This is a list of advice of random things that I can think of about how to have an amazing wedding, obviously with an emphasis on photography but following this advice WILL help your wedding in general!
Don’t rush things. Always allow more time than needed on your wedding day. Things often will run late, and if you have a lot of time up your sleeve when things run a touch late, you can stay relaxed. Your wedding should be enjoyable, and not stressy if things are tight on time.
Have a unplugged ceremony. This is where none of your guests take photos during the ceremony. There is nothing more frustrating as a photographer as I stand there with over $25,000 of camera gear in my hands & the experience to use it then to see the parents of the bride or groom miss seeing the moment with their own eyes as they are shakily holding a tiny camera or phone that will inevitably result in a photo that is not even close to what I’ll get. The other problem is as you walk down the aisle, I’ll get shots of you coming down – but I’ll also get the backs of all the digital cameras and phones shining back towards me. ESPECIALLY when people use tablets/ipads to take photos (which is just bizarre). Guests will also step out into the aisle, and i’ll get a good chunk of their upper body/shoulders in the shot. Please, don’t let people take photos at the ceremony. The rest of the day they can go nuts but just not for that 15-20min window.
If you are getting married/having your reception somewhere where you can get a sunset, lookup the sunset time and plan on nothing happening at that time. So for example if your wedding is in summer and sunset is at 7:45pm, make sure that you have no speeches or dancing planned from about 7:35pm to 7:55pm. That way I can whisk you outside for some amazing golden goodness 🙂
If you can have confetti, get it! As much as you can. You literally cannot have too much. If you google for it you’ll find environmentally friendly confetti. Have people hurl it at you after the ceremony, and if you have extra left over I’ll use it on you during the photoshoot!
Don’t stress about how you will be on camera. I’ve shot hundreds of weddings. I’m very experienced with getting you guys comfy on camera. If you are a bit nervous I’d recommend a wedding preshoot to help – it’s a GREAT way to get a feeling for what it’s like being on camera.
If you have control of the lighting at your reception – lots of small fairy lights, candles and so on – basically lots of yellowish/golden lights. You don’t need a lot of brightness as such (the equipment I use can suck in lots of light) but the overall look by lots of small lights can’t be beaten. The overall light level will be beautifully even, and small lights out of focus in the background look incredible.
Don’t get fake flowers. Just don’t. They never look good.
If you are having an outdoor ceremony, try your best to not have it in the middle of the day when the sun is directly overhead. Harsh sunlight is the opposite of what you want for photographs.
Have as many flowers as you can budget for – lots of flowers look great. Have flowers down the aisle, have stacks at the reception, on tables and the bridal table – go nuts. Also having flowers at the ceremony in a styled arrangement if outdoors looks great – for example standing in front of some sort of elaborate flower arrangement or decoration looks incredible!
Try not to get ready in a small dark cramped house or hotel. Sometimes you’ll just have to for logistics, but where possible get ready somewhere light & open. Photos of you in the morning once you have the dress on are beautiful – and in the right environment look stunning. But you will only get them if you are in the right place.
If you are having an outdoor ceremony, don’t have the front row of seats too close to where you and the bridal party stand. Keep a decent gap – the reason for this is then I can take a nice wide angle shot of the entire bridal party + bride & groom up front during ceremony, without getting the heads of the people in the front row in the shot.
If you are having a videographer, please either ask me for a recommendation or look for a videographer who shoots candidly – there are some videographers who stop & restage lots of parts of the day and it really kills the natural candid flow of a wedding day. It works fine with the photographers who set things up and stage shots – but I’m not one of those guys!