For the longest time, I've been sharing a 'letter' to my brides in the days leading up to their wedding day. This letter contains a few notes that I've learned from being a bride and being a wedding photographer that I want them to know before their wedding day. The goal is simple - to get the most from their special day and to get more from their wedding photography.
Like they say, time flies when you're having fun! Eight hours truly does fly by on your wedding day. Focus your time on being in the moment and soaking in the sights. By following these simple tips, your photographer can also be in the moment with you capturing all the special details of the day.
You'll get more photos of the shared laughs, the details you poured your heart into, and the candid moments when you least expected a camera to be there.
Preparing For Your Wedding Day
Tidy Up Your Getting Ready Space
Reducing clutter reduces stress and looks better in photos. Prepare your getting ready space by making the bed(s) and removing suitcases, dress bags, coffee cups, trash, etc. While these items may not be completely hidden, keep them away from windows. Leaving space around windows will allow for clean getting ready shots ad space for other natural light shots. This is a great thing for your bridesmaids to do while you're getting your hair and makeup done!
Have Your Details Ready to Photograph
It's all in the details! You have planned for this day for months and as the bride you'll want to remember all of the special details and accessories that you perfectly paired together.
A lot of time can be saved when you pack your details together or have them all together. Consider what you would like in your bridal detail photos prior to your wedding day. Here are some ideas to consider:
Wedding Bands and Engagement Ring
Jewelry - Necklace, Bracelet, and Earrings
Full Invitation Suite
Keepsakes or Sentimental Item
Written Vow Booklets
Bridal Bouquet & Boutonnieres
A lovely detail to include would be loose florals and greenery that can be provided by your florist. Why include a few flowers and greenery? By doing so you begin to illustrate your wedding story from the start of the day. It sets the color story for the day and ties all of your detail images in with the images from your wedding celebration.
Encourage your soon-to-be spouse to prepare their items, as well!
Getting the Most From Your Wedding Ceremony
Encourage Guests to Be in the Moment
Whether you're planning an unplugged ceremony or not, with photography options at the ready (cell phones, tablets, digital cameras, etc.) it is likely your guests will want to take their own photos of your special moments, as well. As your photographer, I will always do my best to avoid those standing or holding up cameras, however, this is not always avoidable.
Need some gentle convincing to have an unplugged ceremony? There are several incredibly cringe-worthy stories I could share with you but I'll give you the SparkNotes version of two instances - a selfie stick holding up a cell phone at the front of a ceremony for someone to watch via FaceTime and I've stood shoulder to shoulder with someone who felt their iPhone could capture better photos...
Now that we agree you deserve the most serene wedding ceremony, allow me to share a blurb that gently asks guests to put down their devices:
Thank you for gathering here today to celebrate the bride and groom as they commit their love to one another! The are very grateful that you have joined them and would like for you to be fully present with them. Please mute [or put your device in airplane mode] your electronic devices and refrain from taking any photos during the ceremony. The bride and groom have chosen a photographer [and videographer] that they trust and will be happy to share photos when they are available.
Call On Those Who Want to Help
There is one task that you will be very distracted [in the best way possible - you just got married!] to fulfill. Call on the family members who want to help by asking them to gather the family members in formal portraits immediately after the ceremony. This is a great way for them to help you and for them to feel helpful. Send them your family formal shot list a few days before and inform them where the photos will be taken. Then they can have everyone at the right spot at the right time to zip through these shots, leaving more time for you two to capture all the beautiful wedding portraits.
How To Make Your Wedding Celebration Even More Special
Stay Close To Your Spouse and Share Kisses Often
This is your wedding day! The one day that you two have complete permission to be close and pause to enjoy the special moments. When walking down the aisle for the first time as husband and wife, stop and share a kiss! Not only will you get to enjoy the moment a bit longer but your love and excitement will glow in your photos. Plus, it's really great to see your guests smiling in the background.
Give yourselves an extra second when kissing on your wedding day – that extra second helps get the best photos! Especially during your FIRST kiss as a married couple!
Should you have formal toasts or speeches, get close to your new spouse! Catching both of your reactions in the same photo will be fun to see once you get your gallery.
If you’re having a formal entrance or exit from your reception, go slow and share a kiss! Sparkler Exit? Exit twice! When’s the next time you’re going to get to have a sparkler exit for the two of you? I’ve been married for some time and never, not once have I had the chance to exit through sparklers when leaving my house to go to the grocery store. It is important to note that your sparklers will need to be longer for more burn time so that you have the capability to run your sparkler exit more than once.
Be in the Moment for Your First Dance
It's your first dance as a married couple. If you feel compelled to dip, twirl, kiss - do it! Your guests will be overjoyed to see the two of you add in something special to your first dance. It goes without saying, your first dance photos will be so fun to relive.
This is also one of the few moments you and your new spouse will share that's relatively private. Elicit a sweet, genuine reaction by sharing something you love so much about your significant other and have them do the same.
Make the Most of Your Wedding Day
Above all else, enjoy the day. Your photos will be beautiful and reflect the love you two share. Stay close to your new spouse, pause and take in the sights, eat a slide of wedding cake - every moment you poured into planning this day has come together!
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