A FEW TIPS FOR WEDDING DAY PHOTOGRAPHS YOU'LL LOVE

& how a little pre-planning can make all the difference in your photos.

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The moments leading up to the ceremony are filled with sentimental moments, so choosing the right ambiance is important. Spend this time with your favorite people for the start of a great day. When choosing a getting ready location, make sure to choose one that's an appropriate size for the number of people getting ready with you. It’s important to have plenty of space for everyone to move around in and it’ll help to make sure that the room doesn’t get too cluttered. It’s best to choose to get ready in locations that have lots of window light.

1. CHOOSING THE RIGHT ATMOSPHERE FOR GETTING READY

The time leading up to the ceremony is filled with sentimental moments, so choosing the right ambiance is important. Spend this time with your favorite people for the start of a great day. When choosing a getting ready location, make sure to choose one that's an appropriate size for the number of people getting ready with you. You'll like having plenty of room to move around in, keeping clutter to a minimum. It’s best to choose to get ready in locations that have lots of window light. Family homes, boutique hotels, & Air BnB's are all great places to get ready in.

Old 77 Hotel New Orleans groom getting ready

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2. IT'S ALL IN THE TIMING

This time is special, and you’ll want to soak it all up at an easy and relaxed pace. Have a plan so that so that although your day is going at a relaxed and leisurely pace, you don’t lose track and become rushed or late.  We typically create a timeline with all of our couples, setting goal times on when to be dressed for photos, etc. Running late during the getting ready part of the day can cause certain photogenic moments to be skipped in the rush of things. Having a good game plan and staying on time will create lots of space and opportunity for beautiful moments to unfold during the in-betweens. Wedding planners are a huge help for this. (More on planners below!)

Client timelines are more detailed, but here are some simplified timeline examples:
With a First Look (8 hrs)

2:00 photographer arrival and detail shots

3:00 getting ready

4:00 First Look

4:30 Wedding Party Photos and Family Photos

5:00 Photos conclude

5:30 Ceremony

6:00 Remaining family photos and newlywed photos

6:15 Sunset

-10:00 Celebrations!
Without a First Look (8 hrs)

2:00 photographer arrival and detail shots

3:00 getting ready

5:00 Ceremony

5:30 Family photos and Wedding party photos

6:00 Newlywed photos (likely during cocktail hour or the first part of your reception)

6:15 Sunset

-10:00 Celebrations!

3. ABOUT FIRST LOOKS

Speaking of timelines, we can’t talk about them without mentioning first looks. A “first look” is when the couple sees each other privately before the wedding, and it’s a favorite wedding day moment for couples that opt for one. Having time together before the ceremony can help ease any wedding day jitters and give you a moment to just be together before the pace of the day picks up. First looks also provide an additional opportunity to have more portraits taken of the two of you at a different time of day and possibly a different location. Depending on your timeline, first looks may allow for some family photos and wedding party photos to be taken before the ceremony as well. All that being said, maybe you just didn’t picture your wedding day with a first look, and that’s totally okay. Just keep in mind that if you’d like to skip the first look then you may want to consider planning your ceremony to conclude about an hour before sunset on your wedding day to have time for family, wedding party, and newlywed portraits to be done in the daylight hours (See the timeline examples above). Nighttime ceremonies and portraits are beautiful, too, but do require some additional planning. If you are wanting to have your ceremony and portraits at night, it’s a good idea to plan with your photographers, wedding planner, and lighting rentals ahead of time.

4. FOR A BEAUTIFUL CEREMONY SETUP

The peak of the day is when you say “I do”, so it deserves it’s own spot in this list. If you can control which way your ceremony faces, it’s a good idea to try to pick the direction where the sun is setting behind you. Although the space in some venues is limited, it’s nice to keep an aisle in the middle, and some space on each side for your photographer to be able to walk around the setup. Having chairs all the way to the edge of the space means that your photographer can only travel up the middle aisle, which can be more distracting. Instead of mic stands and power chords, try opting for hand-held mics or clip on mics, or ask your officiant to project their voice and forgo a mic altogether. Speaking of officiants, they’re the most important component of keeping your ceremony centered - as in actually centered in the middle of the aisle. It seems like an obvious one, but it’s an easy thing to not notice when you’re swept up in the moment of meeting your love at the end of the aisle. Having your officiant, and your wedding party know their spot can help guide you to center up so that everyone can see you and the gorgeous arch, altar, or any other marker that you choose to be in the backdrop of your ceremony.

5. FAMILY PHOTOS, WEDDING PARTY PHOTOS, AND PORTRAITS

Candid photographs are always among our favorites, but family photos, wedding party photos, and newlywed portraits are just as important. Be sure to plan for enough time on your day to do these photos well. Our favorite time to take newlywed photos is right at sunset, and it’s so nice when the wedding day timing works out for that to happen.

Although it’s not something that you have to decide on this too early on in the planning process, it’s a good idea to start thinking about what family photos you might want on your day and how much time you’d like to dedicate to these photos on your wedding day. Family dynamics are always different, but here’s just one example of what a wedding day family photo and wedding party list might look like:

To get an idea of how long it will take you to get through your family photo list, multiply the number of family photos on your list by about two minutes per photo. If you have a larger family, we would recommend getting them together for one group picture instead of many individual ones. If there are any divorces or other circumstances to be sensitive to, having a pre-made list of exactly who you want in each photo can help ease any tension.

Example Family Photo List:

Newlyweds + Bride’s Parents

Newlyweds + Bride’s Parents + Bride’s siblings + their spouses and children if any

Newlyweds + Bride’s Parents + Bride’s siblings + their spouses and children if any + Bride’s Grandparents

Newlyweds + All Bride’s side

Newlyweds + Groom’s Parents

Newlyweds + Groom’s Parents + Groom’s siblings + their spouses and children if any

Newlyweds + Groom’s Parents + Groom’s siblings + their spouses and children if any + Groom's Grandparents

*Smaller family photos such as Bride + Mom, or Groom + Siblings are typically taken before the ceremony & possibly before the first look.

Example Wedding Party Photo List:

Newlyweds + All Groom’s side

Newlyweds + Any flower littles or ring bearers

Newlyweds + Any flower littles or ring bearers + All wedding party

Newlyweds + All wedding party

Newlywed + each wedding party member on their side

Newlywed portraits at sunset

*Smaller wedding party photos, such as bride + all bridesmaids, or groom + parents are typically taken before the ceremony.

bridal party the pontchartrain hotel new orleans

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6. BIODEGRADABLE EXIT IDEAS

Rice, flower petal, and seed throws are a classic, festive way to celebrate the beginning of a marriage. We’ve always loved for this newlywed flower shower to happen right after the ceremony, either as they are coming back down the aisle or out of the doors of their venue when everyone is beaming ear to ear. It’s usually followed by hugs, kisses, and congratulations from loved ones, and it’s one of the happiest parts of the day. Consider having these throws during this time instead of at the very end of the night. Your venue probably will have restrictions on this, but we’ve seen people use dried flowers, rose petals, lavender, hole punches from leaves, streamers, amazon confetti, and all kinds of things.

If you choose any type of confetti throw after your ceremony or reception, please for the love of sea turtles and our planet, get the biodegradable kind!

7. LIGHT THE NIGHT

Ambient nighttime lighting is romantic and beautiful when done right.  If you’ve opted for a nighttime ceremony, or even an outdoor reception at night, make sure to give some thought into how it is lit. Dim light can be romantic and look beautiful in photos, but it’s important to choose the right color, placement, and amount of lights. You won’t regret getting an experienced wedding planner on board who can help you figure out which lighting options might work best for you, such as string lights, candles, and lanterns. It’s never a bad idea to run through these ideas and lighting plans with your photographer as well. Nighttime photos are beautiful if done right, but the extra planning will turn your romantic ambiance expectations into a reality.

nighttime first dance string lights

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8. CHOOSING THE BEST VENDOR TEAM

We’ve worked with lots of vendors and know how the right team can make wedding days even more magical. Vendors can make all the difference in your wedding photos as well. If you need vendor recommendations, specifically for florists, planners, and videographers, please don’t hesitate to reach out. Videographers and photographers work closely together, so if you opt for a wedding video, it’s a good idea to start with the recommendations provided by your photographer. Trust us when we say that hiring a wedding planner is worth every penny. If you invest in a good wedding planner to guide you through your wedding process, they’ll help to make sure that all of your plans are carried out.

9. SOAK UP THE MOMENTS

An easy way to feel your best on your wedding day is to be present.  Say thanks to those who are sharing this time with you.  They are likely the ones who got you to this moment.  It’s always a nice idea to write a few sweet words to your soon to be spouse, and thank those around you.  Sharing your gratitude is an easy way to keep your spirits high. Soak in every moment of the day and we will capture those for you to re-live over and over again!

For our list of wedding day moments that make the best photographs, click the link below.

Moments

Thanks for checking out our Preliminary Planning Wedding Day Tips Guide. We hope that you’ll find them useful in planning and preparing for your wedding.  If you have any questions or have any tips to add, please feel free to leave a comment below!  Here links to resources for engaged couples:

How to make the most of your engagement session
Favorite outdoor locations for photo sessions in New Orleans
Favorite indoor locations for photo sessions in New Orleans

Every couple is different, so every wedding is different!  For any questions or to talk specifics about your own wedding, or for a list of our favorite vendors in the area including planners, florists, venues, and caterers, feel free to contact us by sending us a direct message here.  We are also always available via email at info@theseptemberco.com .

CONTACT US

For more information about our approach to weddings, click here:

OUR APPROACH

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