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Hey friends!

Today on the blog we’re going to give you some of our favorite tips that we like to give to all of our wedding couples the week of their wedding. Normally, we only share this with our clients, so today is your lucky day! Buckle up!

So it’s the week of your wedding, and by this time, all the vendors have been hired, all the family and friends have traveled into town and all that’s really left is to sit back and enjoy what you’ve spent so much time, heart and maybe a little sweat dreaming up for this day.

Inevitably though, small things will pop up. If you’re lucky, you have great friends, family and vendors who shield you from ever knowing that the florist was 2 hours late showing up to decorate the backdrop. So today we’re aiming to be that awesome vendor for you to help avoid some less than ideal situations that are pretty common on wedding days, and to make sure, whether we’re your photographers or not, you get the best photos possible.

So here goes!

1. Take it All In

We were going to put this one last, but then we thought…why would we do that?! It’s the MOST important one. You have likely spent months, if not over a year coordinating and planning and investing your emotions into this one day. It’s going to be all too easy for it to go by way too fast. You’re going to have family, friends, planners, photographers, videographers and all kinds of people pulling you in different directions or trying to keep you on schedule. It’s beyond important for you to pause at each part of the day and take a step back to observe and feel the moment. Take it all in. Remember what it looked like, who was there, how you felt, how it smelled, really taste the food and your signature cocktail. Create concrete memories, especially once you get to your first look or ceremony and are with your future spouse.

We as photographers love when you take these quiet moments together because they make for the most intimate and romantic photos. Our goal though is to make you wonder how the photo was ever captured, because you never felt our presence invade your special moments together.

2. Keep it Tidy

Getting ready areas always get crazy and chaotic. Everyone’s stuff ends up everywhere. Deodorant sticks on the coffee table, solo cups on the mantle, dirty clothes on the floor. It happens every time.

What we always recommend is, depending on the size of the space, designating a corner of the room, a closet, or an entirely different room for everyone to leave their things. That way the actual space where hair, makeup or the guys are getting dressed remains clean. You may be thinking, “Uh, Justin and Lauren, why does it matter? It kinda seems like you’re being a little too Type A.” For one, if you’re the type of person who gets anxious when your space is cluttered, this is huge. And two, it helps us tremendously with keeping the background of our photos clean. What does that mean? Every time we take a photo, we are focused on more than just the main subject. We’re looking at horizon lines. We’re checking to make sure trees aren’t stemming out of the top of your head. We’re making sure that when your mom is adoringly watching you get your makeup done, there isn’t an open deodorant stick or halfway eaten Chick-Fil-A nugget in the background. Now you might be saying, “Well, can’t you just Photoshop that out?” Sometimes. But it’s not always as easy as it looks, and if it’s a more advanced edit, it can even require an additional editing fee.

This is sort of a side note, but we also recommend getting a Wedding Day Kit. Most of these kits have things like bleach pens, tampons or pads, floss, hand sanitizer, Q-tips, a sewing kit, etc. You get the picture. We usually bring some things along with us too, but it never hurts to have extras.

3. Details box

On a typical wedding day, the first thing we’re going to show up and document is all of your details. If the venue is already decorated, we’re going to photograph the space before any guests arrive. We’re also going to ask you to put together a box of other things like the dress, extra invitations or save the dates, extra flowers from your florist, shoes, jewelry, cufflinks, perfume and cologne, vow books, your bouquet, rings and ring boxes, and anything else that is unique to your day.

By having these things put together and set aside ahead of time, it allows us to jump right in and get started and not waste any time trying to track down certain items. It’s a huge help and it ensures none of your details get overlooked.

4. Look Up & Smile

When it’s time to walk down the aisle, and this goes for the bride and groom and the whole wedding party, people get a little nervous. They’re scared of tripping or they don’t like everyone staring at them. We get it. But when people get nervous, they tend to walk fast, have a straight face and look down. Now you might be thinking, “No freaking way. This is a happy day. People won’t look like that.” But we promise it happens. We always try to remind the wedding party right before the ceremony to take it slow, look up and meet Lauren’s lens at the end of the aisle at least once and smile.

This also goes for special exits, like sparkler exits. The bride and groom are on cloud nine at this point in the night, understandably, but then they blaze at the speed of light down the tunnel of people. We’re usually backpedaling and trying to take photos at the same time, so it helps us out so we don’t break our butts if you slow it down just a little and stop for a kiss before you get to the very end.

5. Where’s Uncle Joe?!

Once you book us, one of the first things we do is create your client portal. One of the forms we throw into the portal is our Wedding Details Questionnaire and a very important question on it is what are all your family photo combinations? We ask for these prior to the wedding day because we don’t want any photo forgotten or a person left out, and this is one of the main things we’ll go over when we meet 1-2 weeks before your wedding.

Sometimes family photos take 15 minutes, and sometimes they take 45 minutes. It all depends on how big your families are and if you want big extended family group shots. Especially when you have larger families, we ask that you send out a message to family members who will be a part of photos, to stick around after the ceremony. Otherwise, they might not hear the announcement for family and then people go missing and it takes longer. Aunt Susie notices Uncle Joe is missing, so she leaves to go find him. Now we are missing two people. And then the cycle continues and more people leave to go find the other missing people. You can see how this could quickly spiral.

These are super important photos, but by the end of them you can feel drained because your cheeks hurt from smiling, Uncle Joe is still missing and Cousin Steve is already Sh*tfaced slinging back Bud Lights because he’s ready to partayyyyy. We’ve found that letting people know the expectation ahead of time for family photos really helps keep the group together to get through your list super fast. Then we can get to your private sunset session…and get you some food!

That’s our list! We hope this helps you on your wedding day, and it is every bit and more of what you’ve been dreaming of!

-XO Justin & Lauren

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