10 Wedding-Day Tips from Your Photographer
After photographing hundreds of weddings in and around Colorado Springs over the last 15 years, we've seen a thing or 2. We've compiled this guide to help you make the most of your day, which means your photos will be fantastic.
1. Once the day begins, sit back and enjoy!
It may seem obvious, but once your day has begun, the best thing to do is simply sit back and enjoy. Sure, things may unfold in ways you weren't expecting, but in a way, that's part of the beauty! You've hired a pro team, and gathered your best friends and closest family-let everyone just do their thing! No matter who is running late, forgets their cufflinks, or if mother nature throws you a tornado, it's all just a part of what's in store. Try to embrace it (and your people) with a smile! At the end of the day, you're going to be MARRIED to the Love of your Life. No matter what!
2. Prepare for the unexpected-ahead of time!
As mentioned in #1 above, things are going to go sideways. It's simply what happens when you plan an event where lots of people are coming together! So, the best way to keep your cool on your wedding day is to have buffer time built into the schedule. Your team of professionals will keep things moving so you won't be sitting idle, but you'll appreciate the time to sit and relax without pressure to run. This also makes it so that important one-on-one couple photo time doesn't get nixed because other things ran behind. Bridesmaids forget bouquets, traffic can change in the blink of an eye, and various other things can really cramp your timeline. So don't be afraid to give yourself a little timing-padding. For more on designing a great timeline, see our article about timeline considerations.
3. Keep your bridal suite/grooms suite tidy.
While we are masters at creatively avoiding clutter, it's much easier to create nice, clean images of wedding preparations if the suite where you're getting ready is tidy. It's much easier to do this if you choose a getting ready area with multiple rooms: one for hair/makeup, another for getting dressed. The last thing you want is last night's celebration making an appearance in your wedding photos, so consider having housekeeping come prior to our arrival.
4. Purchase a nice hanger for your wedding dress or suit.
Wedding dresses often come packaged with cheap, plastic hangers and strange bust forms. your wedding-day suit will likely have a clear plastic bag over it from the dry cleaners or tailor. Consider showcasing your wedding-day garb on a custom hanger from etsy or another online retailer. It'll double as a nice keepsake from your big day.
5. Keep the ones you love most closest throughout the day.
No matter how big or small your celebration is shaping up to be, one thing is for sure: your wedding day will go by in the blink of an eye. When you look back on your big day, you'll be glad you built in time for one-on-one time with the people closest to you. If your parents are important people in your life, consider letting them have a first look of their own once you're all set and ready. If your siblings are important to you, invite them to get ready for the day with you. The best way to have lots of photos of the people you love most is to plan to have them with you for a large portion of the day. We will of course assist you with building your list of groups for formal portraits, but you won't want to miss the opportunity to have genuine, heartfelt moments with your closest friends and family. After all, no one is an island, and you probably couldn't have gotten here without them.
6. Remember to let the guys get pampered, too!
Some of our favorite pre-wedding festivities are when the guys go for a hot shave at a local barber shop, or when they decide to meet up for a fishing date before they get ready. Many people tend to think of wedding days as reserved for the ladies, but there's no reason not to let the guys get in on the fun, as well! Mini golf, go-carts, and shooting ranges are all popular options for pre-wedding festivities!
7. Today is not the day to try a new style.
Be sure to play it safe with wedding-day hair and makeup. If you're hiring professional artists, make sure to do a trial run (this is a great thing to do on the day of your engagement session!) or 2 to make sure you know exactly what to expect on the big day. We have lots of great artists that we can recommend to you. This is especially important to consider if you're someone who doesn't frequently wear makeup! If you look your best, you'll undoubtedly feel your best. And when you feel your best, everything will come together just right.
8. Only include immediate family in formal portraits.
A good rule of thumb to consider when forming your family groupings is this: If you wouldn't hang their photo on the wall in your home, they don't need to be part of the family formals. The time between your ceremony and reception is important because it's much less flexible than the rest of the day. Your catering staff will be busy preparing food for your guests, and if you've ever prepared a big meal for a lot of people, you know how important timing is. For this reason, it's critical that your family formals be kept to a minimum. Not including someone in this time doesn't mean they won't be included at all, it just means we'll focus on including them in reception photos when things are more relaxed.
9. Keep your head table decor to a minimum.
During your reception, it's important that we are able to see your face. If you have large floral arrangements or other decor, it's very difficult to capture genuine reactions during toasts, blessings, and speeches. Keeping things minimal in front of you makes it so that your photographers, as well as your guests, can see your beautiful faces and participate in your emotion as it happens.
10. Move your cake out from the wall.
Keeping your cake tight against the wall not only makes it hard for your photographers to photograph the moment well, it also makes it difficult for your guests to participate. When the time comes, consider asking your caterers to have the cake moved to the center of the room, or at least have it moved away from the wall. We always prefer to have your guests included in your photos instead of a wall, so this one small thing makes a big difference.
Still reading? You're awesome! Maybe you're noticing a theme here? Planning is key! The day of your dreams lies in planning ahead and thinking through just how you want it to go. Make time for the people and activities that are most important to you!