The getting ready space is just as important as your venue. Hotel rooms typically are not the greatest if they have a bed smack dab in the middle of the room. The getting ready location should be spacious and if at all possible match the vibe and look of the day. Consider an AirBnB, hotel suite, getting ready at home or a room at the venue if they have one. And don't forget the guys, they need an awesome space too! Space and light are the most important thing.
I typically arrive 1-2 hours before the ceremony to capture details, candids and getting dressed. Pad your timeline a little in case hair/makeup runs late. It is important to not to feel rushed as it causes unnecessary stress at the beginning of the day.
Windows, please! The ideal getting ready space is spacious, bright with window light and free of clutter. Turning on lights in the room can cause weird yellow/orange tint and I prefer to having gorgeous natural sunlight shining in.
Keep the clutter away
Please, please, please try to keep the clutter to a minimum. I know there is a lot going on but if you can confine it to a corner or closet your photos will look so much better! Bags, beverages and clothing sprawled everywhere does not make for an amazing backdrop.
2018 wedding planning
trust the process
I KNOW IT'S A LOT OF READING BUT I PROMISE ALL THE INFORMATION PROVIDED IS MEANT TO GIVE YOU THE BEST POSSIBLE PHOTOGRAPHY EXPERIENCE!
have IT ready FOR me!
Your details are what I photograph when I first arrive. Have all of the dresses hanging with all of the pins, stuffing and tags removed. Everything else should be in one spot for me to grab, it's helpful to have a bag or small box to put it all in. Please have the all the rings at whatever getting ready location I am going to.
Think about getting a wooden, metal or acrylic hanger for your dresses and suit. They photograph well and are great keepsakes for years to come.
Here's some ideas of what to have for your details photos: rings (engagement and both wedding bands), earrings, necklace, bracelets, shoes, veil, hairpieces, perfume, invitations, printed pieces, bouquets, loose florals/greenery (ask your florist!), lace, fabric, ribbon, keepsake ring boxes.
Here's some ideas of what to have for your details photos: suit, shoes, socks, watch, cologne, tie/bowtie, boutineer.
Letters, gifts, cultural items, heirloom pieces.
WHAT IS IT?
A first look is when you see each other before the ceremony.
WHEN YOU SHOULD DO ONE
A first look should absolutely be done if we will have no sunlight after the ceremony for formal portraits. Personally, I think it's a great way to have a private moment alone.
You'll get more photos
If you do a first look we will be able to do bridal party and family formal portraits before the ceremony. Leaving time after the ceremony for any extra family, some cool bridal party shots and more of you two!
Get into cocktail hour!
Cocktail hour is reserved for formal portraits indefinitely, BUT if all your portraits are done then you get to mingle with your guests and enjoy the yummy hors d'ouerves and signature drinks you picked out!
Seeing each other can significantly calm your nerves.
I wander around your venue to find the best light, I will coordinate it!
If your ceremony is outdoors try to plan it for 2 hours before sunset so that your formal portraits can be done during golden hour. If the time doesn't workout like that then put the sun behind you, especially in direct sunlight.
Please don't have a big black microphone stand set in front of you, it blocks you. Have your officiant use a hand-held mic or lapel mic. If your videographer has mics then they usually attach it to you in a discreet way.
When you kiss for the first time hold it! A quick peck can easily be missed and holding it offers different variety of your first kiss!
A really amazing way to exit your ceremony is with confetti, bubbles, flower petals, mini beach balls, balloons, light sabers, or ribbons. If you're having a night ceremony consider glow sticks or sparklers outside!
Ask your guests not to take photos during the ceremony by having a sign and also having the officiant make an announcement. I'll be honest, the phones/cameras/ipads in the air and blocking the aisle are ugly in photos, they just are. It's the most sacred time of the day and they have the whole reception to take as many photos as they want.
INDOORS & OUTDOORS
I am seasoned in shooting in any lighting situation from harsh light to pitch black. I work with a flash setup indoors, no need to worry about dark spaces :) Keep in mind that a daytime wedding is going to look different than an evening wedding.
Sunset is usually around 7:30pm making 5-6pm the ideal ceremony start time to get the great golden sunlight for portraits.
I live for the long days but they usually last until about 9pm so that often means some hot harsh light for your outdoor ceremony and formal portraits. Be prepared to sweat through expensive clothes.
This can go one of two ways, before daylights savings there will likely still be bright lush greenery outside and sunset around 7:30pm again, but after daylights savings the leaves have changed to their Autumn gloriousness and the sun goes down around 4:45pm.
It's dark and it's cold. The trees are bare, it's usually cloudy and the sun goes down around 4pm. Plan for most, if not all, photos to be done indoors. I personally love to brave the cold for formal portraits if you are down for it!
you'll likely miss it
Unless you do a first look this time is exclusively carved out for your formal portraits. I agree that it would be amazing to attend cocktail hour to mingle with your guests BUT your reception is the longest part of the day and you can see them then. You want your portraits, trust me, you want them. We can work fast to get you in there but your photos are very important to your family too. You will never see an image of your cocktail hour hanging on anyones wall or in an album.
If we plan the timing right and get you into cocktail hour then I use this small window to photograph your reception setup completely untouched!
I know photobooths are typically setup during the reception but this is a great time for your guests to enjoy it too!
STUFF TO DO
Aside for the usually drinking, eating and mingling you can give your guests some fun activities, games or entertainment.
(FAMILY + WEDDING PARTY)
If you can coordinate everyone before the ceremony, this is best. Gathering after the ceremony can be time consuming, people often reference it as hearding cats, haha!
It takes about 30-40 minutes for these photos. I cannot stress this enough: YOU WANT THESE PHOTOS. Please do not skimp on your formal portrait time, you want these photos.
I provide a portrait list of standard groupings and I have you review it on your timeline before the wedding to make changes if needed because everyone has a different family dynamic. I encourage you to keep it simple and add names, being able to call out the names of people in each grouping makes a world of difference :)
ASK FOR HELP
This is a lot of people to wrangle, ask someone to be the designated 'people gatherer'. Make sure they are someone who knows everyone on both sides.
My typical portrait list includes parents, siblings and grand parents. If you want photos with whole sides of the family adjust for more time and we should do them first! This way extended family can head into cocktail hour and immediate family sticks around.
If you want to do a First Look set aside 15-20 minutes for this. I will capture your reactions to seeing each other and then you can have a few minutes alone together.
After the bridal party and family portraits we need around 15-30 minutes to get the good stuff, I'll be directing you for poses.
Sneak away with just me! It's the best light of the day.
Night portraits! About 15-30 minutes before my coverage ends I like to step out and take photos using a flash setup. It creates dreamy and cool portraits!
HOW TO MAKE IT PERFECT
I do everything in my power to create amazing portraits. Give me at least 30 minutes during golden hour or enough time to setup lighting for night/indoor photos and yes you will get those great photos you see in my portfolio. I am not here to take over your wedding day and make photos the center of attention but you are also hiring me for a reason and I want you to have the best experience. If there is something that you are insecure about or will be very self aware about please just open up and tell me so I can be mindful of that detail.
RELAX + PARTY
While there is a general timeline for receptions, it is flexible unlike the rest of the day so you can finally relax and unwind! This is the fun candid part of the day!
Menus look great on place settings but they can be costly to print for each plate. You can have one made just for me by a fancy calligrapher or great printing site so I can take an awesome place setting photo!
I do not photograph people eating. For timing purposes the best time for me to be served is when you are served so I do not miss anything. I can't tell you how many times I have been taken away to eat my meal and then slightly hear the announcement for something important and come running in just missing a moment. Fun fact: I used to work in catering for years. They charge couples for vendor meals and then serve us after all the guests to make sure there is "enough", or serve something like a sandwich and bag of chips. Be sure to ask what exactly you are paying for! Not all caterers do this of course :)
Some fun ways to exit your wedding reception are confetti, ribbons, flower petals, sparklers, mini beach balls, glow sticks, light sabers, bubbles, balloons or smoke bombs. My favorite is confetti after ceremonies and sparklers at the end of the night and you can always do a combo of 2 things! Be extra!
Wedding planners are the most glorious thing, seriosuly if it is in your budget I highly recommend booking one ASAP. If not a full on wedding planner then a day of coordinator is a must. Your venue coordinator is not your day of coordinator, they work for the venue. You need someone working for you, making sure your vision is brought to life, someone who will handle everything behind the scenes.
YOUR WEDDING TEAM
Your vendors are so much more than just vendors, they should be a team and on the same page when it comes to your wedding plans. You need to trust them...you cannot control everything on your wedding day so you need to trust them completely. Be sure to look at reviews and view their portfolios. I promise you a wedding team on the same page makes for a phenomenal day! Also, read your contracts, I know it's so much reading but contracts outline the process, terms and expectations of every client/business relationship.
Create an email introducing all of your vendors to each other, make sure timelines are shared and everyone knows what to expect. In general us vendors know the ins and outs of wedding but it's best to communicate with each one what your expectations are because not everything is standard at each wedding. Magic doesn't always just happen, sometimes we need to make it happen :) Creating a mass email for your entire wedding party and family is super helpful. That way everyone is in the loop on timing and expectations!
your ceremony is the reason for it all
It's easy to get lost in wedding planning, color palettes, details and design elements. I know how much goes into a wedding from the fonts on invitations to the food you eat, it's a lot. Your wedding should be scheduled around your ceremony. Think about it... this is the first time all of your guest see you, this is your vows of commitment to marriage, this is the center of your wedding.
I know, I know, everyone talks about this to death and trust me I used to be way more traditional but my hubby and I rode to our wedding together, in fact he zipped me into my dress. If you do choose to do a first look keep three things in mind: lighting, location and being done at least 30 minutes before the ceremony so nobody sees you. Bonus! You get almost double the photos if you do a first look, there's such a variety!
travel time + TiMELINES
Factor travel time into your day if you're getting, ready, ceremony or reception locations differ. Consider traffic and delays as well when working on a timeline. I keep talking about timelines and sticking to a schedule, it's not because I am a time freak. I am actually really calm and chill but I watch the clock all day for 2 reasons: 1. light, I stalk the sun and weather 2. because there are so many vendors and elements that make up your wedding day. Everyone has a job to do and running really late affects everyone in attendance.
you want these photos
If you are a person that hates being photographed just suck it up for this one day. It's just 1-2 hours out of one day to do formal portraits and then 3-5 hours of reception time to party. After the day is over you have gorgeous photos for the rest of your life. I was so wrapped up in mingling and drinking all of the wine we selected that formal portraits took a back seat and it will forever be one of my biggest regrets. The day will go by quicker than you think and it can sometimes be a blur, so in the moment you may want to decline certain things suggested to you but....I will say it again, you.want.these.photos.
stay sober-ish until cocktail hour
This goes for everyone, I am all about moving quickly so we can stay on time and be efficient..and there's nothing like having a family member or wedding party completely sloshed to slow things WAY down. Definitely entertaining, but not ideal :)
your dress will get dirty
Accept is and embrace it. Your dress and the bridesmaid dresses will get dirty, there is no way around it. If your dress touches the ground it will drag across any surface whether it's a floor or the grass. Worrying about your dress is an unnecessary stress. Just let it happen and you can even get some epic photos like laying down for me to get an aerial shot or going into a wooded area or somewhere really cool.
make it happen!
I cannot photograph what is not there and what is not provided for me. I capture what is in front of me. and work around whatever circumstances or lighting situation or cooperation I am given. No two weddings are alike, each unique in their own way as they should be.
You don't need a full on cheesy smile the whole day but just be mindful of your face, especially walking down the aisle! This goes for the entire wedding party.
things to remember...
BOOKING + CONTRACT
This is the first step in your wedding photography process. I send you a custom private profile with a login link and password to make all of your payments. I send the contract to both of you to sign electronically. I try to keep this process as simple as possible and do it all online. You're officially booked once both the retainer fee is paid and contract is signed. For more information on the process check here.
After your retainer is paid the remaining balance is split into 2 payments, the first is due 30 days before yoru wedding and the final payment is due 7 days before your wedding. The payment schedule and due dates are outlined in your wedding profile and on your contract. Late payments acquire a $30 per day late fee. All payments made are non-refundable.
The engagement session I offer to couples is optional and complimentary with certain packages. This cannot be exchanged for more time on your wedding day or any other product or service. For ideas and info on locations /what to wear checkout the Portrait Planning Guide here.
BEFORE YOUR WEDDING
A few months before your wedding I send you a questionnaire to fill out. It is imperative you fill this out so that I can be fully prepared/educated and provide the very best. There is a sample questionnaire in your wedding profile and a sample timeline to give you an idea of the information I need and how I work.
AFTER YOUR WEDDING
Your final wedding gallery will be delivered 2-3 weeks after your wedding date. I send you a link to an online gallery where you can download all of the photos to your computer or do individual downloads on your phone. All of the images I deliver are fully edited and high resolution quality. Share the gallery link with family and friends so they can download/print on their own. If your package came with an album I will send you instructions for choosing the image for your album order.
GREAT JOB, YOU DID IT! THANKS FOR READING,
YOUR WEDDING WILL BE AH-MAZING!