding are all part of the fun, there are several tips and tricks to keep in mind when planning to make the day go smoother, less stressed, and allow for ideal photography coverage of the day. Below is a compilation of tips, tricks & suggestions to help you make the very best of your big day!
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Believe it or not, your photographer (if experienced) offers so much more than just photography when it comes to the contribution they can make towards your wedding day. When should hair and make up be completed by? What time do you need to start getting into the dress? If doing a first look, what time should it be? How much time is needed and when should family gather for portraits? What time is the best time to do dusk or night shots?
All of these questions can easily be answered by your photographer and this is extremely valuable information that plays a crucial role in balancing your day and allowing you a perfect combination of getting amazing wedding images, but also enjoying the day, friends & family. Utilize and get the opinions (whether you take them or not) of your photographer early in the process and it will ensure a smooth and well thought out day.Close
Consider the time of day when planning your ceremony & reception, keeping in mind that in the later months of the year (October – February) the sun goes down much earlier than the Spring & Summer months. Those planning weddings during these months should strongly consider either doing a first look and portraits before the ceremony or having an earlier ceremony time, to allow ample light for portraits & bride and groom images afterwards. You’ll also want to taken into consideration when the best light of the day may be. The Golden Hour, as they call it, falls approximately 1-2 hours before sundown, which is a fantastic time to be shooting portraits or romantic bride & groom images! Please feel free to ask us about the specifics of your wedding day and we can help give suggestions and even a mock timeline of the day to help make sure you make the best of it.Close
While we are on the subject of time, it’s important to try and stay on schedule when it comes to the wedding day and timeline. Not only will this take a lot of stress out of things, but also help you to maximize the fun of the day and balance everything out (important shots, portraits, etc.), while still allowing you to enjoy the day, visit with friends & family and enjoy some of that great cocktail hour time! Showing up fashionably late to your wedding won’t make you look as popular as you think it might, and your guests will not want to be kept waiting (especially if it’s hot). While some things may go 5-10 minutes late outside of your control, staying as much on time as possible is the way to go. Utilize your photographer and/or wedding planning to help create an organized timeline of the day and help you stay on it. Time + low stress = amazing images 🙂Close
Not many put much time into considering the getting ready location and space, but you should give it some thought. When considering a location to get ready (hotel, house, etc), it’s important to consider whether the location will have nice natural light and more importantly can accommodate the space you need for you and your bridal party and any family members that will be present. If you opt to get a hotel room, it’s worth the extra few bucks to make sure you have a nice and large bridal suite vs. just a normal room where there will be beds in the way and not much room to move about or get the dress on when the time comes. Having the great natural light will also yield some high quality looking images, porcelain doll looking skin and a classy look to this portion of the day.Close
This one is a another important tip that can sometimes be easily overlooked. You’ll want to consider what attire and even colors are being selected for the wedding, primarily relating to that of the wedding party. You may be outside for a reasonable amount of time throughout the wedding day and if it’s scorching hot, the gentlemen may appreciate being in a tan or grey suite, vs. a black suit in the heat of the summer and all humidity the Northeast can bring. This same thought should also be given to the bride and bridesmaid when it’s fall or winter and the air may be a bit more chilly than you expected. If it’s potentially going to be cold, consider bridesmaid boots, shawls, stoles or even scarves for the men.Close
Keeping the wedding day efficient can make a big difference when it comes overall stress level the day of the wedding and a good balance between getting important photos you will want vs. enjoying the wedding day. If you are traveling 30-40 minutes from getting ready location to the ceremony location and then another 25-30 minutes to the reception site from the ceremony, this can really eat into the day and take away a lot of precious photo and/or cocktail hour time. Do your best to keep things simple and easy… consider how all the locations map out from each other, and you’ll be glad you did come the wedding day.Close
Having amazing hair is certainly something every bride wants…. but, you should also take into strong consideration whether the look you are going for can stand up for 10+ hours, as well as handle potential conditions such as wind and/or humidity on the day of the wedding. Generally speaking, keeping your hair more up than down can really cut down on “bad hair” situations should the wedding day be a bit more windy or humid than you expected. You want to look just as elegant 8 hours into the wedding day as you did at the beginning of the day. Consider consulting with your chosen hairstylist before the wedding to go over potential options that will balance looking amazing with standing up over the course of the wedding day.Close
We all have a friend that dabbles in this or that and is most likely capable of helping you on the day of the wedding…… someone that can help you with planning, hair & makeup, photography, video or even entertainment. While it feels great to know you are saving a buck, consider the risks you may be taking when not hiring an actual experienced wedding professional and how it can negatively affect your day.
As an example… I’m not trying to pick on hairstylists or makeup artist (I promise). However, there is a big difference between your normal hair or makeup person that is in the comfort of their own salon and not used to not used to being on any real pressured timeline vs. an experienced makeup artist that has worked in the wedding industry for years. An experienced wedding professional will fully understands the importance of high quality work, while also being able to work their magic efficiently. The wedding day is very much like a row of dominoes when it comes to the timeline and having hair or makeup go 30 minutes late can make or break a perfect day. The aftermath of such a situation is bigger than you would think and affects the entire remaining timeline of the day. If you do decide to work with a friend or long time acquaintance that will be a part of the wedding… make sure they have plenty of time if they are not used to being rushed in such a manor of a wedding day. Of course, these suggestions also apply to other non experienced wedding professionals, not just folks in the hair & makeup department. Just be smart when choosing who will be a part of the wedding….. there is much to be said for experience, I assure you.Close
During the ceremony, it’s important to take it all in and not just stare at your feet or the priest 100% of the time. Take the time to every now and then look around and appreciate the moment, your guest and most importantly, your beautiful or handsome future spouse. Not only will you enjoy this experience, but your photographer (if you’ve got a good one anyway) will pick up and be able to capture these little moments that you may not realize are being documented.
When you are finally pronounced man & wife, it’s not a race to the end of the aisle. You’ve waited a long time for this, take your time to walk the walk, enjoy the excitement and glances of your guests and even look at each other once or twice on the way down, to always remember the moment. Once again, your photographer is also now able to capture some awesome images of this moment.Close
When you envision one of the most important days of your life going a certain way for so many years, it’s difficult to be thrown the curveball-like concept of potentially doing a first look. I completely understand….. you’re traditional, you want it to be special the first time you see each other (and maybe shed a tear), and historically speaking, more men than women are opposed to the first look.
What many couples don’t truly understanding about the first look is that the benefits, in many cases, lead to a far superior experience for many reasons that can by far can outweigh the traditional method. (Disclaimer: there may be some unique situations where doing a first look is actually not the best idea for the timeline of the day or time of year, etc. Discuss this with your photographer to get their input if you are unsure.
Below are a few pros of doing the first look you may wish to consider:
1 – Couples that do a first look have more privacy for such a big moment and can laugh or cry together (whatever emotions may take place) in a more private and natural way, without 200 guests staring at your every move and expression. Not to mention, the photos of this pivotal moment will be so much better with a wider selection of locations, allowing for beautifully unique backgrounds.
2 – Couples that have the opportunity to see each other before the ceremony really can help each other to relax and it takes the edge off all that anxious and nervous energy.
3 – “I hate cocktail hour!”… said no one ever. Couples that get a majority of their photos done beforehand no longer need to miss so much of the cocktail hour to be out shooting portraits. Cocktail hour is a big part of the day and the food & drinks are usually nothing shy of amazing. You can maximize your time to relax, enjoy good food & company by getting many of the photos done earlier!
4 – Couples that do first looks have not only more, but a greater variety of awesome bride & groom images. Since first look can be more controlled, you can even have your first look location be completely different than the post ceremony portrait location, to maximize the variety of location options & overall style of the images.
5 – You can now have two completely different lighting scenarios for bride & groom images to give more variety. You would have photos from earlier in the day (before ceremony), and then time for some additional post ceremony, sunset shots, without eating into much of your cocktail hour.Close
The cocktail hour is without a doubt one of the things that everyone looks forward to at a wedding, including the bride & groom and wedding party. The problem, however, is that often times much of the cocktail hour can be used for shooting portraits or photos with the bride & groom, if not doing a first look and portraits before the ceremony. Sure it’s called “cocktail hour,” but sometimes choosing to extend the cocktail hour and extra 15-30 minutes can create the perfect flexibility to get the sunset photos you want and still be able to enjoy some of that down time and great food. Your wedding party will also thank you if they get to enjoy more of the cocktail hour and now you have created the proper time to allow your photographer to shoot the room and all it’s wonderful details before the guests enter.Close
Every couple is unique… therefore, their wedding images should also be as unique as possible. Consider any locations and/or props that may be unique or special to your relationship and discuss them ahead of time. Going to a unique location vs the normal popular cliche spot can really make for a nice difference. The use of other props such as vintage cars, horses, etc. can also bring some additional life into your photos if you have the option. Again, these are great creative brainstorms to have with your photographer before the day and you can even create a list of a few potential locations and then prioritize which are at the top of the wish list since chances are you may not have time to hit them all.Close
Everyone loves a great reception and party, however, there are also some very important formalities that make the reception special. The first dance, a blessing, toasts & speeches, parent dances & of course cutting the cake…… all extremely important events, however dragging them out too long over the course of the reception can really put a damper in the actual party and dance time (especially, if you are paying top dollar for that top of the line DJ or Band).
While not all the formalities need to be done immediately, consider grouping them together for maximum efficiency of the party (IE: first dance and speeches or parent dances immediately followed by cake, etc). You’ll be glad to not have to kill the party to keep doing different formalities over and over and this will also create more flexibility for things like outdoor nightshots, and of course dancing with your friends!Close
Your wedding day is meant to be a celebration and an amazingly fun day in your life that you can forever look back on. Brides & grooms that relax and enjoy the day rather than worrying about every little detail end up enjoying the day more than those that stress about it. Within reason of course, be flexible and go with the flow…. sure it’s a wedding, but who says you can’t let go a bit and make the best of all the fun and excitement your wedding day has to offer. It’s also not worth letting small things get you all worked up. Your wedding day will not be perfect, but if you make the best of it and don’t get worked up over small stuff, it will sure seem like it was perfect!Close