WEDDING DAY TIPS + ADVICE

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PICK THE VENUE FIRST

We recommend looking and going on venue tours first. This will allow you to choose both the location(s) and date of your event.

***Consider timing on your wedding day: Look at the time of sunset on that day. Do you want to do your formals BEFORE or AFTER the ceremony? Make sure to accommodate the time to do so before the sun actually sets.

 

SET THE DATE

Now that the venue is chosen, the date is reserved, and you can start planning the gorgeous wedding day!

 

CEREMONY START TIME

For your ceremony start time, be sure to “tell” all your guests a time of 30 minutes BEFORE the ceremony really starts. Everyone runs late to weddings, you want to make sure your ceremony is literally a packed house and ready for the bride to walk down the aisle on time. If your ceremony is at 03:30pm, have the invitation you send out read: 03:00pm (30 minutes earlier). Of course, all your vendors will know the right time. ;-)

 

BOOK YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER

After choosing your venue + setting the date, you can now choose and reserve your favorite photographer (I hope that’s me! hehe). Reach out to us and let’s chat!

 

Schedule your engagement session

We recommend scheduling your engagement session 7 to 10 months before the wedding day. Usually, you’ll send out the ‘Save the Dates’ at the 6 month mark before the wedding day.

 

send out your invitations

Usually you would send out wedding invitations 2 to 3 months before the wedding day.

Pro Tip: Guests sometimes RSVP but forget to write their name on the return envelope. Use a special ‘light’ marker to secretly write the guest number that correlates to the excel sheet you have of all your guests. This way, you know #34 invited is really your Aunt Karen.

 

Schedule Enough Time For Each Section Of The Day

It is crucial that you create a timeline for your wedding day, something your wedding planner can assist you with organizing. There should be an estimated start and end time for hair, makeup, reception setup, etc. Within that timeline should include all your photo sessions such as the first look, bridal party photos, and couple’s session. Not sure how much photo time you’ll need for each section of the day?

DETAIL SHOTS (USUALLY @ BRIDAL PREP)

Ideal Time Allotment – 30 minutes
Ideal Time of the Day – Morning
Ideal Location – Bridal Suite or Hotel Suite

Advice – Having at least 30 minutes for details ensures that we have plenty of time to get that perfect photo of the dress, rings, shoes, bouquets, and the other details of the day.

There are times when a hotel room is too crowded or simply unappealing; we have to take the dress all the way down to the lobby or even outside. This can take some time, but as you can see from the results, it’s well worth the additional work.

GROOM PREP + BRIDE PREP

Ideal Time Allotment – 60 minutes for Groom + 120 minutes for the Bride.
Ideal Time of the Day – Morning or Early Afternoon
Ideal Location – Bridal Suite, Resort Spa, or Hotel Suite

Advice – Having an plenty of preparation is ideal for our style. During this time, we are getting close ups of the makeup and hair being applied as well as the candid moments and the bridesmaids and groomsmen get ready for the day. Keep in mind that these are some of the most emotional and fun times of the day, so you don’t want to cut it short.

While it doesn’t take guys an hour to get dressed, there are still tons of great moments during this time between the groom and his family and friends, and also the bride celebrating this exciting time of her life with her closest gals while getting ready.

INDIVIDUAL PORTRAITS OF THE BRIDE + GROOM

Ideal Time Allotment – 30 minutes each.
Ideal Time of the Day – Morning or Early Afternoon
Ideal Location – Bridal Suite, Hotel Suite, Venue Lobby, or Venue Garden

Advice – Right after prep is the best time for individual portraits of the bride and groom (separately). Besides makeup and hair being completely fresh, the day hasn’t gotten hectic yet so we can take our time and get those perfect portraits.

Also, keep in mind that the window lighting in most hotel rooms creates a unique look that can’t be duplicated in any environment throughout the rest of the day.

FIRST LOOK OF THE BRIDE + GROOM PLUS COUPLE’S FORMALS

Ideal Time Allotment – 45-60 minutes
Ideal Time of the Day – Morning or Early Afternoon
Ideal Location – Venue Garden, Empty Venue Hallway (shaded areas with natural light)

Advice – The first look should be around 45-60 minutes. During this time, the bride and groom enjoy seeing each other for the first time on the wedding day. While the actual first look might only be 5-10 minutes, the rest of the time is spent on a few basic portraits of the bride and groom.

FIRST LOOK OF THE BRIDE + GROOM PLUS COUPLE’S FORMALS

Ideal Time Allotment – 45-60 minutes
Ideal Time of the Day – Morning or Early Afternoon
Ideal Location – Venue Garden, Empty Venue Hallway (shaded areas with natural light)

Advice – The first look should be around 45-60 minutes. During this time, the bride and groom enjoy seeing each other for the first time on the wedding day. While the actual first look might only be 5-10 minutes, the rest of the time is spent on a few basic portraits of the bride and groom.

WEDDING PARTY FORMALS

Ideal Time Allotment – 30 minutes to 1 hour
Ideal Time of the Day – Morning or Afternoon
Ideal Location -Venue Lobby, Venue Garden, Beach, Park, Off-site Location

Advice – Wedding Party Photos should be around 30 minutes to 1 hour. During this time, we get a variety of shots in a variety of poses. We start off with the basic, classic photos focused on great expressions and lighting.

Then we move into a set of fun and creative shots. Finally, we know how much your wedding party means to you, so we are sure to get pictures with you and each one of your bridesmaids or groomsmen individually.

WEDDING PARTY FORMALS

Ideal Time Allotment – 30-45 minutes
Ideal Time of the Day – Morning or Afternoon
Ideal Location -Venue Lobby, Venue Garden, Beach, Park, Off-site Location

Advice – Immediate Family Photos should take another 45 minutes. It’s important to have additional images with your parents, grandparents, and siblings beyond the basic formal (mentioned in the section below).

Plan on 3 minutes per group on average.  For example, if you have 10 groups, schedule in a 30 minute time slot.

We all know how much weddings mean to the immediate family, and we want to make sure we’re capturing enough pictures with them.

Some couples have decided that they want a picture with all guests while others have decided that they only want pictures with select VIPs to save time. We recommend something in between.

We also recommend being very organized, with a list of groups and helpers from each side of the family to help round people up.

CEREMONY DETAILS AND VENUE

Ideal Time Allotment – 30 minutes

Ideal Location – Ceremony Site
Ideal Time of the Day – Morning or Afternoon
Advice – Please allow 30 minutes for the photographer to take pictures of the ceremony site, completely set up with no guests or vendors in the area.

Before you have the guests seated,  it’s important that we are there to capture the complete set up of your ceremony site so we can capture the scene at its best.

Couple’s romantic sunset on the wedding day

Ideal Time Allotment – 30 minutes at the time the sun sets (after glow beauty of the skies)
Ideal Time of the Day – Late Afternoon (Sunset)
Ideal Location – Venue Garden, Beach, Hotel Lobby, Park

Advice – Couple session should be around 30 minutes and should take place ideally 10 minutes to sunset time and continue for 20 minutes after the sun sets. The is the best time in terms of lighting for ROMANTIC shots.

It also allows us to capture the awesome scenic shots with colorful skies. If your wedding is in downtown or in an area with tall buildings, it’s not as important for us to have this specific time frame (although it still helps). We’ll probably need to move start time of this romantic session up to 30 minutes before sunset due to the tall buildings.

However, if you booked your venue because of the spectacular view of the ocean or the gorgeous vines in the winery, it’s essential to follow this advice in your timeline.

reception detail and venue

Ideal Time Allotment – 30 minutes
Ideal Time of the Day – Early Evening
Ideal Location – Reception Site

Advice – Please allow 30 minutes for the second shooter to take pictures of the reception room, completely set up with no guests or vendors in the area.

Similar to the ceremony details, this is the only opportunity we have to capture the beauty of the reception room prior to guest arrival.

the ‘first look’ of the reception by the couple (alone)

Ideal Time Allotment – 10-15 minutes
Ideal Time of the Day – At the end of Cocktail Hour before doors open for guests
Ideal Location – Reception Site

Advice – This is when the reception space is revealed to the couple for the first time. It’s a great opportunity to capture a genuine reaction - please have photographer ready for this shot, as well as a moment alone with the dance floor to practice your first dance, which also makes a great photo!

reception couple’s session: the sneak-out night shots

Ideal Time Allotment – 20-30 minutes
Ideal Time of the Day – Dusk to Night Time
Ideal Location – Areas with interesting lights, large balconies, fountains, staircases, city scapes, and mirrors

Advice – During the reception, please plan on sneaking out for a couple of night shots. We only need 20-30 minutes, as we understand the importance of being a good host. However, this time is important if you appreciate the night photography that we deliver. The ideal time for this is right after you grab a bite to eat or during the open floor dancing after you’ve danced a few songs and would like a break.  Another suggestion would be to get these shots at the very end of the night once all the guests have departed - but usually that late, you’ve danced a ton a hair and make-up would need a retouch. We recommend sneaking out after your DJ plays the 2nd “dance” song… while everyone keeps partying.

Additional Wedding Day Details

Table Shots – Table shots are when you go around visiting tables. There are two options for photography during this time. (1) You can take formal pictures with each of these tables or (2) we can simply focus on photojournalism, capturing the smiles and hugs as you mingle with each table. If you’re planning on doing formal table shots, please keep in mind that these will take about 3-5 minutes per table.  For example: 20 tables would require 60-100 minutes of time (!!).

Cultural Weddings – For cultural weddings like Indian weddings, there are elements like the Baraat that require time to photograph. For Jewish ceremonies, there’s the Ketubah to be signed by the couple, please allot enough time for cultural elements throughout the wedding day.

 

Minimize Your locations

In order to maximize photo time on your wedding day, we recommend minimizing the number of photo shoot locations. You don’t want to spend more time traveling from point A to point B than actually taking pictures. A great photographer should be able to make almost any location work.  Even if you don’t love the background options of your venue, trust in the creative abilities of your photographer.

 

HIRE QUALITY VENDORS

Quality vendors can influence the flow of your day.  This is why we emphasize the importance of selecting the right vendors. You wouldn’t want a makeup artist showing up 2 hours late or a photographer with no wedding experience, would you? We suggest quality vendors in order to avoid the stress that may carry over into your wedding photos.

Hiring a wedding planner is a great way to make your planning process easier and allow you to enjoy your wedding day without any unnecessary distractions. Your wedding planner is there to handle any mishaps while you and your partner go unbothered.

With so many vendor options it may be difficult to determine the right companies for your big day. Before hiring each vendor, do your research,  check your venue’s preferred vendor list and most importantly, follow your instincts.

Be sure to check out our Favorite Wedding Vendors HERE.

 

PLAN ENOUGH TIME FOR HAIR AND MAKE-UP

Delays with hair and makeup can set the whole day behind.  Plan to finish the process well ahead of schedule, too often do we see brides rushing because of unexpected delays. Many great hair and makeup artists will create a schedule to follow during wedding preparations.

Your creative team will typically ask for one hour in order to document final touch-ups, detail shots, and candid moments with your closest friends and family.

Take a look at our Ideal Wedding Timeline to find out exactly how much photo time you should have set aside throughout the day.

 

TOSS IT ALL UP IN THE AIR!!

Whether it’s in your group photos, during your first dance or your grand exit, toss items add that extra touch to your photos. We love confetti poppers! Confetti, flower petals, paper planes, poppin’ some champagne (!!), rice, the list can go on and on! These pictures radiate bliss, excitement and results in genuine smiles and laughter from you and your guests.

 

INCORPORATE A FIRST LOOK MOMENT

One of the most memorable events of a wedding day is when the bride and groom see each other.  Suddenly all the jitters and anticipation fades away and just the two get the chance to enjoy this remarkable moment. The first look makes for some of the most heartfelt photos, a tradition you can’t forget on your wedding day.

PRO TIP: Most men do not show emotion at the end of the aisle - all eyes are on him and you as you walk down the aisle, people whispering if he’ll cry or not, looking at him, wondering, cell phones out recording. It’s not personal.

If you do a first look, most grooms WILL show alot more emotion in private with you. He can hold you, hug you, cry at seeing you, twirl you around to really LOOK at you fully, laugh with you with the wedding day jitters, and kiss you passionately.

 

SCHEDULE A COUPLE’S SUNSET SESSION

If you booked your venue because of the spectacular view of the ocean or the gorgeous vines in the winery, it’s essential to schedule your couple’s session 30-45 minutes before sunset. The romantic hues during Golden Hour makes it our favorite time of day to capture the new Mr. and Mrs.

 

SCHEDULE TIME IN YOUR RECEPTION ROOM

This is when you finally get to see the reception you’ve been dreaming about for months. It’s a great opportunity for your photographer to capture a genuine reaction, as well as a quick couple’s session. This is the perfect moment to capture photos on the dance floor and throughout the reception area without wandering guests in the background.

 

INCLUDE A “SNEAK-AWAY” SESSION

The beauty of twinkling stars and dark skies makes for a great photo backdrop. The Sneak Away session lasts no more than 15-30 minutes and is typically scheduled during your reception and after dinner. The night sky adds a touch of romance and gives your photographer the opportunity to create dramatic images with the help of lighting.

 

WEAR A LONG VEIL

There is something about putting on that wispy piece of fabric that makes you finally feel like a bride. That beautiful long veil makes for some of the best pictures, this is why we encourage brides to choose a long veil on their wedding day. The veil can be incorporated in numerous ways during bridal portraits and the couples session. 

It makes for some STUNNING jaw-dropping imagery.

 

INCORPORATE A FUN GRAND EXIT

You’ve planned your grand entrance, but have you thought about a Grand Exit? Grand Exit are a great way to end a day of celebrations. Not only are Grand Exit unique and exciting, but it makes for stunning photos. We’ve seen nothing but smiles from guests as they send off the newlyweds.

Although many venues allow the sparkler exit, others may not. Confetti, bubbles, and flower petals are alternative options to include in your grand exit and will still look great in photos.

 

PRovide your photography all your wedding day details

We will want to know everything you have planned for your wedding, and we’ll get this information from you in a helpful form online we’ll send you one (1) month before the wedding day. This is where you’ll let us know how many hours and which collection you would like to go with. We’ll draft an amazingly detailed timeline for you with all the factors of photography described on there for you to pass along to all your vendors, family, friends, and the venue.

 

GETTING READY ROOMS

You will need space, space, + more space. On a wedding day, a small one room hotel room with 5 girls getting ready, 2 moms, 2 hair + make-up stylists, 2 videographers, and 2 photographers plus all our gear will not work well.

We recommend to have a larger, more spacious area to get ready. Opting for the bigger suite is worth it. Photography will capture the elements, surroundings, and look of everything in the room. We recommend visiting your hotel or resort to look at the furnishings and seeing if it will be something you love in the photographs.

We do not recommend hotels such as: La Quinta, Hampton Inns, Holiday Inn, Days Inn, Best Westerns, some private member only Locker Rooms, Meeting Rooms, or any of the like. Sometimes these have loud-looking comforters, paneling, and carpet that do not blend in well to photos. Meeting rooms usually have large black chairs and a large conference table in the way.

The location is Key. It will be your photographs, and having a cute, gorgeous space would be amazing to capture some great shots with!

We do recommend cute, unique Air BNBs, cottages, large home properties, resort spas, and nice, modern locations.

 

florals

Be sure to have your florist drop-off the bridal bouquet 30 minutes before photography arrives on the big day to the bride. We’ll be using the Bridal bouquet for detail shots.

 

gifts between the bride + groom

Save the gifts of the bride & groom on the wedding day until photography arrives. We want to capture the emotion of your opening those important gifts after you are both dressed beautifully.

 

timeline

Be sure to share your photography timeline with every single vendor. Each vendor will want beautiful details shots of their work, and we want to be sure to capture it all beautifully. Our timeline is laid out perfectly to be able to do so and vendors will want to know when certain shots will be taken throughout the day.

 

Items to have ready at bridal prep for detail shots

Make sure the bride has all the following items (that apply) for her prep + detail shots:

  • hanger for the dress shots

  • wedding dress

  • wedding veil and/or hair piece

  • all jewelry (necklace, earrings, bracelets, rings)

  • all THREE (3) rings with her (two bands, engagement ring)

  • any cute bridal items she’ll want me to photograph

  • gifts of to the bridesmaids

  • bridal bouquet

  • bridal purse

  • perfume bottle

  • copy of all invitations, Save the Date, etc.

  • copy of wedding day program

  • gift from groom (unopened)

  • garter

  • something blue, something old, something new

  • six pence

  • shoes (if more than one bridal pair, include them all)

  • etc…

 

Items to have ready at groom prep for detail shots

Make sure the Groom has all the following items (that apply) for his prep + detail shots:

  • hanger for the coat + shirt shot

  • sunglasses for the day

  • cuff links

  • all jewelry (necklace, bracelets, rings, earrings)

  • special groomsmen gifts

  • belt

  • shoes

  • tie/bow-tie

  • vest

  • jacket/coat

  • pants

  • shirt

  • socks

  • drinking glass

  • classic bottle of whiskey or like drink the groom prefers (if any)

 

For the arrival of photography, please clear an area that is beautiful and by gorgeous natural, window light. We will want a nice place to start details shots in both the bridal suite and also in the groom’s suite. By doing so, we can immediately start photographing when we arrive rather than taking time to clean an area of the suites.

clean SPACES

 

Just checked into your Room/Suite?

Email us the room # or suite # the night before the wedding so we can head directly to you on the wedding day when we start coverage.