You’ve been hard at work planning all of the special details of your big day. As exciting as everything is, your big day will be here and gone before you know it. We recognize that your wedding photos will have lasting impact on re-telling your wedding day story for generations to come!
Over the last few seasons, I have thought long and hard about putting together a simple list of tips and advice to help you get the most out of your wedding photography experience. I’ve polled a few other of my favorite wedding photographers in the area and have drawn from my own experience over the last 6 years to come up with a simple list of things to consider and think about before the big day arrives!
Do a Hair and Makeup Trial. These days, most professional salons will ask you to have a trial run and we think the benefits far exceeds the investment. Consider doing a trial run on the day of your dress fitting so that you can get a full idea of what you want your final look to be. Bring a picture of your dress to your hair and makeup artist so that they can consider the neckline and style as they give you their professional opinion on your beauty for the day. Professional makeup may seem like alot if you tend to wear light or little makeup, but it will make a big difference in your images.
That First Kiss. One of the most anticipated moments of your ceremony is that first kiss! While some couples don’t hesitate in public displays of affection, others may need to be reminded to hold that kiss for a few moments. We want to capture this exciting moment so be sure to count to 4 as you share your first kiss in front of the crowd and skip out on the brief peck… at least this one time! This will ensure that we get that great shot that you can show your grandkids years down the line!
Consider Your Getting Ready Location. If you are having a nautical themed wedding, consider getting ready at a location that is light and bright by the water. If you are having an elegant soiree at one of the Newport Mansions, getting ready at the mansion or somewhere that reflects that elegance will make a big impact on your morning photos. A great photographer and videographer can make any space look nice, but setting the scene will tell your wedding day story from start to finish.
If you love your getting ready location, you could ditch the salon and keep things simple by bringing the hair and makeup to you! We love the girls at Bella Beauty Bridal for this because they make wonders happen in those hotel rooms and family parlors.
Help set the scene by having your girls put all of their stuff condensed in one corner of the room. We will do our best to avoid food wrappers and undergarments this way! 😉
While a fancy dress hanger with your new last name shaped into it is really lovely, it isn’t necessary as long as you remember to have a simple wooden hanger on site with your gown so that when we get that gorgeous dress shot, we are avoiding plastic hangers.
Strongly Consider Having an Unplugged Ceremony. When we hear that a couple has decided to have an unplugged ceremony, we do a happy dance. No really. An unplugged ceremony is when you kindly ask guests to refrain from taking photos and simply enjoy being present with you. Why consider this? Our generation is so media obsessed. Myself included at times. But I can’t tell you how many brides I’ve talked to that regret not going unplugged…. because as they make that once in a lifetime journey down the aisle, they only see media devices being pointed at them rather than their guests’ smiling faces. So sad! Invite your guests to be fully present for your special moment.
The other BIG reason to consider an unplugged ceremony? You have hired us as professionals to document these very special moments. More times then I would like to count, I have had to show brides images of them walking down the aisle containing guests blocking their face with a cell phone. I have had countless weddings in which guests step out of the aisle to take a picture of the bride with their phone (or worst- iPad!) and completely block what we are able to capture. I can guarantee that their image will not come out better than ours and frankly I would much rather see you locking eyes with your fiancee than glaring at a guest as they step out in your path. It is one of the biggest tragedies in wedding ceremonies today.
So how do you tell guests to put away the devices and just enjoy the moment? There are so many adorable little signs you can purchase on Etsy. Just search for “unplugged ceremony signs“. You could also list it kindly in your program or have your officiant make an announcement BEFORE you walk down the aisle. I promise you won’t regret having an unplugged ceremony!
Keep it Personal in The Details. We love the details and find that they tell so much of your very personal wedding day story. At a wedding I did last year, the bride brought along her great grandmother’s antique hand mirror and her mom’s favorite perfume. She was having a vintage inspired wedding at one of the Newport Mansions. Not only did her details make for some super meaningful images, but they helped tell her wedding day story and visually contributed to the overall feel of the day. I’ll never forget the look on her mother’s face as her daughter held that mirror up to her face after she was dressed.
Consider wrapping your bouquet with a piece of your mom’s or grandmother’s wedding dress or adding a charm of a late relative that was special to you. Have your girls sign the bottom of your Jimmy Choos before walking down the aisle. I had one made of honor last year adorn the mimosa cups with peach rings because it was the bride’s favorite childhood candy. So fun!
What makes weddings unique and standout are the personal touches that you as a couple will add. One couple I worked with included books as their centerpieces because they met as English majors in college. Another couple hired a Del’s Lemonade cart to stand outside their July ceremony as guests exited because they had shared so many summers sipping Del’s at Colt State in Bristol together. Guest’s want to know your love story. And as a photographer, we want to tell that story through the images we take! Keep An Emergency Kit. Check with your wedding day coordinator on this first as they are usually most prepared in this area. If you aren’t having a coordinator (which is a really amazing investment!), consider pulling together a kit just in case. In our experience, here are some items we’ve seen be helpful- a stain remover pen, safety pins, hair bobby pins, tylenol, energy bars, mini sewing kit, benedryl (especially if you are having an outdoor wedding), fabric tape, hair spray, floss, and maybe some tissues if you know there will be tears! At one wedding I did last year, the poor groom had a massive reaction to the garden setting of his ceremony. His watery eyes and swollen face was quickly smoothed over with a good does of Benadryl! Emergency kit to the rescue!
Pick Vendors that You Love. One of my favorite parts of working a wedding is hanging out with my clients and experiencing the excitement along with them! Your vendors are the people that you will be with all day and that you will spend a great amount of time with before the wedding in the planning process. So be sure to pick professionals whose company you enjoy!
Light and Picture Locations. Lighting – it’s pretty important. So when we are talking about where we will be doing portraits, consider the time of day and lighting conditions. For example, it may not be the best to do beach photos at 12 noon in the middle of the summer. High, direct sun will cause harsh shadows under the eyes, hard light on your face, and even worst – squinty eyes! Trust us as photographers to know that we will be looking for the prettiest light at each location and will position you in a way that uses the light to your advantage. Help us plan a good location for our portrait time before the big day comes and be willing to adapt on the wedding day if necessary. And as I tell all of my clients, pray for clouds, not sun! Diffused, cloudy skies are our favorite shooting conditions.
Most importantly, plan to sneak out with me at sunset for just a few minutes to catch the last golden light of the day! These photos are always a favorite – the lighting is perfect and you’ll be extra relaxed and at ease for some beautiful and intimate captures.
Embrace the Unexpected and Go With It. We thrive on spontaneity and have seen enough weddings to know that your day will probably not go completely as you planned. A few showers may hit, something may cause your schedule to veer off course, you may forget those vows or jam the ring on the bride’s right hand instead of left. Whatever happens, allow your wedding day to be what it is and embrace the importance of what you are doing – marrying your best friend! Some of the best shots of the day are the unplanned ones. Trust us when plans change to make lemonade out of the lemons. Be Intentional About YOU. Don’t forget to plan lunch for yourself the morning of. Designate a bridesmaid to pack water bottles and extra snacks for you to keep you fueled!
At the reception, we know that its important to greet your guests and make the rounds, but do take a few moments to eat that wedding cake. Dance to your favorite song when it comes on. And take a few moments to tell each other how amazing the other is. Considering yourselves may take a bit of intentional thinking in the whirlwind of flower choices and seating charts. But we guarantee its the most important thing you’ll consider in the process!