Wedding Day Prep Tips
My goal as a wedding photographer is to take amazing images on your wedding day. To help make this happen, I’ve put together a few wedding day prep tips and suggestions focused on the photography aspect of your day. As your photographer, I want to ensure you have the best information. And, what better way to provide stunning photos than to share some wedding day prep tips! Right? Remember, each wedding is unique, and there are different challenges depending on your venue, time of year, and length of time you have to prepare.
Honestly, there are hundreds of ways to make your wedding day spectacular. Nevertheless, I am going to touch on a few. If you have a specific concern, please let me know.
To get great photos of your wedding day, you need to plan and prepare. Moreover, wedding preparations can be daunting since most couples only do this once. So, I’ve tried to put together a list of tips you can use to prepare for your wedding day. These tips are photography-focused but can be helpful for other aspects of the wedding preparation process.
Break in your shoes.
Whether you are the bride or the groom, break in your shoes! You won’t be smiling if your feet are killing you. Take it from a photographer, new shoes mean a painful wedding day. When making this choice, consider your ability to move in your outfit, the terrain, and the distance you need to walk to walk down the aisle. Usually, your suit or dress is adjusted to match your shoe choice. So, not being able to wear the selected shoes can present a real problem if you skip this step. One of the most common tips is to break in your shoes by wearing them for shorter periods before your wedding day. And, consider a change for your reception. Having a comfy pair of shoes to change into will make the reception way more fun!
Remember you don’t have to wear 4″ heels on your wedding day. I’ve seen boots, tennis shoes, flats, and bare feet. My favorite so far was the bride and all her bridesmaids wore Hey Dude shoes. This detail is up to you! If you take the time to test out your shoes, you’ll know if you can walk through grass, dirt, or around a lake.
Make sure your wedding attire is clean and pressed.
You want to look your best on your wedding day, and I do too! It’s tough for a photographer to smooth out a wrinkled shirt, tie or suit after the fact on your wedding photos. To avoid this, consider bringing a steamer with you. Be prepared just in case your bridesmaids, groomsmen, or you forget!
Consider where to hold your phone. Keep in mind that placing your phone in your pants pocket or hidden in your bra might cause odd bumps on your garments. Instead, try keeping your phone in the hidden breast pocket of your suit or dress.
Test your makeup and hair for your wedding day.
When I think of hair and makeup, I often think about the movie “The Wedding Planner.” In particular, the scene where the bride uses sunless tanning cream the day before her wedding is cringe-worthy. Fran, the wedding planner, says, “Stop crying. A quarter cup of lemon juice, half a cup of salt, and a loofah sponge. Scrub.” We all feel the desperation of the bride to remove the bright orange look.
The last thing you want is to have an epic fail with hair and makeup. Don’t get a haircut right before your wedding unless your hairstyle looks best right after a cut. I recommend doing a test run of your hair and makeup before the ceremony. You want to make sure that your hairstyle and makeup choices will hold up to the weather, the movement, and the day. A clever way to test your hair and makeup is trying it for your engagement session. You can see how long it will take to get ready on your wedding day and if it’s the right look for you.
Get your rings cleaned.
You will want your wedding bands to look their best, too. After all, they are part of the wedding repertoire. Wedding photographers get close-ups of these details on your special day. These are some of my favorite shots! So, do the wedding prep of getting your rings cleaned.
The best place to get your rings cleaned is the jeweler where you purchased your rings. However, there are over-the-counter cleaning products you can buy. Make sure you are using products that are safe for your wedding bands. If you aren’t sure, ask your jeweler.
Finalize your photo list and the timeline for your photographer.
Next, your photographer will often create a photography timeline that they follow on your wedding day. If you have a timeline, share it with your photographer well in advance. Usually, most wedding planners put together a timeline, also. If you don’t hire a wedding planner, I will still put one together to ensure we cover all the details of your wedding day.
Sample Basic Photography Timeline:
- 12:00 pm Noon – Photographer Arrives
- Venue Photos
- Getting Ready Photos and Detail shots
- 2:00 pm – First Look
- 2:30 pm – Wedding Party Photos
- 3:00 pm – Family Photos
- 4:00 pm – Ceremony
- 4:30 pm – Cocktail Hour
- Sign marriage license
- Couple Shots
- Extended family photos and any missed shots from before
- 5:30 pm – Grand Entrance/Reception
- Meal Served
- Cake Cutting/Toasts
- Special Dances
- 7:30 pm – Exit
- 8:00 pm – Photographer Leaves
It’s important to share your timeline with your photographer. A photographer can determine if you have enough time for each part of your day. The planning process is the best time to share your list of must-have shots. This list can be photos you want of the venue or group/family photos. It helps your photographer streamline this part of the wedding day. Your photographer will often create a photography timeline that they follow on your wedding day.
When making the group/family photos list, make sure to list actual names. Family and friends forget their position at weddings all the time (e.g., mother of the bride, maid of honor, etc.). Instead, it goes faster and smoother if you have a list of names for the photographer to call out.
- Couple groupings
- Pictures with parents
- Photos with siblings
- Images with grandparents
- Wedding party photos
- Extended family photos
Prepare the wedding details box!
This is one of the most important wedding day prep tips and is often overlooked! What is a wedding details box, and why do you need one? A wedding details box has all the little things that encompass the details of your wedding. It can be everything from the wedding bands to your license. If you have all the details in one place, it’s easy to add them over time. This way, the details are ready for your wedding day.
Suggested things to put in your wedding details box:
- Ring Boxes
- Invitations/Save the Dates or any other announcements
- Extra ribbon from bouquets, boutonnieres, or table decor.
- Vow Books
- Perfume/Cologne Bottles
- Jewelry, including cuff links, necklaces, and earrings.
- Include anything that reflects your wedding day. like pieces of your flowers, too.
Practice the photo poses.
I include a complimentary engagement shoot for all my couples to get better photos on your wedding day. The engagement session is a great time to demonstrate how to pose to get better photographs. After this session, practice these poses so you can do them in your wedding attire like a pro! Naturally, it may feel different to lift your partner or dip them back for a kiss in your wedding clothes, but if you have practiced, it will be easier and less of a challenge.
If there is a pose you want to do, let me know so we can pull it off on your wedding day.
Let your photographer in on the surprises you have planned.
If you plan on any surprises during your wedding day for your guests, let your photographer in on the secret so they can make sure to be in the right spot to capture it! For example, if you plan on dipping your partner back for the first kiss or adding a dance move during your first dance, the photographer needs to be in on the plan. Additionally, if it’s a secret you want to keep from your guests, convey that to your photographer.
There is a good chance without prior knowledge of a planned surprise, your photographer may miss your big moment. Most of us are good at keeping surprises under wraps.
Consider the light and weather.
As your photographer, I will always consider the light for the best shots during your wedding day. However, if you note the location of the ceremony and how the light will be at that time of day, this can make for better photos. If the weather is apt to be a challenge, let your photographer know your concerns and wishes. We often have ways to get around rain, wind, snow, and harsh light.
Get enough rest and drink plenty of water.
No one wants puffy eyes on their wedding day or a dehydrated couple. Notwithstanding, if you feel overwhelmed and stressed at all the things to do, take a breath. Ask for help. Then, delegate to trusted friends and family some of the tasks you have left to do. Lastly, with rest and enough hydration, you will look your best for your wedding day photos.
In conclusion, these wedding day prep tips will help create amazing photos of your wedding day. It may seem like too much at first. But, with some planning and effort, you will have an epic wedding day. So, break in your shoes, prep your clothes, clean your rings, collect the details, communicate with your photographer and get plenty of rest and water! Thus, follow these wedding day prep tips and modify them to fit your plan.
Last, in order to get great photos of your wedding day, you need to plan and prepare. In short, these tips are a great blueprint of how to pull off an epic wedding. I will have captured each moment for you to treasure for years to come. If you need a photographer for your wedding, contact me. I would love to be the one that captures your special day.