Six Important Wedding Day Tips From A Photographer

I've photographed my fair share of weddings, so by now, I have a pretty good idea of what often gets overlooked when planning a wedding (at least when it comes to what affects photos). Check out these six tips to remember for your wedding day if you're planning one anytime soon.

1. Where you get ready matters. Well, that is, if you want pictures of it. Sure, it might seem convenient to get ready in one of the classrooms at the church, or in a room off to the side at your venue, but is the space what you want to remember in your photos? Look for a place to get ready with good natural light and decor that isn't distracting or overwhelming. After all, you don't want anything to distract from you or your groom! 

2. You need a pretty hangar for your wedding dress to be photographed on. It seems silly, but seriously, who wants an ugly plastic hangar to hang their gorgeous, once-in-a-lifetime wedding dress on for photos? Not me. I ordered this one for my wedding dress, but even a pretty wooden one will work. 

3. A well-fed bridal party is a happy bridal party. Often times, the bridal party (especially the girls) start getting ready early in the morning, and then don't arrive at the reception until the early evening. Even then, there are usually a few activities that take place before dinner. It's a good idea to think of breakfast, lunch and light snacks throughout the day to keep everyone happy and upright (especially if drinking will be involved). 

4. You can majorly help speed up family photos by making a good list for your photographer. Some couples want photos of their entire families with them, right down to Great Aunt Barbara and third cousin Timmy. If that's you, awesome! But your photographer will have a really hard time getting everyone together for these photos if you don't make a good list. To ensure family photos go quickly and efficiently at your wedding, make a list for your photographer, adding more people in with each line - something like this: bride, groom, brides mom, brides dad .... bride, groom, brides mom, brides dad, brides brother, brides sister-in-law, brides sister ....etc. Be sure to use first names on your list, so the photographer's assistant can call them out. 

5. Hire a wedding planner ... just do it. And if you don't hire a wedding planner, at the very least find a family member or friend who will do the duties for you. Your photographer cannot adequately be the wedding planner and the photographer. I've run drinks to the bridal party, lined them up and coordinated with the DJ for the announcement at the reception. While I don't necessarily mind doing that stuff, it would be awesome if I (and all other photographers) could focus on the task at hand - delivering amazing pictures of your big day. 

6. No wedding day ever goes perfectly and guess what? No one knows. Couples spend hours and hours planning a wedding. I know, because I'm in the midst of it myself right now. And it can be a tough pill to swallow when a vendor doesn't arrive on time, decorations are out of place, or worse, your family just will not listen to direction. But let me tell you something, no one besides you knows that something is messed up, or out of place. And it won't stress anyone out as much as it will you. In the weeks leading up to your wedding, try to resolve to the fact that something is bound to go wrong and that's just life. The bottom line is, you're marrying your best friend and your friends and family are celebrating your love. Focus on that and let the rest roll off your back. (Because trust me when I say the last thing you want is to remember being bummed on your wedding day about candles that didn't make it to the reception).