March 25, 2019
So, it’s super obvious that photographing details on a wedding day is one of my favorite things in the whole world (aside from my couples, of course). I will usually start right after I come give them a big hug hello, introduce myself to everyone, and get the lay of the land. Wedding details are my chance to get the feel for the wedding theme and start creating the story from the very beginning. Also, it gets all of my creative juices flowing and helps me start thinking on my feet. This is a little insight to how I use each of the “detail” items listed below and my advice on making the most out of each item. It’s also a small chance to make your wedding immediately feel more upscale and dreamy when creating your album and sharing the images with the world.
Your jewelry is the easiest place to start! We all know you’re going to have rings, so start with their metal color – are they gold, silver, or rose gold? Usually (but not always) Whatever your ring metal is, this will show up throughout your wedding since most people are drawn to a certain color. That is, unless you’re like me and can’t make up your freaking mind. Regardless, find out the metal you gravitate towards and think about tying that metal into your other jewelry sets or even using it throughout the wedding day. This is helpful because when I start with your details, I create the whole big picture first (jewelry, shoes, invitations, florals, etc) and then regroup and recreate smaller vignettes and end with individual items. So, picking and staying with one metal type in your jewelry will help create a cohesive “big picture.”
Next, you should probably think about your heirloom pieces. Is grandmom lending you her 200 year old string of pearls that may or may not break? Does your future mother in law really want you to wear the ring that has been past down from 15 generations and you literally can’t tell what it is anymore? (I kid, I kid. Kind of) Keep these heirloom pieces in mind when choosing your jewelry sets because grandmom’s semi-yellow pearls will probably clash with those incredible Swarovski crystal earrings you’ve been drooling over. Also, keep in mind, you don’t HAVE to wear everything. If there are absolute MUST-HAVES from grandmom or whomever, I will absolutely document those even if you’re not actually wearing them. Just let a girl know.
Next, think about your dress, does it have a high neck line? You may not have a necklace then. Are you wearing sleeves? Maybe nix the bracelet and go for those drool-worthy chandelier earrings. Whatever you choose, make sure it’s unique to you and it’s something you love, that way, one day, these pieces could become your heirlooms for your children, or your children’s children.
Once you decide on your jewelry, set that aside and keep everything together in one place. I usually recommend grabbing a box and designating all of your details pieces to that one box, so we don’t loose anything! If you’d like to be extra helpful, make sure your jewelry is freshly cleaned (especially your ring!) so it not only sparkles for the pictures, but everyone is going to want to see that sparkly goodness and trust me, you don’t want to show off a dirty ring.
Biggest PRO TIP you’ll ever need: PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE have all THREE rings in YOUR special box. NOT THE GROOMS. No one likes to chase down the groom or groomsman that may or may not be drunk at 10am, and may or may not know where the rings are. No one. I promise you that. So do everyone, especially yourself, the sanity saver of just making those precious items your responsibility.
This is a biggie! I feel like this is the portion of the details that people stress out about the most, and it’s also part of the details that could set the whole theme of your wedding story. So, when choosing your invitations start by deciding what your over-all theme and feeling of your wedding is going to be (i.e. whimsical, romantic, edgy, classic, modern, vintage etc.) and then decide what your color scheme is, and go from there. I suggest if you have re-occurring themes in your wedding, to try to include them in the suite as well (i.e. watercolor, succulents, geometric shapes, florals, gold leaf etc) that way, when everything is laid out together, or paired side-by-side in your album, it can flow with other pieces of decor in your wedding!
Another piece of advice I have is, if you’re totally in love with those full suites you see online, but don’t have it in the budget to fork out hundreds of dollars on additional information for everyone, have one or two full suites made for the photographs, and make everything else available online for your guests! (Unless you have tons of money to put towards your invites, then BY ALL MEANS, please send them to everyone! People love that stuff!)
And if you’re totally clueless on what a full invitation suite even is, it usually consists of the invitation, RSVP card, accommodations card and directions and/or detail cards. A few of my favorite sites to get full suites from is Minted.com and etsy.com – you can find some gorgeous suites on Etsy, and even have the option to print them yourself to save money! Or you can be super boujee and try out one of these boutique invitation makers and really impress your guests (and WOW your photographer): Swell Press, Curious Fox Press Or get some really beautiful calligraphed addresses done by Post Skript Co, Leah Letters or LH Calligraphy. Or just have them write on other things in your wedding – cause calligraphy is gorgeous no matter what its on.
Now, back to what I mentioned earlier about these setting the tone for your wedding story- Photographically, I create a layout of the entire suite, which is usually the centerpiece of the whole “set” of details you provide, and then, depending on the decor of your invite, I can use these as backdrops for up-close jewelry shots. I can also use individual pieces to correspond with other items in your detail box, SO the more pieces you have in your suite the better! Plus everyone loves that dreamy fully styled suite image! (at least I do.)
Again, add a few of these bad boys to your “must not forget” box with your jewelry and have it ready to go on the day of!
Girl, your shoes are going to be a piece of cake (even though, like every this else, it will probably stress you out to no end.) Just remember, these will be included in your details shots, because HELLO, pretty wedding shoes. BUT if you’re really not trying to rock stilettos down the aisle because you can’t walk in them and/or don’t want to, PLEASE DON’T. We can all avoid that embarrassing event by simply finding a pair of sensible, yet fashionable, flats. AND THAT IS TOTALLY OKAY. Sure I love when my brides rock some bad-ass heels but I also love when my brides actually make it down the aisle without falling on their face. What’s really the important thing here?
Also, if you’re like me, and some of my other brides, and really want a gorgeous pair of heels in those detail pictures but still really don’t want to wear them, that’s okay too. As silly as it sounds, I have had brides specifically purchase those pretty heels for the photos and then return them after. I know, it’s a little weird, but I am all for that level of extra, AND trust me, no one will EVER know. Except for me, of course, but I’m carrying worse wedding secrets to my grave.
Pro tip: use your shoe box for that “please, dear god, DON’T forget this box” box.
Oh, and if you’re planning on rocking those heels, and ALSO plan to walk on grass at any point – PLEASE purchase Heel Savers. You’ll thank me later. And tell your bridesmaids, they’ll DEFINITELY thank you later.
Oh, the dress. This one I can’t really help you with in the real world – because lets face it, you already have enough opinions floating around between you and your mother, mother-in-law and all 12 of your bridesmaids, so my opinion is pretty moot at this point. Just find what you love, and dear god, don’t let someone else decide for you. Because ITS. NOT. ABOUT. THEM.
Okay, soapbox rant over – if you can’t tell I have a lot of feelings about that one. So hit me up if you need a buffer-friend to tell you where to shove everyone’s outside opinions.
BUT a couple of my photographic-related advice-pieces: a true-white dress will almost always photograph blue in any light. Which is okay if that’s truly what you want in a dress (because, remember my advice above), it just makes my editing process a little more intense. That said, ivory, off white, champagne, and any other color (except red or hot pink…) will photograph true to color and will be absolutely fabulous. (Keep that in mind for bridesmaid’s dresses and/or engagement photos…for that whole red and hot pink thing.)
For the love of god, please have your dress pressed or steamed by a professional and don’t endure the nail biting moment of a bridesmaid (who we know you love, but may not after this) steams your ONE AND ONLY wedding dress on the day of. Yes, not much can go wrong with a steamer if you know what you’re doing, but lets not find out, okay? Bridesmaids dresses are another story – we can always hide the unsightly one behind someone else.
And if you’d like to achieve the next level of extra, go out and get yourself and your girls some pretty hangers. I will try my damnedest to not use those mismatched rainbow monstrosities that the dry cleaners leave you with, but if that’s all I have, that’s what will be in your beautiful bridesmaid’s dress photos. And chances are, your girls will not think about it until I mention it on the day of. Ikea (that’s the link to the exact ones you should get, you’re welcome.) is your best friend for frugal options, or if you’d like, try etsy for some personalized “giftable” sets. OR if your SUPER extra, like me, buy the cheap Ikea ones and hand calligraph each individual one with their names and your wedding date on them, because you have nothing better to do.
And by extras, I really mean if you think about doing these things for me (or your photographer, if it’s not me), I (they) will literally love you forever and you’ll go down in history as the best bride EVER.
FLOWERS. Yes, your bouquet is a big one. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve arrived to photograph the details and the bouquet isn’t arriving until like, 2 minutes before the bride goes down the aisle. Let’s not do that, okay? Chat with your florist about your timeline, and let them know you’d like to have the bouquet there a few hours early. Because if I have nothing else, your bouquet will be used as the flowers in literally alllllll of your detail shots.
Segway to the real EXTRA part of the “flowers” section. if you love love love your florist and your florist love love loves you, (or you just really LOVE your photographers and want to make their day) ask them if it’s possible to have any left over loose florals or greenery for your detail shots. This will enhance your detail photographs ten-fold, and can make even the lowest budget wedding look like a million dollars.
Now that we’ve gotten the flowers out of the way, let’s chat about the glorious Mrs. Box. We have all seen that beautiful velvet-y goodness floating around the internet. (and if you haven’t – here’s the link, educate yourself.) We all love the way those photograph and add a bit of wealth to your details, plus they hold up really well and can absolutely be one of those heirloom pieces. Or something that just sits really pretty on that “really pretty, expensive stuff” shelf. Match it to your color scheme, and BAM, you’ve got beautiful details. OR if you’re balling on a budget like so many of us, check out the beloved Etsy for some really, really good knock-offs.
And last but not least, make sure you put anything else of meaning in that “If I Forget This Box, I Will Set Something on Fire” box. Because if it’s not in that box, chances are it will not be photographed. Here is a list of all the other things that could potentially go in said box. You’re welcome.
Oh and I almost forgot! I’m talking to the boys here too – please make him have a “I Swear to God, If You Forget This Box” box. Guys are a little easier when it comes to their details because most of which they will be wearing, and usually they don’t forget the things they’re wearing. (One can hope.) So for them, this most likely means: tie/bow tie, cuff links, watch, pocket square and shoes. If you can get the boutonnieres over to them at that point, then great – if not, it’s no big deal, that can be photographed later.
All that said, please don’t let this stress you out, but more-so guide you in the a direction to achieve the right level of extra for those detail photographs. Our goal as wedding vendors is to make sure your wedding is not only the event of a lifetime, but something that you will remember and cherish for the rest of your life, and that starts right here.