Tips for making sure your wedding is picture perfect... You can't control everything on your day, but here's some tips from our experiences of awesome weddings to keep in mind.
When booking a ceremony venue or your "getting ready" accomodation, keep in mind natural light! Think windows with light streaming through. Having down lights or artificial lights is not flattering and can cause unsightly shadows and off skin tones. The makeup artist will always appreciate natural light too.
Try to keep mess and clutter away in a seperate room. I know that seems impossible on a crazy day like your wedding, but the photos will come out a lot more cleaner and more pleasing to the eye. Nothing worse than a nice wide shot with sleepover bags in the corner and someones undies hanging over the chair.
This isn't always an option for some, but if you really want your photos to look great when you are getting ready, we highly recommend that you consider hiring an Air bnb. Generally they are styled nicely, are tidy/clutter free, are more spacious, have more character and have less fire exit signs than a hotel room. A bonus is that you can make a little holiday out of it. We have experienced so many issues with the general hotel room being way too small, no wear to hang anything and natural light coming from only one direction, which can leave the photographers, videographers and make up artists all fighting for prime position. If your venue offers a room to get ready in, make sure you check it out (check for size, lighting, character and functionality) before missing out on booking an Air bnb instead.
If having an outdoor ceremony, try to make sure there will be even shade/light for the time of your ceremony. There is nothing worse than a squinting bride and groom with bright and dark patches all over your beautiful faces. If there is no shade, being slightly back lit (having the sun somewhere behind you) is always more flattering than having the sun full blazing on you two. Also consider what time of the day it will be, as this well determine how harsh the sun will look on you. If there is no escaping the full sun, try to have a later ceremony (2-3 hours before sunset) when the sun is lower and softer. When scouting for locations for your ceremony make sure you also consider the time of year as the sun will be positioned differently. Don't forget to have a backup plan for if the weather doesn't go to plan (fingers and toes crossed that it doesn't rain....but it does happen!)
The golden hour is that last hour of light before it goes dark, and is the best time for those romantic/soft/glowing portraits. The golden hour can be anywhere between 5pm - 7pm (earlier in winter and later in summer). The time of the setting sun will also depend on if your wedding is amongst high trees or in an open mountain top field. Another tip for those getting married during those pesky Daylight Savings months, is to talk to your wedding coordinator about moving the ceremony and reception to suit the sun. Some venues or couples forget this and end up only having time for their portraits while it's still super bright outside. Or having to set time during the reception to race off and take a few sunset photos (which is not ideal of creating a mood and enjoying the moment).
This is something we like to suggest for a few reasons. An unplugged ceremony is where guests put away their phones and cameras, and enjoy the moment in real time and not through their cameras or phones. This means they can be present and be there to witness and celebrate your day. This also means we won't have grandma holding up her new iPad in the middle of the aisle in all the shots. We have had so many ceremony shots of the bride walking down the aisle with Cousin Mary and Uncle Bob bending over the pews with their phone directly behind the brides head. It's a great way for guests to take some time away from all the gadgets and gizmos and just be in the moment and engage in your beautiful day. You are hiring us to photograph it anyway so Grandma can relax and enjoy the day knowing that she will have beautiful photos to add to her new iPad in due time.
Try to remember that things happen and can put you behind time, which usually means less time spent on those moments that make some really special memories (and photos!). Like enjoying the moment you finally put on your wedding dress, having a moment with your dad when he see's you for the first time, spending some time alone with your new husband/wife at sunset. All these things are often moments you want photographed or want to enjoy, but unfortunately, a lot of couples don't plan enough time for these things which results in rushing and missed photo opportunities, and ultimately... not being able to fully enjoy those moments.
Our best advice for this is to keep it small and simple. Just immediate family is probably the best way to go. It takes a lot more time and effort than you might realise to round up excited family members (especially when there's food and drinks involved). We do ask for a designated person (that is not yourself) to help round up Uncle Jo in the toilet and cousin Amy taking selfies. What we don't want is to end up with an exhausted newly-wed couple, sore faces from smiling, and can't wait to get out of there... and we still have their portraits to do. So keep the list as short, sweet and simple as you can. Remember you have the rest of the night to grab us to take photos with friends and extended cousins... when you are more relaxed.
KEEP IT PERSONAL:
At the end of the day, your wedding day is about the two of you and celebrating that! It's hard to not get caught up in the the traditions and details and keeping everyone else happy, which will always end up in some sort of drama or detract from what the real purpose of your wedding is. But ultimately, we are here to capture you and celebrate your relationship, and nothing should take the attention away from that. If you ask yourselves, "does this element mean anything to us", and if your answer is "probably not" or "if we had it our way then we would do this..." then don't do it. This is a celebration of YOUR commitment. So in other words, leave the family politics aside, forget about if your entree' choice will please the in-laws or not, choose the over-the-top bouquet you wanted, have that gelato cart as dessert instead of traditional cake . We want you to just enjoy your day as much as you possibly can and celebrate you and your new partner for life!
This is the time where you can step away from all the guests and just enjoy each others company as a married couple. Don't worry about how you should look, act or feel. Just be present and in the moment with your new partner for life. YOU JUST GOT MARRIED! Just make sure you set enough time aside to enjoy this part (1 - 1.5 hours is plenty). We like to give the first part of the session to the whole bridal party (if you have one) and then the remainder to just the two of you, without all the distractions and onlookers.
With this in mind, we want to capture what makes you, you! If that means, catching a helicopter to stand on top of a mountain, or letting off smoke bombs in some abandoned warehouse, or frolicking through long grassy fields (NZ is better for this due to snakes not existing there), or cuddling next to epic trees... then let's do it! We want to capture what makes you both feel alive, what brings out the best of you, and your unique chemistry.
STYLists, florists AND COORDINATors
Are they really worth it? YES! We see it all the time, the Pinterest page full of ideas and inspirations for the wedding, but don't want to or are unable to spend the money, so you try and do as much DIY as you can. For those who are naturally crafty, this can be helpful. However, most people don't have a lot of spare time on their hands, or the mental capacity to complete all these little details and end up with a migraine and a bottle of tequila by their bedside just at the thought of their wedding To Do List. Sometimes spending the money is worth it. Especially to save any unwanted stress. Styling companies have a lot of inventory to work with, and will do all the setting up and packing down (something no one will willingly volunteer to help you with for DIY weddings). Florists know what work together and how to construct a bouquet properly, they also know how to deck out a space to really create an atmosphere. We have seen some DIY bouquets or centre pieces that had good intentions but fell apart before the day even started, and honestly, some just looked tacky. At the end of the day, it is your wedding and you want to enjoy it without the lack of sleep leading up to it. So spend that little bit on services that can help off load the stress from your shoulders (or from obliged bridesmaids) and let them work their magic, so that you can actually enjoy the magic.