The Wedding Day - Primping and Prep

Picture of a bridal gown hanging on a window.  The gown is Amsale, white, and framed by a doorway.

The morning of the big day is here.  The pungent smell of hairspray fills the air.   Artists are transforming beautiful you into resplendent glory.  

Your eyes moisten, but maybe that’s just the sting of that hairspray.  Today is the day, the day you will marry your true love.  

During these moments, your photographer scurries around, capturing your dress, your shade of Chanel, all of those pretty little details you pinned on boards months ago.

Here are a few tips that allows your photographer to capture all of your pretty details in a magical kind of way. 







Image of a bride getting ready on her wedding day.  She is sitting on a couch in a living room reading her letter from the groom.

Choose a location with lots of natural light.  That light will make all the difference in the outcome of your images.  It also helps your hair and make-up artist as well.   

When possible, choose a room or house with minimal clutter and light walls and furniture.  Anything stuffy and busy will color cast and distract from the focus of the images.  

Tip: Some of the most beautiful getting ready areas that I have captured have been inside the homes of a family or loved one.  






Tidy Up

The wedding day is bound to be full of some chaos and mess.  But, you have your team of girls to help you manage the crazy.  

Ask your bridal party to help by keeping their belongings in their bags and in a corner, out of sight.  Often I help clear areas that are cluttered, but I also want to be careful when touching other people's belongings.  It's always most helpful when the area is already clear.  

Most photographers will be using the space near the window and door light.  Those areas are most important to have cleared.  We will also use table, chairs, and surfaces for styling details.

Tip: Create a wedding day playlist on your phone or customize your fave Pandora station so you have some fabulous tunes in your background.  You can play this on a portable speaker, like this one.  



Bridal Details

Prior to your photographer arriving, place all of your custom details in a bag or designated part of the room.  

Image of a veil carefully sitting on a white striped plush chair.
  • Bridal Pieces
    • Jewelry
    • Headpiece or Veil
    • Shoes
    • Garter
    • "Something Blue"
  • Bridal Gown 
    • Gown out of the packaging
    • Gown hung on an elegant hanger  
  • Guest Memorabelia
    • Invitation suite
    • Watercolor maps
    • Welcome bags
  • Bridesmaids Gifts
  • Styling Details


Consider where you would like your gown to be hung.  Some brides love the idea of their gown going outside for some beautiful natural light.  When doing this, I always bring along an assistant, either my second shooter or an available bridesmaid, to ensure the safety of the gown.

If you prefer the gown staying in the room, it will be styled wherever it can be safely hung and there is beautiful light.  

Tip: Mail the wedding invitation suite to your photographer.  This way it can be captured in advance, allowing more time for creative styling.  




Picture of a bride on her wedding day, getting ready in a bright room.  Her hair is down and long, she is facing left, towards the window.

Tick-tock, your timeline is swiftly marching onward.  Be conscious of the time because every minute that is delayed means a minute taken away from another part of your lovely day.  

Ensure all bridemaids and family members having hair and make-up done have made that appointment in advance.  The biggest reason for lost time is unexpected work for the Hair and Make-Up artists.  

Enlist a bridesmaid or maid-of-honor to assist you in keeping everyone on schedule.  Then, always plan buffer time - you will need it.  

Tip: Have fresh fruit and light breakfast food for your girls, this will save anyone from leaving to grab something to eat.  This is a really good time for you to eat as well, it's going to be a long day and we don't want any of the bad kind of swooning. 

Breathe in these moments.  

You are entering a new adventure with these loved ones surrounding you.  Look around at their beautiful faces, the collective love of these women.  The ones stilling the butterflies.

XOXO Lovelies

My Wedding Day - Things I Would Do Differently

Ben and I sat on a bench at the new Citrus Park Mall in Tampa.  Well, it was new then.  It was February of 2005 and I was on winter break from teaching in China.  We were soaking up every moment together before half a world separated us again. 

We have an easy way with each other.  We were good friends before things became romantic.  Distance had a way of forcing a lot of communication in our lives. 

His tone changes, I look into his eyes.  He holds my hand asking what type of ring I might want – you know, should a proposal happen.  I immediately felt giddy (and a little nervous).   We soon began discussing theoretical wedding dates, asking how long I would need to plan a wedding.  

While unconventional to discuss wedding ideas prior to a proposal, our relationship wasn’t really typical.  We lived half a world apart and this was our last time seeing each other for the next four months.  We were young and in love, the months seemed like years. 

A proposal did come, during his first visit to see me when I returned home.  That’s a story for another day, but it involves a beach, a guitar, Beach Boy song, and lots of mushy gushy squeals of delight. 

I dreamed big over pages of Martha Stewart wedding magazines.  I cut out pages of inspiration for my ever-growing notebook. 

My color palette was a sea green with lots of white.  I’ve always loved simple beauty.  I opted to go for short bridesmaid dresses, they were the latest thing in 2006.  I liked that they didn’t feel too stuffy. 

I brought in coastal elements with chocolate seashells as favors and topping our white three-tiered wedding cake.

Probably my favorite reception décor piece came from a department store.  We were friends with the owner of the Bealls department store in our town.  He graciously lent us their tall white palm trees for the head table. 

Would I do things differently now?  Absolutely.  Now that I am past the trivial and immediate regrets, here are my bigger picture regrets.

Things I Would Do Differently Now



If I could do it over again, I would have been married on the beach somewhere.  I love the beach, and who cares about crazy logistics.  I should have just done it. 


Wedding Planning Team

I should have hired a wedding planner to help me with all of the logistics.   Leading up to the wedding, I did everything.  My bridal party and family were scattered all over and weren’t able to help. 

The two days before, and during, the wedding I used a lot of friends and family for projects.  While there were fun moments, I wish I would have been spending more quality time with everyone visiting me.  They will never be in one place, all together, again.


Guest List

We had 300 guests on our wedding day, far too many.  I wish now that we had been surrounded by our very closest friends and family.  Of course, this is totally personal preference.  I was trying to please too many people in the planning process.  We should have limited our guest list and put some of that budget towards other areas. 



While I feel good about my vision skills, having someone to help me execute that vision would have been super helpful.  A stylist would have been a huge asset for my wedding day.    That kind of expertise would have been worth every penny.



Dun, dun, dun.  Here it is.  I wish I’d looked for timeless photography.  You guys, I have selective color pictures in my album!  Ahhh.  I wish I had found someone I loved and flown them to my wedding and paid them well. 

I have about three images that I absolutely love from that day.  They are black and white images of Ben and me and I am so grateful for those few treasures. 

The biggest regrets are not investing in high quality professionals who could have made life easier (for everyone) and more beautiful. 

I was the kind of person who took great pride in coming in under budget, well under budget.  I wish I had used the difference to invest in a few key places.  A budget is very important, I’m a big believer in wise financial living.  But, a wedding planner can help you navigate that budget, maximizing your dollars. 

There you go, my top regrets for my wedding day.  Nothing earth shattering, because, really, the most important thing happened.  I married the love of my life. 

We still have that easy way with each other.  He is my happily ever after.