Planning a wedding can be one of the most stressful things – trust me, I’ve been there!
After photographing dozens of weddings, I have found what works and what doesn’t and I am giving all you beautiful brides-to-be out there some helpful tips that will make your life (and your photographer’s) easier on your big day!
Let Your Photographer Help with the Timeline
Whether you’re working with a planner/coordinator or not, having your photographer’s input on certain aspects of the timeline is extremely helpful. They will know what time of day is best in terms of lighting, which will help determine what time your ceremony should be (especially if it’s outside) and what time all your pictures should take place! Every photographer is different and they will advise you on how much time they will need for certain aspects, such as family photos, bridal portraits, detail shots, etc. This will minimize your stress knowing that everyone is on the same page and you know what photos are happening and when.
Create a List of Combinations for Family Photographs
This is SUPER helpful for any photographer and will make all of the family photos flow smoothly. Be sure to be specific on your list (example: bride with mom (Susan), Bride and Groom with bride’s parents (Susan and Greg), etc.). Comb the list and review it with your fiancé before sending it to your photographer to make sure you have everything YOU want. There’s nothing worse than being right in the middle of family photos and realizing you left important ones off of the list and have to rattle them off by memory!
Don’t Be a People Pleaser
I wish someone had given me this advise when I got married and I have seen this happen to SO MANY brides! Your wedding day is about YOU and your fiancé! Not your mom, not your grandma, not your friends. At the end of the day, your people should be there to celebrate you and their opinions are irrelevant. I’ve seen this happen the most when it comes to who is invited and who should be in the family photos.
Trust me when I say that you only want the people closest to you on your big day. Not Great Aunt Sue who you never see, not your friend from middle school who you haven’t seen in 10 years that shows up out of the blue looking for an invite, and certainly not your mom or dad’s coworker who you’ve never even met! You want to be intentional about your guest list. Invite the people closest to you, the ones who are rooting for you, and the ones who TRULY want to celebrate you- not someone who is just looking for a free meal and to get drunk and party.
For family photos, you want to choose people who you truly want to be in these. I felt pressured on my big day to include aunts, uncles, and cousins that I don’t even see or talk to much and I am SO glad I put my foot down and didn’t include them. It would’ve been a waste of a photo. It would not have gone in my album or on my wall, so why would I bother? Please please please only put family in these photos that you see, talk to, and who love you and your partner and are truly rooting for you. And if you are a parent of a couple getting married reading this, PLEASE do not make your child put someone in their photos that they do not want. It will only cause strife and more stress!
Plan a First Look
This might be a controversial one, but I truly believe in the value of a first look. For one, you get more photos this way. You get more time back on your schedule. You can have a semi-private (I mean… your photographer will be there too!) moment between the two of you before you walk down the aisle. You can go ahead and get a majority of photos done prior to the ceremony and that way you will actually be able to ENJOY your cocktail hour!
I could go on and on.
So when you’re planning your day, think about all the benefits a first look could offer you. And ladies, 9 times out of 10, your groom has a more emotional reaction during a first look than if you wait until the ceremony…. just saying!
Gather Your Details
One of the most helpful things you can do for your photographer is have all of your details together, either in a box or something easy for them to carry everything, and ready to go for them when they arrive. They will be able to come in, greet you, and go ahead and get going without interrupting your getting ready process!
Things to bring for detail shots:
- Rings (all 3)
- Invitation Suite (invitation, rsvp card, details card, and envelopes)
- Jewelry (earrings, necklaces, bracelets, etc.)
Nice things your photographer will love:
- Extra florals from the florist!
- Nice hanger for your dress
- Ring boxes
- Sentimental items (handkerchief, grandmother’s ring, etc.)
Trust Your Photographer
Last but not least, trust your photographer when it comes to certain poses and locations! They should know where the light is best, what poses are flattering/look cute and if you have a special place in mind for photos at your venue, they should know when/how to utilize it! They will help you with where to put your hands, where to stand, and what to do when your mind is all over the place!
Hopefully these few tips will help you with wedding planning. No matter what your vision, aesthetic, or preference, these tips will help ANYONE and help your day flow as smoothly as possible!