I am so thrilled to share this wedding with you! This couple was so full of life and energy. From the ceremony in the elaborate Worcester Albanian Church, to their light-hearted and love-filled formals on the Boston Common, to the non-stop dancing by everyone at their reception…add in some gorgeous shoes, and well, this is definitely one of the most fun I’ve had documenting a couple’s wedding day. Everything went according to plan…even barely escaping a downpour of rain on the Common while photographing their bridal portraits! This was just a FUN day, and I am thrilled that I was able to photograph it for Esi & Ervin.
Catching up on summer engagement photo sessions!
Ervin was a friend of Esi's brother, and they knew each other growing up. Five years ago, they reconnected and realized they were truly meant for one another. If meeting your true love were as simple as this, nobody would need match.com!
E + E were totally natural in front of the camera. They were relaxed and had fun with their engagement session, and it absolutely shows in their photos, don't you think?
Stay tuned because I'll be posting their wedding at Royal Sonesta in Boston soon!
I'm not quite sure how I got so behind on blogging! This engagement session is from last JUNE!!! And it's just the beginning of about 50% of my sessions from last year that never quite made it to my blog. It's not that I didn't love all of these photo sessions, but things get super crazy from June until December around here. I guess that's a good thing, right? Well, these two are pretty much awesome! They're already married at this point, but that doesn't make their engagement session any less amazing (their wedding was pretty good, too, which you will see once I get to the September 2014 photo archives). Enough babbling...
Emily + Brian brought wine to their engagement session which took place on a perfect late spring afternoon in Massachusetts (I would practically kill for that weather right about now, rather than the 5 ft. of snow on my front lawn!). Good weather + bottle of wine + gorgeous scenery at Stowe Farm...that's probably all I need to say!
Oooh, I am so excited for this couple's wedding tonight! I met Dawn & Steve last fall when they came to visit me in my studio to chat about their wedding photography. Come to find out we have a relative in common (we didn't actually know this until after she booked me, which is even more amazing)! The world is so small sometimes, and I'm so happy that photography brings us all together. Anyways, back to the happy couple who is getting married at The Chocksett Inn tonight! Dawn & Steve met a few years ago when a friend tricked them into getting together. They spent their first date fishing, and Steve bought the boat they went fishing on!!! But, wait, it gets even better... he proposed to Dawn on the very same boat!!! This guy knows how to do things right! But, I guess when you meet someone as sweet and special as Dawn, I think he knew the best way to reel her in (hahahahahaha!!!!). Okay, that was such a terrible joke, but I just couldn't help myself.
It's probably best to just move onto their engagement photos, which I definitely couldn't mess up because they are just too cute for words. And their dog, Cooper, isn't too shabby either (don't you just love his tie?).
And I had to add one with a boat (I'm not actually sure if this is THE boat or just a friend's boat...but I will find out!)
Ahhh, this couple is just too cute for words. Lindsey + Adam have been together since their first year of college, and they both just graduated. Finishing up their last year of college while planning a wedding..pretty impressive! Oh, and Adam is in the Army, too. Just an amazing young couple, and I'm thrilled to photograph their wedding next weekend at Wachusett Mountain. It's going to be gorgeous, I just know it! I also know it's going to be super fun, too. They brought a friend along, who is also the Best Man, for support and to help with the Harley for their photos, and let's just say the three of them had me laughing and his speech is going to be a good one!
And he's sort of a big Bruins fan, too!
So, where did we leave off in Wedding Photography Timeline Part One? Oh, yes, you've made it to your ceremony location and you were very patiently waiting for THE moment to walk down the aisle! How could I forget? While you're relaxing and having a sip (or a couple sips!) of champagne, I'll be checking out the best locations for me to stand to get the best shots, without being obtrusive, during the ceremony, if I haven't shot here before. I'll also be taking photos of guests as they arrive and more photos of the bride and groom as they begin to realize what they are about to embark on. Ooh, I love these photos of deep thought, last-minute emotions before you walk down the aisle.
The Ceremony! 20-90 minutes
Every ceremony is unique, so we will chat about the specifics of yours before planning your photography timeline. You may be having a quick, but still meaningful, non-religious exchanging of vows that takes 15 minutes, or you may be having a ceremony filled with religious traditions. Whichever you choose, please check with your officiant to determine an approximate length so that we can plan your timeline accordingly.
The Receiving Line! 20-40 minutes
If you choose to have a receiving line after your ceremony, plan on about 30 seconds per couple to say "hello, congratulations, you look lovely, thank you, nice to meet you, etc.". Then, your
Bride and Groom Formals, Bridal Party, and Extended Family Portraits! 30-120 minutes
After the ceremony, and after the receiving line (if you choose to have one), now is the time to take all of the bride and groom formals, bridal party and extended family portraits. Now, if you did a First Look (which I highly recommend), we can get these done in 20-3o minutes max, allowing you to go enjoy some of your Cocktail Hour with your guests. This is the last big chunk of formal photos that we'll take together, so if there are any shots that we didn't get earlier in the day, either due to grandparents not available or running late with hair and makeup, for example, we will do our best to get them done now. As you can see there's a very big chunk of time allotted to this area, but there are a lot of "ifs" that will determine how long it will take:
- If your ceremony and reception are at different locations, you have to factor in travel time. And remember, always add 25% extra for traffic; if it's a holiday weekend or you're traveling into the city, add even more.
- If your photography location is on the way to reception, plan a little extra time to park and for everyone else to park and make their way to the location.
- If you did a First Look, we will need about 30 minutes to get some shots with the grandparents, parents, a few more full bridal party shots, and a few more bride and groom shots.
- If you didn't do a First Look, plan on spending a good 60 minutes taking photos, and please don't expect to attend your cocktail hour. Also, add on any travel time to the reception location here.
Here are a couple of examples to help with timing:
- Your ceremony and reception are at the same location, so there is no travel time, and you did a First Look = 30 minutes
- Your ceremony and reception are at the same location, so there is no travel time, and you did not do a First Look = 60 minutes
- Your ceremony is 30 minutes from the reception location with 25% buffer, and you did a First Look = 60 minutes
- Your ceremony is 30 minutes from the reception location with 25% buffer, and you did not do a First Look = 90 minutes
Also, keep in mind that even if your ceremony and reception are in the same location, it will take some time to get everyone gathered together and actually start taking photos. Again, it's a great idea to assign a responsible close friend and give them a copy of your shotlist with timing to help make sure everyone is where they need to be. And if your ceremony and reception are in different locations, keep in mind that it takes a bit of time to get everyone into the vehicles, parked, out of the vehicles and to the photo location. And by this point in the day, everyone is ready to get into the reception and have some fun!
Cocktail Hour! 60 minutes
If you've hired a second shooter, they will help me with some of the post-ceremony formals for a small chunk of the time, and then, once everything is in order, she will head off to take some shots of your guests at cocktail hour and of your undisturbed reception ballroom. Let's face it, you probably won't have a chance to see all of your placecards, floral arrangements and table numbers that you planned so carefully until the room is filled with guests. So, it's always good to try and plan for one of us to take a couple shots. If you haven't hired a second shooter, and your reception and ceremony are at the same location, I will try and sneak and take a few shots of your reception area before the cocktail hour is over. Of course, if there's any time at all left, I will try to get some of your guests enjoying cocktail hour.
The Reception! 3+ hours
Now it's time to have some fun! Most receptions will start with you and your bridal party being announced as you enter the room. Prior to this entrance, I will go around to tables or groups of people and take some fun guest photos. Once you're announced and you make your entrance, you will then go into your very romantic and special First Dance. Typically, the Maid-of-Honor and Best Man will give their speeches next, followed by the start of dinner. Again, prior to dinner being served, I will go around and take more group photos. Once dinner is served I usually stop the group photos for a bit, because let's be honest, I wouldn't want to have photos taken of myself as I'm stuffing a dinner roll in my face, so I highly doubt your guests would appreciate it either. Some venues will have you cut your cake after the salad course, some will have you do it after your first dance. I've seen it done both ways (and at other times), so it's best to check with your venue coordinator so that I can plan accordingly. Usually the coordinators are very good, and they will give me a heads-up that it's almost cake-cutting time, and I definitely appreciate this! After dinner, the parent dances usually take place, and then the night of everyone dancing officially commences! Please keep in mind that guests don't start dancing until about 90 minutes into the reception (30 minutes for First Dance and Speeches plus 60 minutes for Dinner Service), so it's best to allot 2-3 hours for your reception photography in order to get the cake cutting, parent dances, bouquet toss, and guests dancing captured.
Sneaking Away! 15-20 minutes
Many times, if I see an amazing sunset or a location too good to be true, I will steal the bride and groom away from the reception for a few minutes to take some extra special photos of just the two of them. These are always some of my favorite photos from the day! The two of you are relaxed and the idea that you're officially married is starting to sink in, so your happiness is through the roof! This is also the perfect time for using some special lighting techniques if we've entered into the evening hours.
The Exit! 10 minutes
If you've planned a special exit as you say goodbye to your guests and hello to your honeymoon, we can definitely capture that for you! Some couples like to be showered in the glittery goodness of sparklers, while others like to drive off in an antique car. Whatever it is, it's great to get this captured in photos! If you haven't planned for me to stay until the very end of your reception, I have had some couples stage their goodbye so that they can get these images. It's not always ideal to get guests from larger weddings all outside at once, but it can work with smaller weddings or a smaller group of people.
Time to Say Goodnight!
When it's time for the photography to end :(, I will come up and let you know that I have a few more minutes left and ask if there are any special photos that you'd like me to take before leaving for the evening. When all is said and done, you will have about 6-10 hours of photography for your wedding day. Six hours is usually sufficient if your ceremony and reception are at the same location. If you have a short trip between your ceremony and reception, 8 hours is a good amount of time. Ten hours is perfect for larger wedding parties and longer trips between the ceremony and reception.
And that's about it! I know, it's a LOT, but don't worry! I ask lots of questions and then create your preliminary timeline with the best way to use your time with me. Then, once the preliminary blocks of time are set, I get a bit more detailed and do my best to keep everything on schedule. I want you to have the best wedding photos that you could possibly have, so I work very hard to make sure the timelines are realistic. My goal is to capture your day as it happens so that you can create gorgeous keepsake albums that help you relive the day moment by moment.
1. It's All In The Details! 3-4 hours before ceremony; 30 minutes
Some of my favorite wedding photos are the detail shots! This is the time when all of those decisions about flowers, the right shoes, the sparkly jewelry...this is when those decisions count! I will normally arrive about 3-4 hours before the ceremony starts to begin photographing your wedding details. I can do these at the church, in a hotel room, or wherever the bride is getting ready. Some things to have handy for when I arrive: wedding dress and veil (on a nice hanger is always so much better!), shoes, jewelry, all of your wedding rings (engagement ring and both wedding bands), flowers, invitation, perfume, and any other items that are special to your day. And, it's always helpful to me to have all of the junk in the room cleared. I know everyone is usually crazy and running around, but just picking up the water bottles from the nightstands or plastic covers from the bridesmaids' dresses is extremely helpful. A good tip is to assign one of your bridesmaids to just do a quick clean-up before I'm scheduled to arrive!
2. Getting Ready! 2.5 - 3 hours before ceremony; 30 minutes
Now, it's time to show me that gorgeous hair and makeup and stunning wedding gown! Ideally, while I'm doing the detail shots, your hair should be done, and you should be in the makeup chair! That way, I can grab a few photos of you getting the finishing touches of your makeup completed. We'll then find the perfect location for you to slip into your dress. It's very important that you plan enough time for putting on your wedding gown. Some are very simple, but other dresses that have a lace-up corset or lots of pearl buttons can take 15 minutes or more to put on! Also, keep in mind, if you want your mom/sister/maid-of-honor to help you put on your dress, make sure that they've already had their hair/makeup done and they are dressed and looking their best, too! At this point, I'll usually sneak away with the bride for a few minutes to take some lovely bridal portraits.
3. Groom and Groomsmen! 2 hours before ceremony; 15 minutes
Once the bride is ready, if I don't have a second shooter and the groom is getting ready at the same location as the bride, I'll usually go check in on him and his groomsmen. All the guys should be pretty much dressed and ready to go at this point. I'll take a few photos of the groom putting on his suit, hanging out with the guys, opening a gift from his bride-to-be, and just document the fun he's having hanging out with the guys.
4. First Look! 2 hours before ceremony; 45 minutes
First looks are amazing! Besides seeing each other for the first time on your wedding day, you get a few private moments to be alone and enjoy everything that's about to happen. And then you get to have some amazing portraits taken of just the two of you! Oh, and the other bonus? Because you've already seen each other for the first time, you can also take all of your bridal party photos now, too! And wait, there's even one more bonus - you get to enjoy your cocktail hour because most of your portraits are already done!
One of the biggest misconceptions about the first look is that it won't be as special or emotional because the groom's first glimpse of his bride won't be on her way down the aisle! Honestly, I have seen plenty of emotions fly during the ceremony after first looks. It's the BIG moment! The moment that you've been waiting and planning for all of these months! That moment when you are officially getting married! You will still definitely feel it!
5. Bridal Party Portraits! About 1 hour, 15 minutes before ceremony; 30 minutes
After your first look, we will go right into your bridal party portraits. I highly suggest that you assign a bridesmaid or close friend to help gather everyone for your bridal party portraits. Since time is often limited at this point in the day, we really want everything to go smoothly and having everyone all over the place will just cut down on your portrait time. Not good, right? Once you have your final timeline, give your friend/bridesmaid a list of the people she needs to gather, and have her get them there 10 minutes before the specified time. Trust me - nobody will be mad that they have to wait, but you might be upset that you didn't get that special group shot you wanted!
6. Head on over to the ceremony location and Relax for a Few Minutes! About 45 minutes before ceremony
Lindsey and Adam's wedding is quickly approaching (July will be here before we know it!), and it was so nice to meet up with them last week for their engagement session. They booked me for their wedding last fall, but they wanted to wait for the weather to get better in Massachusetts before taking their photos. This is just a sneak peek of this fun and young couple's engagement photos...more to come!
I can't wait to photograph this couple's wedding in July! They are fun and super-cute. Perfect models, too! Just a sneak peek for now, though, until I finish up the rest of their engagement session photos.
With the official start of wedding season upon us, I am loving getting to know all of my couples better! One of the best ways that we learn more about each other is through their engagement session, but more often than not I hear from my bride the her groom is just not that excited about having his photos taken. Who can blame him though? He probably thinks we are going to plop him down on a stool with my camera staring right at him for some uncomfortable "say cheese" photos. Um, not quite! First things first: This is going to be fun! Really, it is! For the most part, the two of you will be hugging and walking and laughing, just like you do with each other every day. The only difference is that I'll be doing a little spying with my camera and capturing little snippets of how much fun you have when the two of you are together. Honestly, there's not too much more to it than that on your end (on my end, I'm making sure lighting is good, angles are the best they can be, and the surroundings are perfect, etc. etc.). I may tell you to glance a certain way, look at me, or smile every now and then, but other than that, I just want you to focus on having fun and relaxing.
Get him involved!: Some grooms are really into the whole photo process, and I love it when they are; however, many grooms just roll their eyes and go along with the ride to keep you, their bride-to-be, happy! Either way, they're still being great, right? So, there's really no need to worry. But, if your groom is still a bit reluctant, the best thing to do is get him involved. What are his interests? Does he like sports? Music? Comic books? Video games? What are his favorite colors? Where does he like to hang out? Whatever it is, let's try to incorporate it into your engagement session photos. The more involved he is with making decisions about what we do and what we photographing, the more comfortable he'll be and the better your photographs will look. Let's face it, if he's paying attention to playing the guitar or playing catch with you with a football, the less concerned he'll be with me holding the camera.
Show him what we'll be doing: If he's still dragging his feet about your engagement photo session, show him some of my past engagement sessions! Maybe seeing how the couples are just having fun and relaxing will put his mind at ease. At the very least, he'll see the great couples photos and really want to have the same for the two of you!