Part of my job is to make your wedding day easier. Here are some suggestions that you might not have thought about in preparation of your big day that might help make things better for you. While some of these are photography-related, not all of them are. However, an important thing to remember is that the camera does not see the way people do even with a brilliant photographer:
Engagement photography sessions are wonderful for many reasons. Engagement photography not only provides you with wonderful imagery capturing your pre-wedding romance, it also gives you the chance to create a wonderful presentation at the wedding. By request, we often use engagement session imagery to create wonderful guest sign-in books, wall prints, save the dates and more!
In addition, the engagement session also allows you to get to know your photographer a little more prior to the wedding. This allows you as a couple to build a better relationship with your photographer. This relationship will allow your photographer to create more natural and unique imagery since he/she has a good understanding of your unique personalities and tastes.
Here are two tips to get the most of your engagement session. First, think of a meaningful place to the both of you. For example, the place you went on your first date, where you proposed, or another special date place for the two of you.
Second, plan the engagement shoot session as early as possible. The rule of thumb is at least 90 days from the wedding date, but the further out from the wedding the better. You will be able to enjoy your images in your home, create nice save the dates, and you won’t be rushing to add one more thing in your already busy schedule.
PLANNING FOR HAIR & MAKE-UP
Hair/make-up artists are notorious for making brides late. As the bride, tell your hair & make-up people that they need to be done a whole hour before they actually need to be done. For example: If their pictures start at 3:00, schedule your hair and make up to be done at 2:00. And if you do get done at 2:00, then you have that time to relax with your girls.
* If hair/make-up is done off-site, only travel with one other and be sure to schedule that person’s hair and make-up appointments with yours. You will need to be ready for pictures a whole hour earlier than the rest of your bridesmaids, so traveling with all of them in one car is sure to make you late.
SEEING EACH OTHER
Now I know it’s tradition to not see each other before the ceremony, and if that’s what you want, then that’s fine. However, I would suggest you see each other for a few reasons. First of all the tradition was started back when marriages were arranged. If the groom saw the bride before the ceremony and didn’t like the way she looked, he could reject her, and her family would not get the dowry money. This is also why a bride wears a veil. Once the ceremony was over, it was too late, so the groom was stuck. That is why the kiss is generally at the end of the ceremony (after the vows) when the veil is lifted. Basically, it’s not the best tradition to emulate. Secondly, if you see each other you can get all the photos that need to be done before you even get started. After the ceremony, you can just go straight to the cocktail hour and enjoy the rest of your evening practically undisturbed by your photographer. Finally, when you see each other for the first time, it’s an amazing moment, which is easier to catch in a personal setting and gives you time to actually appreciate each other without rushing into the ceremony. It is different than when you walk down the aisle, so it won’t take away from that moment.
ORGANIZING FAMILY FORMAL PICTURES
If you have family members that you know typically run late in your immediate or extended family, be sure to give them a 30–45 minute buffer. For example: Tell family members to be there at 4:15 if their scheduled picture time is 5:00. Be sure to give them accurate directions. Another special thing to do that will also assure that everyone is informed on picture times is to send a personal note, e-mail, and or phone call to each member saying something like, “We really love you and care about you, and want you to be a part of our special day…Here is the time, place, and accurate directions to get there.
Remembering the time of sunset is important. If it’s a nice sunset, you will want to have photos in front of it, which you cannot do if something else is going on like your ceremony or important dances during the reception. Also, it is important to remember that while fall weddings are lovely, the sun will set earlier and you will need to adjust your times around that. Lastly, some venues have a ceremony site that faces the sunset. That may seem lovely, but you want to set your ceremony time before the sunset as the falling light will affect your pictures; and, while you are looking at each other, your guests will be staring directly into the sun, when all they want is to see is you.
Tanning may seem like a great idea. However, if you choose to tan, don’t do it during the week before your wedding. This is because your skin on the camera could come out looking orange. Your skin needs a little time to settle back to normal from the camera’s point of view.
Glitter on your hair, face, or chest/shoulders is never a good idea. It looks great to the people around you but not in pictures. Glitter reflects light; when a photo is taken, it looks like white flecks, which usually come across as dandruff. It’s not a good look and can’t be easily fixed in Photoshop as most things can. Additionally, glitter never stays put, so anyone you hug (which will be everyone) can end up with glitter on them, including your groom.
I suggested that you set the ceremony time on the invitation at least 15 minutes before you intend the ceremony to start. That way the late comers are still on time and not trying to rush in after the procession has started.
Throwing rice is illegal now, because it can kill birds. Good thing, because rice is hard, and I wouldn’t want to be pelted with it nor deal with pulling every grain out of my hair or clothing. So here are a few alternatives. Birdseed can be thrown, but it has the same problem as rice except for the killing of birds. Flower petals are lovely, and when thrown fill the air with color while they rain down. They are soft and easy to shake off. Confetti is fun and won’t hurt, though it will stick to you and could take a little time getting off. Bubbles are great and make awesome photos, if you can get enough people to blow them. If you go with bubbles, do not get the long-lasting plastic kind. It may seem like a great idea because they don’t go away, but they still land on people; when popped on a tux, they leave a ring of white that is extremely difficult to get off. (Regular bubbles don’t leave any marks.) Some places won’t let you throw anything because they don’t want to clean it up, so for them I suggest long streamers. When all your guests wave them in the sun, it is beautiful and leaves no mess on or around you.
It is important to eat on your wedding day. It’s a long day and full of emotion so it’s best to have a full stomach to keep you going. This is important during the reception as well. I know you want to talk to your guests and just have fun, but I can’t stress enough that you need to eat.
BRIDAL PREP BOX
I suggest you have a separate box or bag with items that you might need. While you may not use any of the items, it’s better to have them than need them. Here is what I suggest you bring:
Safety pins, hair/bobby pins, hairspray, scissors, deodorant (spray so you can share), lip gloss (or buy your lipstick from your makeup artist), crochet hook (mostly for dresses with buttons and loops), sewing kit, Tide-to-Go, mints or gum, lotion, slippers (for dancing later), Q-tips, cotton balls, nail clipper, and a nail file. If you have any questions or need any other suggestions, feel free to ask! I’ve been to many weddings and have learned a lot from other peoples’ adventures.