Hey my beautiful future bride! wedding days can get a little crazy, and I want to make sure that you walk into yours with all of the information you need to get the most amazing photos of the special details that you’ve chosen for your wedding day.
So. here’s my master list of what I love to sneak away and photograph before you’re finished getting ready:
- rings – engagement ring + both wedding bands
- your dress
- your shoes, because let’s be honest, shoes are super important
- your flowers + your bridesmaid’s flowers
- your something borrowed, or any other beautiful family heirloom you’re wearing/carrying
- letters + gifts between future spouses, if you chose to do them
- all wedding paper items (invitations, save the date, ceremony program, menu, anything else!)
With all of that in mind, here’s how best to prepare everything for the most amazing shots, as well as a few of my favorite tips and shots from what brides have done in the past.
Generally, you’ll have someone in the bridal party, the wedding planner, or a family member hanging on to the rings before the ceremony, which is perfect. if you would just instruct them to give them to me (preferably before you put your dress on), and I’ll grab your engagement ring as well for some great shots (don’t sweat this either, if they forget I will absolutely hunt them down for the rings).
As far as styling goes, I tend to try to piece together some of the decor you’ve already set up to make a shot that is beautiful + authentic to you guys as a couple; however, if you have something specific in mind, please feel free to bring that along and set it aside for ring photos. a few of my favorite extra styling pieces: thick ribbons of silk, an old book that is significant to you both, lace, and whenever in doubt, eucalyptus leaves. lastly, if you’re not one for super styled shots, it’s always a sweet shot to get a kiddo holding the rings or ring boxes! A little pro tip: if you want adorable ring boxes to make the styled detail shots look even more fancy, I love this company for classy + beautiful heirloom ring boxes!
Obviously a pretty important detail in the day. depending on where you’re getting ready, the dress shot may be a more intimate + close up shot of it in your getting ready room, or we may have the space to hang it somewhere stunning and super picturesque. both are incredibly beautiful. to make these shots extra styled and sweet, I recommend a beautiful wooden hanger, potentially one that says “bride” or has your future married name on it. additionally,
A lot of times, I’ll style shoes in a wider shot of all of your wedding details (they pair beautifully with flowers or sometimes ring boxes), but occasionally brides will choose to do something unique with their shoes, which turns them into their own incredible individual shot. putting the wedding date or a love note from your love bird on or under your shoes always makes for a really sweet detail photo, like the one below. for these wider shots, think about having white sheets available if you’re getting ready in a house/hotel room, or setting aside an extra white tablecloth for a simple and pretty backdrop.
Flowers, Bridesmaids Flowers, and Boutonnieres
I’ll usually get a lot of use out of all of your floral arrangements, so if you could try and have those in the rooms where the bride + groom are getting ready, I’ll be able to get plenty of shots of the flowers on their own, as well as incorporating them into plenty of other detail and action shots. be mindful of how you store your flowers as well – if you’re keeping them in vases, stick with a clear glass vase or make sure that all of your vases not only match each other, but also match the general feel of the wedding (so, don’t just use whatever coffee mugs were empty that morning). also make sure to bring your bouquet to our post-ceremony portrait session, so that I can get some special detail shots of you carrying it!
Family Heirlooms, Notes, or Something Borrowed
Make sure to let your photographer know (preferably in advance, so it doesn’t get forgotten in the craziness of the day) if there’s anything super special from family members (especially ones that may have passed) that you’ll be incorporating into your wedding day. I’ve had a lot of brides put their grandmother’s favorite pin on their bouquet, or carry their grandfather’s handkerchief. these are details that will mean the world looking back on! as far as preparing them, you don’t need to do anything but set them aside, and let your photographer get creative.
Letters + Gifts from your Future Spouse
A lot of lovebirds choose to write letters and send each other small gifts right before the ceremony, and this is one of my favorite, favorite traditions. for one thing, it’ll help calm any nerves you may be having to read what your sweetheart wants to tell you right before you walk down the aisle, and it always makes for an intimate and beautiful photograph. generally, we’ll try to capture these moments once the bride and groom are both dressed, and will ask the bridal party to step away for the moment.
All Wedding Paper Items
Finally, all of the wedding paper. the save-the-date cards, the wedding invites, everything that you put so much time creating, addressing, and sending out… I know you’ll probably hold on to actual copies of these, but it’s always nice to incorporate them into a styled image!
And there you have it! a few of my favorite quick tips + tricks on getting the best styled pre-ceremony shots. as always, feel free to reach out with any questions you ever have!