Wedding Planning Tips and Inspiration

5 Things To Think About While Planning Your Wedding. Advice From A Wedding Photographer

There is a lot of planning that goes into making your wedding day one of the best of your entire life. As a photographer and a past bride, I love walking alongside my couples in the planning process and helping in any way I can! I compiled a list of 5 things to incorporate into your special day to help it run smoothly and allow for great photos. These are things that I incorporated into my own wedding!

1:

Schedule an engagement session with your wedding photographer!

Your photographer will be with you all day on your wedding day, following you from one location to the next. You should be comfortable with this person! Having your engagement and wedding photos taken by the same photographer allows you to get used to your photographer’s posing style and also allows everyone to get to know each other. This is super important in order to feel comfortable in front of the camera.

This brings me to my next point: Relax and let your photographer handle all of the posing!

When I meet an engaged couple in person for the first time, the first thing I tell my them is to leave the posing to me! I reassure them that I will guide them through posing and tell them what to do with their hands. I also tell them that a pose may feel weird or unnatural, and that just means it looks GREAT on camera! When couples have their engagement and wedding photos taken by the same photographer, it makes the wedding day that much less stressful! You will already know your photographer and be familiar with their style of posing.

2:

Have a timeline and stick to it!

A wedding timeline is a blueprint for the wedding. It takes the guesswork out of the schedule for your day and keeps things running smoothly. Wedding planners and photographers LOVE timelines because a solid timeline = a happy bride and less stress! Formulate your timeline, write it down and share it with your photographer and wedding planner ahead of time so that they can look it over and suggest any changes to ensure your day runs smoothly. Once the timeline is set in stone, give a copy to your bridal party and close family! Having everyone on the same page is key!

Important things to include in your wedding day timeline:

-Hair and makeup

-First look

-Ceremony start time

-Family photos

-Cocktail hour and/or reception start time

-Speeches/toasts

-Dinner

-Cake cutting

-First dance

-Send off

Every couple’s timeline will look different. I love to help my couples create a timeline that ensures a smooth wedding day and beautiful photos!

3:

Consider a first look!

A first look is a special, quiet moment between just the two of you that takes place BEFORE the ceremony. This will be the first time that you will see each other all dressed up and could be one of the only times that you will be alone together for the rest of the day!

Here are just some of the pros of choosing a first look for your wedding day:

-You get to spend more time together! This is your Big Day! Why not spend it together!? Because you are seeing each other prior to the ceremony, you are gaining hours of quality time spent together.

-You are able to transition from your first look right into your bride and groom portraits. Remember how I said you should be comfortable with your photographer? They will be on the sidelines, photographing his reaction when he sees you in your dress for the first time, catching his wiping the happy tears from his eyes. A first look is a great time to capture raw emotion between just the two of you without all of your wedding guests watching!

-You can then have all of your bridal party photos taken and once the ceremony is over, your bridal party can go right to the bar and enjoy cocktail hour!

-The only photos that will need to be taken after the ceremony will be family portraits! A first look timeline cuts down on time spent taking photos after the ceremony and allows you and your honey to go enjoy the party!

-The walk down the aisle is still just as special! And yes! He will still cry, ladies!

Remember, the timeline for your wedding day is always YOUR choice! Whether you choose a first look or wait for the walk down the aisle, you are marrying your best friend and that is all that matters!

4:

Have an “unplugged” ceremony!

As a photographer, nothing excites me more than when I see a sign in front of the ceremony area requesting that it be a camera and phone- free zone. Consider posting a sign, or have your officiant make a quick announcement requesting that all phones and cameras be put away during your ceremony. You want your guests to be present and not miss your vows as they fumble with their phones. Invite your guests to enjoy the moment with you.

There is nothing worse than your first kiss being photo bombed by Uncle Bob with his iPhone. You hired a photographer for a reason! (And, its really hard to photoshop Uncle Bob and his iphone 5 out of the photos!)

5:

Remember the details!

I am a very detail oriented person. I love fresh flowers in vases, and pretty accent pillows on the couch. On wedding days, I love photographing the pretty little details! Things like your wedding rings, the flowers in your bouquet, the invitations that you spent hours designing, the necklace that belonged to your grandmother…

Prior to your wedding day, put all of these special items into a box so that your photographer can photograph them during the time that you are getting ready.

Things to include:

-Wedding dress on a wooden hanger

-Bridesmaids dresses

-Rings

-Jewelry/watches

-Shoes

-Invitation suite

-Bride’s bouquet/Grooms boutonnière

-Loose florals- ask your florist ahead of time for a few loose stems for detail photos

And there you have it! 5 things to think about while you are planning your Best Day Ever! I hope this list gave you some inspiration and made your wedding planning just a little bit easier! Wedding planning should be fun! Happy planning!

I'm a fine art wedding photographer
serving couples in Virginia, Washington D.C. and beyond.

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