Been there, done that. It was a few years back, but I remember how it was being a bride. And shooting a few weddings made me think of various tips I could suggest as well. Granted, I don't know everything, but as you're planning your big day, here are some tips I think you might find helpful. Some are obvious, but with a billion things on your mind, it might be nice to have a reminder! Right?
Plan around Golden Hour
A photographer's favorite lighting is 1-2 hours before sunset. If you're doing an outdoor ceremony, plan it to end an hour or two before sunset for beautiful lighting. Of course, this is not always possible, especially if your wedding is during the season when the sunset is very late. Therefore, there is another option to have golden hour or sunset photos done later in the day of just you two (or even with the bridal party if they are willing).
That being said, make your you leave some time to take photos with your wedding party, family, and friends after the ceremony. I would suggest about an hours or so. That way there's plenty of time to get a photo with Aunt Susie as well as some gorgeous shots of just you two! Don't want to do it after the ceremony? Then definitely plan it sometime on your big day.
Don't stress over little details
When I was planning our wedding, I remember the last few days I decided to make sure everything was perfect. Thus, driving myself crazy. To this day, I wish I hadn't done so, and just enjoyed it all. Take it from an ex-bride: DO NOT stress too much about the tiny little details no will even remember! On the other hand, focus on the big picture and your love for each other. This makes everything much more enjoyable. I promise, you won't regret not stressing out more than you have to.
I know. Your grandma and you closest cousin are really excited about your big day. However, when the wedding ceremony photos you receive have everyone holding a phone or iPad, it just looks... Well, you decide.
Unless you have wedding planner/coordinator, you're good to go. But if not, find people you trust to help you out. Our wedding was 500 guests, so I needed ALL the help I could get. My parents took care of the food, my aunt took charge of design and decor, etc. Find those trustworthy people and hold on tight.
Be courteous to vendors
When you're on the lookout for vendors, vigorously writing emails and making phone calls, be sure to respond back. So even if you're not booking that vendor, be kind to write a quick reply that you've found someone else. Those people took the time to answer your questions. Therefore, it's just the nice thing to do.
Just because your brother's or friend's wedding had a particular trend going, don't feel obligated to do the same. Be yourself. It's your wedding, and your style will probably differ from someone else's. If your best friend had cupcakes at her wedding, but you'd rather have donuts, go for it!
Have a photographer? But don't forget the videographer!
I might be a little biased on this issue, but the photos and video (and your spouse) are the only things that will last from the big day. You definitely won't regret hiring a professional photographer AND videographer. Most people nowadays are hiring a photographer, but not as many hire someone to capture those sweet moments on video. I love pictures, but being able to HEAR and SEE everything in action is just so much better. Don't forget to capture the most important day of your life on video! Many years down the road, the extra $1,000 or so that you spend on video today, will be priceless when your children and grandchildren will get to watch it.
Stiff poses make for bad photos.
Make sure you and your bridal party are relaxed and being themselves.
After all, they're there to support you and be happy for you.
Let the photos portray that.
Dress for the COLD weather!
As obvious as that sounds, not everyone always follows this rule.
Please DO dress up your bridal party warmer than you would in the summer.
Girls will need scarves/jackets, tights/pantyhose, etc.
Not to mention, a hot cup of coffee or tea to warm everyone up will be quite perfect.
Dress for the HOT weather!
Make sure your bridal party is wearing light clothes.
The men especially suffer when they're wearing many layers, so see if you can lighten it up for them.
Also, it's very nice if you provide cold drinks/water during photos outside.
LIGHT! LIGHT! LIGHT!
As much as you possibly can, make sure everywhere you plan to have photos taken,
there is a good amount of lighting - natural or electricity.
It's not always in your control, but it's something to think about.
Have a back-up plan.
In case it rains during your photo session or during your wedding if you’re having an outside wedding,
make sure to have an indoor location for your wedding & photos.
The weather is not always what we want it to be.
Let your photographer know beforehand if you have certain poses in mind.
That way, you won't regret not taking those Pinterest photo ideas that you really wanted.
Have someone in charge.
When it comes time for family photos, it's helpful to have someone coordinate.
Give your photographer or one of your (trusted) wedding guests a list of the order
in which folks will take photos with the bride and groom.
Make a wedding timeline.
I know, not every single event will happen on schedule. Nevertheless, create a tentative schedule for your photographer,
That way the photographer knows where you want them to be at a certain time. Here is a Wedding Photography Timeline Template you can download, edit, and print. If you booked with us, we will also send you a questionnaire to fill out with times for every important part of the day.
Designated reception area
Don't forget that your photographer (and videographer) has a lot of equipment with them so they'll need an area at the reception to place it down, as well as a place to sit (and eat!). Sometimes the media team is overlooked as seating charts are made. To make it easier for them, make an assigned seat for your photographers in a location where they can easily shoot from. If you're not sure where that best place would be, you can always ask them!
Want more wedding photography advice? Read more on our blog: Wedding Details & Prep Tips
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