- Originally published on My Kate Parker Wedding, a new interactive online planning resource for brides and grooms in New England. Check it out!
This may sound cliche, but amidst the busy planning and preparation, be sure to also take care of YOU when prepping for your wedding day. There's no better motivation than that little white dress. Spend some time with a personal trainer to help tone your arms and back if you're worried about pesky "back fat" in your strapless gown. Get those eyebrows under control. Buy some Crest Whitestrips and brighten that smile. Hit a tanning booth a few times to even out tan lines or rid yourself from a winter pasty glow. This is the one time in your life it's definitely OK to spoil yourself. You don't want to look back at your wedding photos with regret and wish you had spent more time on you.
2. Love the dress.
When I got married last spring, I originally purchased a dress I liked but didn't love because the sales person pressured me into believing I didn't have much time to decide otherwise. After three terrible fittings that followed, I panicked and then found a second dress I adored just *two weeks* before my wedding at My KPW vendor Traci Romano Events (you can read the entire crazy story on my blog here). Until then, the dress wasn't a budget item I had made a priority. But gosh, I truly felt so beautiful and comfortable in dress #2, and it shows in my images.
3. Beauty call.
• With all the expenses of a wedding day, surprisingly day-of beauty is sometimes the one item that is cut from the budget. Big mistake. I hear most of my brides say they want to look natural, like themselves, on their wedding day. I'm not sure where the notion of professional make-up artist equals anything but. If you work with someone like My KPW vendor Joya Beauty, for instance, she is skilled at accentuating your best features, giving your eyes a bit of pop and your lips some punch which result in gorgeous images. Unlike a mall make-up counter consultant, you should have a trial with your day-of artist and express what's important to you so there are no surprises on your wedding day.
• Likewise, leave those luscious locks to the handling of a professional. Be sure to choose a style that will survive hundreds of hugs and dance floor shake-downs. I recommend avoiding updo's with wispy tendrils that usually block your profile during the ceremony, and end up wilted by dinner toasts.
4. Remove the clutter.
The best possible situation for putting on your dress imagery is in a bright, naturally-lit, clutter-free room. The reality, of course, is that sometimes- or oftentimes- this isn't the case. But it's a great goal! At yesterday's wedding, the sweet bride readied at her family's home, dressing in her parent's dimly-lit, cramped bedroom, tossing laundry and shopping bags under the bed with wild abandon so as to not appear in the images. To attempt a more clean angle and maneuver around bridesmaids and the videographer's shot, I jumped up on the bed but was hit with a whirring ceiling fan. Ack!
5. The importance of details.
In addition to the planned events and spontaneous moments of the day, detail photos round out the coverage of your day. Your invitations, flowers, rings, place cards and table linens, cake and favors, are all reflections of your taste and personality. If you are using family silver to cut your cake or special flutes to toast champagne, be sure to let your photographer know ahead of time to make a special note. If you created a special save-the-date or welcome bag for your out of town guests, have extra copies on hand. If you have a special theme carried throughout the day, let's say it's nautical, detail images of boats, rope, and oars on your paper products and decor can help tell the timeline of the day. Likewise, cohesive colors contribute to seamless supplementary coverage.
• Don't feel that you have to have equal number of bridesmaids and groomsmen for the sake of your images. These days, couples are breaking tradition and having uneven numbers and often, men of honor and best women stand beside you.
• When it comes time for you to be pronounced married, let that wedding kiss linger! So often couples just take one quick peck, not leaving me any time to get more than a standard smooch shot. Enjoy it! Hug! Giggle! You're married!
• Gather your bouquet and recess up the aisle slowly. Give your guests the chance to gander at you as you pass their aisle, and your photographer the opportunity to capture all the happiness and emotion of the moment. Remember, it isn't a race and I'm walking backwards.
7. Group formals.
Agree on a time and place for formal photos, and make sure your bridal party and family members know where to be and when. Be sure to submit a list of the posed family photos you would like well before the wedding so your photographer can reference it and call groupings in an organized fashion. This is often the most dreaded and potentially chaotic part of the day, so a list can keep things moving forward. Keep your eyes on your photographer's camera, and not the gawking guests standing over her shoulder with their point-and-shoot's.
• To avoid funny shadows and awkward stems growing from your nose, have a low flower arrangement at your dinner table.
• Please arrange with your venue to feed your photographer while you are eating, not after all the guests have been fed and you are up greeting them or toasting. This is the first chance for your photographer to sit down and refuel. A well-fed photographer is a happy photographer.
9. Ignore me.
I know it's awkward at first to have a personal paparazzi for the day, but understand ignoring your inclination to mug for the camera every time it's pointed at you results in natural, candid moments. If you've hired a photojournalist, she'll seamlessly blend in with your guests and document the day as it unfolds without the need to prompt or pose.
10. Have fun!
The best weddings I have photographed are the ones where the couple is having a great time together. Enjoy yourselves and your guests will follow. Congratulations!!