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July 22, 2022

5 Tips for a Smooth Wedding Day

Wedding days can be pretty hectic. Lots of people involved in lots of moving parts, trying to watch the weather, stay on schedule, and ensure the right people and things are in the right places at the right times. But, this day already FLIES by; you want to make sure it’s as chill and stress free as possible, so you can stay in the moment and enjoy every bit to the fullest.

I have been in the wedding industry for over 10 years, and between internships and my own business, have photographed well over 100 weddings. So, I’ve seen a thing or two and learned a thing or two. Below are five tips that I frequently give my couples to ensure their whole wedding day (not just the photography aspect) runs smoothly!

1. Prepare Detail Items for Your Photographer

Detail photographs are a beautiful way to “snapshot” the small, meaningful details of your day. Things like a grandmother’s broach, gorgeous shoes, heirloom jewelry, something blue, special perfume, etc. These items are so special but can easily get overlooked in the hustle of the day, or become a distant memory over the years. Detail photos will keep these things remembered in a beautiful way.

I always encourage my brides to have together all their special details right away at the beginning of the day. When I arrive, I jump right into getting these covered, and having them all in one place keeps you from having to scramble around collecting small pieces while you’re trying to get ready or enjoy mimosas with your bridesmaids! Below is the list I provide my brides:

  • Dress
  • Veil
  • Shoes
  • Florals
  • Invitation suite (invitation, RSVP, envelopes, etc as applicable)
  • Perfume
  • Rings (engagement, and both wedding bands)
  • Earrings, bracelets, etc
  • Any other sentimental or special items you want to include!

2. Always Do the Engagement Session

Your engagement session is truly key in getting comfortable in front of the camera before wedding day. This is the time when you and your photographer get to know one another and you learn what to expect. Most people don’t have much experience in front of a professional camera, so it can feel a bit daunting and awkward at first. As a photographer, my job is to help you feel comfortable and natural in front of the camera, but it takes us all some time to warm up! Engagement photos allow us a more relaxed moment to get through this totally normal warm up period without the nerves or timeline of wedding day.

This is when you learn basic “poses” that you will see again on wedding day! I’m not heavy into formally posing my couples, opting for a more candid and journalistic approach. However, some basic posing is necessary to get started, and from there things evolve into more natural shots once you are comfortable. Learning these “poses” during your engagement photos will make it all seem familiar and easy on wedding day!

Most importantly, during your engagement session, we get the opportunity to chat and get to know each other, so that I’m not just a stranger with a camera, and I am able to capture your true personality and connection better.

3. Consider a First Look

First Looks are becoming popular, but not everyone chooses this route. Many couples still prefer to wait until the ceremony to see one another, and I fully respect that choice. However, if this tradition is not particularly important to you, I strongly recommend a First Look. This allows the two of you to share what is usually an emotional moment together privately and enjoy taking a small bit of time quietly to yourselves, outside of the hustle of the day and all of the people around you.

Additionally, this allows us to get the majority of your photos done BEFORE the ceremony, so that you are free to relax after the ceremony and enjoy your cocktail hour and mingle with all the many guests that can’t wait to congratulate you! I work closely with my couples to develop a timeline that fits their preferences, and often we are able to take care of bride and groom portraits, wedding party, and family photos all before the ceremony! This also frees up time later in the evening to sneak away for a few beautiful sunset/golden hour photos!

4. Look for Windows

Many wedding venues are designed with photography in mind, but its always a good idea to keep this in mind when shopping for venues or picking a getting ready space: natural light! It’s best to avoid small, dark, heavy rooms or areas with lots of fluorescent light. These tend to cast harsh shadows or funky skin tones that even professionals have trouble reducing. Spaces and rooms with lots of windows allow for a brighter environment, which equals more flattering and natural looking photographs.

5. Hire or Assign a Coordinator

If your budget allows, I highly recommend hiring a professional coordinator. This person has the experience and know how to coordinate multiple moving parts, manage timelines, and work with people. This leaves the bride and family free to enjoy the day and not scramble with last minute to-do’s. The caterer is late or tablecloths are missing? The DJ wants to set up somewhere different? These are not questions you want to be answering while you’re getting your hair and makeup done!

Not all wedding day budgets can accommodate hiring a professional coordinator, and thats fine! Many venues provide some type of logistical support from the owner/manager, sometimes for a small fee, or very often included in your rental fee. Be sure to inquire about this when booking your venue. Another option is a trusted family member or friend who is not directly involved in the wedding. I’ve seen this work great many times! Just ensure they are truly willing and prepared to really take leadership should things go sideways. Your most organized, type A friend is likely a great candidate!

These are just a few tips that I like to provide to my couples. There is a lot more insight that I am always happy to share with my couples as they plan their big day! When you inquire and arrange a consult with me, I provide a complimentary fourteen page Bridal Guide that includes education and tips like these, as well as more about my style and approach to wedding days! Regardless of where you are in the wedding planning process, let’s chat!

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