The Wedding Experience
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. You’re planning the day that you’ve been anticipating your whole life and yet you only get one shot at it! By the time you get the hang of it, the planning is over! My goal as your wedding photographer is to make this one aspect of the planning process simple. Photography is more than just images, it’s a real part of your day. Not only do you deserve beautiful images, you also deserve an amazing photographic experience. The goal of the Q+A below is to help clear up any possible questions you may have, and to help you plan your wedding day in a way that will allow me to provide you with the BEST experience possible. Here’s to an amazing time of planning and excitement!!!
When should I hire my wedding photographer? The best time to book a photographer is right after you book your venue. You want to get comfortable with your photographer and allow time to have a conversation about your vision and specific needs for your photography. When you hire a professional photographer for your wedding you are not only hiring someone to take pretty pictures but also a person who is a storyteller. A professional photographer takes the time to really listen to you and your love story.
Do I need an engagement shoot? Most people aren’t used to being photographed professionally so this is a wonderful opportunity for the bride and groom to get comfortable in front of a camera. Think of this as a trial run with the end result being gorgeous photographs of the two of you leading up to your big day. This is also a fantastic time to do a test run for hair and makeup. Your engagement session can be scheduled anytime before your wedding day. I normally suggest booking at least 3- 6 months in advance to avoid stress. Because our weekends are filled with weddings, I shoot engagements on weekday evenings normally 5-7pm depending on the light and time of year. In the winter months, 3-5pm is a normal time frame.
What type of room would you recommend for getting ready photos? A room with a window that allows in natural light. By having just one window in the bridal prep area, we are able to create beautiful portraits with soft light. We prefer natural light so the more the windows, the better!
Do I need the wedding rings with me during bridal prep? The most common detail missing when I arrive are the rings! Moms, officiants and planners will tell you to hand over your wedding bands to the best man before the day begins. However, it’s actually better to hand it over during the bridal party portraits so that I can shoot some great ring shots during bridal prep. If you forget, no worries, I can always shoot the ring shot at the reception if there is extra time!
Do I need any other details while I get ready? Sometimes, depending on the theme and “look” of the wedding day, there may be some extra elements that you could include when you gather your details. For eample, if you’re having a country themed wedding, you could include a piece of burlap or lace. If you’re having a rustic themed wedding that includes some wooden elements, maybe save a small piece of wood for me to use when I’m shooting your rings and jewelry. This REALLY makes for beautiful, consistent album spreads!
When should my flowers be delivered? Have the bouquets and boutonnières delivered to the bride + groom before the first look so that they will have their flowers for photos. No worries, if it’s hot, we’ll be sure to keep it in water as much as possible before the ceremony!
What time should the ceremony start for the best lighting? Ceremony lighting is really important. I suggest planning an outdoor ceremony 2 hours before sunset if you are having a FIRST LOOK. If you are not interested in sharing a first look, then I would suggest having your ceremony 3 hours before sunset to ensure that you will have plenty of time for all of your portraits afterwards. If you are having an indoor ceremony, it is always best to have EVEN lighting at the altar.
Should we do a First Look? First Looks allow you to be TOGETHER and alone on your wedding day. When you both see each other, not only is it intimate, it is your only time to be alone… the whole day! You will cry and laugh and cry some more… and that puts you in the PERFECT mood for romantic portraits. Normally portraits are a little rushed after the family formals and it can be hard to really get back into that “lovey dovey” mode…. especially with family around! When you have just shared your first look, you’re READY to love on each other and we always capture some super sweet images during those moments! Most brides don’t realize that when you come down the aisle and totally SHOCK him with your gorgeous-ness… he can’t even tell you how amazing you look. He can’t touch you, embrace you or even SPEAK to you. You have to wait until 40 minutes later when the ceremony is over for him to react and tell you how amazing you look. And after 40 minutes of the ceremony, the reaction isn’t the same as the initial first glance. Also, you get rid of the nerves. I’d say, literally 1/2 of our couples who have done a first look, the grooms were not fans of it at first. However, because they have never experienced their wedding day before, they didn’t know how nerve racking it can be. I have testimonials from so many grooms that initially weren’t a fan of the first look… but afterwards admitted to being SO much more relaxed and ready for the ceremony!
How do I plan the reception? Much like the ceremony, you have the freedom to make your reception your own! It’s your party, it should be exactly how you want it to be! Here is a list of some key events that happen often at receptions:
– First Dance – Father|Daughter Dance – Mother|Son Dance – Traditional Religious Dances – Welcome by Father of the Bride – Blessing – Cake Cutting – Toasts – Bouquet and Garter Toss – Large group portraits with friends – The exit of the Bride and Groom
Make it your own! If you want to have a special dance with your grandparents, do it! Make your reception a reflection of who you are and don’t feel tied to traditions. The fun has begun! It’s time to relax, dance and celebrate!! Your reception will be a BLAST! Your coordinator and DJ should take care of making sure that everything stays on schedule so that you can enjoy your night.
Enjoy this season of planning but also remember that your MARRIAGE is more important than the wedding. The wedding will come and go in a matter of hours but your marriage needs to stand the test of time. Continue to make time for one another, even with all that needs to get done. As you continue to plan, please feel free to contact me with ANY questions you may have along the way! Depending on your date, our next step would be to finalize an engagement session date! Also, as your wedding photographer, we will help you in creating your wedding day timeline. With over 10 years of experience we can guide you through the process. So, about 60 days before the wedding, you’ll receive an online questionnaire that will provide me with everything I need to know for your big day to create your timeline!! I hope some of these tips have been helpful as you continue to plan and prepare for your wedding day! With love, Stacey