A Wedding Planning Guide
By: Adam + Becca Davis
Keep Clutter Away
KEEP CLUTTER AWAY
I know there's a lot going on, but try to keep bags, suitcases, laundry, etc in a different room, or the closet.
Window light is best. I prefer to turn all lights off and rely only on window light whenever possible!
Typical hotel rooms aren’t the best, for light or decor. I recommend other options, like a cute AirBnB. There are tons of affordable ones out there!
DON'T FORGET THE GROOM
Sometimes the groom gets the dark tiny room. Let’s give him the same treatment!
It's not always true that "the makeup looks heavy in person but it will look better on camera". I use natural light, and my style reflects more truly what is there, so I just recommend that if you want to look like yourself, don't overdo it. This is entirely personal preference though, so just do you!
KEEP IT NATURAL
A first look is when you see each other before the ceremony. But it doesn’t have to be a grand staged moment, in fact, I prefer it not to be.
IT CALMS THE NERVES
A quiet moment alone is the best thing to calm the nerves. I’ve seen couples relax significantly after their first look.
If we do a first look, we can also take all family/bridal party portraits before the ceremony, which means more time at cocktail hour!
MAKE IT PRIVATE IF YOU WANT
I don’t even need to be present if you’d rather have alone time. You can take 5-10 minutes alone for your first look, and then we'll take some photos after. It’s your day, we can do it your way.
(and bridal party photos)
PRE-CEREMONY IS BEST
So that everyone can enjoy the cocktail hour in full! Also, gathering people after the ceremony is always hard and time consuming.
KEEP IT SHORT
I recommend keeping the list short (about 6-8 groups is perfect). You two are in every shot, and you’ll be sick of smiling for that many shots! Allow 20-30 minutes for this.
I recommend assigning a bridesmaid or groomsman the task of gathering family. This speeds up the process since I don’t know what anyone looks like.
PUT THE SUN BEHIND YOU
For an outdoor ceremony, especially in direct sun, its best to place the sun behind your officiant, for even backlight. Otherwise you’ll be super squinty in your ceremony shots, or very harshly lit!
Microphones are fine, but the big black mic stand is distracting and not pretty. If possible, have your officiant use a hand-held mic (or lapel mic).
Unless you have a really small wedding, I recommend against receiving lines. They can get repetitive and take a really long time!
An “unplugged” ceremony is when you ask your guests to not take any photos during the ceremony.
BE IN THE MOMENT
Unplugging allows your guests to enjoy the ceremony without fussing over cell phones and flashes. It also keeps the aisle open for me so I can take better photos with no one in the way.
LET YOUR GUESTS KNOW
You can have your officiant do a quick announcement to let guests know. Or have a sign at the entrance to the ceremony area.
"SORT OF" UNPLUGGED
I honestly don't mind if guests take photos, as long as they don't stand up, or hold their cameras/phones in the aisle. So its up to you how unplugged you want to ask your guests to be!
I recommend 3 time slots for couple photos:
If we do a “first look”, that will be the first time slot for portraits. About 15 minutes for this is great.
Right after you walk down the aisle the energy is the happiest! Another quick 15 min here is good.
SUNSET + TWILIGHT
Most of my couples tell me this was their favorite part of the day: sneaking away to have time to take it all in. It also happens to be the best light of the day! 30min is ideal.
If there's only enough time for one photo slot, then sunset is the best time!
Market lights and candlelight set a gorgeous romantic mood. Just make sure you use enough so I don't have to use flash (which ruins the romantic vibe). If you're unsure, just ask me and I'll help out!
Colorful lights can be fun for party time, but they're not so great for first dance or parent dances. If your DJ has these, I just ask that he keeps them off for those moments. After that, feel free to go crazy!
TIME FOR DETAILS
If you have lots of details (table settings, centerpieces, etc), please allow 20-30min for me to shoot these before the guests enter the area.
If possible, I prefer to be considered a guest, not a "vendor," for timing purposes. This guarantees that I’ll get to eat when guests do, so I can be free to shoot the toasts/dances that happen after.