Top tips for brides and grooms in the run up to the wedding
I know, I know, there is so much going on in the run up your big day, but there are some small things I have found over the years you can do to help things run more smoothly and alleviate stress – so I thought I would share my ‘top tips’ for brides and grooms in the run up to the wedding.
Men and women operate in very different ways when it comes to organisation (incase you haven’t noticed!!) so I am going to be all traditional here and split my tips into two!
Dress preparation – If you are having a wedding photographer at home to capture getting ready, it’s a great idea to find some pretty or plain matching hangers for the bridesmaid dresses so that when you hang them up before they are donned, they will make a nice, arty shot.
In advance, you can also remove all protective bags and labels, but be careful you don’t get the dresses muddled up if your bridesmaids are very similar in size etc. This will save you time as well when the hair and make-up inevitably overruns!
I love photographing those gorgeous details that you have spent so long planning for; the dress, your shoes, your jewellery, button holes and bouquets.
Avoid the ‘hanger’! No I don’t mean the clothes hangers we’ve just talked about, I mean the hungry anger – hanger! Girls, get organised with your pre-wedding breakfast/lunch/snacks. You don’t want to be in the kitchen when you’re supposed to be getting into your dress! Neither do you want to have to clean your teeth again and re-do your lipstick! But most importantly, even though you are likely to be a bag of nerves, excitement and adrenaline and not especially hungry, you really should eat something to top up your sugar levels – it may be hours and several glasses of champagne before the canapes!
Hair after veils – In the morning it always seems like you have plenty of time, then suddenly time runs away at the end! If you can hold onto your hairdresser until just before you have to leave for your ceremony I would highly recommend this. I have seen so many brides, mother of the brides and bridesmaids struggle to get their veils, hats, fascinators etc into a head of pins. I could tell you a story or two! There is a bit of a knack of getting them in and secure and back out for that matter! I’m always happy to assist but again it’s much better if I can be capturing this lovely moment! And you really don’t want the extra stress/panic of having that lovely hairstyle you’ve spent weeks practicing at trials ruined just before you are due to head out the door in all your splendour!
Cravat tying – Have a trial run at tying your cravats before your big day, they can be tricky! I’ve seen so many hilarious YouTube clips!!! But you can actually also find some useful tutorials on there! What did we do before google hey!
Button holes – I get asked to help out with so many and, boys, even though I am happy to help, I think it would be better all-round if I was taking the photos of these special moments! Boys often get in a pickle with which side, which way up, how high, do they really fit in the button hole of the jacket which appears to be sewn up!!! This is a job best not left until the very last second!
Shoes – I know that shoes are generally an area for the ladies to get excited about – but there are some really important things to remember when it comes to your wedding shoes guys! You must remember to remove all labels off the bottom of shoes, it’s never a good look when the groom kneels down for the blessing and he has the price tag showing on his new shoes! I have seen a lot of weddings and have many stories I could share! It’s also not especially funny to write ‘Help Me’ on the soles of your feet!
Vicars and drink!
If you are getting married in church the Vicar can refuse to marry you if you have had too many beers in the pub beforehand! I’m not joking!!! Take some mints!!!
Jobs for both of you!
Vicars and pics!
A good vicar will discuss this with you in advance. But just incase anyone forgets, it’s really important to check with your vicar regarding photography in church. Some vicars are delightful and work with us photographers to ensure everyone has fulfilled their job for the day. Just to reiterate I am very respectful during the ceremony. I use no flash during the ceremony, my camera is on silent and I don’t move about. Let your vicar or registrar know the importance of having the ceremony captured as part of your wedding day. The marriage ceremony is the reason for your wedding day, for me if it’s not photographed it’s a crying shame. (It is very rare to be refused completely).
Pic Lists – After the ceremony, it will help things move on much better if you have provided your photographer with a list of any formal group shots you’d like so we can move through this without too much confusion or waiting around. (Click here to see my blog on group shots.)
Nature’s confetti only! Confetti is often only allowed these days if it’s in the shape of natural petals. Also think about providing it as no one brings it anymore – partly due to not knowing the etiquette. If you want those confetti shots – help make them happen!
In Shropshire you can purchase natural confetti from Shropshire Petals or from the Real Flower Confetti Company in Worcestershire. Next year I will be offering family photo shoots when the flowers are in full bloom at the confetti fields. It is a stunning venue for family photographs outdoors using natural light.
When you get back to your wedding reception, it’s time to relax and enjoy the last few months of planning! Or years for some wedding couples! So don’t rush this time, discuss your timings with your photographer and caterer to ensure you are all happy and you have enough time for your groups, couple shots and time to relax and enjoy chatting to your guests. You don’t want to miss this precious time because you haven’t allowed enough time.
Parcels of heaven and fizz – Drinking your first glass of champagne, prosecco or whatever your welcome drink happens to be, as Mr and Mrs and chatting with all your guests and eating delicious canapés on the lawn is just wonderful. As a close friend once said “delicious parcels of heaven” and fizz are the best part of the wedding day!
I know you want to spend as much time with your guests as possible, some who will have flown across the globe to be with you, but you also need to be a bit selfish and allow enough time for your couple shots as these are the shots you will be looking back at. How many of you will frame a group shot for your wall? Relax and bring a bottle of fizz and enjoy some quality time together, walking, talking, kissing whilst I get to work my magic!
SPEECH! Your wedding breakfast and speeches often follow. I usually take a break whilst you eat. No-one likes photos whilst they’re eating! BUT I LOVE capturing the speeches! The candid images of people’s reactions listening to all the wonderful and funny stories about you growing up and how you met.
If you are up for it, some of the most stunning photographs are taken during golden hour. Golden hour is the hour before sunset and the light can be stunning, often allowing me to be more creative with the light. Silhouettes, back lit shots, sun set images – a photographers dream! We can discuss timings before your big day.
Avoiding the lull!
Try and avoid a lull. To do this I mean study your timings before the day. The best weddings have flowed from one section of the day to another. One amazing wedding I photographed at Walcot Hall, Shropshire, as the couple cut their cake, the ball room doors were flung open to an amazing 12 piece brass band and everyone was up on their seats dancing and singing! They then lead them outside and they had their first dance around an outdoor fire pit, followed by fireworks! Spectacular!
The First dance of many to come
The First dance can be rather special. As a trained dance teacher, I do love seeing a wonderful first dance. Whether this be a shuffle of romance, something more choreographed or something between the two! Even if you’re not a dancer, this dance can look wonderful on your wedding day. Get your groom to show off your beautiful dress with a twist, turn and maybe a little lift. Exciting times!
And what’s my top tip?! Relax and enjoy. If you are happy that’s all that matters then everyone will enjoy your day with you. If a few things go wrong along the way who cares! Here’s one of my favourite wedding advice quotes: “A wedding is a party, not a performance. If at the end of the day you married the one you love, then everything went perfectly.”
Contact me here if you’d like to discuss your wedding day photography plans and ideas.