Planning your wedding is a dream come true! Here are some things I recommend you take into consideration when doing so.
1. Choosing the location you will get ready in…
Locations for getting ready that are always a great idea…
- Your parents home… Perfect for backyard and tented weddings
- Your home… Perfect for backyard and tented weddings
- Cottage, cabin or farm house… Perfect for rustic/natural/boho weddings
- AIRBNB rental… Perfect for city or town weddings with large groupings
Please keep in mind…
Lighting: As you know I am a natural-light photographer. This means that during the day I will only be using light from windows to light my subjects and scene. I recommend getting ready in a room that has large windows that fill the room with a nice amount of daytime sun.
If your hair and make-up artists arrive before I do, please ensure they place you in an area that has ample light. They most likely will as this is the best practice for hair and make-up lighting.
Clutter: It is a shame when people rent a really beautiful space only to have it filled with luggage and food in their photographs. I recommend putting your suitcases in closets, out of view, and have somebody in charge to keep things as tidy as possible throughout the morning.
Things To Bring: 1. Have matching robes during this time instead of pj’s. The best material… Lace!
2. Have your wedding invitations to include in details shots of flowers, rings, jewellery, etc., You can also an invite to me and I will bring them to the wedding.
3. Have a plain wooden hanger for your dress to hang on.
2. Choosing whether or not you want to do a first look…
If spending time with family and friends is number one, than I highly recommend/encourage you to do a first look. A first look can be casual, intimate or however you make it to be.
The reason I encourage it so much is because it makes things go so much smoother once the the festivities and crowds start arriving. Not to mention allowing everyone to have an awesome time once you are married.
With a first look…
- Private first look (with family and wedding party nearby)
- Family formal portraits
- Wedding party portraits
- Bride and groom portraits
- A little break before the ceremony
- Cocktail hour WITH guests
Without a first look…
- Cocktail hour begins
- Round-up family members & wedding party that are socializing & enjoying themselves
- Family portraits
- Wedding party portraits
- Bride & groom portraits
- Cocktail hour ends
3. Family formal & wedding party portraits…
The best time to do these is before the ceremony as mentioned above. Everyone is ready, nearby, and no one will miss out on mingling with friends and family.
It is possible to do them after the ceremony, but be for-warned that gathering everyone afterwards when it is time to be social is always difficult and often a very time consuming task, creating stress for those involved.
With a handful of photos, I have broken down how much time I need for immediate family (parents, siblings, grandparents) and bridal party. If you plan to include more than your immediate family please set-up a time to talk with me as you will need more time to accommodate larger groups.
Inform all family members who will be on the portrait list that they will be needed for portraits before or after the ceremony!
- Immediate Family (parents, siblings, grandparents)… 15-20 minutes
- Wedding Party… 10-15 minutes
If you have not yet received your portrait-list template, it will be sent to you in your questionnaire that is to be filled out before our pre-wedding phone conversation that will take place one month before the wedding. I recommend keeping this list short as smiling at the camera with several different groups and individuals’ can feel overwhelming and also results in people wandering off for drinks, etc., while they are waiting, resulting in it taking longer than planned.
4. Planning bride and groom portraits…
I spend about 20-30 minutes photographing just the two of you before the ceremony and suggest sneaking out with me in-between courses at sunset if you are concerned as to how you could fit that into your dinner. Often clients will just have me approach them when I think it is the best time to sneak off for sunset photos. If your ceremony is later in the day, closer to sunset, we will just merge these two into one, resulting in approximately 30 minutes of sunset portraits. If you have a location in mind that is great but please remember that the sun, time of day and timeline may play a factor in selecting a location for portraits. Most of the time clients just let me select the best spots and are not disappointed.
- Bride + Groom… 20-30 minutes before (or after) ceremony
- Bride + Groom… 10-20 minutes at sunset
5. Choosing the location of your ceremony…
If you are getting married outside please be aware that harsh or spotty sunlight is not ideal.
If you are having your ceremony close to midday, try to set up the ceremony so that the sun is behind your officiant, so the two of you are back lit, evenly.
Another option is to plan your ceremony later in the day, so that the light is nicer, closer to sunset. Just be sure to leave enough time for any delays, as well as your bride and groom portraits at least 30 minutes before sunset.
6. Setting up your reception and lighting…
Lighting: For a romantic vibe; several strings of market lights and candles are great, I have seen chandeliers work too, as they provide great light for photos as long as you use enough! Just try to stay away from using only candles or really dim lighting! If you are unsure about your set-up, just ask and I will be glad to help!
I will speak to your DJ to ensure the DJ lights are off for the first dances as they make it extremely hard to create a classical and romantic photograph with them flashing different colours on you. That said, I absoltely LOVE them for the dance floor party photos as I drag them and create really neat imagery with them. Don’t fret when you see me shaking my camera around haha… That is what I am doing, dragging the DJ lights!
Seating Arrangements: Don’t be afraid to sit close to your love at the dinner table… You should be able to EASILY lean in for a snuggle or kiss! At dinner, I do not have to sit near you to eat, but please do not seat me in a separate room to eat my food… With me sitting in the same room as you or at a table of guests, I am able to capture the mood, laughter, and details that I would not otherwise be able to. Things like mid-course toasts, kisses and laughter will go un-photographed if I am in a separate room for dinner and for me that is a big part to your story!
Feeding Your Photographer(s): Most photographers will go the entire day without eating, drinking, using the washroom or taking a break. For the most part, I can do that. But when it comes to food… I need my three meals a day! 🙂
Speeches/Toasts: Explain to whoever is doing a speech/toast, that they print it out on paper instead of using their iPad/iPhone. The reason I ask for the old-school method is because the light that comes off the iPad/iPhone projects a blue colour onto the face and creates shadowing around the mouth, nose, eyes, etc., It is very hard to make a nice photograph out of this lighting, and not only that, it is just a more classier way to deliver a speech… I know, I’m old school!
7. On that note…
The most important thing to ensure we get great photos is trust. If you trust me to create the photos you’ll love, I’ll be able to do my thing and guide and direct you well. It’s all about collaboration and trust!
Please get in touch if you have any ideas or questions you would like to run by me! I cannot wait to work with you on the day of your wedding!
Lots of love,