After I arrive and give the bride a big “It’s your WEDDING DAY!” hug, I begin to get settled and these are the items I start looking for! I realize not EVERY bride is going to have ALL of these details…. these are just the most common items I shoot! I’ve even had past brides gather all of these items together for me, which is so thoughtful and a huge help!
After photographing weddings for over 3 years (2 years working for Ikonica, a luxury wedding photography company in Toronto and 1 year in my own business) I have found that sometimes, brides tend to forget the same things over and over again. I totally understand why these little things fall through the cracks! The bride has a million things running through her head and the last thing she’s going to remember is to grab all of the wedding bands so that the photographer can get a shot of them during the prep time! Even on my own wedding day, I forgot to have our invitations for the photographer! So, trust me when I say I remember how crazy that morning was!! This post is for brides to use and share in preparation for the wedding day.
Now, keep in mind that I’m not making a checklist for the ENTIRE day! This is just a checklist for the bridal prep time! I normally photograph the bride and the bridesmaids getting ready for about an hour and a half before the first look! This gives me plenty of time to photograph ALL of the bridal details and still capture the girls getting ready together! After the details are done and we’re about 30 minutes away from the first look, I photograph the bride getting into her dress and then the day begins!! This bridal prep time is a great time for me to get warmed up and for the bridesmaids to get used to me being around! Now, I know it is VERY tempting for brides to cut this part short when they are only working with a certain number of hours but this time is vital!! It’s important for me to get warmed up, it’s important for the sake of your images and the story I’m telling through them, and it’s also never a good idea to start rushed! So, I always suggest and hour and a 1/2 minimum for bridal prep time!
– DRESS (I also shoot any specialty hangers. HUGE TIP: Even if you don’t have a custom hanger, make sure you have a decent hanger for your beautiful gown. Your wedding dress deserves more than a plastic/metal hanger and believe me, having a classy wooden hanger makes a HUGE difference in your images. If you forget this, most hotels and venues have extra “nice” hangers in coat closets… I “borrow” them all the time!)
– RINGS (All 3 of them! Many times, the best man has the bride’s band at the start of the wedding day. I love getting the ring shots with all of the other detail shots and so I try to have my brides keep all of the bling with her until the bridal party is together after the first look! THEN the ring shots are done and the bands can go back where they belong!)
– SHOES (Some brides wear heals but only for a few portraits and then they switch into something more comfortable.)
– EARRINGS (I always ask brides to wait and put on ALL jewelry once their dress is on! It just gives me one more chance for some beautiful bridal shots!)
– INVITATIONS (and other stationary)
– BOUQUETS & BOUTS (If you’re sharing a FIRST LOOK…which I encourage all couples to consider, they are amazing!…. Then you need to have your bouquet delivered to wherever you’re getting ready so that it can be ready when you leave for portraits! )
– GIFTS (This can be gifts shared between the Bride and Groom or even just gifts that were given to the bridal party! I also make sure I photograph any letters that may have been exchanged between the bride and groom!)