Beautiful weddings are defined by their details. And that means having an eye for style and paying attention to the little things and how they communicate the wedding design message you are trying to evoke. These details are ever so lovely captured by your photographer in the images taken pre-ceremony as part of your getting ready time. Many photographers aim to tell the story of your wedding by setting the context and laying out the color story of the day through the images of your wedding day details. Some photographers take those pictures naturally and candidly, for example your earrings as you are putting them on, and some stage the items so they get the shot in the best possible light and backdrop. My approach is a balanced one- I always make sure to grab photographs of both. So as you prepare your wedding day details, ask yourself what palette are you in and what little elements speak to that aesthetic? If you’re working with a planner they will assist you every step of the way here. If not, never worry, sources of inspiration are all around you and lucky for today’s brides an abundance waits for you on design blogs, magazines, and the ever reliable Pinterest. While you’d never want to copy the exact execution of another couple’s day, certainly using these sources to guide and drive the direction of your day can go a long way into interpreting your wedding day vision! Here is my list for what to include in those precious little details that will both elevate your wedding and help tell the whole story of your day:
Gather your invitation suite including an extra copy of the invitation itself, the response card, a save the date, information card, bride and groom name tags, boutonniere name tags, wedding programs, your vow books both his and hers, wedding weekend itinerary, printed menus, and two envelopes- one if you have special lining or fancy return addressing, and another with the front addressed to someone special or to your venue. Make sure you also have your response card envelope, wax seals, special decorative postage stamps, and any other items that tell the story of your stationary, perhaps scissors and ribbon you had to use, or a calligraphy pen.
Get all of the rings together in one place and ready to photograph, yours and your fiance’s. That means both wedding bands and your engagement ring. Include the boxes, bags, or dishes that you use to hold and display your rings. If you do not have something special, consider an heirloom gift to one another with a handmade ring box, perhaps from the Mrs. Box. A lovely dish or ring tray are always a great options as well and these can even be found at your favorite online retailers!
Have your shoes ready and out of the box. I recommend having his and hers available to photograph, as even the groom’s getting ready details make for beautiful ways to complete the photographic story of your day.
Must haves include- your earrings, bracelets, necklace, cuff links, watches, other timepieces, heirloom rings, bridesmaids’ pieces, your hairpiece, belts, ribbon, and other accessories.
Important to memory and documenting how your day felt is including all of the senses and that means a bottle of your most precious fragrance for the day. This includes his and hers!
Have your full bouquet, bridesmaids’ bouquets, and groom’s and groomsmen’s boutonnieres delivered to your getting ready space to be photographed. Include ribbon and bouquet details like cameos as well. To tie everything together, have your florist assemble a small arrangement of extra florals and blooms for your photographer to use to style your other detail shots.
Have the champagne, champagne glasses, whiskey and rocks glasses ready to go. Cigars or other celebratory items are nice to include too. All of these make for wonderful detail shots whether in a formal flat lay or as a candid capture!
Bride and Groom Attire
Have your dress out and ready, airing out somewhere fresh and open. Take all of the paper backing, stuffing, and standard hangers out and in the garbage. Re-hang your dress on an elegant hanger like the one from BHLDN French Market Hanger or another classic, wooden styled one of your choice. Have your bridesmaids’ dresses hanging on simpler yet elegant hangers as well. Groom’s and groomsmens’ tuxes can also be out and available for photographing too. Items like bow ties, neckties, belts, and suspenders should also be available.
Unique to each wedding may even include welcome gifts for your out of town guests, location maps or venue drawings, your wedding favors, any other gifts for your bridal party or parents, and anything special or unique to your day that speak to the aesthetic and story you want to tell!
Having all of these items planned and thought out ahead of time will let you on the day of stand back and watch the magic all come together as these details tell the story that is in your heart. They become visual representations of the sentiments you carry with you and the love you feel for one another.
Happy planning and reach out in the comments, email, or inquiry form with any questions or to learn more!
Photos taken at the Film Theory Workshop hosted by Rudney Novaes and Natalie Jayne Photography at the Tudor Place and Gardens in Washington, D.C. on Fuji400h film.
Styling mats by Locust Collection
Stationary: Calligraphette & Co
Rings: Erstwhile Jewelry
Film processing: Photovision Prints
Cameras and support: KEH Camera
[…] For more information on how to prepare your wedding day details for your photographer, and a list of essential items for flat lays like these, head over to my 10 Essential Wedding Day Details post here. […]