You’ve been through everything together, and everything has led to this. A shiny ring and a dream, a new level of commitment, building a life together. For someone to stand by your side, for the rest of your life. You know you will never be alone. All of this in the promise of marriage, in the start of your new life. And nothing as daunting to start together than to start by planning a wedding.
As part of the behind the scenes look into what it’s like to work with me as your wedding photographer, this third part in the three part blog series takes a look at my role as part of your wedding planning team to help your vision become a reality, that the pictures you imagine in your head translate into photographs that you’ll treasure for years to come. I like to say that good pictures are made not born. And that means lots goes into the perfect picture, and a lot of that has to do with the planning done ahead of time.
Here are my best tried and true wedding planning tips to help execute the wedding of your dreams!
Hire the planner. Not only will he or she help you stay organized, they’ll be there on the day of to help everything run smoothly. You literally won’t have to worry about a thing until it’s already been taken care of! They know all the best vendors in the industry, will take care of every little detail for you, will help you stay focused, and take the stress out of planning, which is what you’re getting married to do- enjoy each other and this sweet time in your life. Of course, full planning services is recommended but many planners offer design services only or even month-of services to help you get through the parts that overwhelm you!
Gather all of the inspiration photos that speak to you. The ones that stop you in your tracks. Honor them and stay true to them. Do what you love, no matter what other voices may lead you away. And then, be intentional about your choices. I like to tell planning couples to pick three adjectives that describe their wedding style, and then leverage every choice against those three words. If they don’t match up, do not be afraid to let them go. Have no regrets and do everything that you want to do! Don’t hold back and do not be afraid to go all out!
Decision Two: The Venue
Once you’ve got your planner, it’s time to book the next big item on your planning list: the venue. Pick a place that speaks to your three vision words and then check that it has all your logistical requirements. Think about your guest count, food quality, accessibility (for aging guests), and lighting! If you want a light and ethereal wedding, for instance, stay away from dark reception venues with distracting carpeting. Some of my favorite venues for the sophisticated and elegant couple are:
New York Public Library
The Carlyle Hotel
Eolia Mansion at Harkness State Memorial
Newport Mansions (Rosecliff)
New Haven Lawn Club
Lord Thompson Manor
Decision Three: The Photographer
Find the underlying quality in your inspiration photos, then find a photographer that embodies that style. You should always, always meet with your photographer to see if you connect. The emotions that they capture are only available if the energy is there, the way they see your day is through their eyes. I do not recommend selecting a photographer based on price, or what is included in their packages, or if you get more from one photographer than another. What matters is the stories they tell, the passion they bring, and the intuition that leads you to their work.
Getting Ready Locations
When choosing where you’re going to get ready, be intentional! Choose a place that speaks to your personality and remember to keep it tidy. These moments are emotional and you’ll want to remember them without the clutter in the background. It’s not simply a space to get ready in, and not any old place will do. See it as a backdrop to what will be some of your most intimate photos of your wedding day. Select carefully when planning to make sure yours matches your three vision words and has all the things a photographer needs to do great work- lots of natural light, clean, open space, and light colors. Some brides are opting for Airbnbs to get ready! Or, if your venue has special rooms available, especially historic homes or estates, select one of their light and airy rooms to get ready in! If at a hotel, always ask for a room with corner windows, a balcony, and lots of space and white walls. And if not, think of where outdoors we can be like terraces, patios, or balconies to photograph these moments too.
As you get closer and closer you’ll start to think about timeframes and how long each part of your day will take. While you won’t finalize your timeline until about a month before the wedding, here are some wedding planning tips to give you a rough idea of timeframes. In general, we need about an hour for getting ready shots, an hour for first look and portraits, about a half hour for family portraits, an hour for post-ceremony photos, and about 20 minutes for golden hour portraits during the reception, if you choose. Don’t forget to factor in travel time and we will always, always build in buffer time to keep things running smoothly.
Last But Not Least
Book your vendors early! It’s always better safe than sorry!
Don’t hold back! It’s your one day to go big!
How you feel is more important than how you look!
Have an extra set of stationary addressed to your venue location for your detail shots.
Find a pretty hanger for your dress. They make for beautiful photos. You can get one here at BHLDN.
Buy a heirloom jewelry box for your rings. The Mrs. Box has them here!
Have your florist include a few extra florals for your detail shots!
Be comfortable in your shoes! Portraits take lots of moving around to get genuine interactions!
Most of all I want you to remember that no matter what choices, no matter what look, vibe, budget, or vision, that at the end of the day you are marrying the love of your life, the one that makes you smile chiffon, tulle, matte finish or not and that the day will be beautiful because you are there and he/she is there to meet you at the end of that aisle! Happy planning- before you know it your day will be here and you’ll see all your hard work pay off and step into the day of your dreams!
Lots of love and all the best,
Connecticut Wedding Photographer | Planning Series | Wedding Planning Tips | Fine Art Wedding Photography