Sara and Jon got married on a sunny day last year as a church in Dana Point and then celebrated at the Casino, San Clemente within walking distance from the beach. As I went through all of their wedding photos, I realize that many future brides can learn a lot from this wedding. Sara and Jon did so many things before the wedding that made the day flow seamlessly. She also used a lot of wonderful details that made taking her photos incredibly easy. I summed up the things she did into 10 parts so that if you are a planning a wedding, hopefully this will help you out!
Lets start with the getting ready photos. Sara chose a location that was both personal and pretty, the home she grew up in. The benefit of choosing somewhere with some style inside means that the getting ready photos will be both intimate and beautiful. A hotel room also works well as a getting ready location, especially if the rooms inside are beautiful and if the outside has some pretty spots as well. One other point on this, is she got ready upstairs and we took most of the photos downstairs, leaving the chaos of getting ready out of the photos. Having some chaos and mess in photos is fine, but it is nice to designate a part of your getting ready area as the “clean” area so we can use it for detail shots and portraits. Another smart and sweet move Sara made was she had matching robes made for all of her bridesmaids and a gorgeous bridal-looking cream and lace robe for herself. This meant that every photo I took of her getting ready was gorgeous and she already looked like a bride ( please don’t wear a t shirt and sweatpants when you’re getting ready). She also had a hair piece which I think is a wonderful idea because there is something beautiful to adorn your hair even when the veil is taken off. Lastly, she had all of her flowers delivered to the getting ready location. Though it might seem like a pain to carry the bouquets to the venue, it gave us a chance to photograph both her and her flowers while they were both nice and fresh. Here are some of the getting ready photos….
The next smart move this bride made was to plan a first look. Now I personally have a 50/ 50 view on first looks. Sometimes they’re just not necessary and sometimes they are wedding day game changers. For this wedding, we had 4 different locations to be at throughout the day and a first look ended up saving us time in the long run and eased their nerves for their ceremony.
The ceremony was beautiful, intimate, and incorporated both the Catholic and Greek Orthodox religions into it. After the ceremony, we finished all of the family photos ( Sara and Jon had made me a list prior to the wedding), we took about 5 minutes of photos right outside the church and then the couple left in style to go and take bridal party photos at the Casino. Sara and Jon had planned for a vintage car to pick them up. An awesome classic car always photographs well and newlyweds should be transported in style.
When we arrived to the Casino in San Clemente, we took a few more photos of both the couple and the bridal party. By separating the larger family photos from the bridal party photos, it allowed me to efficiently get the photos I need and it also gave the couple variety in their photos. Instead of all the photos being taken at the church, the bridal party photos were outside the casino. It is important for a couple to discuss their timeline with both their coordinator and the photographer. The reason I was able to capture soo many photos of this couple is because we planned it together.
The reception was flawless and a huge part of that was because Sara and Jon chose vendors that work together often. This helped immensely for a large event like a wedding. Before all the guests came in, she and her coordinator made sure to plan a space of time where we could get in and photograph the reception space. Im sure you shed blood, sweat, and tears planning your wedding so make sure we get a chance to capture all the sweet details. During the reception, she always used “up lighting” which both this particular venue and the DJ offer. This gives the reception some interesting and additional lighting. The last point I want to touch on is that the couple and I planned out in advance a time where I could steal them away from the reception for a short time to take sunset shots. After a very long day with lots and lots of photos, most couples are pretty burned out by this point. But both Jon and Sara were like “Let’s do it!” and ya know what? These were my very favorite photos from the day!
So to review, here are some steps you can take to make your wedding day go off without a hitch and to get even more beautiful photos :
- Pick a pretty getting ready location
- Choose a gorgeous white robe for yourself and matching ones for your bridesmaids.
- Have your flowers delivered to your getting ready location.
- Consider doing a first look.
- Make a list of family you want to include in photos and pick a separate location for bridal party photos.
- Have a special getaway car.
- Ask for your photographer’s advice on where your family, bridal party, and romantic pictures should be taken so you get variety in your photos
- Give the photographer time to shoot the reception space without any guests in it.
- Choose vendors that often work together.
- If you have the option to take sunset photo, take it!
Special thanks to Sara and Jon for being such an amazing and easy going couple, to my second shooter Katie who I couldn’t shoot weddings without, and to all of the amazing vendors that made this day possible.
Ceremony: St. Edwards, Dana Point
Reception: Casino, San Clemente
Event Planner: Amy Beck, All in the Detail Design
Hair and Makeup: Beauty and the Beach
Dress: Blush Bridal Couture
Florist: Flowers by Lynne
Band: Blue Breeze Band
Catering: Jay’s Catering