IT'S YOUR WEDDING DAY
I can't even tell you how excited I am to be your photographer! One of my biggest goals for your wedding day is to help you be as relaxed as possible, enjoying every moment and soaking in all the excitement of the day. No stress allowed! If you're having any questions as to what a wedding day with me looks like, here's a run-down of exactly that, plus some tips and tricks to prepare and help the day run smoothly. This is your day celebrating your love story, and it's going to be incredible. Let's do this!!
BEFORE THE BIG DAY
You've put so much thought and careful planning into your day, and now you're finally in the home stretch! About a month before the wedding date, I'll call you or set up a coffee date so we can plan the wedding day timeline. This will just be a basic schedule of all the photography that will be happening, who is involved, and at what times. I want to make sure to capture all the photos you're envisioning, so we need to allot time for each detail. It's important that your bridal party and key family members have a copy of the timeline so everyone is on the same page!
The only other thing I need from you before the wedding is a family formals portrait list of all the groupings you wish to have photographed, including names of all people in each grouping (i.e., "Bride's Immediate Family: Susan, Gary, Michael, Katie"). That way when the time comes, I can simply call out the names of the people in each grouping and quickly assemble each group. Having a list makes the family portraits go ten times faster, plus avoiding a lot of confusion!
DETAILS + GETTING READY
Your wedding day is here!! I usually arrive after you've started getting ready. The first thing I'll do (after giving you a hug, of course) is photograph your bride + groom details. This typically includes things like the dress, rings, shoes, garter, bouquet, invitation suite, boutonnieres, cuff links, ties, etc. For this reason, please arrange with your florist to have all the flowers delivered by the time I arrive. Assign someone to make sure all details you want photographed are all gathered in one place where I can easily find them. This helps save time and confusion!
Once I'm done with details, I'll come back to the bridal suite for getting-ready photos! If at all possible, have your hair and makeup done near a window or in a room with lots of yummy natural light. Natural light is the most flattering, and I want you to look the absolute best!
Another important thing is keeping the room clear of any clutter, trash, or luggage, or keeping it all in a closet. This helps keep the photos free of any distractions in the background and focused on the people. I may clean or rearrange as I shoot, but having it organized beforehand is very beneficial.
Once you're ready, it's time to put on the dress! Because it's such a careful process, this always takes longer than expected, so be sure to allot enough time for it. Also, whoever is helping you put on your dress will want to be dressed and photo-ready as well.
For the guys - the timeline will let you know what time you're supposed to be ready for portraits. At that time, please be dressed up to the point of putting on your shoes, tie, cuff links, boutonnieres, and jacket. That's when I or my second shooter will come take your getting-ready photos and then we'll move on to portraits!
THE FIRST LOOK
If you're having a first look, this will happen once you're both completely ready! If you don't already have a spot in mind, I'll pick one out and get you both set up in place, but then I'll back away and photograph from a distance so this moment can be entirely yours. Then whenever you say the word, we'll take time for some bride + groom portraits!
Whether or not you choose to do a first look is entirely up to you. But whenever my clients ask my opinion, it's always a resounding YES. You get the thrill and anticipation of seeing each other without the pressure of everyone watching; a quiet, intimate, emotional moment saved for just the two of you. I've never had a couple regret doing a first look, and more often than not, the groom still cries just as hard seeing his bride come down the aisle. Nothing can take away from that surreal moment when you realize you're minutes away from saying I do.
Another more practical advantage of having a first look is with the timeline. With a first look, it is possible to get most of the portraits done before the ceremony even begins (with the exception of maybe a few family formals). That way after the ceremony, you can head straight to your party!
BRIDAL PARTY PORTRAITS
Having a first look or not will determine if we take all the bridal party portraits before or after the ceremony. But whenever they happen, I can guarantee a good time. I will take photos of all the bridesmaids together, and then individuals of the bride with each bridesmaid, and same for the groomsmen. Then everyone will jump in together! I take a few classic portraits, some candid shots, and fun group photos to get everyone laughing. It's your wedding day, after all, and you're celebrating with your favorite people. Time to party!!
If the timeline allows, I always try to wrap up all the portraits about an hour before the ceremony start time. That gives you time to sit down and have a few quiet moments and hide away so no early-arriving guests will see you. I'll use this time to photograph all of your reception and ceremony details before those areas are full of people. By this time, assign someone to make sure everything is fully set up, the cake has been delivered, and all details are in place; this is my only opportunity to photograph all the details, decor, and unique touches you've spent months planning!
I will cry. It's inevitable. But don't worry, I'll hide my face behind my camera and no one will be the wiser. No matter how many ceremonies I witness, hearing two people vow their love to each other will always get me right in the feels. I do my best to not be a distraction while shooting. At first, I may stand near the front to get shots of everyone coming up the aisle, but as soon as the bride walks down and is in place at the altar, I'll scurry out of the way, staying around the perimeter and near the back. Enjoy your ceremony without me putting a camera in your face, and I'll see you as you walk down the aisle together! Please be sure the officiant tells the family to stick around at the end for family formals.
Unless you opt for a first look and are able to photograph the family formals before the ceremony, they usually take place immediately following the ceremony at the altar. Again, this is when that family portrait list will come in handy! We'll get things rolling, go through the list, and be done as quickly as possible so people aren't waiting around.
BRIDE + GROOM PORTRAITS
If you didn't have a first look, we'll take all of your portraits together immediately following the family formals and bridal party portraits. But even if you did have a first look and we already took care of your portraits, I will still probably steal you away for a few minutes at sunset. Why? 1) This gives you a chance to breathe and be alone for a few minutes after such a crazy, exciting day. 2) Nothing compares to the post-ceremony, WE JUST GOT MARRIED glow. I want to capture that so you'll remember exactly how you felt moments after being pronounced man and wife! 3) Sunset light = magic. Let's not waste it. These are the photos you will want to frame and hang on your wall and show off to everyone.
Let the party begin!! Kick back and relax, get some food, and then hit that dance floor. I'll be right there to capture all the dancing, toasts, candids of your guests, cake-cutting, and any other fun events you have planned (we'll discuss all of that when we create the timeline!). If Taylor Swift is on your dance playlist, then there's a 100% chance I will join you on the dance floor for a song or two. (Also, I wouldn't be upset if you managed to save me a piece of your wedding cake...)
As you may remember from my contract, it's essential for my second shooter and me to sit down to have a meal at some point during the reception. I promise this isn't me just being demanding and high-maintenance. We've been on our feet all day with little-to-no time to snack or even drink some water. To keep our energy up so we can keep capturing your fabulous party, we need some food! We'll take a little break, eat, and then get right back to work. I usually plan my break at the same time you are eating so I know I'm not missing any first dances or toasts. And I never take photos during dinner anyway, because who wants photos of themselves eating? No one, that's who.
I really, really love send-offs. The energy, excitement, and the overall vibe of HECK YEAH WE'RE MARRIED is overwhelming! Start getting ready for your send-off about 15-20 minutes before to allow guests time to gather at the designated spot and prep their sparklers/bubbles/flower petals. I typically help guests line up in the best way - not too close (especially if sparklers are involved!); not too far apart - to make for the most magical send-off photos. My best tip for your exit is enjoy the heck out of it. Take your time, wave to your adoring fans, stop for a celebratory kiss in the middle (trust me, you'll want that picture!), and then run off into the night.
LET'S DO THIS THING!
I hope this info is helpful to you as you finish planning your big day! The most important thing to remember is - no matter what happens, what may go wrong, or what you're most worried about - that at the end of the day, YOU GOT MARRIED. Let's celebrate and make this the greatest day of your life. I know all this info is a lot to take in, but I'm here to help every step of the way, so if you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact me! I can't wait for your wedding day!!