Here it is! The moment everyone has been waiting for! The music is playing and the guests have been seated. Ushers make their way to the back of the church, and the coordinator is lining up the bridesmaids while giving the musicians a 5 minute warning. The bride is about to walk down the aisle to the love of her life..... and if she’s like most girls, she’s dreamed about this moment for a long time! Vows will be shared and promises will be made... this is what it’s all about!! In a world full of wedding blogs, Pinterest and bridal magazines, it’s easy to be overwhelmed and consumed by the “prettiness” of the event. While details do matter and planning is necessary, it’s important to never lose sight of the real purpose of this amazing day! 

the Ceremony

a little bit about

Hiring either a full event planner or just a day-of coordinator is SO important!! Brides realize very quickly that if they do not have someone in charge of the coordination of the day, that responsibility will automatically fall on the mother of the bride, the photographer or the BRIDE! When a photographer is in charge of the timeline and the coordination of the day, the images will suffer. All of my most stressful wedding situations were caused by a lack of organization and coordination. It’s so important to make this a priority. If you need any recommendations on wedding coordination services I would love to share some of my favorite vendors with you! 

Coordination

04.

The BEST advice I have for the program-making process is to remember that not EVERY guest needs a program! We printed a program for everyone attending our wedding but quickly realized that most families only took one. We ended up with over 200 extra programs! Yikes! Also, before ordering your programs, have SEVERAL people check it for spelling and grammatical errors. Programs and the ceremony decor are things that the bride can plan in advance but then delegate the actual job of setting it up to a friend or coordinator. The last thing a bride needs to be doing the morning of her wedding is running around setting up floral arrangements! This leads me into my next column! 

program & details

03.

I have seen so many couples do so many AMAZING things during their ceremony. I’ve photographed couples washing each other’s feet, symbolizing that they want to serve each other for the rest of their life. Some couples share in communion while some light a unity candle. I’ve seen sand ceremonies, rope ceremonies and the signing of the family Bible. The options are limitless!! As you plan your ceremony, make sure you design it to be exactly what the two of you envision it to be. This is your day!! If you have the freedom to be creative, then by all means, be creative!!  

order of service

02.

Ceremony lighting is really important. If you get married outdoors at 12pm, the lighting will be extremely harsh and not only will there be harsh lines of light on your faces, you will also be squinting. I suggest planning an outdoor ceremony 2 hours before sunset if you are having a FIRST LOOK. If you are not interested in sharing a first look, then I would suggest having your ceremony 3 hours before sunset to ensure that you will have plenty of time for all of your portraits afterwards. The lower the sun, the more romantic the lighting. If you are having an indoor ceremony, it is always best to have EVEN lighting at the altar. If there are two spotlights on the bride and groom, I will not be able to expose the rest of the bridal party. It is better to have soft, even light acorss the whole altar. 

LIGHTING

01.

ceremony tips

I absolutely love meeting my couple’s families on the wedding day! Family formals are normally my first interaction with them and so I love to have a game plan for this part of the day! Eight weeks before the wedding, you’ll receive a questionnaire from me that will ask you to list out the family formals you want us to capture. Here is a sample family formal list to help you start preparing what shots you need. I do have to limit the family formal time in order to ensure that we have plenty of daylight for your romantic portraits. However, any large family group shots that we don’t accomplish during family formals, we can be sure to capture at the reception! 

Sample List for family formals

B&G with Bride’s Immediate Family (Parents, Siblings, Grandparents, Nieces, Nephews)
B&G with Bride’s Parents B&G with Bride’s Siblings
Bride with her Parents Bride with Mom,
Bride with Dad
B&G with Bride’s Grandparents
B&G with both sets of Parents
B&G with Groom’s Immediate Family (Parents, Siblings, Grandparents, Nieces, Nephews)
B&G with Groom’s Parents
B&G with Groom’s Siblings Groom with his Parents Groom with Mom,
Groom with Dad B&G with Groom’s Grandparents
B&G with all family members if time allows

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romantic Portraits