Tips to Planning a Successful Wedding

1) Importance of an Engagement Photo Session

An engagement photography session is the precursor and preview to your wedding day! It serves as an announcement and proclamation of your love for each other. Most often, clients use some of their engagement photos in wedding announcements and for “Save the Date” cards. We have received numerous phone calls and photos letting us know that the engagement pictures we shot are now placed proudly around their home. It is amazing going to shoot a wedding and seeing the pictures from the engagement photo session displayed on a table for everyone to see.

Engagement pictures showcase a couple’s love, romance, and affection for each other. Often times, couples don’t realize the importance of such an investment. However, engagement pictures help to bring back the memories of where you came from as a couple, where you love began, where it grew, and how it has come to the future wedding you are now planning.

2) Plan for “Wedding Day Emergencies”

One of the complaints from brides after the event of their wedding day is that she was rushed for time and felt out of control. Make sure to plan, plan, plan, and when you think you have planned ahead enough, plan some more! With my clients, I definitely offer recommendations of makeup artists and hair stylists we have worked with in the past.

A bride should know that these stylists are almost always running late during a wedding day. Make sure you plan yourself out an hour ahead of when you need to be ready. If you are having your hair and makeup done away from your ceremony location, make sure you ride separate from everyone else so that you will not get stuck for time while a bridesmaid or aunt is having her hair finished.

Also, another key thing we recommend a bride do is create a “wedding emergency kit.” Make sure to include some extra touch-up makeup in your kit for lip gloss and powder retouches throughout the day (after all, we are taking your pictures all day long!). Throw in a bottle of water and an energy bar, just in case your oomph starts to take a nosedive. Many brides don’t eat much the week leading up to their wedding and most especially on the day, so make sure your body stays replenished and comfortable. Another good idea: throw in some band-aids! Brides often wear new and uncomfortable shoes on their wedding day and while those fashionable strappy slingbacks look great in your wedding pictures, your feet will be in excruciating pain by the time the reception rolls around.

3) Wedding Day Transportation

Unless you are having a family member drive you to and from the ceremony location, to the reception, and wherever your heart takes you afterwards, make sure you are firm and clear with your transportation about pick up and drop off times. We express to our clients that we enjoy being there to catch every moment of the day and hate to see a couple standing around waiting for a ride. Whether you favor a limousine, classic car, or a horse and carriage, insist the driver commit to your time frame for your wedding day. Make sure this is set in STONE!

4) The Wedding Day Dress

Your wedding photographer will be taking pictures of you all day long. This translates to hundreds of pictures with you wearing your wedding dress! First and foremost, find a dress that suits your style and one you are completely comfortable in. Make sure the fit is “you” and something that you, not your mother, a best friend, or Aunt Margaret, would have chosen for you. These pictures won’t be able to be recreated! Your special day should include all the elements that make you comfortable about your upcoming life together with the person you love and also the elements that make you who you are.

In addition, we can’t stress enough that it is vital for you to be in control and in charge of your wedding dress. Too often brides designate a WDM (“Wedding Dress Manager”) in the form of a mother, bridesmaid, friend, or relative. This can be disastrous! People can be forgetful and may not have you dress at the moment you need it. Don’t let it out of your control or your sight.

5) Family Wedding Photos

It is common knowledge that when families get together, people become distracted! While I favor a wedding photo journalistic style and don’t mind catching unexpected moments and emotions throughout the day, I strongly recommend that you tell family members to be at a location or venue minimum 30 minutes before the actual photos are to commence. This way, you can be sure that the family will arrive early, but more likely, on time. Also, it is a good idea to remind family members that wedding day photography does take time. If you begin family photos before your ceremony, everyone will have to arrive earlier. If after the ceremony, everyone will be a bit later in getting to the reception and guests will have to wait a bit longer. This is expected and common at all weddings, but make sure that family is aware that time will be taken to make sure that your wedding photos come out the way you want them to.

ALSO – Make sure that everyone has directions and knows where they are going. Most likely, your photographer is familiar with the city and can provide detailed directions and routes if need be. If you are having a downtown wedding and are worried about parking, let the family know where to park and how much this might cost. Suggest that they carpool. Do your research to better help your family prepare so that your day will not run behind schedule. Little memos, notes, reminders, emails, texts, anything small, sweet, and concise, are helpful to assure family members that you love and care for them but that this day is very important to you. The wedding photography is your investment and you want to make sure in the nicest way possible that they are able to cooperate with the events of the day.