THE BRIDE GUIDE 

The day of your wedding is finally here!  It’s that crazy time when you and all your friends and family are all getting ready.  To say this can be a chaotic scene is an understatement.  People have bags and luggage galore, shoes and bras are strewn across the room, hair stylists and make-up artists have crafted temporary salons, bouquets are in vases of water, and all your special pieces that you want photographed are mixed in this swirling vortex of entropy.

The last thing I want to do when I come in is ask for all these items and work your nerves! Let me save you tons of aggravation and frustration, and make sure these details are photographed beautifully!  This is where I need your help!  The key is to have these items together in advance and have them in a bag or box ready for the photographer so you don’t have to search for anything.  If you want you can even label it “For Photographer” or "Details" so it can easily be found.  

The Bridal prep time is a great time to get warmed up and for the wedding party to get used to me being around!   I know this is the time where you may want to cut things short because of time but this it vital.  It’s never a good idea to start rushed.

Disclaimer: Of course I don’t expect your bouquet of real flowers to be put in the box! Here’s a list of the different items I will likely ask for while you are getting ready.

So here's how it goes...  I arrive.  Give you a "Hello I’m here, it's your wedding day" hug.  I get settled, scope the place out and start looking for these details:

  • Rings
  • Shoes
  • Jewelry & other special mementos
  • Marriage license (not necessary)
  • Invitation & program
  • Wedding Dress
  • Flowers
  • Gifts
 
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The rings: All 3 of them

Unless you've soldered the engagement bands already, this means not just your engagement ring, but the wedding bands as well.  So often these are given to the best man the morning of the wedding, and the best man usually isn’t getting ready at the same location as the bride.  This results in frantic phone calls to the best man asking him to hightail it over to the location to bring over the rings, or promises of getting these shots later in the day.  The trouble is, as soon as the ceremony begins things can get tight, and most people don’t want to separate from their wedding bands after they have just had them put on.  Frankly, it’s often even hard to get them off.  So my number one piece of advice is do yourself a favor, have the rings WITH YOU, in their ring boxes for safe keeping.  They can be given to the best man minutes before the ceremony, and then he’ll be less like to lose them too!  Also remember to have your engagement ring cleaned before your big day.  Soap residue can ruin how sparkly a diamond can look in a photo.

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Jewelry and other special mementos

All your finery that you will be putting on after your dress should be in one place.  This includes your earrings, necklaces, bracelets, rings, garters, hair combs, veil (if it wasn’t put in at the hair dresser’s), fancy perfume bottles, and any belts that go on your dress.  I will often come up with ways of presenting these pieces in conjunction with say your shoes, or flowers, etc.  Other elements to consider are if you have special mementos that you will be carrying with you or are used in the ceremony; say your grandmother’s handkerchief, or your great aunt’s ring, your mother’s rosary, or your father’s bible. Having these extremely sentimental pieces photographed often yield some of the most treasured photographs from the day.  So be sure to have these safely set aside in the bag for your photographer as well.

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WEDDING DRESS

Ideally you want to be able to have the dress out of the bag before the photographer arrives.  This way the dress can be checked for wrinkles, and loose threads.  But if the room is full of people, I suggest keeping the dress zipped up in the garment bag tightly until I arrive and am ready to take shots of the dress.   Also your dress deserves more than a plastic or metal/wire hanger!  Even if you don’t have a custom hanger invest in a wooden hanger, you can even put a bow around it with your wedding colors. TRUST ME a decent hanger makes a BIG difference in your images.  If you forget this, most hotels and venues have extra nice hangers in the coat closets.  However, some dresses will have to be photographed as is and that is OK!

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MARRIAGE LICENSE

While I don’t typically photograph these, unless you take some time out and sign them later on in the evening.  If your officiant does not have this with him it is a good idea to put this in with your other paper items in the folder so you don’t forget it.  Some officiants are so by the book that they won’t even perform the ceremony unless the wedding license is present, so this is NOT something you want to forget at home or misplace.

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shoes

Depending on the bride, your shoes might be your very favorite accessory of the day.  If you have anything written on the bottom of the shoe be sure to let me know it's there.  In the short amount of time I'll have to get the detail shots, I dont want to miss any special details.  Keep your shoes in the bag/box with the rest of these key elements.

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INVITATION & PROGRAM

You may have spent tons of time picking out or creating beautiful stationary to use and created personalized programs.  These elements are great for use in albums for setting the stage for the day.  Bring with you at least one complete invitation, meaning the invite, envelope, any response cards, directions, confetti, etc.   Place these paper items, and anything else you’d want photographed say a menu, church bulletin with your names in it, etc, into a folder.  This way they will stay nice and crisp and clean and will not get beat up in transit to your wedding. After I'm done photographing them, you can keep them as mementos from your wedding.

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FLowers

(Especially if you're sharing a first look) Unfortunately, this is the one thing you can’t put in a bag or a box in advance.  I know it will be at a whim when your florist brings the flowers by.  But do keep in mind that I would like to shoot at a minimum, the bouquet.  So be sure when speaking with your florist about delivery of the flowers, that if possible the bouquet is delivered to the location where you are getting ready, NOT to the ceremony location.  If you are concerned about your bouquet wilting, if your bridesmaids’ bouquets are similar, have one of those delivered to the bridal suite instead and I can use that to take shots with in its place.  If not, no biggie we will get the shot later.

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GIFTS

This can be a gift shared between the bride and groom or gifts that were given to the bridal party.  I will also make sure I photograph any letters that are exchanged between bride and groom.  If you have all these items put together in advance, your stress level will be much lower on the day of your wedding while you are getting ready, and I will have ample time to get detail shots that you will love.  One last tip, if you want to give me even more time to get great shots, make sure to have your bridal party keep all their things to one side of the room.  Of course we want to keep your photos natural and in the moment but, when I photograph certain details such as your dress usually about 10 minutes of my time is spent clearing a room of bags, food, trash, luggage, and iPhone chargers, just to name a few, before I ever take a single shot in the room. 


I hope this helps prep for your big day!  If you have any questions at all, please do not hesitate to ask.  

See you soon!