Useful Tips Before Your Wedding
You wedding day is coming in 2 or 3 weeks. Your timeline is read. It’s time to review the last tips with your photographer.
Find Here a list of advice in order to keep it smooth all day. I will try to make it short.
1. Couple Photo Session
What You Need In Your Trunk
- An umbrella.
- Some ballerinas or other comfortable shoes (at least during the photo session). I need you to be able to move easily and don’t have pain when you walk.
- Kleenex: if you cry, if you sweat. It’s always useful.
- A second (or third) shirt: you will probably be completely wet.
- Props: if you want props for a special picture (ex: thank you panel, sun glasses)
- Bouquet: is always good if we can get in for the couple of pictures.
- Double sided tape: depending your dress.
- Sewing kits for the dress and the suit, just in case.
Be Sure That The Location For Your Photo Session Is Still “Available.
You want to go to a park or special place to do your photo session. Be sure that nothing will take place here this day (ex: no festival).
What Are The Best Places?
Wide open space. Not too many people and no guest! I need you to feel at your ease and not be distracted by your guest.
We can, if we have the time, go in several locations!
How to pose? What to do?
- Natural: You are not a model, so let’s be natural.
- Fun: Try to have fun. It’s only when you really have fun that pictures are good. Improvise!
- Complicity: The key word for loving pictures is complicity. You don’t have to look each other in the eyes all the time, but we need to feel something between you!
- It’s the woman who comes to the men. Men should not bend. Girls, when kissing, push on your feet to go kiss your guy!
- Use your entire body: when you kiss (or whatever), all your body should be engaged. So do it for real, with passion: not loose hand.
How to pose? What NOT to do?
- Avoid looking directly at the camera all the time.
- Guy: when you kiss, don’t go down to her, even if she is small! You don’t want to look like a grandfather.
- Don’t look down all the time when you walk.
- Try not to hold your dress all the time.
- Groom: I want your pockets empty! (phones prohibited)
Girl should walk on a line
The best way to walk is to literally but one foot in front of the other one, as if you were walking on a line.
Walking legs wide open looks like a guy walking.
2. Getting Ready
Place for Preparation
A big room with light, and set yourself close to the windows in order to have natural light for the make-up. A make-up is always done with natural light. And natural light is better for pictures.
Have Everything Ready
Have your shoes, jewels, rings, dress, suit, etc., ready so I can take pictures.
If you want a picture of your rings/band/jewels/watch with your stationery, make sure to bring one for the pictures.
Clean the room before I come
Take off all the plastic bags, the plastic bottle and all what could catch the attention of the picture.
Do you know how to bustle your dress?
Some wedding dress with long train can be especially tricky to bustle. You might do it yourself, or you might need help from a friend.
In both case, make sure you know how to do.
Beware of translucide material
Some dress made with delicate material can be a bit transparent. As a result people might notice dark underwear.
For the bride’s dress, the bride’s maid’s dress, and for the groom. A nice wood hanger is always nicer than a cheap plastic one.
Reveal the Dress
We can plan a reveal-the-dress moment (when the dress is still on the hanger, or once you are wearing it), and take pictures of all the dress together.
Do you have Glasses? Avoid blue light blocking glasses.
Contrary to regular glasses, they present a very vivid color (blue) that you don’t want to see in all your images.
Make a Surprise to Your Beloved
It’s usually during the preparation but could be whenever you want. It could be a simple letter, or a more sophisticated gift. And it could be many surprises: D
Refuel Your Strength Before the Wedding
- You could be the most beautiful girl in the world, with the best make-up artist. If you don’t sleep enough, you will be and look tired. So sleep! 😀
- Eat: take some energy.
- Rest: try to have some rest before your wedding.
Does anyone bring the bouquet ? It could be a « special » moment to take in the picture.
If you have the time, it could be a good opportunity to do something fun with your best men (ex : barber shop).
Men: Tie, Bow Tie, Pochette
If you want a special knot for your tie, or you use a traditional bow tie, I strongly recommend that you train before.
The pochette could also be difficult to fold.
Men: Button and Pocket
Do you have tailor-made suits with 2 or 3 buttons? Then you should not close the last button.
The last button on the jacket sleeve (surgeon cuff) must be open.
Some pants & jackets and some pocket that are sewn. It’s made on purpose, so the suit/pants look nice on you. Don’t open and don’t use those pockets.
- Be careful with the size of the boutonniere. If it’s too big, it won’t be nice and it will probably fall. For example, a rose you found in a bouquet is too big.
- The boutonniere has to be pinned on the LEFT side of the jacket. We should not see the pin!
Champagne always helps to relax during the preparation. If you bring champagne, we can take funny pictures when you open the bottle.
First Look With Your Father
It’s an option some bride like to consider. Your father comes to pick you up to drive you to your fiance. Your father may bring the bouquet, or offer you a gift at this moment.
If you want to do a first look before the ceremony. I recommend you to choose a nice place with no guest/family. A moment just both of you will be stronger, and better for the pictures.
We usually do those pictures before the ceremony.
For couples who prefer to discover each other at the church, plain between 15 and 30 minutes depending on how « stage » you want your pictures.
Three or 4 nice chairs could be useful to stage nice group pictures. Be free to use other unexpected things (ex : barrels/box).
If we haven’t done all groups pictures, we can finish them.
It could be nice to have big group pictures with everyone.
I will need a place fully in the shadows (or fully in the sun), and I will need to climb on something.
Guests and pictures
I have no problem with guest taking pictures, as far as they stand in front of my camera.
So if you can tell your guest not to be in front of me. Especially during the entrance!
- Your entrance’s order.
- Everyone walks slowly and lets at least 15-foot distance each couple.
- Do you enter with both of your parents? If yes, have each of them holding you by the arm. Avoid having one walking just behind you , or he/she won’t have any pictures.
- Rings: who gives the rings? Best Men? For Kids under three years old, ask an older one to help.
- Do you put the rings on a special « pillow »? If yes, I may want to take pictures before the ceremony.
- When you exchange the ring: make sure your fingers don’t hide the ring and make sure I can see your hand and the ring. Turn your hand to me if needed.
- Tell the officiant I will be there!
- Do you want to take a picture with or signing the certificate?
Flower Girls – Ring Bearer
Do you have kids throwing flowers? If yes, train them before.
Make sure the tallest one is behind the smaller ones
The Bride’s Veil
Tell me who will take you off your veil, and when, so I will be ready. And take it off, SLOWLY.
Sand, treasure box/time capsule, whisky mix, plant potting, rubans.
Stand behind the table facing your guests!
How to set up your guest.
The best for the guest is to have the sun in their back, or in their face (even if you may squint). But avoid having the sun coming from the side.
Sun in the face or in your back.
Most of all, you must both have the same light on you! Avoid one in the sun, and one in the shadow.
Kiss, Kiss and Have the officiant out
Once you are introduce husband and wife, don’t forget to kiss, again and again.
Also, before the ceremony, gently ask the officiant to move away from the “hotel” when you are kissing (at list 10 feet left or right).
Officiant’s dress code
Make sure your officiant is dressed in a neutral color (black, grey). Gently tell them to avoid vivid colors such as red (except if you wan the attention to be focused on them).
Do you plan anything special? Petals? Rice? Bubbles? Confetti? Ask your best men to provide everything to your guests.
4. Common recommendations
Did you provide me with all the information I need? Address? Schedule? Phone numbers?
I am totally open mind. If you have seen a picture/idea you want to reproduce, I don’t see any problem trying to reproduce it. If it’s possible, of course.
To Shot List
You want to be sure I don’t forget anyone : provide me too shot a list with the important people. Limit the list to a small number: if you put your 300 guests, it will not make sense.
Photo With a Car
Will you have a special car? If yes, let’s think of a nice place to make a picture. It could be in front a nice building/lake, or the long of a road. But not in the parking!
There is always some unexpected event. You have probably dreamed of this day for many years and you have a clear idea of what it should look like. Be aware that you may face some minors unexpected events. Don’t forget that you are here to enjoy, so don’t be freak control, take it easy, relax and enjoy.
Depending on the month, I may ask you 10 min to take pictures before the sun set.
I am also here for your guests
Your parents, or your maid of honor and her husband might want a picture together? I am here for them as well.
Tell your guest to come toward me and ask for their picture!
Do you plan something special for your arrival? It could be a good opportunity for pictures.
Make sure there is nothing (not a table) in front of the door you plan to do your entrance.
Avoid seating in Front of a window
If seat just in front of a window, you may risk having some flash reflection on the glass? Here, I would recommend covering the glass with a delicate fabric.
Flowers, Decorations & Bottles
Avoid Tall Flowers or High Decoration just in front of you! Otherwise you may be hidden by them in some pictures. If I need to use a flash , you may have some ugly shadows on your face.
Regarding the bottles, make sure they don’t hide your face and body from me. Make sure not to have any plastic bottle or can.
Lightning of the venue
If the Dj offers you an option to add lights, I strongly recommend you to take it.
Lasers : most of Dj uses lasers (green or red) on the dance floor…well they probably be on the pictures too if you chose this option.
If you have any color theme for the light, let me know.
If the venue allows it, I suggest the DJ to use a smoke machine. It diffuse the light, and really change the aspect of the pictures.
If you plan that, let me know! We can set-up something with flashes.
- The slow: the easiest dance ever created for the groom who doesn’t like to dance (and sometimes also for the bride).
- Who should you face? If you plan to do some specific move that you want a picture of. Make sure to be facing me to do that.
- Turn off the light. If you are holding a “simple event” with no DJ, don’t forget to turn off the major lightning or at least to dim it off.
Do you plan any surprise for your guest? Fireworks? Cake? Other? Let me know.
Grand Exit, Sparkler, and Lanterns
Let me know if you plan any of this.
If you plan to use sparklers, I would recommend buying the longest one 36 inches.
If you plan sparklers or lanterns, buy a bunch of lighter.
7. Regarding your photographer
Your photographer need to eat something
Like everyone on the big day, I need fuel.
So I ask for the lunch if the coverage starts the morning (ex: a sandwich).
And I ask for the dinner. The best would be that I am served among the first one, so I can quickly eat, and quickly be ready to take anything happening during the dinner, and have more time to set up the light for the first dance.
I eat everything.
1/ Let me know if you know where I should install the photo-booth.
Here are the common recommendations: https://www.french-touch-photography.com/f-a-q/photo-booth/
Tell me as well when would be the best moment to install it.
2/Any image you want me to use?
3/ What names do you want me to use (ex Nick for Nicholas, etc).
Most of the time, parking is not a problem in Minnesota, but in the big cities it could maybe become one. Let me know if there is any special instruction to park. (Well, do be honest, until now I have never struggled to park in the USA, but so many times in Paris, that I prefer to ask!)