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The Wedding Morning

4 Must Have Photo Moments on the Wedding Morning.

The hours leading up to your wedding ceremony are more important to plan out than you think.

Take a second to let that sink in…

The morning of your wedding you’ll undoubtedly wake up full of excitement and nervous energy. Wedding mornings usually unfold one of two ways: (1) you’ll be calm and collected taking in both the fun and emotional moments leading up to stepping into your dress, (2) you’ll be overwhelmed with the chaos of rushing to get ready, often missing out on important events that were on your photo wishlist.

If you know yourself well, you likely can picture which way your wedding morning will trend. The good news is that I’m here to share the four most important parts of a wedding morning to plan out — this will ensure your morning goes off without a hitch, and that no photo opportunity is missed.

Planning out your wedding morning may seem fairly straightforward. However, there is so much that is packed into a short period of time. On top of that, it can be the most emotionally charged part of the day, with all of the pre-wedding excitement exuding from everyone. If you’ve ever hosted a party at your house, you may recall the anxious hours leading up to your guests arriving. Then, once your guests arrive, everything becomes a blur. Now to put your wedding morning in perspective, multiply that feeling times one million.

I don’t say that to worry you or make you nervous, but rather to prep you on what to expect the morning of your wedding. With a little planning and a lot of communication,  the morning of your wedding will be a time you can both be present during and look back on with joy, through photographs.

Have a timeline.

Before we dive into the four moments of your morning to plan, I want to point out that photographing a wedding is quite spontaneous, but the best photos come from a good plan.

Although we like to think so, beautiful portfolio images rarely just happen — they are often planned into your morning timeline allowing your photographer to capture the moments that mean most to you. When a wedding morning goes off without a hitch, I like to think that the “photo magic” is flowing. But truly, I have to give it up to a well-thought-out plan that allowed for a smooth morning.

Ok, and now for the moments that you don’t want to forget to plan out on your wedding morning:

#1 Bride Getting  Ready

I’m always so intrigued to see how brides spend their mornings prepping for the biggest day of their lives. Some bridal rooms you’ll find calm, quiet, and collected, while others you’ll find dancing to Cardi B in a room full of hairspray and laughter.

When I arrive, I start by capturing the details of your dress, the invitations, the rings, your shoes, etc. — I like to approach it as if I was shooting the opening scene for a movie, telling the story of your unique day, one frame at a time. To prepare, here’s my list of 5 Items to Have Ready for Your Photographer. Hint: this is a perfect task to delegate out to a bridesmaid!

Like I mentioned, a little preparation goes a long way. Having these items ready creates a smooth start to the morning, and frees up more time to photograph additional moments while you’re getting ready — after all, every minute counts on your wedding day.  

EXPERT TIP:  Make sure your mom and bridesmaids are dressed before you put on your wedding dress. If you’re curious to learn more, I’ve gone into detail on why this is so important in my post, Why Mom Should be Ready First.

#2 The Reveal.

As you finish putting the final touches on your hair and makeup for the day, you’ll be able to feel the anticipation and excitement growing in the room. Your bridesmaids will be excited, emotional, nervous, and downright happy. Perhaps, you’ll choose to have your Mom help you into your dress while your bridesmaids anxiously await in the next room. There are no words to explain the joy of photographing the bridesmaids when they see their best friend in her wedding dress for the first time. This is when it all begins to feel so real, and I love capturing that moment for you to have.

And now, it’s time to have fun! Have your bridesmaids get their phones out in time for you to reveal your look to your best girls. Be ready for a high-energy, emotionally-charged moment filled with screams, tears, and laughter. This is one photo moment you and your photographer don’t want to miss!

EXPERT TIP: With the help of your bridesmaids (that’s why you have them with you!), make sure the room you’re doing your grand reveal in is photo-worthy. 

#3 Bridal Portraits.

Now that you’re dressed and ready to go after the reveal to your bridesmaids, I love to steal you away for a few quiet minutes before joining back up to start the ceremony. With makeup and hair untouched by the wind or tears of the day, the photographs from this time become timeless portraits — passed down for generations to come. Don’t worry, I’m not talking about cheesy senior portraits, but rather capturing you as your most beautiful, raw, and authentic self.

Whether it’s a soft, sweet, smile, a giant belly laugh, or a silhouette to show off all your hard work in the gym, your personality will shine brightly during this photo opportunity.  

EXPERT TIP:  This is a perfect time to open a gift or card from your groom. This special photo moment naturally ties in with the bridal portrait session. 

#4 In the Groom’s Room.

Meanwhile, in the groom’s room, a second shooter will be documenting the boys’ side of the morning. Some might say it is worlds apart from the bridal room, but trust me, the groom has butterflies too! Picture this: a typical morning in the groom’s room entails grown men YouTubing “How to Tie a Bow Tie”, and partaking in card games. Overall, the mood is very light-hearted, which makes for some truly memorable photos for the groom to have. In between capturing the energy of a room full of men dressed to the nines, we’ll steal the groom away for his very own portrait.

I always say, “Happy brides are beautiful brides.”

My hope for you in detailing out the morning of your wedding is this — to create A Happy Bride. Hands down, the biggest difference I notice when capturing exceptional photography (the photo magic) is when the bride and her squad are relaxed, happy, and enjoying the moment. There’s no better way to feel at ease than having a plan in place, so you can sit back and enjoy the most special day of your life.

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Featured Question

Q: Is there really a wedding mark up?

Do you feel like the industry charges more “because it’s a wedding” and they know it’s an emotional purchase?

Do companies think that they can charge more for weddings since the bride and groom may be willing to spend more on their dream wedding?

Hey wedding pros – is this higher price tag justified? Why? Do you charge more for your service if it is a wedding?

This is a taboo topic, whispered but not discussed… until now.

Welcome to The Uncorked Project!

Join the conversation!

2 comments

    Robin Sloan, The Uncorked ProjectVerifiedRobin Sloan, The Uncorked Project

    I have been asked this so many times... does the wedding industry inflate prices when they hear it's a wedding?

    Here is my honest answer (as a former wedding photographer)... NO. Did I charge more for a wedding than a 50th birthday party or a family portrait session? Yes, absolutely. I charged A LOT more for a wedding.

    Was I taking advantage of the emotional sell? Absolutely not.

    The main reasons I charged more for a wedding were: the unseen amount of work involved in the 12+ months leading up to the wedding, the skill level needed on the day, the INTENSE pressure to create perfect "portfolio level work" no matter what the reality of the situation- but mostly it is to compensate for the time AFTER the wedding in post production.

    Little known fact about wedding photography - the real job is sitting at a computer editing photos. Photographers spend many hours behind the computer carefully selecting and editing photos. They make adjustments, crop, and adjust colors to ensure each image it's best. Don't forget the time it takes for batching, renaming, importing, exporting and uploading the photos and preparing them for delivery.

    Do you think this justifies why photographers charge more for weddings than for other types of shoots?

    AvatarCody Pettengill

    Couldn’t agree more! And on the videography side its an absolute ton of data + editing discipline.

    Its a double sided coin- weddings are extremely high pressure but also high reward when we nail it.

    Our products (photo video) in particular are the only thing that genuinely will last forever . Having fun and ALSO nailing the product is worth the price of entry and frankly more.

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