After twenty seven years photographing weddings all over the U.S and Europe I have seen it all!
My best advice to you on having a creative wedding is make it your own! Ask yourself What are you passionate about? Next,throw tradition out the window!
Sometimes its the venue that you pick that makes your wedding unique.I had a couple who instead of spending allot of $$ on the wedding they flew a few friends to Germany and had an intimate wedding at Neuschwanstein castle.It was just the couple their two closest friends ,me,(their lucky photographer/me) and the wedding coordinator.Personally,this was most appealing to me.We had the ceremony at the castle and afterwards went for a carriage ride in the mountains,it was breath taking like a real life fairy tale without all of the stress that comes along with most weddings.
In my experience, its always the place that makes your wedding unique and memorable.Below,the Biltmore in Asheville N.C how incredibly beautiful!
I had an unusual wedding in Clearwater Florida,The couple was inspired by their favorite movie”Pirates Of The Caribbean ” The bride and groom dressed as Pirates,they rented a Pirate ship for the reception and all of their guests dressed as pirates!
If you are a fun couple and love live music,art,food excitement,New Orleans cannot be beat.In my book one of the best backdrops for photography! You can actually have your very own parade and hire a second line band!
Also in the Florida keys there is an Island called little Palm Island (best kept secret of presidents and celebrities. Recommended for intimate weddings and a great place for honeymooners.There is no T.V’s or phones (for a reason). The private island has only thirty suites ,five acres of paradise. I dont know how the miniature Key deer got on the island but be warned they might eat your wedding bouquet!
When to do the group shots and who should be in them? What I usually do is get the group shot session done after the ceremony.Make sure that you tell all beforehand who needs to stay put.You do not want someone who disappeared to the bathroom holding up the session.
What I tell my couples dont make a list of every combination you can think of.make it simple.Example bride and groom with brides immediate family,then add on the extended family,then the same with the groom.Entire bridal party,bride with gals and groom with his guys.
Discuss with your photographer if you want them to be fun formal or both. Appoint an assertive and organized friend or family member to be in charge of the list and assisting your photographer.If you plan all of this in advance and all goes smoothly it should take no longer than twenty minuets.
Thing of creative ways to entertain your guests,receptions tend to be redundant.Photo booths are fun,or you could hire a caricature artist,table magician,cigar roller etc make it your own,make it unique,get creative!
Children are adorable at weddings and make for some great photographs.I do not recommend a candy bar,children have enough energy without all of the sugar! How bout keeping them occupied with table games ,fun things for them to do.
Maybe in your mind, rain on your wedding day is the worst thing that can happen. A sign, if you will, that you have really bad luck. “in some cultures, rain on your wedding day is considered good luck, symbolizing fertility and cleansing.
Say YES to having children at your wedding! Being a wedding and child photographer I am really bummed out if there are no children at a wedding.And parents please dont tell them to “smile and look at the camera”!
This blog is part of a four part series on weddings. “Getting Ready” The Ceremony” The Intimate session” and lastly “The Reception”
After twenty four years of photographing weddings nationwide, I have been to allot more receptions that most people on the planet.in this blog I am going to share with you advice to make your reception memorable.
The venue you choose is important,its all about the atmosphere. I know that venues are extremely expensive.Here is my suggestion,why not rent a beautiful house on the beach and have everything come to you,caterers,hair and makeup,band or D.J. Some of my favorite weddings were at private homes.Also I do believe you would save allot of money this way.
I do suggest you have live music,D.J’s are alright but so redundant .Personally I feel a live band is so much more memorable.Makes your wedding more unique.
I would stay away from the big resorts,unless you want to feel like a number and see other couples getting married the same day.Some of these places to me feel like an Assembly line of weddings
Make it your own,be creative,be unique.
Why not hire a cartoon artist, a magician, a fortune teller,a cigar roller.Give your guests something to talk about.To be honest,a great deal of the receptions I have been to were a bit boring.You want yours to stand out,you want your guests to have a great time.
A photo booth is allot of fun for children and to get adults to feel like a child again.
part of a four part series on wedding photography. getting ready,the ceremony,the intimate session,and the reception Advice for the client.
The only thing that I do insist on with my clients is an “intimate session” This will perhaps be the only alone time that you will have on your wedding day.I feel that these photographs are the most romantic and probably the ones that you will be hanging on your walls.
When you are working on your timeline, leave at least a half hour or more in the best light of the day,the last hour before the sun is setting.Think about the background,are there some beautiful nature spots on the grounds of your venue? If not try to explore and find a beautiful nature spot nearby your venue
Do not allow anyone to tag along,this is a distraction to you and to your photographer.Your guests will be fine, might be a good time to plan a cocktail hour. Always work with your D.J. and wedding coordinator and let them know in advance .
When I am photographing a destination wedding,I sometimes plan with my couples for a “day after” session. using the destination as my background. My couples are always so much more relaxed the day after,I get to spend allot more time with them = more beautiful and interesting photos.
This blog is in a four part series,Getting Ready,The Ceremony,The Intimate session and the reception.,so stay tuned!
If you are having an outdoor wedding,hope for the best but always prepare for the worst.make sure that you have a back up plan!! If you have your heart set on getting married outside,go with the flow,have lots of umbrellas handy,incorporate your wedding colors. Do keep in mind that overcast is best for portraits
As far as ceremony sites I have seen it all in my twenty four years of photographing weddings nationwide.From elaborate castles in Germany,to beach blankets in Key West .Make it your own.There are no rules!
I am often asked about timelines.The best light for photography is when the sun is low in the sky. I would say ,if you are having an outdoor wedding,look up the time of sunset for that day and schedule your ceremony two hours before time of sunset.Allowing plenty of time afterward for your group shots and saving the very best light about a half hour before the sunset for your “intimate session” the photographs of just the two of you alone .Dont rush your photographer through this,give them at the very least a half an hour.Remember these are the photos you will probably be hanging on your walls.
Some couples now a days have a “first look” before the ceremony. This helps take the edge off, (good for nervous couples).Also a wonderful time for your photographer .Also a great Idea is the “first look” for Fathers and daughters
I always ask my couple,”what is the most important photo to you” 99% of my brides and many of my grooms will say (or better say) the first time I see my bride!This is such an important shot,I never miss it!!
The most important kiss of your lifetime is your first kiss as husband and wife. I always have a second shooter and we are both getting this most important moment from two different views. I would highly recommend that your photographer have a 2nd shooter/assistant,especially for the larger weddings
This blog will be in four parts,”Getting ready” Ceremony”., “The intimate session” and the reception.
Today I will be covering “getting ready”
I always get to the location early. The first thing that I photograph is the atmosphere of the venue,this is important to my couples,they have chosen this venue for a reason. After twenty five years of photographing weddings I have had the privilege of traveling to castles in Germany,the super dome in New Orleans,the Biltmore in North carolina,Hemingway house in Key West just to name a few.
During this time I like to photograph the details, have a go to person for your photographer. I always ask to have the details ready for me when I come in.The rings,the flowers,an invitation or newspaper,something with the date on it,shoes dress,vows etc…
Advice to the ladies,choose a room with the most natural light,remember that light is very important for the sake of the photos,you do not want to get ready in a room with florescent lite with no windows.Try to keep the room free of clutter.
I love this idea, donate flowers the following day to a nursing home or hospital
DO feed your vendors!
If you hire an award winning photojournalist who has a gift for capturing “the moment” DONT give him/her a list of a thousand group shots or constantly tell them what to do, trust them,and enjoy yourself,forget about the camera!
DONT hire any vendors you wouldn’t want as guests DO hire your photographer early,DO read my post on the art of finding the perfect wedding photographer,the best ones fill up fast!
DO ask your photographer for recommendations of vendors better to have people that work well together especially a photographer and video,everyone needs to work as a team!
DO work on the timeline with your photographer,keep in mind photography is light +composition. save the last half hr for just the two of you in the best light! Your guests will be fine,perhaps plan a cocktail hr for this time.I sometimes give a day after intimate session especially when it is a destination wedding, using the destination as a background, You get to wear your wedding clothes once again and will have the most awesome and unique photos of just the two of you!
For months, sometimes even years, wedding couples look forward to their wedding day. They want to be fully prepared and don’t want to settle for anything less than perfect. Hopefully, that one special day will be one of the most beautiful days in their lives. Unfortunately there are always aspects that can’t be controlled, however prepared you are. That does not matter. Matters only become a problem, when you make them a problem. There is always a solution. Wedding planners have the capacity to be creative and are known for their problem solving. Let’s discuss a few “worst-case scenario’s”.
“WHAT IF IT RAINS”!
Do not agonize over what you’re going to do about, or how you’re going to cope with, the rain. Decide early on what you want to do if it’s raining and stick to it.
I cannot agree more, you’ll not want to wait until the last minute to make a decision. I’d usually play on the safe side you do not want to compromise with the outdoor ceremony and have it no matter what, make a decision, (purchase umbrellas),Incorporate the wedding colors and stick with the idea. Better to be safe than sorry!
2. Trust your vendors
You hired professionals for a reason. They know their craft, they know your venue, so they will make it happen, rain or shine. This is where having an experienced wedding planner and photographer really makes the difference! I have a trunk filled with different color umbrellas!
3. Be prepared
This either means purchasing matching umbrellas for your guests, or having a tent ordered and delivered to your location (remember quick deliveries take an all new meaning when you’re in Tahiti, where logistics are a little more difficult than anywhere else), or at the minimum communicating with your guests so that they also get prepared (and wear adequate clothing and shoes).
If you are planning a wedding lets say in Florida,avoid the rainy/Hurricaine season! Yes it will cost less,but there is a reason!
4. Embrace it
The forecast says there’s a 100% chance you’re going to get wet, now what? You’re in Tahiti! Have fun!
AS a fine arts wedding photographer,rain presents some creative ideas,I use it to my advantage,The reflections in the puddles after the rain,or framing the couple with different color umbrellas. Also keep in mind overcast is one of the best light for skin tones.
What if…. my wedding dress doesn’t fit on the day itself!
advice: don’t go crash- dieting shortly before the wedding. A bride always feels most comfortable during the first fitting session. Try to maintain that weight. Should things come to the worst, than rely on our toolkit and make use of handy tips and trics provided to us by well- known bridal stores.One of my brides did gain twenty lbs, she ordered a lace corset and pulled it off
What if…. a make-up stain ruins my dress!
Don’t fret! Talcum powder, a special tailor’s chalk or TMC 520 stain tissues should do the trick.
What if…. our tight time-schedule is being endangered by the hair- and make-up session!
Our advice: go for a trial session first. It will give you a good idea of how long it will take. Then add some extra time in your time-line. That will take the pressure off and will allow you to look and feel great all day long.
WHAT IF MY MOTHER-IN LAW IS TAKING OVER?
Give her a job to do, get her off your back,if she is a control freak, make her in charge of the group shots ets, she needs to feel wanted and in charge put her to good use!
“Keep a brush, comb, hairspray, ponytail holders and bobby pins in an extra bag (along with makeup if you think touch ups may be in order) and then if it does fall out pin it back up. Or pull it down completely and do a side French braid where the end trails over the shoulder or a side pony at the base of the nape. It will look classy and guests will assume that you wanted to change it up for the reception.”
What if I have a low blood sugar attack? EAT SOMETHING!
MY BEST ADVICE TO YOU: “Most importantly, focus on your marriage versus your wedding. The reception is a party to celebrate that you’ve made a commitment to spend the rest of your life with someone you wanted to meet your whole life. Just relax & have fun!”