Wedding Planning 101

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Wedding Planning 101: Wedding Hacks

After 11 years of shooting weddings, I’ve noticed some very common “complaints” from couples after their wedding day. I guess I shouldn’t necessarily say “complaints.” “I wish I would have knowns” is a better description. What you’re going to get here is definitely from a photographer/photograph perspective and are unique hacks I would venture to say you’re not going to find anywhere else on the internet. It’ll be an ongoing list I might refresh every few months as I think of more!

Let’s dive in.

FLATLAY PHOTO HACKS: You know those pretty images of the bride and/or groom’s details? That’s a flatlay. If you still have no idea what I’m talking about, glance below for a perfect example. If you love those images and want that for your wedding day, there are some things you can do in advance to guarantee your photographer has all the pieces for a gorgeous flatlay.

  • Talk to your florist before the wedding day to make sure they have a small vase of flowers set aside for the photographer. Personally, my favorite flower to photograph is a ranunculus. They are not the cheapest flower so it’s rare I get to use these, but they are my favorite. Peonies also make great flowers to shoot with. Past that, I would ask for a couple sprigs of greenery (especially ruscus or eucalyptus) and one or two super small flowers. Normally, I hunt down the florist to get fresh florals for my flatlays, but I’m limited to the “extra” stems they’ve brought to fill in gaps, which usually just include greenery and roses. Roses aren’t the best for flatlays because they rarely sit up straight for an above view shot.
  • If you don’t want to splurge on all of your invitations, I recommend splurging on just two. You can order a sample of whatever invitation suite you want to “test run” from most invitation companies. Then, hire a calligrapher to hand letter your envelopes with your venue’s address. I would get at least two copies of this pretty invitation so we can do the front and back of each. Plus, grab an envelope liner that matches and some vintage stamps to put on your RSVP envelope.
  • This is going a little extra, but if you want to, you can even order a velvet ring box that matches the bridesmaids’ dress color/invitation color and a silk ribbon. For the best quality and color options, I would recommend ordering these off Etsy. Amazon sells them way cheaper, but the colors are always off.

CEREMONY PHOTO HACKS: The ceremony is a time where your photographer stops organizing and posing and just sits back to let the whole thing unfold naturally. Because of this, there are some things you may want to plan ahead for to make sure you love your ceremony photos as much as you possibly can.

  • Who else loves symmetry when it comes to things that are supposed to be symmetrical? I’m not talking about cool compositions where you have your subject off to one side. I’m talking about being centered in your ceremony! Can I get an amen? The number one biggest annoyance for couples seeing their ceremony pictures is when they were off-center the WHOLE time. Remember, if you start out off-center, you will stay off-center the whole ceremony. Couples typically have an arbor, flower circle, or cross at the altar, and when you’re off-center from that, it’s SUPER noticeable. To plan ahead for this, tell your officiant to center themself in the aisle. No matter what, they need to stay centered. If they do this, you will automatically center yourselves with them; therefore centering yourselves in the aisle!
  • After the bride is given away to the groom, turn to each other and hold hands. Trust me, you will like your photos so much more if you do this. Make sure your officiant is okay with this at the rehearsal though because some like you to face them as they talk to you during the first half of the ceremony even though your photos will be mostly of the back of your heads this way. If you face each other, you can still look at him, but there will be so many times you’ll glance at each other as he’s talking and get way more photos actually showing your face. Of course, this does not take into account some traditional, religious ceremonies such as Catholic, Jewish, or Indian. In this case, however, the ceremonies are long enough to allow for plenty of time to get facial expressions as the ceremony unfolds.
  • Many grooms will spontaneously dip their bride throughout the wedding day. During the first kiss, while exiting the ceremony, during the first dance, or while exiting the reception. Dips are beautiful, and I often stage some during your bride and groom portraits. I love when couples feel comfortable enough to do them throughout the day, but they only make good pictures if they are done perpendicular to the camera. This means if you’re doing a spontaneous dip during your ceremony kiss, the bride’s head should dip towards the groomsmen, and the groom’s body should face the camera. It seriously makes such a difference!
  • Even if you’re not a “dancer,” which most of my grooms claim not to be, have fun with your first dance. No matter what level of dance expert you are, you can always add in a twirl or a lift. The way the bride’s gown flows during a twirl will make your first dance photos even more epic. If you decide to do this, make sure you twirl a few times. A good way to remember is to twirl every time the chorus comes on!

GENERAL WEDDING PLANNING HACKS:

  • Right after you get engaged but before you start emailing vendors, create a new email address that makes sense for after the wedding. Maybe you create one with your first and soon-to-be last name. Maybe you guys make a family email like thesandersons@gmail.com. This is critical because after your wedding day when you want to change your email to be your new last name, you’re probably going to stop checking your old one, which is where a lot of your vendors who still need to contact you will email you. I still email clients one year after their wedding to wish them a happy anniversary. So, do this ahead of time to prevent missing out later!

Like I said, this list is not done. I will think of more, and as I do, I’ll update this list and re-share! For now, I hope this is helpful and allows you to get even closer to the wedding photos you’ve always wanted!

MORE ABOUT AMANDA MAY PHOTOS:

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:

Hunter Valley Farm Family Session

Knoxville Botanical Garden Engagement Session

Tennessee Valley Fair Engagement Session

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