Bridal/groom handbook .. by a wedding photographer

There has been so many times over the last two years when I thought, damn if only I told this to my bride/groom before we got to this situation… and every single one of those times I just wished I have written a little handbook that I could just send to my couples before their big day.
So time to pull the finger out of my butt and do it now, so with out further ado…

The handbook for brides and grooms by a wedding photographer

1. Sit in your dress before you buy it.
Thank me later when you eating and sitting like a normal human :)

2. Choose your bridesmaids with your heart not other’s peoples hearts .
If you feel like the friend you’ve only known for last 6 months, but who’s been here for every important moment within that time frame, have her to be your bridesmaid. If your friend of 25 years is sort of missing from the picture.. well, people grow apart right?

3. If you’re on budget, prioritise 3 big things.
Be it photography, dress, rings, food, venue, makeup .. and then shop around for the rest 

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4. When booking your supplier look at how they treat and interact with other suppliers.
Not just with ( potential ) clients. I genuinely believe that it shows you way more what kind of person they are, compare to what they are saying. On that note…

5. Go with your gut when choosing your suppliers, not with good deals.
There can be times when things that sound too good to be true are perfect little bargain, but it’s not often, be vigilant, ask why things are cheap etc

6. If anyone wants more than 30% deposit, first ask, then run.
Unless there is a proper reason, things can happen even to the best of business owners.

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7. When booking a hotel room for your bridal prep - ask for highest possible floor with as much natural light as possible .
..
and honestly if they try to put you in a room with a wall in front of the window, complain. Good daylight is essential for your makeup looking flawless and the photos are completely different ball game when the light is just right. Personally I would rather have more basic room with bigger windows than ‘prettier’ room with tiny window.

8. Don’t be afraid to tell people you want things your way.
Especially with makeup and hair, don’t just settle for something you sort of like.

9. Bring at least 2 people with you to learn how to do your dress up.
Especially if it’s corset etc, there’s nothing worse than when you’re already slightly delayed and your bridesmaids are trying to do your corset up and don’t know how.

10. Catch up with your suppliers a month before and then in the week of the wedding.
You never know, better be safe than sorry.

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11. Have a little emergency kit with little sewing stuff, glue, scissors, tweezers, hairbrush etc 
The amount of times we had to stitch something up and had nothing to do it with.

12. Don’t do things that don’t make you happy!
As much as I think that we should live out lives this way all the time, I genuinely applies to the day so much .. If you don’t like dancing, scrap first dance, if you don’t feel like having a cake, sod cake.. Have your wedding your way.

13. WRITE YOUR OWN VOWS.
This is such an important one in my eyes. Honestly even if its 5 sentences, these are sentences from your heart compare to the ones billions of couples have said to each other. Personal vows always make everyone cry and if there’s one piece of advice I could give to my couples, it would be this one.

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14. Prep things you would prep the night before - the night before the night before.
I am not the most organised person, but the amount of times when brides were doing things in the morning that were meant to be done ages ago and stressing about it, was giving even me anxiety.  

15. Delegate.
Don’t run around like a headless chicken on the day, that’s what your bridesmaids are there for… and on that note

16. Don’t assume people will help with your kids, give ONE person the job to do so.
There was one wedding I was shooting where I was coming back inside after everyones meal and I found the couples toddler wondering outside on the main road with not one adult in sight. Everybody thought the other person is looking after him. It was so lucky that the couple hasn’t fed me and I had to leave the venue, otherwise god knows what could have had happened.

17. Don’t dread the rain.
You can’t untie a wet knot .. and also look at this picture

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18. Get spare shoes for the evening.
Dancing shoes!

19. Have printed sheet with contact numbers for all your bridesmaids, groomsmen and suppliers.
There’s always someone with a phone on hand, but they don’t always have the numbers for the person you trying to reach!

20. Eat in the morning, don’t skip your food even if you’re feeling sick.
Nothing worse than being hangry while you’re getting married and then have 2 hours of socialising and pictures before food!

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21. Learn how to pee in your dress.
Mostly the best way to go about is to walk in and sit on the toilet without turning around and then just reverse back out!

22. Wear sunblock.
Spring to Autumn brides and grooms… listen to me on this! It’s not fun having to adjust the photos more and more as you get more and more sunburnt.

23. Stand close and hold hands during ceremony!
If not then, then when would you?! It’s time for some PDA

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24. Count to 3 when you have your first kiss.
None of this trying to win a competition for the fastest ever first kiss. Make it bit easier for your photographer pleaseeee

25. Take 10 minutes with your husband/wife just the two of you mid day.
I have heard so many of my couples saying that they don’t remember most of the day. Take time to yourselves and take it all in. I like to give my couples the time for this when we finish our photos before their meal, so they can discuss everything that happened and is about to happen.


I am sure there will be a part 2 coming some time soon, but for now, this should do.

Lots of love,
Nat xox