Hi. You will soon have your big day.
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 pictures.
  • Sewing kits: for the dress and the suit, just in case.
  • Make-up.

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!

Photo With the 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 on the parking!

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 to look 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)

First Look

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.

Girl 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. Common recommendations

Informations

Did you provide me all the information I need? Address? Schedule? Phone numbers?

Special Picture?

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.

Turn Off Your Phone

I know it’s not easy! But during your wedding day you don’t need additional stress, and whatever, you will probably not be able to deal with all “last-minute calls.’ So give your phone to your best men, maid of honor.

Group Picture

Three or 4 nice chairs could be useful to stage nice group pictures. Be free to use other unexpected things (ex : barrels/box).

Unexpected Event

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.

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

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.

3. 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.

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.

Family/Friends

If you want your family to be there during your preparations, tell them days before, so they can plan it.

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! : D
  • Eat: take some energy.
  • Rest: try to have some rest before your wedding.

Bouquet

Does anyone bring the bouquet ? It could be a « special » moment to take in the picture.

Men Preparation

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

On tailor-made suits with 2 or 3 buttons, 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 pocket.

Men : Boutonniere

  • 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

Champagne always helps to relax during the preparation. If you bring champagne, we can funny pictures when you open the bottle.

Hanger

For the bride’s dress, the bride’s maid 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.

First Look With Your Father

It’s an option some bride like to consider. Your father come to pick you up to drive you to your fiance. Your father may bring the bouquet, or offer you a gift this moment.

Stationery

If you want a picture of your rings/band/jewels/watch with your stationery, make sure to bring one for the pictures.

4. Ceremony

Important points

  • Your entrance’s order.
  • Everyone walks slowly, and let at least 15-foot distance each couple.
  • Do you have kids throwing flowers? If yes, train them before.
  • Rings: who give 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!

Outdoor Ceremony

How to set up your guest.

For guests:
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.

For you:
Sun in the face or in your back.
Must of all, you must both have the same light on you! Avoid one in the sun, and one in the shadow.

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.

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 me. Especially during the entrance !

Ceremony Exit

Do you plan anything special? Petals? Rice? Bubbles? Confetti? Ask your best men to provide everything to your guests.

5. Cocktail

Groups

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 at the shadows (or fully at the sun), and I will need to climb on something.

Bridal Party and Groom’s men

We usually do those pictures before the ceremony.

For couples who prefer to discover each other at the church, plain between 15 and 30 min depending on how « stage » you want your pictures.

Sunset Time

Depending on the month, I may ask you 10 min to take pictures before the sun set.

5. Party

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? In this case I would recommend covering the glass with a nice fabric.

Flowers, Decorations & Bottles

Avoid Tall Flowers or High Decoration just in front of you! Otherwise you may be hidden by them on 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.

Grand Entrance

Do you plan something special for your arrival? It could be a good opportunity for pictures.

IMPORTANT:
Make sure there is nothing (not table) in front of the door you plan to do your entrance.

-cigar-times

Cigar Time

If you plan that, let me know! We can set-up something with flashes.

Surprise

Do you plan any surprise for your guest? Fireworks? Cake? Other? Let me know

First dance

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.

-grand-exit-with-sparklers

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

I 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.

Parking

Most of the time parking if 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!)