When I get married…

When that one fine day happens, I’m going to give you a little insight into what I’ll be doing. These little insights come from my wedding photography experience, where I am in life, and also a bit of personal preference.  While I’ve tweeted a few of these thoughts, it’s been really funny to see fellow photographers and filmmakers industry cheering me on with my thoughts.  Great minds think alike, so it is said.

Let me preface by saying I do love weddings on all scales!  So don’t think I’m at all discounting their importance.  It’s my job to capture them, of course.

If you are a newly engaged bride, or perhaps almost there, these might make you think about things you never thought of.

When a wedding photographer gets married – here’s how it’s going to go down…

  1. Request guests to not take photos during ceremony. Sounds mean?  It’s not supposed to.  Let’s start off by politely stating the obvious that their photos are not going to be as good as the professional photographer I’ve hired.  I also don’t wish to be tagged in the photos they take of the ceremony and have those be the first photos the world sees of my big day. And, I don’t want my paid photog to deliver a wide angle shot of my ceremony with guests having iPhones and Casio Exilims in hands above guests heads.  Guests aren’t going to frame those pics, and neither am I.  As a photographer, I can’t tell you how sad I am to try to capture the couple’s family in the audience and their expression and the entire time they have a camera or flip cam blocking their faces.  Also those flashes with the pre-red and green lights jack up my photographer’s shot that he must then turn black and white.  And if their flash goes off at the same time as mine, it’ll throw off his exposure settings and no one will get a good image. So guests, just sit back and enjoy the union of me finally finding THE ONE!
  2. Let my photographer pick my ceremony time & schedule of the day. For me, photos are the most important so I want my photographer (who will be my bestest buddy that day) to determine best lighting for all the outdoor photos.
  3. Do a first look. To pray with my future husband before and share that special moment together before things get all crazy!  And, to make sure we get the best portraits during the best lighting as possible.  Portraits first!  Plus, it’s like bonus when he gets to see me again and no jitters.
  4. Get married outdoors. This is a personal preference for me, since I am a natural light photographer.  Unless it’s freezing.  Or it’s so hot I don’t want to be a sweaty bride.  I look much better in natural light than overhead lighting which gives me dark circles under my eyes.  Some churches don’t allow flash and unless there are some good windows to let light in, shucks!
  5. Limit my family shot list. To maybe 5 shots. Immediate family only.  Aunts and uncles never buy the photos.  And the cousins?  They’d much rather go to the bar and enjoy cocktail hour anyway.  I love my family, but my wedding is not a family reunion time for my photographer to document.
  6. Skip the bouquet and garter toss. This is just because of my age.  By a certain age women do not find it fun going to the dance floor anymore to be reminded that they are single, or they are so disinterested in getting married they dodge the bouquet like the it’s a dead animal flying through the air. No fun.  Then when the guys go out, the like 5 who do.  It’s even more depressing for the women to see what’s left.  Oh my gosh, did I just say that?
  7. Hold the complaints. It might rain.  The cake might drop.  My hair might be flat.  So and so guest might have missed their flight.  At the end of the day – the ONE day that will determine the rest of my life, I just want to be happy.  As long as Mr. Wonderful is there at the end of the aisle, the rest doesn’t and won’t matter. Always maintain a positive perspective of what the day really is about.
  8. Trust who I hired. This ain’t my vendors first rodeo.  Unless, I got them on craigslist, then that might happen.  I hired people who I trust, value and admire.  I know they are doing the best job I hired them to do because I love what they do and their artistic abilities, not because they fit in my budget.  The more I let them be creative, the more pleasantly happy I will be so they can do what they love.
  9. Buy an album and professional prints through your photographer. Because Walgreens and Walmart will make you look horrific.  Because the albums you think you can get on your own do not match the pristine quality of the albums professional photographers are able to have access to.  It’s another investment, but it’s a good one.

And finally…

  • Have a private ceremony. “WHAT?! But you’re a wedding photographer, you have to have a wedding.”  Well, ok.  If I were a wedding planner, then I would plan a wedding. I am a photographer.  Therefore I will have the most awesome photographer my heart and soul desires. (That would be Ryan Ray.)  Private ceremonies aren’t for everyone, just like big blow out weddings aren’t for all either, it’s just a matter of where you feel you are in life, what YOU want that aligns with your perspective of happiness. As long as you and your hubby are satisfied with whatever route you take, do it.
  • Big party reception later. Now that sounds more like me, right?  It’ll be like wedding #2, sorta.  It will be something in my backyard.  Yes, I already know the theme. *wink*

If I were to have a wedding, I would without a doubt hire a wedding coordinator and event planner.  This does not mean the venue coordinator but your own personal one to handle all questions and planning.  It’ll make your day run so smoothly and even the venue coordinator will thank you.  Trust me.  Money well spent for sanity.

If you’ve already been down the aisle, what would you have done differently? I would love to hear!

Diana Elizabeth also prefers an eternity band over a solitaire ring.  See?  She’s pretty untraditional.  She wonders why.  Ah, she’s never been traditional (except for dating, courting and the mandatory obey God’s laws) her entire life!

Diana Elizabeth is an author, photographer, and obsessive thrift shopper. You can typically find her in the garden wrist deep in dirt, at a local estate sale or planning her next epic party. She continues to blog weekly.


  • Cynthia

    “No fun. Then when the guys go out, the like 5 who do. It’s even more depressing for the women to see what’s left. Oh my gosh, did I just say that?”

    Haha. This had me laughing out loud. :)

  • Candice

    I got married last July and I would have changed the size of my wedding. My husband and I wanted a small wedding but my family is huge. We didn’t think until now that we should have had a destination wedding with just the immediate family. bummer.

  • Krystal

    Cant’ wait till you get married!
    What I would have done differently is made more time to visit each table of guests. We had over 200 people and we didn’t make it all the way around…partly for selfish reasons. Since it was our wedding and we love dancing, we wanted to dance, dance, dance! But that is a benefit of having a smaller wedding. Having a whole lot of people sure was fun, though!
    My train on my dress was also falling to pieces at the reception. It would not stay up!!! My wonderful mom had to sew it on! I should have checked that better…
    AND…I never got a solo shot with just my mom-in-law and I! So bummed about that, but I wasn’t thinking of that at the time to ask for it…I shouldn’t have had to!
    Other than those few, minor things, my day was perfect and went by in a flash and it was just amazing! If anything else went wrong, I sure didn’t notice it! Brad and I got into the limo at the end of the night and said…”What just happened! That went by so fast!” Savor every moment!

  • Victoria

    Neat ideas! I’m so with No.1! The ‘Groom shouldn’t see the Bride in the wedding dress before the ceremony’ is not a tradition in most (all?) Asian countries, so that’s not a big issue here. :)

    I’m with you on the small private ceremony! Love that idea! :D


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