Checking in with most brides a few months before the wedding, the case usually is that their guest list went up and they are overwhelmed, wishing they had a smaller wedding or even a elopement.
Having been both a bride and photographer, this is all too familiar. A small wedding of 25 guests was perfect for us. We had all our dear family and friends to celebrate with us. We were able to actually talk to everyone and enjoy our wedding. As a photographer, I see couple a bit overwhelmed with all their guests, with little time to enjoy yourself. Downsizing your guest list will make it more about a intimate celebration of you two, rather than a big event.
If you want to do a elopement or small wedding, DO IT! It’s your day and you should celebrate how YOU want to!
One day is not enough to celebrate? Do a wedding weekend! Also ideal for wedding where guests are traveling to your location, whether its by car or plane. Having a wedding weekend can give you more time to spend with your guest. Instead of a rehearsal dinner- have a bbq, play a sports game, boat ride or just hang on the beach and have a cookout.
The day before will be as memorable as the wedding day because people that havent seen each other in a while can get to know each other. Everyone is also more excited and less anxious. Another fun idea is to have a post-wedding brunch. Friends and family can reminisce about the memorable events of the wedding the night before. Both of these event add to the experience, and make for some nice candid memories.
Getting ready photos can be a mix of excitement, emotion and fun. Whether you’re getting married with mom & sister, or with a bunch of girlfriends, these photos can lead to some fun memories. Be sure to pick a spot that isn’t too cluttered and one that has room for movement. A tight hotel room, with everyone’s luggage will not make for best photos, compared to a space dedicated to ‘getting ready’.
A space by the window, with minimal clutter will work great. Think about details- a wooden hanger will look much better than a plastic one. Check with your getting ready location if they have wooden hangers, if not, have someone bring one. Renting a Airbnb for the day is also a fun option to get some non-traditional photos since they are usually more vibrant than hotel rooms and have fun details.
+When looking for a getting ready spot, natural light works best, aim to find a room with lots of natural light
+To minimize clutter when ready, designate a spot for bags, snack, etc. No body wants snacks in the background while getting ready!
+Music! Make a fun playlist on Spotify and play it as you get ready and dance along, this gets you even more excited for the big day!
Wedding can be super pricey, starting with the Venue. If you’re trying to save, consider some of these ideas. Some of my favorite weddings have been in backyards and in outdoor natural settings. Think VRBO or AirBnb for a vacation rental, and have your wedding there. This will save you tons. Another option is using destinations, such as national parks, such as Joshua Tree & Yosemite. They are beautiful so you don’t have to worry about decorations. Some require a permit, but they are still way less than a venue.
Check out some ideas on wedding blogs such as Green Wedding Shoes and Junebug Weddings. I LOVE VenueReport -it’s a website designated for finding venues for designated evens, bachelorette, elopement or wedding, they also have custom filters to help!
By thinking outside the box, you can customize your wedding how you want it. For food, get a taco truck or get catering from your favorite place. Weddings don’t need to be traditional. Don’t think you need a big cake? Go for a donut bar! Everyone loves donuts.
Having snacks/ drinks while getting ready is also a great tip!
Lets talk about the first look. It’s when the bride and groom decide to see each other before the ceremony, and take some bridal portraits. This is a brilliant idea for several reasons. 1. You get to see each other before you walk down the aisle with all your guests. 2. It can be as emotional as walking down the aisle, it’s just you two and you have some time for yourselves to actually take it all in before the wedding day starts. Share special vows between the two of you only. After the actual ceremony, things get a bit busier and everyone wants to congratulate you. 3. By getting the main photos done earlier, you have more time to spend with your guests after. Some couples also do the bridal portraits after the first look.
Be sure to leave enough time, and not try to squeeze too many things in on the wedding day. Something will usually go wrong at a wedding, (try not to stress it!) this is why you leave extra time. You also don’t want to feel overwhelmed or rushed, try to enjoy every moment! Here is a timeline of the flow of a typical wedding day.
A wedding dress is both an intimate and personal for a woman – it must reflect the personality and style of the bride. -Carolina Herrera
This is a big one, and the most important one! You want to feel beautiful in your dress- comfortable and like yourself. This one is all about you, don’t go for the dress that mom or your friends like, go with the one YOU love. It is a good idea to bring a close friend, sister or mom.
Make a day out of it, grab lunch before and spend time together. If you easily get overwhelmed, a big group may not be a good idea. Wedding dresses typically take 6-8 months to order + alterations which can take anywhere form a few weeks to a few months. Be sure to shop early! Favorite dress shops in Southern California- Grace Loves Lace San Diego, The Dress Theory, and Lovely Bride.
Some of my personal favorite dress designers are: Rue De Seine, Leanne Marshall and Daci Gowns. If you’re on a timeframe and need a dress sooner rathe than alter, BHLDN has gowns that can ship the same week!
Not necessary, as I have shot 100+ weddings. Family and group photos are done directly after the ceremony, where everyone is together. Usually helps to give family a heads up when these will be taken. I am familiar with the family groupings- parents, siblings, both set of parents, etc.
I do personally send out a questionnaire about a month before the wedding, this would be the time to be specific with anything that you are wanting to capture. If at any point you want me to get a group photo of any sorts (such as high school friends!) just let me know! I am here for you! 🙂
Do whatever you want!
It’s your day! You and your fiancé should do which ever will make it the most memorable. You guys want to elope and your parents want a traditional wedding? You can do both! Go and elope to that place you’ve been dreaming about exploring. Invite a few close family members & friends, it will be memorable for everyone. It will be so much more meaningful than a big wedding you didn’t want in the first place. You an always have a celebration party at home. Not into traditions? Don’t follow them. Have a close relative marry you, instead of a minister, it’s easy together ordained, learn more here. There is nothing wrong with starting a new tradition. For example, not into cake but love donuts? Have a donut bar, thats something new. Each couple is different, and a wedding day should reflect that. Weddings shouldn’t be the same because we are all different. Break traditions and create new ones and most of all, have a blast on your wedding day!
Planning a wedding and in search of a photographer? Lets chat here. To view my recent wedding shot, click here.