a guide to plan the most perfect wedding
The Ultimate Bridal Guide
Hello Bride-to-be and Welcome! This is such an exciting time for you! I’m sure your mind is racing with all that needs to be planned. It’s all very exciting but it can also be somewhat overwhelming. The goal of the guide is to help you plan your wedding day in a way that will allow me to provide you with the BEST experience possible. I’ve gathered tips and tricks from all my wedding experience and written them here as a guide. I hope it can assist you and make the planning just a bit smoother.
Wedding Day Weather Conditions
You don't have to be stressed about bad weather on your wedding day. I am fully prepared and experienced to handle rainy, sunny, or snowy weather conditions.
I have shot in rain and snow; so don't stress. Regardless of the weather I know how to capture the day perfectly.
In rare instances, a venue may call for a cancelation in extreme weather conditions. If your venue issues a cancelation I will do my best to work with you to reschedule your wedding day. Please review my wedding photography agreement for a detailed description of our cancellation policies.
If your wedding day is rainy or temperamental, I will be fully prepared with beautiful clear umbrellas for your portraits.
Getting Ready Photos
IF you are having getting ready photos…. A WELL LIT PLACE IS A HAPPY PLACE. CHOOSE TO GET READY IN A SETTING THAT HAS LOTS OF NATURAL LIGHT. YOUR SKIN TONES WILL LOOK MORE FLATTERING AND THE OVERALL VIBES MORE CHEERFUL.
AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE, TRY TO KEEP PERSONAL ITEMS AND CLUTTER IN A SEPARATE ROOM. ALSO, MAKE SURE TO BRING A PRETTY HANGER FOR THE DRESS, NOTHING FANCY. ANYTHING IS BETTER THAN WHITE PLASTIC!
BE INTENTIONAL WITH YOUR GETTING READY SPACE. GETTING MAKEUP ON IN THE TINY HOTEL BATHROOM, CRAMPED BY PEOPLE AND LUGGAGE IS A STRESSFUL AND OVER-STIMULATING ATMOSPHERE.
TIP: Getting Ready and pre wedding location
HOTEL ROOMS LACK CHARACTER, SPACE AND QUALITY LIGHT. LOOK INTO AIRBB OR VRBO (OR YOUR VERY OWN HOME) AS A ROOMY AND AESTHETIC ALTERNATIVE! MANY AIRBNBS OR RENTAL HOMES END UP BEING MORE AFFORDABLE ANYWAY. CHOOSE A SPACE THAT SUITS YOUR NEEDS AND STYLE. YOU WILL FEEL MORE COMFORTABLE AND IN TUNE WITH YOUR EMOTIONS AND LESS WORRIED ABOUT WHICH CORNER OF CHAOS THE RINGS ARE IN.
I’ve showed up to preparations before and it was dead silent with bridesmaids literally falling asleep. We don’t want that. It’s okay if it’s not your thing to be bouncing off the walls with energy, but having music playing keeps good vibes going and fills any uncomfortable silences. Take a few minutes in the months leading up to your day to create a playlist, or designate a bridesmaid to come up one!
If your ceremony customs allow it, have some fun with champagne and mimosas for getting ready to (keep it a light alcohol No Beer= bloat) Guys can have a few beers or light liquor! Don't forget the tiny sandwich trays (or other light food) for snacking/ lunch so everyone's nerves stay calm and you're not starving 3 hrs before dinner!
A first look provides logistical and timeline advantages. By having the option of doing bride and groom photos pre-ceremony you’re freeing yourself up for more quality time with guests after the ceremony. Another common reason for doing a first look is you’re able to get all of those nervous jitters out of the way and the frog out of your throat (so you don’t have to worry about that in front of 100+ people). Having a first look gives you the opportunity to have a few stress and pressure free moments alone with your significant other before the day REALLY begins and everything turns into a blur; it’s a chance to be intentional about your time together on your wedding day and to soak it all up. Some couples even take the time here to say each other’s vows to one another to make it that much more intimate and personal.
Honestly unless you’re very married to the idea of seeing each other for the first time down the isle, there aren’t a lot of drawbacks to a first look. Something to consider though, is if the space you’re getting married at has little to no shade, doing photos pre-ceremony could be OVERLY hot and bright (which creates harsh light and unflattering skin tones) depending on the time of year and time of ceremony. For example, if you’re getting married in an open field with no trees to cast shade, you may want to consider carefully if first look is your best option.
This is a time you don't need to worry about me, the photographer you guys do you and enjoy your moment shed the tears and get emotional!
With your parents
These are some of my favorite moments on a wedding day! Without fail there is always laughter, hugs and even some tears.
Honor your mom, dad, or both by setting aside this time specially for them. Neither you or they will regret having this moment.
Utilizing different types of space and light
This is one of my favorite types of lighting for ceremonies. Under a canopy of trees, or in the shade will result in diffused and soft light which your skin tones will thank you for! Don't fear if your day is cloudy! This is actually ideal for an outdoor midday wedding! Overcast also achieves the same result but unfortunately we can’t control the weather!
This can be tricky so you have to be extra intentional about light and where it’s coming from. Try to never position the altar right in front of a window unless you also have good fore-light (this means windows in front of you as well). You will become washed out, shadowed and ill-defined from the backlight. Multi-directional and side lighting is ideal.
This is the trickiest light to work with. If you can’t help but work with direct sun, try to at least position the sun behind the altar. Your guests might need sunglasses but at least then you won’t have super unflattering and inconsistent shadows.
The lower the sun gets in the sky, the softer and warmer the light will become. It doesn’t always make logistical sense to have your ceremony at 7pm, but the later in the day you have your ceremony the prettier the light can be. Backlight if possible.
Bistro lights and candles. LOTS of bistro lights and candles. You’ll hear me say this again but the more ambient light you can provide the less intrusive I’ll have to be with flash and off camera lights.
More ceremony Tips!
- Avoid using a mic stand as they tend to be distracting and ugly. Use a lapel mic if possible.
- Mark the spots you’ll stand at so you always have a reference point and stay at the center of the isle.
- Use ushers to ensure all the right seats get filled. Without them it’s easy for guests to just sit in the back and then you end up with gaps and empty spots near the front.
- Go unplugged! Let your guests live in the moment and witness your vows without the distraction of cell phones (or God forbid, iPads!). You want engaged guests in your photos, not phones and arms leaning out into the isle.
Venue Ideas around the U.S.
First thing- Communication: Making sure everyone is on the same page is the only way to make sure this process goes smoothly. Inform everyone you want involved in family formals with what you expect and when/where you want them. (Ex: Be at the ceremony location at 2pm for family photos OR please stay in the ceremony area after the ceremony is done so we can get family photos)
When + Where
Depending upon when you decide to see each other for the first time I recommend doing family photos immediately after the ceremony because everyone will be all together. I’ll choose a shaded, outdoor spot for these, unless weather dictates otherwise, or we can do them right in front of the altar.
Enlist a helper to expedite things along and take some of the pressure off yourselves. Whether it’s a coordinator or just your MOH. I ask my couples to create a list of the groupings beforehand and I will have a printed copy for the day of to have someone keep things more organized.
Let's get the basics then pump the music and take some photos!
Break out the liquid encouragement and let's have some fun! This time of the day is about high energy and hilarious personalities with dancing, tackling, champagne popping, and groom lifting. This allows me to capture you and your people with more of a candid approach!
We can work with each other to decide when the best part of the day will be to take these depending upon what you guys decide when the first time you see each other will be, if it's before the ceremony or down the aisle.
Bride + Groom
With the same idea as the bridal party photos we want to create a fun atmosphere, that's what it's all about am I right!? To get the real moments it takes vulnerability, trust, spontaneity and of course all the sillies!
I’m here to help you arrive at a well-structured timeline - one that works well with your light and your personalities, but also keeping your guests in mind. I don’t want to dictate how your wedding happens, but I do want to make myself and my expertise available to you in order to get the most out of your wedding day.
In the end I want to collaborate with you to come up with the most appropriate timeline, but to get you started, you should know how long certain portions of photos will take (every photographer differs so it’s important to ask).
*These estimations are purely how much time I need to actually photograph - this does not account for variables such as travel between locations and delays outside of my control.
Don’t worry! About 1-2 months before your wedding I’ll send you a questionnaire to help us begin our collaboration of fleshing out of the schedule to fit both yours and my needs.
To best decide on how long you would like me at the reception, I like to photograph the open dancefloor for 1.5-2 hours. This time frame works well to capture everything I need without getting too repetitive. After a while people will start to trickle out and most likely the people who started the dance party will be the ones to shut it down. Also, you probably don’t need 83 photos of cousin Johnny getting progressively more intoxicated.
If your wedding is being served dinner, ask the venue to serve me right after the head table. If you don't, the venue will most likely serve me last and Ill be scarfing down food while your mingling and dancing.
Either turn the lights totally off or keep things bright enough for me to shoot in. Ask the DJ to kill the colored party lights for first dances, you don't need purple faces for that!
Final Image Delivery
Getting your wedding images is a thrilling moment. I will do my very best to edit and deliver your images as quickly as possible. Here are a few notes to keep in mind about your wedding images
- Images are delivered fully edited
- On average, I deliver 300-1000 images depending on wedding day coverage
- You will receive a print release for your images
- You may password protect your gallery, just ask
I deliver full wedding gallery images
Up to 10 weeks after your wedding date via an online gallery. If I am able, I will provide a "sneak peek" of images sometime after your wedding.
Sharing with others
Use the share link to send your wedding gallery to friends & family. Please keep in mind they will not be able to download your images without a special download pin number.
Add images to your favorites folder and download your files in high or low resolution. Low-res is great for social media and online sharing while high-res should be used for printing.
Saving + Storing
Please download and save all your images to a safe space on your local computer or cloud storage solution. I only guarantee your online link for 6 months after your wedding date.