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Wedding Day Tips: Planning

Farragut, Knoxville, TN

Tuesday, September 23, 2008
In an effort to help my clients have the best wedding day (and best wedding photographs) possible, I am doing a series of blog posts that contain various tips. If you're the sort that likes to read everything you can about weddings then this is for you. If not then you can skip this and wait for the next photo post. This section applies to the planning stages of the wedding. Feel free to add your own tips in the comments section.

·         Please be conservative when scheduling wedding day activities, and assign a bridesmaid or planner with helping you to run on schedule if needed. I will help clients come up with a tentative timeline in advance. However,  wedding days rarely go as planned.  I am there to document the day as it occurs and am not a stickler for schedules and time tables.


·         Plan to be early. Add some cushion to the time-table “just in case”. Tell the family and wedding party to be at the church at least thirty minutes before they really have to be there, but let them know that the timeline is tentative so they won’t be upset if they have to wait. Having extra time is never a problem.


·        The middle of the afternoon is the absolute worst time for outdoor photographs. Outdoor ceremonies or formal photos should be scheduled with 3 hours of sunrise or sunset.


·         Sunset ceremonies may sound good, but don’t count on them going as planned. Variations in weather and cloud cover could leave you in the dark. It is far better to plan the ceremony 2-3 hours before sunset when there is plenty of time to do the formals in daylight. Then, if there is a nice sunset, the couple can sneak off for a few romantic shots together.


·         Schedule your hair and make-up appointment early in the day and pick a salon that is close by or have them come to you. Plan 1.5-2 hours for your hair and 30-60 minutes for makeup plus any travel time. Travel to the salon in your own car so that you do not have to wait on other friends/family to be ready.


·         Complete the wedding worksheet so that we know in advance which formals should be taken. Plan enough time into the wedding day schedule for the formal portraits that you want. Allow approximately 4 minutes PER formal photo. I will be taking several shots of each pose to ensure a good result.


·         I strongly recommend setting aside 20-30 minutes for portraits of the couple alone. This day is about the two of you, but you will not get those dreamy, romantic shots of just the two of you if you don’t plan it into the schedule. If your timetable will not allow this, seriously consider doing a couple/bridal session at a later date.


·         Arrange flower deliveries to be at least 30 minutes before the photographer’s arrival.


·        While videographers and photographers are both there to capture the day and help you have a wonderful wedding, our individual styles may be in conflict. I prefer to be as unobtrusive as possible and will often shoot from a distance. If your videographer has more of a “breaking news” shooting style in which he circles the couple and likes to get up close and personal, he will often block my shot or be in the background and will have a negative impact on the photographs overall.

·         In the event that you would like to feature some of the photographs from a bridal or engagement session at your wedding, the session must take place no less 6 weeks before the wedding (earlier if you want a photo guestbook). Prints must be ordered no less than 3 weeks before the wedding.


·         Don’t sweat the small stuff. Do all of the planning that you can before your wedding day. Then assign someone else to be the “go to” person in case of problems on the big day and instruct them not to worry you unless absolutely necessary. No, that spot on your dress and the fact that your veil is not perfectly straight will not show in the photos so don’t worry about it.


10/1/2008 2:05:01 AM
Wow! really very wide variety of wedding tips. You have listed all the necessary steps that should be taken in all weddings. Thank you very much.
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Welcome to the Nancy Hellsten Photography blog! This is the place to be if you’re looking for wedding ideas and photography promotions or if you just want to view some great photos and see what I’ve been up to. If you or someone you know are getting married, having a baby, or just want some relaxed portraits with the family, please visit my website or contact me for more information. I would love to hear from you. Thanks for visiting and check back often to see what’s new.
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