Award Winning, Asheville Wedding Photographer reveals Five Pro Tips that every Bride needs to know for Unbelievable Wedding Day Photos!
It’s hard to believe that this is my 13th year working as a Professional Wedding Photographer! With all these years of experience, I’ve gained wealth of knowledge & expertise about all things wedding! I often share these tips with my couples & wanted to share a few of with you!
One: Day of Coordinators are Invaluable!
Listen, I totally get needing to cut a couple corners, after all, weddings are expensive. But, girlfriend, please hear me when I tell you:
the very last thing you’ll want to do on your Wedding Day is be the person that vendors, venue staff, family & guests are coming to for direction!
Being the person in charge, the person with all the answers on your wedding day will most definitely steal some of the joy out of what should be your best day ever!
Day of Coordinators are arguably the hardest working people on your wedding day and they are totally invaluable in my opinion! Not only will they work with you ahead of your wedding to create a “master timeline” which outlines your entire day (vendor arrivals/departures, deliveries & schedule) down to the minute. But, they’re also on site hours before and after anyone else setting up & tearing down your ceremony + reception decor. They’re interfacing with venue staff and vendors, answering questions and providing direction for your family and guests. They’re checking in with you periodically to be sure that you’re happy and have everything you need throughout the day and they’re handling logistics behind the scenes to make sure that your day goes smoothly and according to plan!
How does this relate to your Wedding Photography? I’m so glad you asked! 😉 Over the last thirteen seasons, I’ve shot more than a few weddings that didn’t have the budget for professional planners and/or day of coordinators & when those angels are not on site, the enormous burden of keeping your entire wedding party, your families and all of the miscellaneous moving parts of your wedding day on schedule falls onto your photographer’s shoulders & that’s just not our job! Trust me: You want your vendors, especially your photographer to be able to focus on the job that you’ve paid them to do for the absolute best possible outcome!
Things we Love about Day of Coordinators: The best one’s run a tight ship while simultaneously keeping the vibe way chill! 🙂 They’re angels who check in with us to be sure that we have everything we need throughout the day & if for some reason, we get behind schedule, they coordinate with the necessary vendors and shift the schedule on the fly in order to keep the day running smoothly! They can handle any hiccups quickly, quietly and efficiently without the Bride & Groom ever even being aware that there was a problem! And, they can quickly find the groom’s grandpa for portraits when he’s taken off to the bar after the ceremony! 😉
Trust me when I say: Wedding Planners and Day of Coordinators are worth every penny!
Did you know that we offer Wedding Planning and Coordination Services!?
Check it out here: APC Planning + Coordination
Two: Where are you (both) getting ready? It’s important.
You’ve put so much consideration into choosing the perfect venue for your wedding and you’ll spend months planning and preparing for this beautiful day… you want it to be perfect, right!? Where you (& your groom) choose to get ready before your ceremony should be pretty high on the list of things to consider!
Why? Because approximately 1-3hrs of your Wedding Photography (or videography as it were) will happen there! Depending on how you want to structure your day & allocate the time with your photographer. The following photos may (typically) happen at the respective places you’ll be getting ready:
- Details – Dress/Suit, Shoes, Rings, Bouquet & any special details (sentimental things, perfume, jewelry etc!)
- Finishing Touches of getting ready / Hair & Makeup
- Candids with Bridesmaids / Groomsmen & Family
- Getting Dressed (Fam/Bridal Party helping)
- First Look with Dad
- Possible 1st Look for Bride & Groom
- Portraits with Bridesmaid/Groomsmen: Group + Individuals
- Portraits with Parents/Siblings etc.
As you can see, these are all pretty important photos that are going to happen in the first 1-3hrs that your photographer is on site! Personally, I tend to judge a venue by the Bridal Suit & how they treat their vendors!
A few of our Favorite Bridal Suits in WNC are at: The Hyatt Place, Grand Bohemian Hotel, Chestnut Ridge Events, the Foundry Hotel, and The Inn at Tranquility Farm, Hotel Indigo, AC Hotel, Cambria Hotel
If you’re thinking about a Hotel, B&B or Vacation Rental (AirBnB or VRBO) to get ready prior to your ceremony, some things you’ll want to look for as far as criteria for choosing a place goes:
Size – Ideally, you’ll want a space that’s big enough for everyone to get ready comfortably and it’s really important that there’s a dedicated space where your bridal party can put away their belongings so that the space we’ll be shooting these pre-ceremony portraits in is free from the tornado of food, drinks, bags, clothing and personal belongings that your bridesmaids bring into the space while everyone’s getting ready!
Light – You should look for bright, light filled spaces (this means windows and natural light coming in!) Low ceilings, dark spaces and florescent lights are kind of a bummer for these pre-ceremony photos! 😉
Appointment – You’ll also wanna look for a space that’s aesthetically pleasing and well appointed (obviously!)
Landscaping – If you’re looking at renting a B&B, Airbnb or VRBO, you should definitely ask to see photos of the lawn & surrounding landscape to be sure that it’s nice and will be a suitable backdrop for your portraits! Your photographer will be looking for unique and pretty spots to photograph the details and to shoot portraits of you with your family & bridal party prior to the ceremony.
Three: Time of Day Matters!
Oh Girl, I simply cannot stress this enough: VISIT YOUR VENUE AT THE TIME OF DAY YOU WANT TO GET MARRIED!!! Insist on scheduling your tours around the time that you would like to have your ceremony/reception so that you can SEE the light at that time of day! Bonus Pro Tip for those brides who have a whole year or more to plan: go see the venue during the season that you want to get married too!
If you’ve chosen to have your Ceremony at 2-3pm and the location you’ve chosen to have your ceremony has harsh, mid afternoon sunlight beaming directly on the ceremony site and the faces of your guests at that time…
How will the directionality of the sun at this time of day (if it’s a super sunny/hot day) affect my guests? Will they be squinting into the sun, covering their eyes & sweating their butts off to try to see our ceremony?
How will the directionality of the sun at this time of day affect US as we’re saying our vows? or taking family photos in that spot? Will we be sweating like crazy and will the directionality of the sun cast harsh shadows on our faces or will we be blinded by the sun directly (in) our faces?
Four: Details…the stuff bridal magazines & blogs are made of!
Without a doubt, my favorite weddings have been those that the Bride & Groom really put some thought into the details of their day & made it a unique & beautiful reflection of who they are to share with their family & friends!
How do you decide which unique details to include—and how do you even come up them in the first place!? When it comes down to implementing unique touches in your wedding, place weight on two elements. The first: What represents you as a couple? What do you guys really love? Think back to your engagement, where you met, your first trip together, your mutual hobbies, your interests, your home state, or your heritage and incorporate those elements into your big day! Second: Consider your guests! While your wedding is absolutely about celebrating your union, it’s also very much about throwing a party to remember!
Love Travel, Hiking or Adventure? Pick a theme for your details & incorporate that into every aspect that you can! Love the roaring 20s/Prohibition Era? Invite your guests to Dress up for the occasion & choose your wardrobe with a little nod to the era! Into Breweries? Serve Beer Flights from your favorite brewery! Love going to concerts together? How about an awesome Band rather than a DJ!? Love tailgating? Lawn games! Could you eat tacos for every meal? Late night Taco bar! Love getting caricatures drawn together? Hire a Caricature Artist! Into motorcycles, biking or boating? Maybe ride away from your ceremony or reception on a Motorcycle, Bike or Boat!
These are just a few examples of some relatively inexpensive things you can do to make your wedding details a little more unique! The possibilities are literally limitless!!
Five: Time & having enough of it….
About a month or two before each of my weddings, I schedule a timeline consultation with my couples to chat about their wedding day. We chat about what their hopes are for their photos and how they want to use the time that we have together. From that conversation, I put together their Wedding Day Photography timeline which outlines how the hours that we have together will be used on the wedding day broken down into 30 minute increments. The timeline is meant to make sure that my couples and I are on the same page about what we’ll be shooting and when. When wedding day arrives, we use the timeline to walk us through the day, to be sure that we check all the important boxes!
Creating a wedding photography timeline is essential because it provides a clear view of how the day will unfold & how much time we’ll have to shoot each portion of your day.
Look out for our sample Wedding Photography Timelines (for 6, 8 & 10hr Weddings) hitting your inbox later this week!
You’ll always want to more time than you think you’ll need. Weddings are uncontrolled events that are sometimes a little chaotic and things rarely go exactly according to plan. It’s better to have more than enough time with your photographers and videographers than not enough time.
If you thought that was helpful, stick around, there’s plenty more where that came from! 😉 — XO Brit