You’ve likely spent the last 6-12 months planning what’s to be one of the most important days in your lives to date. It’s easy to feel the weight of your wedding day at this point, and the last thing you want is for the day to feel rushed and totally fall apart because the day didn’t run smoothly. There are a lot of photos to be taken on a wedding day, but it’s important to me that your wedding day doesn’t just feel like an 8 hour photoshoot. Instead I hope that it feels like a celebration of love and a party with your closest friends and family as it should! I want you to remember the look on your dad’s face when he saw you dancing with your grandpa, I want you to remember sharing stories with your friends from childhood, and instead of your best man running a beer and hors d’oeuvres over to you while the rest of your guests enjoy drinks…I want you to actually drink a cocktail during cocktail hour! Wedding days are chaotic, yes. But there are several things that you can do behind the scenes to ensure everything runs smoothly so you can spend less time in front of my camera and more time with the people that truly matter!
- Make sure your wedding party knows where to be and at what time they should be there! Girls, you’re usually great at this because you’re all getting ready at the same place, curling each other’s hair, doing makeup etc. This is where you can help the boys out. Make sure they have each been communicated to about where they need to be and get very specific with the time! It’s not unusual for one of the groomsmen to go missing so they can help with something reception-related or because they spent a little too long watching whatever game was on that day ;).
- Have all of your accessories and the important details you want photographed set aside in one place, and have them ready to be photographed. The bridal suite can be a little bit chaotic the morning-of. So before the chaos ensues, make sure to gather your special details (rings, earrings, necklace, bracelet, shoes, hair piece, veil, hanky, anything of this sort..), and your wedding dress hung up, ready to be photographed, with all of the stuffing taken out. This really helps me get right to work photographing the beautiful details of your day instead of taking up precious time rummaging through garment bags, blow-dryers and robes to look for your special ring from Grandma. It’s also a good idea to keep the space near windows clear of clutter so that we have a nice space for photos when it comes time to put on your dress!
- Have your flowers delivered as early as possible. This is a huge one!! I can’t emphasize enough how important it is for your flowers to be on-site before I arrive. If your florist drops off the flowers after I have already begun portraits then we’ll have bout-less jackets with the boys, or bouquet-less photos with the girls. Which means I’ll have to re-do some of those photos at a later time, and I sure don’t want to keep you from your guests any longer than I have to! Also related to flowers, it’s often helpful to assign a friend or family member to the groomsmen lounge so they can pin the boutonnières on before I arrive for photos. Though I’m always happy to help the boys out, it does take time out of the day when I have to stop taking photos and help pin on bouts.
- Keep formal, family portraits to a minimum. Most brides are split down the middle here. I get some that send me a two-page, tiered list of relatives they want included in family photos and I get some that are happy with immediate family only. Here’s the thing, unless you plan on having the formal family photo printed or put into an album spread then keep your family portraits limited to only the most important people in your family. I know that your Aunt Sally twice-removed is special to you but let’s grab a picture with her during cocktail hour or at the reception! The sooner we finish family portraits, the sooner we can get you to the celebration with your guests. And I’ll even bet that you will love the casual, cocktail-hour photo of you and Aunt Sally more than you would a formal one!
- Consider a first look. There are so, so many reasons why I hope you’ll consider a first look, to read more about why I think you should do a first look click here! But since we’re chatting timelines today, I’ll address an obvious one. Doing a first look allows for us to complete more photos before your wedding ceremony so you can spend less time with me and more time with your guests during cocktail hour and at your reception!
No wedding day is completely perfect, and that’s expected! Every single wedding I’ve ever photographed has had a hiccup somewhere, but you know what? The guests never noticed and the bride and groom were still married by the end of the day! ;) These tips are just ways you can better prepare for the wedding day, giving you a peace of mind. Every minute of the day is precious and the smallest of details really can make the biggest impact on the timeline of your wedding day!