1. Make a timeline w/ Addresses + Send Out To Your Media Team!
Having a set wedding day timeline is absolutely crucial to how the day will go! Although the timeline isn't always followed to the T, its still good to aim for it as close as possible. Make sure to send the photographer + videographer the timeline as soon as you have it ready. Along with addresses and locations attached. This is so important, you don't want to be scrambling to send out texts the night before or morning of your wedding day.
If you're having an evening wedding you may have a little freedom with getting up later, but for afternoon and early evening weddings, you'll probably be looking to set your alarm for 6,7 a.m. or close to it. Make a timeline with your planner, or if you don't have a planner, with your photographer, since they'll need to know when to get there to begin photographing. To know when to start getting ready, begin with the time that your wedding starts or that you need to arrive the ceremony venue, and work backward. What do you need to do before then? Are you doing a first look and taking photos with your entire bridal party? Did you and your hairstylist agree that you're washing your hair the morning of your wedding? These are all important questions to ask to figure out what time to wake up. Also, keep in mind that hair and makeup can take 60 to 90 minutes each for the bride, and 30 to 45 minutes each for every bridesmaid and the mother of the bride. Talk with your photographer, on how much time is needed for each portion of the photos.
2. Start Your Morning Right
Before your hair and makeup come, enjoy some time to yourself. Have a nice cup of coffee, read your devotions, have breakfast with your bridesmaids, or read over your vows, ect. This valuable and little quite time that you get to yourself in the morning, will set your mood for one of the most important days of your life.
3. Weather, Weather Weathhherrr!
Do not stress and check the weather app every minute. You can't take the forecast seriously until about 4 days before your date. Weather is the only thing that’s 100% out of our control, and the forecast changes SO quickly especially the PNW area! It’s not worth worrying about, until your dates closer. Your venue and photographer should (and usually do) plan a backup option in case of bad weather. If your getting married during a rainy season you can be safe and order the clear umbrellas from Amazon. They are cheap and come within a day if you get next day shipping. I usually look for a location for portraits that also has a cover, so the day of if rain starts falling, we can hide within seconds.
4 . Add Extra Time For Hair & Makeup
Add in an extra 20 minutes for this part of the morning. Sometimes your eyeliner won't turn out how you'd like. Or your hair doesn't have enough volume then you expected. Those little problems can be fixed easily when you got a professional on your hands. It just helps to prepare by adding extra time in.
5. Plan Family Group Shots
I highly recommend doing immediate family photos right after the ceremony (parents, siblings, grandparents, wedding party ect.). This checks off the important shots with everyone, making sure you don't miss them. It's harder to find everyone after at the reception, so speak with your family, letting them know to meet at this and this time after the ceremony for the family portraits.
6. Keep The Getting Ready Room Clean
When you're choosing your getting-ready location (hotel or your house), make sure there's plenty of natural light and space, if you're having a large bridal party and multiple hairstylists and makeup artists. You want your getting ready photos to be beautiful, and the key to that is plenty of good, natural lighting. You also don't want everyone to feel cramped and on top of each other (plus, think of all the garment bags, beauty tools, food, drinks and more things that will take up space)—so the more room you can get, the better. Have your bridesmaids move any clutter or makeup while your getting ready. This helps out the photographers & videographers ALOT. I recommend getting your makeup done in front of a good window. The makeup artists usually prefer this anyway, for better results.
6. Second Shooter or Not...
I highly recommend getting a second shooter if you are having a multi-location wedding, or a 150+ wedding. If you are not getting a second shooter, the best way to save time in the morning, is to stage the groom & groomsmen getting ready at the same location as the bride. Meaning, downstairs away from the bride, or outside the location ect. Groomsmen photos are more simple to photograph, and the location can be very versatile. Benefits of a second shooter are photos with versatile angles, and getting those candid in between moments.
7. Putting Media Team on the Seating Charts
Don't forget to put the photographers & videographers in either a seat or communicate about the dinner portion of the wedding. We photographers eat when you eat, so the first 30 minutes is usually when we take a break too. Communicate to your media team if they are free to eat along with the guests. If your photographers are on the guest list, they will be seated with the guests, which ensures they are always with you and will never miss a moment of your reception. Food is energy, and energetic, happy photographers are exactly what you want when they are photographing the rest of your day.
8. Do not exclusively focus on a "Pinterest-Perfect" wedding
Pinterest can be a great source of wedding photography inspiration for brides. I even check it out on occasion for new posing ideas! But, like any form of social media, it also has its downfalls. Wedding photographers cannot replicate images taken by other photographers exactly. There are so many things that go into the look of an image like: lighting (HUGE ONE), weather , couples themselves, the venue, time of day shots are taken. Definitely feel free to provide your Pinterest board to the photographer, but it’s not reasonable to expect them to replicate images.
9. Having the details ready for the photographer
When your photographer first arrives to greet you at the start of the day, the next step for them will naturally be to start photographing the details. These are items important to you guys. Things like, ring boxes, rings, jewelry, wedding invite, hair pins, ribbon ect. Sometimes your photographer brings their own box of different accessories to add to the photos.( I do :) ) Have everything ready to go in a corner.
10. Expect Things To Not Go As Planned
Allow your wedding day to play out as it goes. Whether that means crazy weather, forgetting something you didn't bring, or the schedule goes way off schedule that was planned. Keeping an open mind will allow you to accept the day as is. Everything is happening all at once, and its easy to get caught up in the problems. And let me tell you- there will be little things that go wrong here and there. Your wedding day goes by so quickly that you'll only wish you could remember every single moment. So don't sweat the small stuff. Enjoy the day and be in the moment!