Making the most of your wedding day

After photographing many weddings, I see what works best first hand. I’ve listed some helpful tips for your wedding day to go by smoothly leaving you with the best images possible. I believe that your wedding day should be all about you and your husband. Simplifying a few details can lead to a stress free wedding day.

The art of light


First of all, beautiful light = beautiful photos. If you are having an outdoor wedding, it is best to have the ceremony an hour before sunset. Ask your wedding coordinator (or Google) the sunset time for your wedding day and plan accordingly. Most of all, please please please etch out 10-15 minutes for couple’s portraits. This can be done during first look or right after the ceremony. If you hired me because you love my work, this is a big part of it. String lights and ambient lighting amp up night time ceremony and reception photos. If you are having a night wedding with no first look, I recommend booking a ‘day after session.’ This can be done the day after your wedding (or even weeks up to a couple of months after.) It’s an hour session where you and your hubby dress up in your wedding attire and take lovely portraits. It is a stress free time to be creative and create beautiful images that you will enjoy forever.

Bridal prep


– Choose a roomy space with lots of light and character. This can be a hotel downtown, a really cool Airbnb, or a place that has meaning to you.
– Bring your invitation suite for detail photos. I believe every little detail paints the overall picture of your wedding day. Also, ask your florist for a few extra clippings to incorporate in the invitation photos. You’ll be glad you did!
– Have your dress, shoes, jewelry, and other details in one place ready to be photographed when I arrive.
– Have a bridesmaid pack an emergency kit. Some good things for the kit to contain are stain removal, tampons, small scissors, mini sewing kit, hairspray, safety pins, bobby pins, energy bars, mints, q-tips, band aids, deodorant, makeup remover, and Advil… to name a few.
– Play fun background music while you and your gals get ready. It truly relieves any stress and livens up the moment.

First Look


The first look is great for many reasons. This is the only alone time that you and your hubby-to-be will have all day. I get to capture your reactions and that intimate moment up close and personal. This is when I get to be most creative and take some great portraits of you two. I will guide you through, but your excitement and love is all I need to capture those great candids. For those traditional couples, doing a first look truly doesn’t take away from the walking down the isle moment. I always capture the groom’s reaction when he sees you walk down the isle. It’s just as beautiful and special, even after the first look.

Formal Portraits


It is best to complete family and bridal party portraits right after the first look. This is when everyone looks their best and is ALL IN ONE PLACE. As long as everyone is prompt and where they are supposed to be, formal portraits go by very quickly. Also, keep it simple. Immediate family only. There will be lots of candids taken at the reception of everyone else. You can even round up extended family, college friends, work friends, etc. for spontaneous portraits during the reception. Don’t waste time trying to get every last combo of grandparents, siblings, and cousins. Stick to a few important shots, and ask your maid of honor or another member of the wedding party to help orchestrate them on the day of.

By getting family photos out of the way during the first look, you can go straight to the cocktail hour and mingle without having to round everyone back up to take group photos (which can be very stressful.) You also get the most out of your reception by not having to carve out 30+ minutes to take all of the portraits and find Uncle Bob who wandered off to the bar. TRUST ME! :)

Don’t get caught up in Pinterest poses


Your wedding is special because of YOUR uniqueness and awesomeness. Making an unrealistic list of must-have photos takes away from what is actually happening at your own wedding. Recreating moments that are not happening doesn’t look or feel natural. Pinterest shows the best of the best photos from HUNDREDS of weddings and STYLED shoots. Use personal touches and details that mean something to you for your wedding. Also, don’t hold back. Just be happy and express your emotions. I’ll be right there to capture it all, and that is where the magic happens!

Guest Photography


Oh, this. Guests with cameras, iPhones, and iPads. Yes, I said iPads. Please consider having an ‘unplugged’ ceremony. State it in your invitations, make a sign, or ask the officiant to make an announcement. There is nothing worse than having hundreds of guests with devices in front of their faces, sometimes IN THE ISLE, blocking you and your hubby from seeing each other. I want to photograph peoples’ EXPRESSIONS and those closest to you being PRESENT in the moment. It is so much more beautiful that way, right? During the reception, things are more casual. As long as there isn’t a guest holding up family formals or blocking me from the cake cutting, etc., it will be fine. You probably will never even see their grainy iPhone photos that they jumped in front of me to take. You are paying me to capture these moments, and I strive to do my absolute best work at every wedding that I photograph.

Cake Cutting


I love love cake. Photographing it, eating it… You get the picture. I recommend just you and your man cutting the cake for photos. Calling up the whole wedding party for that one shot isn’t always worth it. Most of the time, in my experience, the DJ makes the announcement several times for those hard of hearing or drunk wedding party members to make it up to the cake table for a photo. It is also difficult to cram 10+ people around a small table. It soaks up too much time for a photo that you most likely will not print. So, please, keep it easy and simple and make it about you two.

Enjoy the day


Weddings are one day… marriage is what lasts forever. No matter what mishaps may take place, at the end of the day, you are marrying the love of your life, and that is a beautiful thing. Things may not pan out perfectly like imagined, but that does not stop the show. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Enjoy yourself and have a blast!

xo Lauren

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