HOW TO PLAN THE PERFECT WEDDING

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1.  HIRE A TEAM YOU CAN'T LIVE WITHOUT

Over the last 8 years of photographing weddings there is one thing we've found to be absolutely key.  Hire a vendor team you can't live without.  What does this mean?  Do your research!!  Read the pages on each vendors website and get to know them beyond their work.  Ask yourself, would I enjoy grabbing a drink with this person on a normal day because believe it or not, you're going to be spending a lot of time together.  These are the people that are going to make your wedding day dreams come true so make sure and invest some time getting to know them.  With the perfect team, you are sure to have a stress free day!  For our recommendations, check out our Vendors We Love page.

2. DON'T SKIMP ON A WEDDING PLANNER

Of course we are all amazing people who are capable of planning the perfect day ourselves, and I will admit when I married Tri 9 years ago I thought the same thing, but don't skimp on a wedding planner!  A wedding planner is going to be your best friend and trust us, there are going to be things that come up that you don't want to be dealing with on your wedding day!  After all, you're most likely a first timer in this wedding game and you want to feel confident and relaxed when that day finally comes.  The right wedding planner knows how to solve all the little issues  that arise. They can help you with contracts and vendors as well and the best even carry a giant emergency kit on the day filled with thousands of solutions to literally any problem you can think of!  If nothing but peace of mind, find a planner you trust.  You will not regret it, I promise you.  Some of our favorites include Brianne McMullan Events, Wrennwood Designs, and Molly McKinley Designs.

3.  MAKE IT PERSONAL

If you've spent anytime searching the web for wedding design ideas you might notice a lot of what you love are the detail shots.  To achieve this look is simple... make it personal with details you love.  From choosing your perfume scent to finding your something old, borrowed, and blue, take some time to really consider making this wedding about you!  Think outside the box as well.  Did your great grandmother have amazing style and give you her jewelry?  Use it!  Did you and your globe trotting fiance recently travel to Morocco and fall in love?  Bring some of that Moroccan style to your table decor.  Collector of antiques?  Bring that gorgeous antique silvery tray and ring box for your photographer to style your details with!  Skies the limit when it comes to details!  The more personal you make your event, the more special and true to you it will be!  Extra points awarded if you have all of these lovely details collected and ready when your photographer arrives!!

4.  CHOOSE A DRESS YOU'RE COMFORTABLE IN

If you're a bride who wants to find the perfect wedding dress, make sure you pick one that you are truly comfortable in.  While it's super fun to have a Say Yes to the Dress moment with all of your favorite people, I recommend going shopping alone first.  Try on dresses in all different shapes and styles so that you can get a feel for what looks incredible on your body.  Just because your great aunt Sally told you that a  wedding dress must absolutely be ivory and lace does NOT mean that is what you should get.  Let's face it ladies, we are all uncomfortable with something about our bodies, so why fight that.  Find a dress that hides those things we find annoying and accentuate the things that we love.  For example, if you've always hated your upper arms, which I know I hate mine, don't go with a strapless number.  Instead opt for something short or long sleeved with an interesting neckline to enhance the girls if that's something you like about your body.  Once you get an idea of the dresses you love most, then schedule another appointment and bring along those special people in your life.  Have some champagne and enjoy that moment knowing you've done your research.  Most importantly, don't let ANYONE talk you into something you can't live without.  Opinions are just that, opinions, and they have no room in your wedding dress selection.  If you have someone like that in your party, just smile and say thanks but no thanks.  This is YOUR day, and that dress should be YOUR choice and YOUR choice alone.  Want an amazing wedding dress shopping experience?  We highly recommend the girls over at the Sentimentalist in Atlanta and Elite Por La Vie in Alpharetta. 

5.  DRINK IN MODERATION

Who doesn't love a delicious glass of bubbly?  I know I do... but make sure and take it easy the day of, and the night before your wedding.  Trust me on this.  Your wedding day should be the time of your life, but being hung over during your getting ready photos or a little too tipsy during your ceremony isn't what you want.  Be present.  The day will go by sooo very fast and you want to be at your best so you can fully enjoy it!  My golden rule is drink a glass of water in between each glass and no more than 3 before walking down the aisle!  Still not convinced?  Ask me and I'll tell you some of the alcohol related horror stories I've personally experienced during a clients wedding day and I'll happily indulge you!

6.  GO UNPLUGGED

In the age of social media and the instant gratification of camera phones, it's hard to go anywhere without people on their cell phones.  This is especially true at a wedding.  I invite you to close your eyes for a moment and imagine the moment you walk down the aisle.  You see your partner standing at the end of the aisle waiting for you.  Your eyes lock, the music starts, and then.... BAM 250 cell phones and giant IPADs raised in your face blocking not only the view of your partner, but also your photographers view of you.  No one is in the moment and the whole ceremony is witnessed and posted to facebook through a tiny phone screen.  Now picture a different scenario.  You begin to walk down the aisle towards your partner and you lock eyes with your best friend from college, a tear rolling down her cheek.  Your family in the front row, beaming ear to ear as they watch you walk towards them, 250 smiles of the people you love looking at you with their own eyes, present in the moment, and really taking it all in.  Not to mention the GORGEOUS photographs your photographer captures of these non interrupted moments.  Doesn't that sound better?  We think it's extremely important and even if you don't think your guests will be "that" kind of guest... trust me... they will.  They just can't help themselves.  Go unplugged.  You'll thank me later. 

7.  BEWARE OF TANNING 

Having a fun weekend at the beach with friends the weekend before your wedding?  Lather up with SPF 150 because tan lines are real and no we can't spend an extra 20 hours editing them in Photoshop.  It's best to just be cautious of tan lines in the months leading up to your wedding.  Consider your wedding attire and what skin will be showing when selecting your bathing suit or tank top.  Live somewhere cold and dream of being tan?  Please don't get a spray tan.  As great as it seems, spray tans tend you photograph orange and no one wants bright glowy orange skin in their wedding photos.  Pale is beautiful, embrace it!

8.  NO FIRST LOOK?  CONSIDER YOUR TIMELINE

A first look is an excellent way to insure that you have enough time to create the perfect wedding portraits on your big day, but if you absolutely want that special moment to occur at the ceremony, consider your ceremony time.  If you plan to get married at sunset, know that there will not be any light left for those gorgeous light and airy shots of your dreams.  Instead schedule your ceremony 2.5 hours before sunset. (Don't forget to check the sunset time for your date as well!  That pesky daylight savings can mess you up!)  That way there will be plenty of light left afterwords to get all the shots on your list without feeling rushed, plus if the ceremony is late or it rains, there will be extra time built in to make sure it still gets done!  Work with your photographer and planner.  They can help you make the perfect wedding day timeline to assure your day is smooth and stress free. 

9.  THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A PERFECT WEDDING

Forget about perfection.  Perfection isn't real folks!  It's a made up concept created by Pinterest and perfectly curated wedding blogs but those are in NO WAY reality.  It breaks my heart to see a bride or groom not able to enjoy their wedding day because they are obsessed with perfection.  When you're obsessed with perfection you aren't able to relax and go with the flow.  The day becomes more about the perfection and less about the getting married and the love you share.  Any little set back becomes the end of the world and then the tears start flowing.  In the 8 years I've been photographing weddings around the world I have NEVER attended a perfect wedding day.  They simply don't exist.  Even the most perfect looking set of images has some story of imperfection behind them, you just can't see it.  So please, don't set your expectation for the day too high.  Just enjoy it.  It'll be over before you know it!  

10.  TRUST YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER

Instead of giving your photographer a giant list of pinterest shots you think you must have, let the person you've hired do their thing.  This allows them to be their most creative and will assure you get MORE AUTHENTIC images than anything on that pinterest board.  You fell in love with their work for a reason, let them do what they do best!  

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