Now if you're already planning your wedding and preparing all of the nitty-gritty details, you may be wondering if there are any last minute things you need to do to make sure your pictures turn out wonderfully as well. And trust me, there are. Your wedding photographer should have already supplied a timeline or a basic schedule for you to modify with your other vendors, and that is a great first step to ensuring everything runs as smoothly as possible on your wedding day. There are a few different ways in which you can prepare for some important photo opportunities before your photographer arrives on your wedding day.
Unless you are going to the same hairdresser you've been seeing for years and a makeup artist that knows your face better than you do, it's a smart decision to allow an extra 30 minutes to an hour from when you think your hair and makeup will be finished. This will allow you to catch up on time and not fall behind in your schedule. This rule should apply to your bridal party as well since they should be dressed and ready to go before you are for your getting ready photos.
There are a few really touching photos that you may want to have from your wedding day that you may forget to prepare for, and those are the "Getting Ready Photos." Often times your wedding photographer will try and get photos of your shoes, jewelry, and bouquet altogether (for the groom they'll be looking to photograph shoes, bow tie, pocket square, watch, and cufflinks), so make a mental note the night before, or have a trusted maid of honor, help you remember to set these items aside. Unless if jewelry is coming in a really cute bag, take off any tags and place them in a safe spot.
Additionally, if you're hoping to get a striking photo of your dress on the hanger, make sure you have a cute hanger for display. Your photographer will be able to find the best spot to take photos of your dress, along with your other items, so don't stress about where to hang it.
Lastly, for this portion of your photos, once your photographer arrives, clean up your vanity area if there are any unsightly items you don't want to creep into your pictures. Keeping items like makeup brushes, jewelry, and hairspray is just fine on the vanity because it contributes to the shot, but if you have anything else that you're not fond of, keep a small bag near to place those items into when you are ready for pictures.
This is one area that is very tricky because it's the best time for family portraits as well as those romantic intimate portraits of you and your beloved that you're dying to have, but you have to make time to sign your wedding license. Be sure to have a small table set up somewhere when you walk out of the ceremony area, if you don't already, where you can sign your license before family photos.
Did you get a list of family group photos that you would like to your photographer? If not, you better do it a few days before the ceremony. Depending on your photographer, they may have already asked you for this list to ensure there aren't too many for your timeline. As a general rule of thumb, I ask couples to provide me a list of 8-10 groupings and the name of a family member or wedding party member that can help me gather these people when it's time for pictures. With approximately 2 minutes per grouping, you should be done with your family portraits with some time to do wedding party portraits and then your own private pictures with your new spouse until cocktail hour ends.
I always suggest keeping groupings like this a bit smaller just because it can get a bit overwhelming for you and your photographer to do smaller pairings with additional family members. Of course, though, this is your wedding, so if you would rather have more family groupings and fewer portraits of you and your groom, that is always an option as well you just need to let you photographer know.
Receptions are planned out between the photographer, DJ, and caterers. A few things you can definitely do before your reception to make sure it runs smoothly are to practice your first dance, cutting the cake (look online for different reference photos and be sure to ask the bakery about it as well), and, for brides, having a comfortable pair of shoes stashed under your seat or dinner table. Practicing your first dance is always a good idea, whether you want it to be very formal or not. Have a mirror around and look at where you have your hands and arms positioned. If you're going for a double arm wrap around your groom's neck, you may want to be aware of how your arms look in a potential photo. You may think it looks fine, and that's okay, if you're not too fond of it though, you may want to practice more traditional ballroom hand placement. I personally like it more when couples stick with this hand placement because it provides a better window for pictures of your faces while you are dancing.
Practicing cutting the cake seems silly, but this is the one question I am always asked at a wedding. The one question you should be asking your photographer is where do you need to stand for your photographer while cutting the cake. They'll be able to tell you where to go per the lighting they have set up.
And finally, always have a good pair of sandals or ballet flats on hand for the reception! I can't stress this enough. Heels hurt, and if you're wearing a really heavy wedding dress on top of it, you are adding additional weight to your feet that you're not used to. Save yourself the pain, because we all want you to enjoy your wedding, and grab a comfy pair of cute shoes that you can slide on during the reception.
Have fun! You've planned, prepped, and done all that you can to make this day everything you wanted, so enjoy it. Try your best to not let the little problems get to you and let your vendors and trusted wedding party members take on those stresses for you. We all want more than anything for you to enjoy your wedding day, so do it and have a blast!