Did you recieve that sparkling ring over the Christmas holidays? CONGRATULATIONS!
Most likely, you are just now beginning to plan (because no one has their wedding planned before the proposal, right?? I certainly didn't ...cough...)
There are so many things to think about, and hopefully, you've given yourself many months to check everything off your list! Perhaps you haven't even set a date yet. Even if the big day isn't for a year, there are a few things that I recommend brides think about EARLY on in the planning process with regards to photography. I hope these tips assist you in achieving the wedding of your dreams. These tips are just a few of the many things I discuss with my brides at our pre-wedding consultation sessions.
1. Setting the Date and Time
When you choose a date, you might be doing it with a venue in mind, trying to work around their availability. Especially if you are planning an outdoor wedding, you should give some consideration to photography when choosing the ceremony time. There is a reason why photographers shoot outside during the "golden hour", which is one hour after sunrise and one hour before sunset. Harsh, overhead lighting creates unflattering shadows (ever been horrified at your image in a dressing room mirror??). An outdoor ceremony at noon is going to force the same type of scenario if there is not good lighting or shade. Granted, a photographer will take the photos regardless, and we do our best to manipulate light into something usable. However, if the place where you stand to say your vows is in direct sunlight, or mottled with shadows, there is only so much to be done. Give thought to a later afternoon ceremony if outdoors is your plan!
2. Craft a BASIC Timeline
A timeline for the wedding day is essential. You do not have to have all of the answers now, but do remember photography when you plan your ceremony and reception times. Most couples want portrait sessions prior to the ceremony of the bride and bridesmaids, groom and groomsmen, and sometimes a "first reveal" session. I guarantee your Mom is going to consider the wedding an opportunity to update all of those group family photos. And of course, you will want a session with the bride and groom after the ceremony! All of these "sessions" need to be planned into your day, or it is likely they will be rushed or not happen at all. Be very wary of venues that allow you to arrive 2 hours prior to your ceremony. That is hardly enough time to get everyone dressed and take all of the pre-ceremony photos that you want.
Don't get stressed! I work with all of my brides to craft professional and detailed timelines for the day that will ensure we get all of the pictures that are requested. Whomever you choose to work with for photography, they should be offering you the same assistance.
3. Engagement Portraits
You will want to send out your save-the-dates at least 6 months in advance. Most couples want to include some shots from their engagement session on their save-the-dates, so plan your engagement shoot accordingly! Also keep in mind the best times of the year for portrait sessions (spring and fall). My husband and I took our engagement photos in July in College Station. They turned out ok, but we were miserable and sweaty, even at 7 pm.
Another note on engagement sessions: Look online and choose your save-the-date design before the session. That way, you make sure to get the shots and colors that will work well with the design you want! You can even show it to your photographer, so that they can assist you in getting the right orientation and composition on photos to make the final product gorgeous. For more tips like this on maximing your engagement session, stay tuned for my next blog post!
4. Book Early!
Not much narrative needed here, but many photographers book up to a year and a half in advance. Don't wait or you may miss out on the vendor that you were hoping to work with. Many photographers also raise their prices yearly, but you get locked into a price when you book.
5. Set Aside your Photography Budget
Speaking of booking and getting locked into prices, weddings don't pay for themselves (ask the fathers out there!). It's easy to eat up your budget quickly with a venue, dress, flowers, catering, etc. I encourage you to think, early on, about how much of a priority photos are going to be for you. A lot of newly engaged brides get sticker shock when they start researching photography services. When you meet, talk to your prospective photographers and hear about everything that goes into their process apart from your actual wedding day. Is artistic retouching included? High-resolution files with printing rights? What is their turnaround time?
I hope you found these tips helpful! Pin to your pinterest board, and stay tuned for my next blog post: How to get the most out of your engagement portrait session!
I would love to chat with you about your plans for your big day, and would be even more honored to take part in it! Head on over to my contact page to send me a message, or come hang out with Mary Pena Photography on Facebook.