Wedding Planning 101

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Wedding Planning 101: Details Box

What to Put in your Details Box

Over the last few years, I have noticed my brides becoming more and more invested in their detail photos. Detail photos are what I take at the beginning of the day while the bride and bridesmaids are getting ready. They set the mood for the whole day. They tell me so much about the overall vibe of the wedding. Black, white, and sleek details? Modern and classy day. Floral, pastel, and feminine details? Whimsical and romantic day. Gathering all your details together to style for beautiful photographs helps launch my creativity. Instead of arriving right before portraits and rushing through everything, the slow pace of this time really sets the foundation for when the timeline starts.

Wonder what you use these photos for? Some couples use them in a collage they hang on the walls in their home. Detail photos help break up the bigger, bolder pieces and make the collage more aesthetically pleasing. The most common use for these photos is in your album design though. Designing an album is like telling the story of the day. Each spread unfolding a different part, and details are a section in and of themselves. With a whole spread dedicated to them. However, I also love having detail photos to break up the busyness of photos with people in them. Without those detail photos, spreads can be a lot busier and overstimulating. The details add some softness to the page to better help the story being told.

So, what should you include in your details box for me? I send out an email the Wednesday before your wedding day with a list similar to this. Although as you shop for pieces to pull it all together, it may be helpful to have this information now! Full disclosure, you don’t have to include all of these things. You can, but definitely pick your favorite pieces and only include the things you love!

Details Box:

1. Invitation Suite: A non-negotiable for me is a full invitation suite. This is what makes up your flatlay. If yours fits together in pockets with a trifold, give me one put together and one deconstructed. I LOVE when couples give me options as well. If you have an invitation with a belt and wax stamp, give me one put together and one deconstructed. If you have a front and back printed on any of your pieces, give me at least two so I can show both sides in one flatlay. I am also OBSESSED with envelope liners. I also think it looks REALLY great for the envelope you provide me to have professional calligraphy with your venue’s name and address on the front. You can give me your RSVP envelope as well. Envelopes are great for layering, adding dimension, and giving interesting compositions.

2. Ring Box: I have a variety of neutral ring boxes I can use if you don’t provide me with one, but if you would like a specific color or a monogrammed ring box, getting one of your own is a good idea! It will be paired with your invitation in the flatlay as well as some photos by itself. I would encourage you to match it either to your bridesmaids’ dress color or to your invitations!

3. Wax Seal + Stamp: This is not always applicable, but if you do use wax seals on your invitations, make a couple extra and drop them in a baggie in your details box. The stamp itself can be used in photos if you want to include it, too. Even if you buy pre-stamped peel and stick seals, throw a couple extras in the details box!

4. Dish/Trays: Someone will most likely gift you a ring dish with either your new last name on it or your monogram on it. You can add it to your details box. There are also other little trays you can get if you’d like to use something more generic. I really love circle trays or circle dishes, but you can get whatever size/shape you want!

5. Ribbon: Ribbon is very similar to ring boxes. I have a variety of colors, thicknesses, and textures I carry with me to every wedding. I likely have one close to your wedding colors or a neutral that goes with anything. If you want one specific to your bridesmaids’ dress colors, getting one yourself is always helpful! Sometimes, couples use ribbon on their invitations. If you do this, you can give me some of that ribbon. Also, another great hack is if your bridesmaids hem their dresses, you can ask their seamstress to provide the extra fabric they cut off, and then, it will match perfectly!

6. Lace: If you have any lace cut off of your dress, ask your seamstress to make it pretty, and I can use it in your detail photos!

7. Jewelry: I will always style and photograph the jewelry you plan to wear for the day. This includes necklaces, bracelets, rings, earrings, etc.

8. All three rings: The rings are my next favorite detail to photograph. Diamonds or other stones, silver or gold, vintage or new. They are all uniquely beautiful and so perfectly you. Things I love using to style the rings are your invitation, ribbon, a ring box, and dishes/trays. I’ve also used shoes, fresh florals, perfume, and the veil. I love getting creative with the rings and usually give you several different styled shots to choose from!

9. Perfume: Not everyone wears perfume, and that’s totally fine. This is definitely not a must. If you plan to wear it, however, I’ll style and take pictures of it!

10. Lip Gloss: This is not one I photograph too often, but if you have a pretty lipstick, let’s use it!

11. Program: If you have pretty programs, put them in the box! Even if I don’t get to it in the morning, I will have photos of it from the ceremony. If it matches all your other paper products though I’ll probably use it in your flatlay!

12. Save the date: Sometimes, save the dates look great in your flatlay so if you have extra, just pop one in the box. I’ll decide whether or not I want to use it as I’m designing your flatlay!

13. Menu: Same as the program. If you have a pretty menu and I have time to style it or want to use it in your flatlay, I will. If it just doesn’t make it into the morning detail photos, however, it will still get photographed as part of your reception photos later.

14. Shoes: I will photograph your shoes no matter what. If they are flats or heels, new or used, fancy or not fancy. I will photograph them. If you do splurge on a nice pair of gorgeous heels, I recommend also getting a cute pair of chunky sneakers to change into at the reception because your feet will likely be KILLING you by the time your reception rolls around. If you do get a cute pair of sneakers, give those to me, too, and I’ll shoot both of them!

15. Veil: I will use your veil in your dress photos, but I also will sometimes use your veil as a softener in your detail photos. If your shoes have toe marks where you wore them to the rehearsal dinner or broke them in, I’ll use your veil to hide some of that dirt. It also provides some good dimension to a photo that may feel kind of flat. There are lots of things veils are great for!

16. Fresh florals: I will shout this from the mountains for as long as I shoot weddings. PLEEEEAAAASSSEEE have fresh florals accessible to me for your detail photos. They can elevate your details SO much and are usually something you have there at some point anyway. If your florist isn’t getting there until later in the morning, bring some florals from your rehearsal dinner. If you don’t have fresh florals at your rehearsal dinner AND your florist isn’t getting there until later, PLEASE let me know! I will either reach out to the florist to swing by and pick some up on my way in or I’ll swing by Trader Joe’s and get some myself.

17. Dried flowers: I have only had dried flowers provided to me one time, but I LOVED them. The bride that provided them dried flowers from bouquets her fiancé gave her throughout their engagement. Then, she put them in a bag for me, and I used them in her detail photos. They were stunning and are really great for spring weddings!

18. Vow Books: Not everyone writes their own vows, which is totally okay. Vow books could also be books you write letters to one another in. Also, you may choose to not do either. That’s totally fine. It’s not for everyone. If you do decide to use vow or letter books, however, I’ll style them really cute or maybe even use them in your flatlay!

19. Garter: Garters are becoming less and less common. I am convinced that in another 3 years, I won’t see them at all anymore. If you decide to have one, however, I’ll photograph it for you!

20. Hairpiece: Hairpieces, on the other hand, are getting more and more popular. Almost every bride puts some kind of hairpiece in her hair now. If you decide to do this, let me have them in your detail box as well!

21. Pretty Hanger: When you get your dress back from the seamstress, it will likely be on a thick plastic hanger. When photographing it, I want to take it off that ugly hanger, and put it on a pretty hanger. You can absolutely get the “Mrs.” hangers. They have painted ones, wire ones, wooden ones, engraved ones, etc. You can also just bring a plain wooden hanger or a pretty felt hanger from home. You totally don’t have to spend a lot on a special hanger. Anything is better than the chunky plastic one it’ll come on!

22. Bouquet: More than likely you spent a lot of money on your bridal bouquet. While I get so many photos of you holding your bouquet throughout the day, I also love having it as an option during detail photos so I can shoot your rings on it or take some macro photos of the water beads still sitting on the petals.

23. Handkerchief: Typically if you carry a handkerchief, it’s an heirloom that may be your something old or something borrowed. If it is new, it typically has blue stitching that says Bride or Mrs. or maybe even a sweet little note that one of mothers or grandmothers gave you as a gift. Either way, the detail box is where to put that so I can photograph it for you.

24. Vintage stamps: I have some vintage stamps, but sometimes, couples will find a specifically dated vintage stamp or picture they want on their stamp. If you have a specific vision in mind, feel free to give these to me as well!

25. Groom’s Details: We can’t forget about the groom’s details! Since there aren’t as many of them, I’m just going to list them all out in this paragraph: 1. Groom’s suit hanging out of the bag on a pretty hanger. 2. Shoes. 3. Socks. 4. Belt. 5. Pocket square. 6. Cufflinks. 7. Tie/bowtie. 8. Cologne. 9. Boutonnière. 10. Anything else he’ll wear that is sentimental.

The last thing I wanted to touch on is if you have no use for some of the generic pieces of these things at the end of the day, I’ll buy them from you! Things like plain dishes and trays, ribbons, unpersonalized ring boxes, wax stamps, vintage stamps, etc. Just let me know!

I’m a Knoxville Wedding Photographer that loves to travel. I shoot anywhere! Click here to contact me with any questions you have about pricing or booking! If you liked what you saw above, go ahead and follow me on Facebook or Instagram to see my daily updates of the latest sessions!

See more from Amanda May Photos:

6 Months Session at Highlight Studio

Micro Wedding at Hunter Valley Farm

Wedding at Graystone Presbyterian Church

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