Planning a wedding can be overwhelming I totally get it! There are so many details to think about. Over the years I have learned a lot of what makes a wedding day run smoothly, what lighting is the best, what venues I would recommend to my friends or family and so much more. I created this guide to make the wedding planning process a little bit easier for you and to help you get the most out of your photography experience. You are going to be investing a lot of money into this day, so I want to help you create the wedding you've always dreamed of.
How you can get the most out of your photography experience
I highly suggest doing a first look before the ceremony. There is a lot that will be going on during the day, so this is the only time for it to be just the two of you. I will shoot this from far away, so you can have that intimate time together. Enjoy this time, and take as long as you need. Doing this first look will allow the schedule and timing of your day to run smoothly and we will have more time to take photos, which means you will get more photos back in your gallery.
I suggest reserving a little area or separate room for when you want to put your dress and shoes on. Whether you are in a house, hotel, or at a venue, keep at least one area clean. Usually there are a lot of people trying to get ready in one room, which results in bags, shoes, makeup in the background. Having a spot cleared out will help make for great getting ready photos. The focus of the images will be more on you and not the stuff in the background.
Have your makeup and hair artist set up near a window. This will not only help with good lighting for photos, but it will also help the makeup and hair stylist do their best work. There is nothing worse than applying makeup in florescent lighting and then seeing your makeup colors be completely different outside in the natural sunlight.
The morning of getting ready, have your dress, shoes, jewelry, both rings, and any other meaningful items gathered together so I can step out and take the detail shots. The faster it is for me to get these items, the faster I can get back to documenting you and the bridal party getting ready.
I personally love detail photos. They reflect the couples style, personality, and vibe of their wedding day. When you send your wedding invites and save the dates, be sure to send me a copy. I will bring them along on the wedding day for when I do detail shots. You invitations should share the same style as what you envision for your wedding. You will probably be spending a lot of time and money of them so why not have gorgeous photos of your invitations!
Write Each Other A Letter
This is totally up to you but I think it is so sweet when couples exchange letters on their wedding day. It totally sets the tone for the day and is just another reminder of why you are going through all the craziness of getting ready.
If you have your ceremony outside, keep in mind where you locate the ceremony. You should look up sunset times, the closer to sunset the better the light. Also figure out if you want your ceremony to be in full sunlight or shade. When you have your ceremony in full sunlight, know that there will most likely a lot of shadows on the face. Here is an example of a shaded ceremony, a ceremony in full sunlight, and a church ceremony. This church had pretty good lighting, so if you have your ceremony inside make sure to talk to the church before hand and tell them you want the lights on and if possible window open. The more natural light the better!
What is an unplugged wedding?
I highly suggest having your wedding be "unplugged". This means telling your guests to be present at the ceremony and leave their phones and cameras behind. You as a couple are hiring a professional photographer to document the day as it is, and even though Uncle Bob or Aunt Mary might think they need to get that shot, assure them that you can easily give them your professional photos. There is nothing worse than getting your wedding ceremony photos back and alls you can see is cell phones taking photos. Not to mention, I have had wedding guests step in front of me during a ceremony right before the kiss. Not cool!
If you decide to do a first look, family formals will be before the ceremony. If you do not do a first look, family formals will be immediately after the ceremony. I suggest going outside for better lighting. Some couples like to stay inside and thats totally fine too, but if the weather cooperates, outside is better for photos. If you are concerned about grandparents going outside we can always take those inside.
If there is any family situations I need to know about, please tell me before the wedding. Divorce, death, etc.
We pray and pray for good weather, but sometimes its just happens. Snow, rain, heat. I’ve lived in the midwest my whole life so I am used to being flexible because of the weather. Honestly some of my favorite weddings are the ones where the weather just didn’t quite cooperate. Just know that no matter the circumstances, all that matters is that you are marrying your best friend and love of your life. All of your closest friends and family are going to be there to celebrate your love. Not the details, not what you wear. But your love.
If you are in need of a makeup and hair stylist for your wedding and or engagement sessoin, I HIGHLY recommend Kara Mclaughlin! She is seriously the nicest girl you will meet and does an amazing job with makeup and hair. She graduated from hair school and does bridal makeup and hair full time so she has a lot of experience. I refer her to everyone I know in need of this kind of service.