Your wedding day is near and while you are still working on final touches for your timeline, we would like to share with you 12 tips that will help you save time during the wedding day and utilize more time for your beautiful wedding day photos. The key to getting great photos is discussing your timeline in detail with your photographer and allocating time buffers for the unexpected moments early in the day. This will help to ensure that everything goes by the plan and photographer’s time is used wisely.
When you are planning your wedding day, choose a getting ready location that is spacious and full of natural light. We will take a good amount of photos there, from candid moments with your bridesmaids and bridal details to putting a dress on and your first bridal portrait. Please, choose the environment with many windows, light muted- color walls and lots of unfurnished space.
Ask your hair and makeup artist for an estimated time on how long it will take to get everyone pampered, and then add 1 hour (!) as a buffer. This will help to ensure that non of the planned photos are missed or cut short because hair and makeup took longer than anticipated (which happens very often). It’s not only that. Not following the planned timeline may create the unnecessary stress for you, and might not help with looking relaxed and radiant in your photos.
Before taking your getting ready photos, we will set the stage for things to happen but we will need help from your bridesmaids. Please make sure all their personal items and bags stay away from the sight and the furniture like couches, chairs, coffee table, etc. Make sure that any boxes, changes of clothes and other items that you don’t want us to photograph are away from the sight. We will still tidy up the room by moving things out of the way if needed, but the less time we spend doing it, the more beautiful photos you will receive.
Wedding day is a busy day for the mother of the bide and often her hair and makeup is not done until the last moment. As a result, when you are about to put your wedding dress on, your mom is not there to share this special moment with you because she is still getting ready herself. That is why we recommend having her hair and makeup done early and have her dressed in her gown by the time you are ready to put your dress on.
After greeting everyone and assessing the light, the next thing we do is getting detail shots. They make a nice start to the story of your wedding day and act as a warm up for us and for people in the room who need some time to get used to having photographers around. The detail shots include:
1. photo of the wedding dress on a hanger
2. bride’s details and accessories (shoes, necklace, earrings, bracelet, his and her wedding bands, engagement ring, personalized ring box (like Mrs. Box ring box), veil, hair accessories, purse, perfume, lipstick, flowers, personalized handkerchief, etc.)
3. formal invitations and all stationary items. Please, prepare two unprocessed envelopes (one with stamps attached to it), separate set of stamps, two sets of invites and rsvp cards with envelopes, two sample place cards, two programs, and a save-the-date card.
All the above items need to be organized in one place (for example, a shoebox) before we arrive to the getting ready location.
While we photograph detail shots, we try to always be aware of what else is happening around us. However, if you know that a special moment is about to happen, please keep us informed whether it is a gift exchange, a toast with your girlfriends, a first look with your dad or anything else that you don’t want us accidentally miss.
If there is no major shift in the timeline and we still have time after the dress is on, we will try to take couple quick bridal portraits as this is the freshest and most perfect you will look all day. Ideally, there will be 10-minute time slot allocated for this intimate pre- ceremony moment.
Please make sure that bouquets are delivered to the getting ready location before you put on your wedding dress. Ideally, the flower stems will be dried with a towel by the time we are ready to take you and your bridesmaids outside for formal photos. Gentlemen should arrive to the the location for their formal photos on time already wearing their boutonnieres. If boutonnieres are yet to be put on at the location of their formal photos, they need to arrive 15 minutes earlier and a designated in advance person should wait for them and be responsible for attaching their boutonnieres. Photographers should not be expected to attach boutonnieres.
Please, prepare a shot list for your group portraits. We advise to reserve this list to immediate family only in order to allow more time for your photos with your husband. Additionally, with a shorter list, we can try different set-ups and allow each person to comfortably lean, sit, or turn at different angles that are most flattering to them. It takes time to place each person into the space and work with each individual — you can't rush through that. Also, in order to streamline the process, please have a designated person in charge of the shot list. This person should know your family members by name and should be able to help us identify each person on the list.
If you have any special guests, like an aunt you have not seen for many years or a close relative with very serious health issues, you can either incorporate portraits with them into your group pictures after ceremony (for situations with short group shot list only!) or plan for these photos in the downtime during reception (highly advised). In the later case, the person in charge of the shot list should help us locate the special guests to be photographed. As mentioned in our contract, wedding is an uncontrolled event and we are not responsible if any of the requested photos are missed. However, we will try our best to accommodate your requests.
We will usually ask to eat at the same time as you do because neither you nor your guests want to be photographed while chewing their meals. Many wedding venues arrange meals for the wedding staff after everyone else is fed, but there should be an exclusion for the photographers. We expect to be fed at the same time as the wedding party, so that we don’t miss any important moments and ready to photograph your speeches directly after the meal. Please, make sure this important planning tip is properly communicated to the event coordinator and the kitchen staff.
Approximately 15 minutes before cake cutting occurs, we would like to communicate with your wedding day coordination about optimal position of the cake and where you and your husband need to stand while cutting it. Please, remember, that traditionally your husband will be holding the knife while you put your hand on his hand helping him to cut the first slice.
These are just a few suggested tips based on our experience. If you have any questions, please give us a call and we will be glad to go over any specifics of your day. We are very excited to be there with you and meet your family and friends!