I’ve photographed over 100 weddings. It is really hard to believe sometimes that I have stood by and watched, 100 sets of vows, 100 ring exchanges, 100 dresses being put on, thousands of ties being tied and boutonnieres being pinned, and probably millions of laughs and millions of tears.
It is nothing short of a massive privilege to be present for all of these special moments.
And yes, after standing by for this many weddings, I have also become all too familiar with the commonalities, things that are needed, things that are overlooked – and yes, I always keep tissues, bobby pins and band-aids in my camera bag. I see myself as a glorified bridesmaid after all…
Today, I want to share with you ten small things I see that are commonly overlooked by wedding couples on their wedding day:
1. What to do with your arms while walking down the aisle
You’ll be holding your bouquet, it’s ok to let whoever is walking you down to hook into your arms, allowing you to hold your bouquet with both hands, and maintain your elegant poise in all it’s glory (It will look best in photographs too!).
2. What to do with your engagement ring during the ceremony
Before you head down the aisle, pop that engagement ring onto your opposite hand. You’ll need that ring finger clear and ready for action! Your wedding band goes on first, and your engagement ring second, so you can pop your engagement ring back over following the ceremony.
3. Where do the boutonnieres go?
This one comes up at almost every wedding! These go on the left side, about four inches below the shoulder. Make sure the flower is positioned correctly before pinning it. To pin it, start from behind the lapel, and push the pin through the fabric just beneath the head of the flower or else it will look ‘floppy’.
4. The inconvenient timing of the Golden Hour
“Golden Hour” is a photography term to describe the very best time for portrait photography, it is the last hour before the sun sets. Look up what time the sun will set on your wedding day here, and plan to carve out a few minutes within the hour leading up to sunset to slip outside for a few more photos. At this hour, the lighting will be soft and warm and romantic and perfect, and this time frame almost always happens right in the middle of speeches. Try to carve out some time in between toasts to sneak out, even if just for 15 minutes of shooting. I promise it will be worth it!
5. Photo locations don’t matter as much as you probably think they do
A nice wedding portrait can be taken on the side of the road. Remember the focus is on YOU! If you’ve hired a photographer who knows what they’re doing, you won’t need to spend too much time traveling around to find a good photo location.
6. About the receiving line (or lack thereof)
This one is so often overlooked: if you’re not planning on having a receiving line, you’ll want to run straight to your getaway car immediately following the ceremony. Don’t hang around even for one minute or your guests will naturally and instinctively begin to line up around you to congratulate you, and once this starts, it is nearly impossible to get away and you’ll lose a significant amount of precious photography time. If you are having a receiving line immediately following your ceremony, expect it to take longer than you thought it would. Estimate 30 seconds per guest, and allow a buffer of 20 minutes in there too.
7. Bring a comfortable change of shoes
In most cases, wedding shoes are new and beautiful and tremendously uncomfortable, especially after a long day of standing. A simple pair of flip-flops or cute white sneakers will be your best friend later in the evening.
8. Get some food to go
This one seems so obvious, I know. But you will be running on adrenaline, you will be in high demand to your guests, you will socialize more than you might have ever before, you will be uber-busy and your appetite will be diminished. The first real moment that you will have to sit quietly and enjoy your new husband and acknowledge your appetite will likely be late at night when you find yourself back in your honeymoon suite. Trust me, you will be tired and hungry and this is the time when your body will remind you that you need nourishment. Stock your room with snacks, drinking water, pre-order room service, or get your wedding meal to go.
9. Designate someone to save you from chatty guests
Yes, you will be in HIGH demand on your wedding day, and there is always someone who seems to want to have you all to themselves. Again, sometimes these situations can be awkward, anxiety-inducing and totally overlooked. Have a family member, bridesmaid or groomsman that you trust to be on the lookout for saving you from an unwanted conversation. “I’m sorry to interject, but I need to steal the Bride away for a second” can be the godsend phrase that you hadn’t thought about.
10. Hug your parents
Make sure that you take a moment during your day to give them your attention. Tell them you love them. Thank them for everything they’ve done for you. Don’t forget that this is a big emotional day for them too, and so often they end up on the back burner with everything that is going on. Set an alarm on your phone or ask a friend to remind you to go to them, even if just for 30 seconds, and give them the gift of a special moment on your wedding day. Kay?
I hope reading this helps you to cruise through your wedding day like the QUEEN that you are! Also, there’s a little gift for you below.