Colorado Wedding Photographers – Top 10 Tips for Brides, from a Wedding Photographer turned Bride, Part 1

I have thought about writing this post for a long time, and after meeting with several brides for 2014 in the past week, I wanted to share a few of the things that I learned in going through the wedding planning process myself. In September, Tom and I will celebrate our two year anniversary. Yes, it has been two years – crazy, right? When I was going through everything, it was crazy overwhelming for me, even though I had been through it with brides previously!

Pin this photo to save this for later, when you’re pulling your hair and trying to remember what Brooke told you!

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1. Hire professionals you TRUST and that you want to work with.

I realize this seems like a no brainer, a duh statement right? But there’s a lot to that statement. First, professionals. Yes, your cousin makes a killer playlist on his iPod and can plug it into a big speaker. But can he actually RUN your wedding, and keep the day flowing smoothly?

We’ve all seen this gem – and if you haven’t, it might make you reconsider not hiring a professional DJ. Enjoy a hump day laugh:

Yes, Aunt Betty is organized. But does she have the resources available to bail you out when an emergency happens on your big day? What will she do when the cake falls, will she know someone to call? A professional day-of coordinator would have it handled and DONE and chances are, you probably wouldn’t even know until later. And my favorite, I can’t let this tip go without mentioning the photography. I have received numerous calls just in the LAST THREE MONTHS from brides who need a photographer with less than a week’s notice, because their “professional” photographer bailed on them, and they’re stuck. I’ve worked with women for boudoir that tell me their horror stories from someone they thought took great pictures, and the photos they got of their wedding were barely recognizable because the photographer wasn’t prepared. Does your cousin who takes great photos have a professional backup camera? A second shooter? Insurance, so that if something falls on a wedding guest, you’re covered? A contract, so that if something happens and they can’t make it, you’re not left in a bind like the brides that have called me? These are all things to think about, and you may think they’re not a big deal when it comes to hiring someone that is cheaper, because of your budget. But all of these things could potentially cost you several thousand dollars to fix later.

When you hire trusted professionals, you will be a guest at your own wedding.

2. Consider a first look.

I realize that this isn’t traditional, and that some people are against it – and that’s okay. The main reason that most people will tell you to do a first look is for time’s sake, and yes, that is important. It gives you some time before the wedding to get some amazing portraits, and you can be more relaxed after the wedding. But there’s another aspect to this that most people won’t mention.

On your wedding day, there are a ton of people pulling at you from every direction. You are marrying the love of your life, and you will barely get to spend any time alone with him.

Reality check, I promise. A first look is 15 minutes out of your day where you get to look in each other’s eyes and let it sink in, that you’re going to join your lives together. You won’t get that later, everyone will want to share in your happiness. Which is fantastic, but sometimes it’s nice to have a few minutes to just love on each other. To be affectionate, to let him see you in your gown without everyone staring at him, to let the nerves go, and to laugh and enjoy each other.

“It was one of the best decisions we made during our wedding planning. Our photographer and videographer collaborated and found a secluded area, away from all the madness that was going on that morning; we got a moment to see each other for the first time. It allowed us to take a deep breath, let the moment sink in, feel all the emotion we were about to feel all day. No matter what you decide, the important thing is choosing what’s right for you as a couple.” —Leah and Kevin

From The Bridal Guide

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3. Do what YOU want, even if your friends and family think it’s a little odd.

Yes this one is so important – you can click here to tweet it!

If you want to do a True Blood wedding cake because you’re a huge fan, do it! Your wedding is YOUR day. I hear so many brides say “well my mom wouldn’t like that…” and yes, when mom is paying the bills, she does have some say. But overall, you want your day to be a reflection of you, even if it’s a little different.

At our wedding, we had the traditional first dance. But it was important to us to include our son as well, so after our first dance, we had the parent dances, and then we had our family dance, and Kaden got to pick the song. So we did our family first dance to “Eye of the Tiger.” It was weird, we had never seen it done before, and we didn’t care. It was important to us, and it was fun, and is a memory that I love. Plus, that song is now always etched in my head with that moment.

Looking at this photo again makes my heart melt, how freakin’ handsome are those guys?! ;)

Photo by the amazing Verve Studio

4. Pad your wedding timeline & schedule.

Weddings run late, it is the reality and nature of an event with lots and lots of people. Allow for time to do the things that are really important to you. Work with your coordinator and photographer to make sure that your timeline will allow for the things that you really want to include, like extra dances or extra photos.

5. Have appointed reconnaissance helpers.

My brides laugh when I say this, but Tom and I planned this out and it was a HUGE help. Your wedding professionals will help with this too, but I suggest talking with your best man or your maid of honor, or someone that is in the wedding party that is very assertive and is not afraid to say something. Like I mentioned above, everyone that is at your wedding will want to celebrate your day with you, and they will be trying to get your attention to give you their love and congratulations. This is fantastic, until it turns into the story about your relatives that you don’t know who fell into a well on their wedding day and they had to drag her out by her corset strings. These conversations can not only be frustrating for you, because you’re trying so hard to be nice and polite, but they can kill your timeline and your chance to really enjoy your day and relax.

Have two people that will constantly be on the lookout all night for these situations. Is this mean? Maybe, but it just makes sense to me. My MOH was prepared – if she saw that I was being pulled for photos but a relative wouldn’t let me go, or someone really wanted to show me pictures of their kids when I needed to be somewhere else, she was ready to jump in to grab me.

Another way to really circumvent this issue is to have ample time with your friends and family before and after the wedding as well. Some people call this the “wedding weekend” – basically just lots of time laughing and talking with the people who came to wish you well. We spent a lot of time with family at the rehearsal dinner, and had brunch the next day, which was SO wonderful. We got to see everyone that came, and even though Kaden got sick the next day (sugar hangover), I was holding him while laughing and enjoying my loved ones.

Be prepared, and ask your helpers to help with things like this. It isn’t just planning a bachelorette party and bridal shower, but the little things like this on the big day that can make a huge difference!

This is the first part of my list, there are more to come. I know there are a lot of you wedding professionals and former brides that have your own tips, what is the number one piece of advice that you would share with brides?


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