This is one of the first details you will decide on for your wedding day, and it is oh-so-important to consider.
If you are having an outdoor wedding, you probably want sunlight. You also want sunlight for the hour after your ceremony ends, because that is most likely when I will be taking portraits. So a good rule of thumb is: have your cocktail hour at least one hour before sunset. You can look up sunset time for the day of your wedding by Googling: “Sunset time, [month and day].”
If you are having an indoor wedding and don't care for any outdoor photos with the scenery around, then you can have your ceremony whenever your heart desires!
SAVE-THE-DATES / ENGAGEMENT PHOTOS
You’ll want to send your save-the-date about 8 months ahead of your wedding day. If you’re having a destination wedding or are expecting many out-of-town guests, you may want to consider sending your save-the-date 10 months in advance to give guests ample time to plan accordingly. Many couples like using engagement photos for their save-the-dates, so for that reason, you should book your engagement session a year ahead of your wedding. Engagement sessions are complimentary for all my bride and grooms who book their wedding with me!
You want to make sure you will have window light wherever it is you’re getting ready. This is especially important for your makeup artist, who will appreciate that natural light while dolling you up, but also because natural light will make for gorgeous “getting ready” shots. Also make sure your getting ready area has some clutter-free spots where we can take couple portraits. A great suggestion is getting ready at a home or Airbnb rather than a hotel. Airbnbs with character make for some really great getting ready shots, rather than those at a generic hotel room where it's hard to find pretty spots to hang the dress and such. Airbnbs can be cheaper than hotels, too! But also keep in mind your getting ready location should be relatively close (within 20 minutes driving distance) to your ceremony location.
FIRST LOOK/ FIRST TOUCH
I love first looks/first touches sooooo much. A first look is when a bride and
groom see each other before their ceremony, during a very intimate, often emotional moment with just the two of them. During this time, they embrace, pray, exchange letters or allow for a simple moment in which they are alone, surrounded by no one. It is the only time alone a bride and groom will have during their wedding.
If you rather not see each other, there’s always a “first touch.” I set up a beautiful scene in which the couple can meet without seeing each other, reach out and hold hands, pray or exchange letters. It’s also so emotional and intimate. I love photographing these moments.
I cannot recommend this enough! So often during ceremonies, I am blocked my guests holding up cell phones and tablets. I recommend having your officiant announcing that your ceremony is unplugged, and letting guests know that the married-couple-to-be have requested they please turn off their devices so they can be in the moment. A sign at the ceremony is also something some clients have put up and has been effective. Your wedding ceremony will be so much more beautiful when everyone is listening to your words, enjoying the moment and being true witnesses to your vows.
For the dreamiest reception photos, I love recommending bistro lights, candle light and other lighting for ambiance, whether your reception is indoor or outdoors. If you are considering uplighting, know that the color you choose for uplighting will set the color tone for your photos. For example, if your uplighting is pink, anything that is white will pick up that pink hue, including your dress, and your reception photos will have pink tones in them. Please also consider not having colorful strobe lights during your first dances and speeches, and if you do opt for that, perhaps let your DJ know to reserve that for fun dancing photos.
If you’re having me photograph your wedding till the very end, it’s always nice to end the celebration with a grand finale. That might be a sparkler exit (which I will never get tired of!), but sometimes venues don’t allow for this because it’s a fire hazard. Fret not, there are so many other ways to have a grand exit. You can do smoke bombs (love these) bubbles, confetti, white glow sticks, led lights, and I’m sure others I haven’t even thought of! Ask me or your planner and we'll be happy to help.