With so many things happening at once, its easy to overlook all the little details that make a wedding day beautiful and unique. While some of these little details really aren’t so pressing, there are a few that, when remembered, can make the world of a difference in flow of your day how your wedding photos turn out.
To help you in your preparations, I have put together a few suggestions that I believe can truly elevate your wedding day and give you the best possible photos.
Consider your getting ready space
If you don’t know of anybody with a suitable space you can use while getting ready, I always suggest looking to rent a space through AirBnb or VRBO as opposed to renting a hotel room. Home rentals often offer so much more space and character, and can double as a place for you and your wedding party to stay the night before the wedding.
The optimal getting ready location has bright, neutral colored (white) walls, large windows facing multiple directions, and little to no need for artificial lighting. If it feels dim or cold without the overhead lights or lamps on, it’s probably too dark.
For the best indoor photography, the first thing I’ll do when I show up is turn off all possible overhead lighting, which often causes unflattering shadows and color casts on skin that can’t be edited out. Sometimes ambient lighting such as scones and lamps are okay, but be weary these still sometimes cause unflattering shadows. If the lights cannot be turned off, I will instead bring you next to the biggest and brightest window I can find.
I know it can be difficult, but I highly recommend you and your wedding party aim to keep things consolidated or off high surfaces so their isn’t too much clutter in the background of your images. A tidy space makes for a much more photogenic space.
With this said, all you can ask is for everyone to do their best – don’t let a little clutter get the best of you! People need things, especially on wedding days, so if things can’t be tidied once the photographer arrives, it’s not the end of the world.
Nothing is worse than a bored, sleepy wedding party in the hours leading up to the wedding. The party doesn’t have to wait to start until after dinner; prepare a coffee or mimosa bar and put on your favorite playlist while getting ready. You want to create an atmosphere of celebration!
Be thoughtful with your timeline
Set aside your details ahead of time
A few days before the wedding, put everything you would like photographed (invitations, shoes, jewelry, etc.) together in a small garment bag and keep in a safe and convenient space. Once until your photographer arrives, they’ll likely want to photograph these details first, so having it all handy and consolidated will make that process go so much smoother.
Hair and Makeup
Brides, have your hair and makeup done first. I know, I know. This is probably the opposite advice you’ve heard from every hair and make up artist out there, who often prefer to work on the bride last so she is as fresh as she can possibly be. The problem with this is that often times, by the time it’s finally the bride’s turn to get pampered, time is no longer on your side and things will feel rushed… the complete opposite of how you should feel on your wedding day!
Although your hair and makeup artist may disagree with you, I highly highly suggest requesting you be first in line for their services so you’re able to really sit back, relax, and not stress about the time. Once your photographer arrives, you can always hop back in the chair and have your photographer capture your hair and makeup artist applying a few touch ups or final tweaks.
Carve out time to eat
One of the biggest things that so many couples forget to do on their wedding day is EAT. Happy tummies equal happy hearts! Including a proper breakfast, lunch, and dinner can make the difference between ending the day in joy, and in ending the day feeling sick and miserable.
If you’re looking to avoid that heavy and bloated feeling, I suggest staying away from any greasy or carb-loaded foods and avoid consuming large quantities all at once. Instead, snack frequently on light and nutritious foods such as fruits, veggies, and nuts frequently throughout the day.
Practice good communication
I definitely do not condone bridezilla or groomzilla behavior. However, clear and concise communication can make such a positive difference in the overall flow of the day. Just remember to be helpful in your communication, don’t nag!
Share your timeline and expectations
Be sure to share your timeline and expectations with everyone before the wedding day, including attendees and vendors. I suggest having a conversation in person or over the phone with each person, then sending a group or individual text messages a day or two before the wedding summarizing the timeline as well as all of your expectations for each person.
Create a contact list, and share it
Write down the names and phone numbers of all your wedding vendors and at least two wedding day contact (one for each person getting married), then snap a photo. Send the photo of the contact list to each of your vendors and members of your bridal party ahead of the wedding just in case!
Ask a friend to assist with formal portraits
One of the best things you can to to ensure better wedding photos is to ask a friend to assist your photographer during formal portraits.
Immediately following your ceremony, all of your loved ones are going to want to say hello and talk to one another, and there’s probably going to be a lot of people running to the bar. People are going to disperse quickly, which will make it difficult for your photographer to everyone posed and put together in a timely fashion.
Assigning somebody who knows who people are and who will be able to quickly run around and gather people while the photographer sets up the next shot will make your formal photos go a lot smoother and quicker, allowing you to get back to your party.
Outdoor wedding? Be sure to gear up
It’s completely understandable to want to look good on your wedding day. But, it’s very difficult to look your best if you don’t feel your best.
Although getting married outside is beautiful, there are many inevitable risks such as heat, cold, wind, or precipitation – none of which make for a very comfortable situation. The more you can do to prepare yourself for any weather situation, the less stress and discomfort you’ll experience, and therefore more beautiful your photos will be.
Here are some suggestions for preparing an outdoor wedding or elopement:
- Wearing extra layers like jackets, base layers, and proper footwear
- Having bug repellent and sunscreen on hand
- Renting a tent or marquee to keep you and your guests sheltered, or finding a venue with an indoor option
- Offering umbrellas, paper parasols, or hand fans to keep guests comfortable, or looking for venues that offer plenty of shade
- Save your ceremony for later in the day when the sun isn’t so high (twilight ceremonies can be so beautiful)
Don’t forget the finishing touches
Although they aren’t necessity, bringing along a few of the following extras can add a little insurance to your day (and your photos):
- band-aids in case of heel blisters
- bobby pins and clear hair ties
- clear gel deodorant (nobody wants white marks on their wedding clothes!)
- dress steamer
- double-sided fashion tape
- lint roller
- mini sewing kit (needle, thread, safety pins)
- tissues and q-tips
Slow down and enjoy moments
I get it, wedding days are busy. There are often so many formalities and interactions you’re squeezing into one day that it can feel impossible to slow things down.
But remember what this day is all about – you’re finally married, enjoy it! If something as important as your first kiss is just a second long, this won’t give your photographer nearly enough time to snap the perfect shot. Our cameras are fancy and expensive, but they still require an extra second or two just to focus correctly. The best part of all this? A few extra seconds to really enjoy the moment with your honey!
There are going to be so many other moments throughout the day that deserved to be experienced and cherished. Baking time into your schedule to slow down and be present with not only help you feel your day, but also allows your photographer to better see which moments mean the most to you.
Bumps in the road are going to happen – that’s just how life works. At the end of the day, all of the little mistakes that pop up along the way are just a little character added to your day, and if you forget a few things, it’s not the end of the world! No matter what, your day will be beautiful because you get to marry your best friend, and what could be better than that?!
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