My Suggestions for a Beautiful Wedding Day

I know that you'd love your wedding to be a day never to be forgotten by you or your guests.
You want all your table decorations to be unique, your dress has to be the most stunning thing that anyone has ever seen, your hair and make-up needs to be perfect and your shoes need to compliment that dress.

These things, most likely have already been planned in your head, but you've read hundreds of wedding magazines with really beautiful pictures in. Perfect flowers, perfect make up, perfect bridesmaids and this incredible golden light backlighting the brides blonde hair and her dress.

How do you get just what you want?

Here are my suggestions for getting a wedding day that will look so photogenic that you'll never forget it, with some help from me of course! =)

First...Carefully choose your location.
The Majority of couples I know, chose their location as soon as, or even before they got engaged.
Great locations book up really far in advance (we're talking years here)
The perfect location adds beauty and romance to your day and really sets the mood.
With churches, you don't really have a wide scope and although they are more often than not beautiful buildings, they're usually not known for being flooded with natural light.

When you choose your reception, try to choose one that has allot of natural light flooding in.
Can you imagine watching the sunset whilst you're enjoying the main course, or just as you start your first dance?

Second...Carefully work out your timetable

No, its not as boring as it sounds.
What I mean is, find out what time the sun sets on your day, and plan your pictures accordingly.
Pictures taken at mid-day are a photographers nightmare. But in early afternoon, the sun can make the most beautiful bride look at anything but her best. The harsh sunlight causes squinting (not good) harsh shadows (also not good) and basicly does nothing good to the most beautiful bride (you guessed it)

The two hours before sunset are the best time to take photographs and photographers call this time "the Golden Hour". Why? The light is PERFECT, its the most flattering, golden and soft light. There are shadows but they're long and beautiful!

So what to do then?
Schedule your ceremony so that you have at least 90 minutes of golden hour to play with. This will ensure that you have the best light to make you both look even more stunning in your photographs, aswell as giving me plenty of time to get some really fun group shots of everybody!

Third...Make it personal
"Well, I know that Joseph, it is our wedding day after all"
What I mean by that is, inject some of your personal taste into your day. Choose things that make people say "Wow, that is SO Dick and Jane's style, I love it!"
If possible, write your own vows.
Design your own stationary (Jessica and myself designed our own stationary and it was perfect!! We also saved a few hundred pounds!)
Think about all of your music. Walking down the aisle, walking back up, music throughout the reception (do you want Jazz, classical, pop?)
First dance. Think back through your courtship and think about what songs you sang to each other. (We chose "Can't take my eyes off of you" by Andy Williams)
Hire a DJ. A great DJ can make the night end with a bang. Give him a list of songs that have to be played, but let him decide what order to play them in.
If you're going to have a band, don't skimp. More often than not, a band of college kids who you've paid £50 each to are going to make your evening memorable for all the wrong reasons!
Ask lots of different bands to play songs for you and see who you like best! (do the same for your DJ)
Really think about your favors if you plan to have them. Little pots of personalised Jam/honey/pickle? People love anything with their name on! =) Besides, who likes sugared almonds?
A few more...
A Guestbook (Make sure this gets advertised, you don't want a guest book thats 1/4 filled!)
Table Names (Don't choose "table one, table two, table blah blah blah"...Again, make this another talking point)
Name cards/tags. (Make these something that your guests would WANT to take home and keep!)
Flowers. A Tip from my wife "Choose a bouquet that compliments, yet contrasts with your wedding dress, you don't want your bouquet to blend in with your dress"
Decorations
Candles. Think about aromas that will compliment the room, and always be careful with naked flames.

Forth...Keep it Tidy

Imagine this: Your photographer shows you your wedding pictures and the first ones you see are of inside the dressing room. The photographer has captured the emotion and the excitement. All fine and dandy so far, but in the background of the picture you can see that your dressing room is a total tip! Jeans all over the place, trainers on the bed, pizza tray on the dressing table (you get the picture!! )
Just make a little time before the photographer arrives to tidy up (push things under the bed) so everything looks great!
Don't hide away bridesmaids dresses or shoes, but you don't want to see the shoe boxes or wrapping that they came in.

Fifth...Light your room
If possible, choose a big room with a big window so that you have plenty of light flooding in, but diffuse it. Put some white curtains or gauze up.
If you don't have a room with a window, then make that room romantic!
Fairy lights over the dressing table, over the window, candles in the bathroom. Be careful though!
Choosing a big room if possible will make things easier for everybody, including me, I don't want to step on peoples toes.

Sixth...Light your reception
Loads of fairy lights, rope lights, hanging lanterns in trees or from beams look fantastic. Keep them nice and low (just above head-height)

Seventh...Throwing the bouquet

I have to admit, I've missed this before, and it had to be restaged. I missed it because there was no build up! Lots of other people missed it too.
So, don't rush this bit, it's good fun. Take a minute to play with your crowd, tease them, chase the kids away (perhaps arrange something like a sweet toss for the kids to keep them busy!)
Make sure there are no low lights, or ceiling fans to get in your way, and when you're ready...Throw!

Eighth...Show off to me
Through your first dance and the dance with your father, ignore me completely.
When it comes to the crazy dancing, every now and then just turn around with your bridesmaids and show off for the camera, otherwise I end up with lots of pictures of backs and bums. (not good)

Ninth...Feed me!

Its going to be a long day for me. So providing me with the same meal as your guests is always really appreciated. It keeps me going so that you get the best from me!
Try and seat me about 15-20 feet from the top table with an unobstructed view so that I can get some great candid shots.

Tenth...Go slow
When you're putting your wedding rings on eachothers hand, I know you'll be nervous with everyone watching you, but just try and go really slow and try not to block the view of myself, or your wedding guests.
Typically, this is one of the hardest pictures to get, so heres my tip to make sure I get the shot for you.

Try to remember that when you are putting the ring on, hold the ring so that your fingers are on the top and bottom instead of on the sides of the ring. This turns your hand so that the ring is visible from the sides and now guests and myself can see it all happen.
Try not to use your free hand to grab your partners wrist so that you can get the ring on easier.
If you feel as if you need to do this, try putting your hand underneith your partners and grabbing from below.  This keeps everything in perfect view.
Try to practise this a few times with eachother.

Eleventh...Don't be late
Sometimes, things go wrong.
But sometimes, with a little extra planning, you'll be walking down the aisle at the right time.
Being late isn't nice for your guests. They've travelled a long way and may have other things to do later in the day.
If you don't arrive on time, then this throws everything backwards. You have less time for pictures and the meal may have to be put on hold until everyone is ready.
 --------------

I've shot allot of weddings, and I've picked up these tips from brides and wedding planners.
If every wedding followed a few of these tips, it'll make your day so hard to forget!