Wedding Day Tips
Wayne Charles photographs weddings at many different locations and venues while getting to know some great and interesting couples along the way. One thing has been clear, couples appreciate the little tips and bits of information we provide, no matter how small or common it may seem. On this page you will read about a few tips that may help your wedding day go smoothly and help make sure your photos look perfect!
Shot List: No, not the one for the bar... the best tip which helps us on the wedding day is for you to prepare a list of family and friends you wish to have photographed during the wedding. A list will help the photographer speed through the family formal portraits and get you back to your wedding activities. If you have groups of friends or extended family you want to be captured with, we will see it on your list and remind you during the reception so you don't have to keep track and can enjoy the party.
Appointing a friend or family member on each side of the family to help organize everyone needed for the photos helps save time and your voice from shouting across the room. It's the little things...
Wedding License: This is often the most overlooked detail of the wedding day. A few couples have left the license behind in a hotel room, limo, or venue. Don't forget to bring the marriage license to the ceremony location. Some officiants will remind you of this, but it is important to keep track of or have someone reliable who is not in the wedding party bring it to the ceremony or officiant. Please check your license requirements for the area you are getting married, the license usually can not be used for a few days after you complete the application and they do have an expiration.
Flowers: Your flowers complete the look, and always look amazing in your bridal photos. We recommend you try not to touch the tips of the flowers with your fingers, the natural oils from your hand will cause the petals to wilt. This will help keep the flowers looking crisp and new throughout your photos.
Rings: Consider having your engagement ring and wedding bands cleaned by your jeweler the week of the wedding. We photograph your rings up close with a macro lens to bring out all of the intricate details; and "Can I see your ring?" is always asked.
Shoes: It's always a good idea to have two pairs of shoes for the wedding day. One pair to use for the ceremony and photos, and a second which may be more comfortable for the reception and dancing. Some of the photos Wayne likes to capture involve a little bit of walking (mostly on flat, paved areas) so keep this in mind and let your photographer know any concerns you may have.
Organize Details: Gather all of your small detail items such as jewelry, cufflinks, shoes, garter, or other family heirlooms and place into a box or bag so they are not left behind. Have these items available when you are getting ready so they can be photographed.
Hangar for Dress: So you've bought the wedding dress of your dreams, but despite what you paid for such a stunning gown; it arrives hung on a cheap plastic hangar. But why does the hangar matter? Well, we always photograph the dress before you put it on and walk down the aisle, some of these shots are full-length of the dress hanging in a doorway, in a window, or from a chandelier. A nice dramatic or whimsical photo can be ruined by that black, clear, or white plastic hangar. You don't need to go buy an expensive hangar, or the type that has a name written in wire. All we ask is you consider having a simple wooden hangar available to use during the photos. Just be sure the hangar has those small notches on top for the straps to sit in securely.
Groomsmen Jackets: If you're having a wedding during the summer, chances are it may be a warm or very hot day. With the groomsmen wearing dark tuxedos or suits in most cases; we advise the groomsmen to take their jackets off in between photos to prevent overheating and becoming tired.
Bridesmaid Jackets: Having a late fall, winter, or early spring wedding? You may want to consider shawls or small jackets for the bridesmaids and for the bride as well if you expect cooler weather. The best wedding day photos will happen outside and the more comfortable you and your bridal party are, the more creative photos we can capture! The weather can be unpredictable so it may be a good idea to have jackets or shawls as a back-up.
Umbrellas: Every bride hopes it doesn't rain on the wedding day...but rain or shine, you want to get the best images you can. Have a pair of umbrellas for the bride and groom, or your entire bridal party if they are up for it. We can shoot photos outside in a light rain if you are willing to try it with your umbrella and/or boots. If you leave the tags on, and we don't use them, return after your wedding day. The best color is a solid black or white, but you may also color coordinate for your wedding. It is best to avoid umbrellas with logos and patterns, as these do not photograph well. Worried about your dress and shoes? Wayne will find a spot where you won't have to place your dress in a puddle or sink into the mud.
Transportation (Limo, Bus, or Private Car): Call and confirm with your transportation company the week before the wedding the following items; they will have your selected vehicle available, it will comfortably fit all of your passengers, they are providing ice and glasses (if needed), if they allow you to bring food/alcohol, all addresses are correct, they have a GPS, and the A/C will be turned on before it arrives to pick you up (mostly summer months). It is very common for a bride to step into a limo, car, or bus fully dressed with hair/make-up finished, only to find the A/C was off and the inside feels like a sauna... not a pleasant ride! By taking a few minutes to confirm these items with your driver or transportation company, you can have a much smoother ride.
Hotel Reservations: Call your hotel and confirm the room or suite you will be using to get ready in. Most hotels require a check-in after 3:00 pm and a check-out around 11:00 am or 12:00 pm. This does not always fit into your schedule of using a room to prep in. Most couples need from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm, and the hotel requests you book two nights. Ask if they can give you a late check-out or an early check-in so you only need one night; they can't always guarantee this and typically won't commit until you arrive on the day, so have a friend's room as a back-up. Also request the hotel freshen up the room after you're finished getting ready if you plan to stay there the night after the wedding... it can get a little messy if your bridal party is there with you. If you can request a room with large windows it is preferred for your getting ready shots. The natural light from the large windows will add to the beauty in the images and allow for more creativity.
Getting Ready Location: Please try to keep the area you wish to be photographed getting into your dress or suit clean of bags, clothes, and personal items. When we arrive, we are ready to begin shooting and moving items from the bed, near windows, or in the general area will take up time that we could spend capturing additional images with you. It is suggested you ask a member of the bridal party or a family member to help move items if needed so you can focus on looking great!
All the family and bridal party members should be dressed and ready when the photographer arrives, so they will look great in your photos and may be helping you put on the dress. The bride should have her hair and makeup completed first in the event things run behind schedule, then receive touch-ups if needed when the photographer arrives. If you are behind schedule, the bridesmaids can finish up while we photograph you in the dress.
First Dance: Often the most feared moment of the wedding for a bride and groom, the first dance can be both exciting and intimidating. The idea of you and your special someone dancing alone in front of all of your guests leads a lot of couples to believe it's better to have your bridal party and guests join in, taking the spotlight off of you. We don't recommend this! Your first dance is exactly that, the very first time you and your new spouse have a moment to share and enjoy. When the bridal party joins in, it reduces the amount of photos captured during your first dance; and let's be honest the bridal party doesn't always enjoy dancing with their partner whom they may have just met. Keep this dance special, allow your family and guests to enjoy it, and know you can always ask the DJ or band to shorten the song. If you are worried about looking bad, we know of some great ballroom dance instructors who would love to help you with your first few steps!
Clean Up: After the last song is played, and you're ready to turn in for the night, remember to gather all of your detail items at the reception and take home; cake top, cake servers, toasting glasses, shoes, jackets, signing albums, and any other items you may have.