THE WEDDING EXPERIENCE
Hey you! Welcome!
Thank you so much for having chosen us to record your day! We have put together a special document to inspire you ànd to give you some advice whilst planning your wedding. It is a true honour to have been given your trust. Thank you so, so much!
We have been photographing weddings for more than 6 years and have attended various wedding parties all over the world. Cultures vary and every couple and every wedding differs. Because of that, we would like to help you to plan the wedding in a way that suits YOU. It’s your wedding and it should reflect your personalities.
Here’s some helpful advice we would like to give, in order to guide you through this “world of endless possibilities”. Because we have been present at over 150 weddings -and counting- we are able to advise you on what works well, and on what you maybe should avoid (in our opinion). But please regard it as our advice. We do hope it will inspire you to follow your own path.
Erwin and Sue
1. making choices
2. the getting ready
3. your wedding schedule
4. examples of wedding day schedules
6. styling & pictures
7. first look
8. the photo shoot
9. an offline ceremony
10. 8 do's for an intimate wedding
11. a wedding album?
12. what happens next?
13. love at first sight
Your wedding is a grand feast, celebrated with friends and family. But without you, or your dream to commemorate your love, there wouldn’t even be a wedding…
So choose a celebration you like and which suits you as individuals. Be prepared to question traditions and avoid following them mindlessly.
We ourselves for instance, have chosen a wedding without corsages. We thought about the added value of those and came up with no other reason than: “because that’s the way it’s done”. Two years on, we’re still very happy about the choice we’ve made.
Another example is the ‘opening dance’. You aren’t the best of dancers? Then ask yourselves why you would want to do it. If you think it’s great: go for it! But avoid doing things “just because that’s the way it’s done”…
And which traditions are important to you? Which ones suit you to a tee, and which not so much?
Even family members who may not understand your reasoning completely, will be ok with it easier than you think; just wait and see.
The more aware you are of choosing the -or your- traditions, the more the day will suit you and become more personal.
THE GETTING READY
The hours before the big day starts are very special. Joy. Tears. Dreams. Anxiety. It feels like the calm before the storm and is perfect when it can be enjoyed in a relaxed environment.
Arrange for a spacious (cleared) room, with nice light. The cleaner the room, the better. You could wear a nice dress or top whilst preparing (e.g. silk or lace). Gents: less is more! Best to avoid heavy patterns or very brightly coloured clothes
YOUR WEDDING SCHEDULE
From experience we can tell you that the best, most comfortable moment of the day to start your wedding is mid-afternoon. So no ‘big gaps’ in the planning (e.g. a 3-hours reception, because the wedding already took place at 10am), but rather an easy flow between all the various moments.
A wedding that takes place at 2pm makes for an easy start of the day (e.g. the bride doesn’t have to set her alarm at 6am…) and for an uninterrupted flow. Should you feel that this will be too cramped because you’ve planned two ceremonies in one day (legal and church): do consider separating the two. Means more partying (yes!) ànd a more relaxed day (yes, yes!).
According to ‘Dutch standards’, starting your ceremony at 3pm would be ideal. For a summer wedding (June-August),it would be even better to start around 4pm or 5pm. And in a warmer climate that would definitely be advisable, because everyone has their siesta in the afternoon.
We would like to give you an example of a day’s planning where the ceremony starts at 2pm. Even if you start at a different hour, it will still provide you with an example of the ideal flow of your day.
4 hours prior to the ceremony
Perfect time for the bride to start the grooming and styling. Even if you don’t have that much time, you can still start with the styling of the bridesmaids/girlfriends/family who are with the bride. These 4 hours will give you ample time to start your day in a relaxed manner. Oh, and don’t forget to treat yourself to a glass of bubbly!
2 hours prior to the ceremony
This is the time we usually arrive at the venue. Erwin goes to see the groom, Sue goes to see the bride. We start photographing and record the final part of the making up, the getting dressed and the ambiance.
Note: We love little details! By recording these, it provides yet another memory of your story. Do prepare items you’d like to capture. For instance: Shoes, cufflinks, wedding invitation, save the date, perfume, jewellery etc.
1 hour prior to the ceremony
Do you opt for a ‘First Look’ prior to the ceremony? Than it is best to schedule that in at this time. For this special moment, we will select a quiet and private place, where you get to see and admire each other for the first time that day (unless of course you have already selected an ideal spot yourselves). We will then use the following minutes to have a small photo shoot.
15 minutes after the ceremony
Time for the cake and the bubbly! One of us will record the cutting of the cake and the congratulations; the other will capture the ambiance.
45 minutes after the ceremony
We are now ready to take group pictures (15-20 minutes). For instance your next of kin: parents, siblings and their partners, grandparents and of course the witnesses.
Note: send us a list of max. 10-15 combinations so as we don’t forget anyone.
1,5 hours after the ceremony
Yay! Time to capture your love (60 minutes). Before we start, you can freshen up and touch up on make-up. Some nice lighting and the two of you: it will be gorgeous!
3 hours after the ceremony
From this time onwards we record the evening looking for some unique moments. The food, the speeches, the opening dance, the guests, the ‘unseen moments’: we will portray everything as pure as possible.
Because this is the most beautiful time of day for picture taking, we will probably steal you away for 5-10 minutes to capture just that extra bit of love.
This could be during the dinner but it is so worth it, we promise. A winter wedding? In that case, the sunset and photo shoot can already take place in the afternoon. Excellent!
If your day started at 2pm, we will have been photographing for 10 hours by now, and will be making our exit. Should you however decide last minute that you would like us to stay longer, please inform us thus. We would never leave without a big hug, so don’t worry that we would just ‘up and go’.
As you can imagine, this is all just a general overview. We do hope it will provide you with some insight into planning your own day.
A similar question can be asked here: “what suits you?” Think about the venue as well. Are you having the wedding downtown, or in the country side? Fancy or casual?
Say you have beautiful curly hair - why not wear it down when you get married? Why put it up? Who says a bride should always have their hair done up? Just know: it certainly isn’t wrong choosing that, but stay true to yourself and what you feel most comfortable with.
A good stylist not only listens to your wishes, but also takes the time to see what suits you best as individuals: a style that complements your age, facial structure, hair and the current trends.
The same goes for bridal boutiques. It is important that they take your figure, character and age into consideration. And if the ‘feel’ of the boutique just doesn’t suit you and you sense you’re not being heard: get away quick!
And you men, an advice worth taking:
We advise you to go look for your suit in a shop that specialises in tailor-made suits. You as a man can also create the outfit you desire and you enjoy wearing; and one that you can even enjoy after the wedding.
STYLING AND PICTURES
There are a number of details you can take into consideration up front. Here’s our advice from experience:
Very white dresses
Harsh whites react to everything and are an overkill for the camera. The colour of the floor; the brightly pink flower in your bouquet; the green fields - it does not complement the colour of your dress.
Our advice? Choose an off-white dress.
For years it was popular in bridal wear, but meanwhile we have gorgeous alternatives: the sleeves are back! Dear bride, trust us: a strapless dress isn’t the best choice for many a woman. Mainly because the skin under your arms will fold and crease with each and every movement. Do review the last page of this document for some inspiration on dresses.
Wearers of glasses often tell us that they do not recognise themselves without them. Whilst we have nothing against glasses (in fact, we ourselves have and love them!).
But with photography, it gets a bit more problematic. Whenever you look at each other, smile or have an intimate moment together: the glasses will cover the eyes (unless you are looking at the camera, but we do not take frontal pictures a lot). Eyes are essential in pictures. They express emotion and glasses hide a lot of that expression because the eyes are essentially covered. So our advice would be to wear contact lenses.
A wonderful way to start your wedding is by booking a “First Look": the moment where the two of you first get to see each other, before the ceremony starts. When we got married, we really wanted to see each other for the first time during the ceremony, but it was a very emotional moment. We have witnessed many “First Looks” and would like to say that that first moment together with all our guests was special, but that a “First Look” is definitely as much: it is so very intimate.
Should the two of you have opted for a “First Look”, you can then be a little more at ease before the ceremony. By having seen each other previously, you will have gotten rid of some of ‘the entrance and walking down the aisle’ nerves and you will have gotten to enjoy each other’s company for a little while before the main event.
By planning that “First Look” without any guests, you’ve created a very special moment. Just the two of you: intimate and personal, no outsiders (apart from one of us). You can laugh together, cry together and take the time to admire each other’s outfits - whatever your reactions, it will be a beautiful and special moment.
DE PHOTO SHOOT
The photo shoot of the two of you is a very special time of the day: a time where the two of you are alone and have some time together. How do we make the most of you and the photo shoot? First and foremost: we are able to take beautiful pictures of you under any circumstances, but a few words of advice to get the optimal result:
The location of the photo shoot
Our suggestion is to look for a “timeless” location; for instance some nice scenery or a beautiful building. Parks are not optimal spaces, because there tend to be people in the background and it seems ‘all too perfect & clean’.
In general, we do not need a lot of backdrop, whereas we focus on you and the lighting. We photograph where the light is best and even if we arrive on the day itself for the first time: we will definitely find a suitable spot, no worries.
Time of day
The soft colours in our pictures don’t just magically appear. They are created by all natural circumstances during the picture taking. Around 1pm for instance, the daylight is ‘harsh’, which affects photography. We would then look for shadowy places.
Did you plan for a “First Look” around that time? Locations with neutral colours, sandy coloured and/or greyish shades in buildings and surfaces are a good setting.
We are very grateful that most couples like a “sunset-shoot”: 10-15 minutes before the sun sets, provides the most gorgeous lighting for photographs. It could mean we would have to steal you away from dinner for a little while, but it is so worth it and everyone absolutely loves the results.
Check Google to see at what time the sun sets on your wedding day. About 35 minutes prior, the ‘golden hour’ starts. Are you getting married in the mountains or in a hilly region? Then do bear in mind that the sun will disappear quicker. Unless you’re at the top of the hill of course…
Our dream is to portray you as you are: pure and authentic. During the picture taking, we shall provide you with guidelines -no rules- and shall advice you when/where needed.
AN ‘OFFLINE’ CEREMONY
Of course, as soon as possible, everyone want to ‘share’ how beautiful you two look. One thing’s for sure: your guests can not get enough of it, or of you. Our advice: especially during the main ceremony, it makes for bad pictures when every guest has a mobile phone in front of their face to take their own pictures. We then get to portray screens: not anyone’s face, nor their emotion. We therefore suggest you ask your guests not to take any pictures during the ceremony.
During the rest of the day/event it matters less and does not really bother us.
INTIMATE/PERSONAL WEDDING? OUR 8 DO’S!
1 Plan a Destination Wedding (haha, sorry, but we really love them)
2 Choose a venue where you can also stay overnight
3 Restrict your guest list
4 Write your own vows
5 Choose a special location for getting dressed
6 Plan an outside reception/dinner
7 Plan the picture taking moment(s)
8 Embrace emotions
A WEDDING ALBUM?
Oh yesss, albums are fabulous!
Digital images are ideal to share between friends and family. And not forgetting for the quick trip down memory lane on a rainy Sunday. But looking at pictures on an IPad isn’t thàt romantic. Nor is looking at them on your computer screen whilst sitting at your desk surrounded by stacks of paper and to-do lists….. nah, even worse!
Haha, we make it sound drab, but we’ve got a point, right?!
Why not replace the IPad by some candlelight and a nice glass of wine? And your messy desk by your comfortable sofa?Imagine the touch and feel of a real, heavy and great album. Carefully compiled, just for you. A perfect selection of the most memorable pictures of your day. All of the highlights together in one album. Your album.
A genuine album that you can touch, sniff and feel. Try that on your computer, ha!
WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?
- You have booked us #highfive
- A few weeks prior to your wedding we will ask you to fill out the complete questionnaire.
- It’s time: you are getting married!
- Enjoy your honeymoon; you will receive a small token of our appreciation. *do get a room with good wifi!
- 6 Weeks later: your wedding pictures are ready!