Matts Photography’s Tip Top Top Tips for Your Wedding Day!
Firstly, before we drop right in there is a good chance that if you’re reading this you are newly engaged, if so congratulations!
Wedding Planning can be all things. Exciting, Stressful, Daunting, Hectic, Relaxed, Annoying, Fun.
There is no doubt that at some point in the process you may experience some or all of the above and maybe some others not mentioned. It’s perfectly normal to experience a wide gamut of emotions during your Wedding Planning and I’m here to tell you it’s ok.
I’ve compiled below a collection of tips, advice and suggestions that I believe all couples should consider when planning their wedding. I’ve been photographing weddings for 15+ years and I’ve seen a thing or two – the good and the not so good. It’s mostly good though! After all that’s what a Wedding is – a celebration and celebrations are fun but in order to make sure your wedding day is memorable give the following some thought!
1 – Get in early! Book the Vendors you love.
On average in Australia, per year there are approx 120,000 Weddings. That is a lot of everything. Weddings take place in all shapes and sizes, but one thing always remains constant… Now let’s also consider how disrupted 2020 and 2021 have been with so many postponements, reschedules, etc. That means that 2022 & 2023 are set to be massive.
Vendors, people like me can only be in one place at a time, so often it’s a case of first in best dressed. If we could clone ourselves, we would. As a photographer, a documenter, I see things a different way to someone else, my interpretations of a scene, a moment, the light are all different to others. As such, what I produce for my couples is unique. I put all I’ve got into photographing a wedding. So do pretty much all other vendors, especially ones that offer an artistic element to their service. So if my work resonates with you, or another photographer, florist, celebrant, band, caterer and so on, get in early. Typically wedding planning starts 1 year out from the date, sometimes 2 years.
I know of popular venues, Photographers, Florists & Celebrant’s who have dates booked already up to 2yrs in advance. Remember, 120,000 Weddings per year on average in Australia and only 365 Days to house them. That’s works out at 329 Weddings Per Day and if we use the two most popular days of the week for a wedding – Friday and Saturday that’s approx 2300 Weddings every weekend. Don’t be disappointed, if there is a vendor you particularly must have at your wedding, get in touch and book them in ASAP!
***If you’ve had your Wedding plans disrupted by Covid and you’re in the position of having to reschedule your original date, with the above in mind, consider a midweek date. With so much competition for Prime Days like Saturdays in peak seasons, the likelihood of retaining all your vendors for your new date may be slim. A mid-week date gives you far greater flexibility for your vendors, people and things are easier to get, i.e accommodation AND those nearest and dearest will be there regardless of the day of the week!***
2 – Remember, there are no rules – well, just one…
The beauty of the modern day wedding is that you can pretty much do whatever you want (as long as you’re not breaking the law!) If you all want to dress as Ninja Turtles for the Ceremony, there is nothing stopping you! I’ve photographed weddings on farms, on islands, in the middle of the bush, in the middle of the city, in barns, in hotels, in a registry office, on the edge of a cliff, the list goes on. If you want to make it legal on the day though, you must have a registered marriage celebrant. That’s it. Everything else is your call. Your day your way!
3 – Choose an awesome Celebrant
This tip is a bit of a Segway from my previous one but yeah, a really engaged and personable celebrant can set the tone for the day. Their ability to craft your story and vows into a Ceremony that not only wows you, but all those there with you is an amazing thing to witness. There are of course couples who choose to marry under religious/cultural and/or traditional ways and that’s awesome too!
I’m fortunate to know some really rad celebrants and I recommend them highly!!
Sassy Celebrants – https://sassycelebrants.com.au/
Monty King – https://www.montyking.com/
Monty Haron – Holy Matrimony – https://www.holymatrimonty.com.au/
Mel Agnew – https://www.hitchedinthehunter.com.au/
Nicky Surnicky – https://www.marrymenicky.com.au/
Jules Amidy – https://www.weddingswithjules.com.au/
Married by Meredith – https://www.marriedbymeredith.com
Wed by Kez – https://wedbykez.com/
4 – Consider an Unplugged Ceremony.
We’ve all seen it, we’ve all cringed at it, and let’s face it, we’ve probably all done it. Yep, I’m talking about whipping out the mobile phone and dare I say it, tablet to snap a quick pic or video of a bride walking down the aisle, a groom sneakily wiping away a tear running down his cheek.
That’s all well and good and I get it. In 2021, it’s pretty much second nature to want to do this but it’s also a common courtesy to not, and trust me, ceremony photos look much much better with phones away.
Photographers and Videographers are there to capture your wedding and it does’t look great when one or more than one person is leaning out the aisle snapping a pic. While you may be focussed on the person you’re about to marry, we are too, but all those coloured phone cases don’t go un-missed….
So make it known that the Wedding Ceremony is unplugged. Have your guests put their devices away for a few minutes and enjoy witnessing the ceremony through their eyes and not a screen. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong for someone to be designated with the task of recording the ceremony to stream it to those who can’t be there. That’s important. So too is everyone else with their eyes on you!
5 – Nail that Ceremony time.
Ok, this is a bit of an open ended topic as every Wedding is different but my advice is ensure your Ceremony time will give you enough time to say hello to your family and friends and to have photos with your newly minted Spouse and/or Bridal Party before the Reception. Sometimes wedding days can run late at times as there are many variables that have the potential to pop up, not least of all traffic causing issues on the way to the Ceremony. There is fashionably late which is fine, but traffic late for example sucks, not to mention stressful and that can really impact on the rest of the day, particularly with a tight timeline. The average time for a Wedding Ceremony is 3pm. In Non-Daylight savings months April-September my tip is to have your ceremony no later than 2:30pm as it’s often dark by 5-5:30ish. In the Daylight Savings months, there is a little more flexibility as there is more available light. I’ll always discuss or suggest to couples a timeline for their Wedding Day and that’s based on location and time of year.
6 – Dress to impress, but also dress for the conditions.
Comfortable people are happy people and happy people always look and feel better in their wedding photos. We live in a country of such varying weather conditions, so we’re prone to super hot days, cold days, wind, rain etc. What you choose to wear can play a big role on your Wedding Day.
Fellas, consider if a 3 piece suit with a vest is appropriate for that summer wedding. I can tell you from experience, getting all sweaty everywhere you’d rather not isn’t comfortable so I really feel for the lads rocking a Winter kit on a 38deg sunny January afternoon – it happens… Dress to be comfortable and look classy also.
Brides and Bridesmaids – the dresses are obviously so important, you’ll know what’s best for you and there are many amazing gowns out there. Probably the biggest hassle I see the ladies encounter is difficult footwear and hair that is uncontrolled in windy conditions. Bring a shawl or a jacket for the cooler months. Stylise them, theme them as they can look fantastic in photos and don’t forget to bring some flats or thongs so you can ditch the heels at some point – your feet will love you by the end of the day!
Talk to your Hair and Make Up Artists about where your Wedding is, and the potential conditions you could face and come up with a hair style that not only looks amazing, but can withstand the elements.
These Hair and Make Up artists are some of the best going around.
Gloss Girl Bridal – https://www.glossgirl.com.au/
Chic Artistry – https://chicartistry.com.au/
Michelle Jackson – https://www.michellejackson.com.au/
7 – Allow time for travel between locations and Bridal Party Photos.
One of the best parts of your wedding day is hanging out with your Bridal Party for the photos. The aim is for it to be a fun period of time for everyone but it needs to fit the timeline of your day. Usually anything between 45-90min is sufficient but if travel is involved that may need to be reconsidered. If your Ceremony location is different to the Reception location and you’ve planned stops in between for photos, allowing time to travel is key. I’ll often work a timeline backwards to determine how much time we need in each spot to maximise our photo opportunities. This is where communication with your Photographer is crucial.
8 – Eat, Drink, Be Merry!
One thing that often gets missed is actually having something to eat and drink on the day! I’d rather not encounter the wrath of a Hangry (Hungry/Angry) Bridal Party! Organise a portable Eski of drinks and a platter of canapés to have along the way during the photos. Trust me, it will be a life saver! If you are catering your own wedding and great food is a priority, go say hello to my friends over at Sprout Catering – flat out, the best food – every.single.time.
Sprout Catering – https://sproutcatering.com.au/
9 – Family Photos are important – make a list!
This is one thing I’ll have you do in preparation for your Wedding and it really is one of the more important things you’ll do. Compile an ordered family photo shot list. Family dynamics differ greatly so to ensure an efficient and seamless family group photo time, having a list ensures no one misses out and the right people are in the right groupings. You just never now how valuable a photo of a family member can become. If you have a list, see it through! This may be the only chance you get to have all those close to you in the same spot at the same time. No matter how much of a pain it might be in the moment, waiting for Uncle Bill, Grandma, Grandpa, even your sibling to get in the shot, in the end it’s worth it. If you want a drink or something to eat while this goes on, I’ll make sure that happens!
10 – Golden hour really is the best time of the day for photos – make time for it.
The Golden hour is the period of time, generally 1 hour before the sun sets when the light is at its best. If the conditions are right we see a lovely late afternoon sun, a warm glow, long shadows, beautiful skies. It really is magical and it’s a wonderful canvas to work with. Golden Hour isn’t always at the same time however. In the Winter and non Daylight Savings months Golden Hour times in perfectly with the photos after the Ceremony and before the Reception. In the Summer Daylight Savings months though the sun can set as late as 8-8:30pm so that Golden Hour time is going to fall around 7-7:30pm. My tip is to set aside 15-20min to step out from your Reception to take advantage. It might take a little planning with your Reception venue with regards to meals, speeches etc but it is well worth the effort!!
11 – Rain Rain Go Away – Don’t Worry, It’s OK!
Alannis Morriset, sang about it, Rain on your wedding day, but the thing is, there isn’t much anyone can do about. It’s the one thing no one has control over. So if it rains, so be it, let’s make the most of it. There are a number of good things a rainy wedding day brings us and there are plenty of things we can do. So if the forecast shows a wet day, be prepared, play it up with some umbrellas, get some gumboots and enjoy the moment. Magical things can happen in the wet.
12 – Pigs might fly, but cameras definitely do!
A flying camera is a handy part of my kit and I love using my drones on a wedding day – where possible… There are a number of factors that dictate as to whether we can fly or not. Firstly, we need to make sure that we won’t be in a restricted airspace and secondly, the weather conditions make it safe to fly. If we can do both, then for sure, we’ll go about creating some aerial images.
13 – Band or DJ?? – There is no right or wrong answer here but…
Whatever entertainment option you go with, make sure you know they can engage with your guests and totally rock the party. A Great DJ understands when to play certain songs, what songs get people out of their seats and onto that dance floor. Same goes with a Band and there is something special about live music, especially a group that nails the covers and classics. Make sure they have a good light set up and keep in mind, lasers kill cameras!
Here are some awesome musical vendors:
Silent Shout Entertainment – https://www.silentshout.com.au/
We Play Records – http://www.weplayrecords.com.au/
The White Tree Band – https://thewhitetree.com.au/wedding-live-band/
The Baker Boys – https://www.bakerboysband.com.au/
Mark Wells – https://markwells.com.au/
Jerome O’Connor – https://www.facebook.com/masterblastermusicians/
The Hummingbirds – http://www.newcastleweddingbands.com.au/artists/hummingbirds/
Jackson Broadway – https://www.jacksonbroadwaymusic.com/
14 – Don’t sweat the small stuff!
This is probably my best piece of advice. It’s a simple saying but it rings true. Try not to let a little thing become a big thing. Remember why you’re there and the person whom you’re there with. That’s what’s most important.
Thanks for taking the time to read my Tip Top Top Tips for your wedding day. If you have any more questions please feel free to ask, I’m happy to help and lean on my 15+ years experience in the Wedding Industry. Please check out some of my recent work here: https://mattsphotography.com.au/category/weddings/