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  • Writer's pictureJennifer Brecheisen

10 Tips for Successful Wedding Formals

So your wedding day is coming up, and you just want to run into your mother's arms, because you are so stressed out!! Welllllll, here are some things to help get you a little less stressed!

I wanted to write this post for the Brides and Grooms out there who don't know what to expect with wedding formals and how to have a low-stress, organized method of planning their day out. A wedding is a celebration for everyone involved and it should be, so planning the photos out in advance can relieve some stress. The most important things to remember are that everyone is present and accounted for and feeling and looking their best. Here are some tips to ensure that you have stunning formals. Most of these are no-brainers, but with the adrenaline and hype and sometimes stress of dealing with all the details, it's easy to overlook some of these things.

1.) Wedding Planner

Hire a wedding planner. This is crucial. If you are having a family member do this, make sure that they are very assertive, organized, and authoritative. Introduce the wedding planner to the photographer and the 4 of you should sit down prior to the wedding to discuss when everything is going to take place during the day.

2.) Itenerary

Have an itenerary written up, and give these to everyone involved in the wedding and a shorter one for everyone that will be involved in the formals. For instance, you may have a niece that won't be partaking in the wedding, but you really want her to be present in some of the formals. It's definitely a good idea to give her the shorter list, so she knows when to be where. The longer itenerary should also be given to the venue, so they know exactly what to expect.

3.) Shot List

Make a shot list of people you'll want in your formals and give this to the wedding planner and photographer. The wedding planner will ensure that everyone is present for the formals you want done with them, and the photographer can check them off the list as they are done. There are plenty of shot lists out there. I have one here that you can use that includes much more than the people involved.

3.) Promptness

Emphasize the importance of being on time! If you have a bridesmaid that's known for being late, then you may even want to tell her the bridal formals are at 2 when they are actually at 3. I'm not joking here guys! If you want to cut down on the stress level of your big day and get those magazine-like pictures, then being prompt and on time is a must for everyone involved. A photographer can be a miracle worker, but there is the element of time that is involved in setting up shots for larger groups, or the sun may at a different place killing the location you originally wanted.

4.) Rounding everyone up

Why is it important for the wedding planner to be assertive and authoritative? They need to be able to wrangle the groomsmen (and sometimes the bridesmaids) and get them to behave! Those fun shots are great for your wedding book and prints, and they are memories you'll want to cherish, but you always want to get the serious ones out of the way first. After the ceremony, people will also want to go in 50 different directions even if they know the itenerary. Someone may want to grab a quick drink or go say hello to "so and so", etc. The wedding planner and itenerary will help to stop these things from happening. The photographer needs to be concentrating on their craft, their job, which is making wonderful photos for you, and to do that effectively they simply cannot be bombarded with these different roles.

5.) Conversation

Have a simple talk with the Wedding Party the week AND the night prior emphasizing the importance of being on time for the formals, looking their best, not drinking too much the night prior, etc. Explain how important this day is to you, and how you want it to go smoothly. I have my tips for the wedding party members here, and it includes lots of things like drinking plenty of water 3 to 4 days prior to the wedding for more glowing skin, NOT drinking excessively the night before the wedding etc. You can print this out and give it to them :)!

6.) Location

Scout out the location WITH the photographer and/or the wedding planner prior to the wedding, and let them know which areas you like best. Together you guys can come up with a plan that works for the times of day the photos will be taking place. If that's not possible, then make sure to communicate in detail to your photog/wedding planner what you're wanting. The Photog should respond with their recommendations.

7.) Hygiene

Drink plenty of water for 3-4 days prior to the wedding. Stay away from foods that irritate your stomach or skin or that make you bloat. Don't consume many fats, sugars, oils, fried foods, greasy foods, etc.

Grooms-have your hair cut about 4 days prior, not the day before, and cut your nails the day before. Everyone needs to be using a good moisturizer for the face/hands, and good skin lotion applied liberally for the week before the wedding. Don't forget that your hands will be focal points during the ring exchange, for the ring pictures, the cake cutting, etc.

Lips-Keep them moisturized for the days leading up to the wedding.

Brides- Ask your stylist about photoready make-up. Make sure they contour your face, etc. You get the idea. Also, caked on make up is never a good idea. If you are applying it yourself, try and keep it light, but make sure to cover your blemishes. Practice your "wedding make up look" and get it just right in the days prior to the big day.

8.) Wedding Dress

Check your dress after your Bridal Photos. It's good to plan these a month in advance. If your dress needs cleaning after your Bridal shots, then you have ample time to get that done. Check your dress the night before the wedding for fuzz or dust or anything tiny and small that could've been overlooked, and then have someone else check it after you've put it on.

9.) Reserved Signs

You may want to hang signs where the formals will be taking place, so that no one wanders over and around during the shot. After the celebration your guests will know that area is off limits for the time being. Having the Wedding Planner available during the shots also helps with this as she can direct if people wander into the shot accidentally. This will also help the venue know that these areas need to be looking their best for the shots.

10.) Hiccups during the formals

Make sure that your wedding party knows that they need to speak up if they've blinked during a shot, or if they feel like they were making a weird face, or anything of this nature. A photographer will not notice if cousin Bubba was blinking during the shot when there are 15 people present! We do our test shots, and then rarely look at the back of our camera after all the settings are in place.

I hope these things will help to alleviate some of the stress involved with your wedding! And Congrats!

Jennifer Brecheisen


Rock Hill SC

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