I normally wear a lot of hats on a wedding day. Some of these things involve, fluffing the brides dress, fluffing bride, bridesmaids and moms hair, fixing suits, pinning boutonnières, getting water and a snack for the couple, checking weather, delivering rings, and the list goes on. But I normally just have ONE job, and thats to capture the day and create still memories for the bride and groom and their families to look back on, and pass on. Capturing their legacy.
Last month my best friend got MARRIED. Not only was I a bridesmaid, but the photographer as well! Now, don’t get me wrong, it was not “easy” but with the right amount of strategic planning and organization and trust, it was so doable and allowed me to do this for my best friend and her husband (my other bff).
Now let me break down the day:
1. Hair and Makeup / getting ready & details :
Carson (the bride) had all the bridesmaids stay together the night before the wedding, and hair and makeup started around 8am at the airbnb the next morning. I was up first for hair and makeup so that I was done and ready for my photographer duties. After I was finished, I grabbed my camera and got started on her details (rings, shoes, invitation, dress, etc.) I also took breaks from photographing to just sit and be in the moment. I kept my camera close so that it was ready and available at a seconds notice! All the bridesmaids and Carson got dressed at the venue when we arrived, but I got dressed at the airbnb so that I would be 100% ready to photograph Carson getting in her dress and Brennen’s getting ready portraits! Side note: I got to photograph the details in my pajamas and that was the greatest thing ever LOL.
2. Wedding Party Portraits
Now obviously I could not photograph the bridesmaid portraits because I needed to be in them. This is where that planning ahead comes into play! I hired a close photography friend of mine to be my STRONG second shooter. If you are ever going to pull off both of these duties, you need a second shooter who is strong and sufficient on her own! Mine that day was absolutely amazing, and I could not be more thankful for her helping me pull this off! I met her outside when she arrived while the bridesmaids finished getting ready and we picked the portrait location. We got the girls done first and then moved on to the guys! We did all the separate wedding party photos pre-ceremony and then all we had to do after the ceremony was the full wedding party! My second shooter of course took the lead on that as well!
3. Father Daughter First Look
If you ever want to cry, just photograph your best friends wedding and her first look with her 2 dads! Ive known this family since Carson and I were 8 and 9. WATERWORKS. Pro tip: keep tissues close.
Now, this portion of the day can go 2 ways and it takes a talk with your bride / bestie before the wedding. I suggest a few months before. Find out whether she would like you standing up in the ceremony the whole time, or if she would like you to be the first bridesmaid to walk in, and then sneak off and photograph the rest of the Ceremony and pop back in at the end. Carson wanted me to be standing up at the ceremony the whole time (I did as well), so I hired on a THIRD photographer for 1 hour. 30 minutes before the ceremony, so I knew she was there, and then the 30 minutes of the ceremony. This photographer acted as the second photographer but just for the ceremony! She was an angel this day. It was a HOT September day in the middle of Florida (no sea breeze) and she was constantly supplying me and my bride and groom with water or food!
5. Family Formals & Portraits
I definitely had an advantage doing the family formals since I know the whole family and all the family dynamics.
Being able to capture the first photos of Carson and Brennen as husband and wife will always be so special to me. I am so happy I was able to do this for the both of them!
After I was introduced into the reception, I grabbed my camera to photograph the first dance and parent dances. Then followed were the toasts & speeches! I sat with my friends and boyfriend at dinner and just keep an alert for any special moments! Carson told me to make sure I put my camera down whenever I felt I had what I needed, so I made sure to keep my camera close, and just enjoy and capture when I needed!!! It was a BLAST!
So here are some tips for you!
– Get plenty of sleep the night before!!!
– Be first for hair and makeup!
– Grab the detail photos early in the day to knock them out
– HAVE HELP. My other best friend was also a bridesmaid and was so willing to help me with whatever I needed to be able to pull this off.
– Have a STRONG second photographer since they will take lead at some points!
– Have a third shooter if you will be standing at the ceremony the whole time!
– Have comfy shoes, because you WILL run around more than normal.
– P.L.A.N. A.H.E.A.D.
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