planning and styling
By this point, you've booked us as your wedding photographers, and we can't tell you how excited and grateful we are to celebrate with you and photograph your big day! It's going to be so much fun!
For your convenience, we've put together a planning and styling guide to help you navigate this crazy, wonderful season of your life. Whether you're the type of girl who loves the idea of planning, or the one who puts it off until the last second (we've all been there! haha!), this guide is for you. While you can definitely use this guide on your phone, it is more user friendly on a desktop, due to the amount of information. Though this guide is based off our experience, keep in mind that this is not the only way of doing things. At the end of the day, you should do what makes you happy and what makes sense for you!
Cameron and Elizabeth
Step One: Cast a Vision
It's difficult to accomplish a goal without setting one first. What do you want your wedding to look like? What style are you going for? Moody and romantic? Classic elegance? Or maybe simple and modern? If you aren't sure which style fits you best, take the wedding style quiz to find out! After you've decided the style that suits you, it's time to choose a color pallet. This is usually a range of 3-4 colors that compliment each other well. You'll base everything you plan from here on your pallet, so it's super important! Everything from your bridesmaids dresses to flowers, to small details! If you aren't sure which color pallet to go with, or what your style even looks like, turn to the most helpful wedding resource ever invented: Pinterest! Chances are, you already knew about this amazing resource, and you've technically been pinning for your wedding since you were thirteen. But now that you're engaged, it's time to narrow the focus. Go ahead and create a new board for your wedding, only pinning inspiration that matches your style. You may even create multiple sections within your wedding board to stay organized. For example, maybe create one for pinning dress inspiration, one for the reception, one for the ceremony, etc. The key to eliminating planning stress is organization!
Step Two: Set a Budget
Every wedding budget is different. Every philosophy on a wedding budget is different. Regardless of your budget, your wedding can be the most beautiful, perfect day of your life! Trust us, we've seen it! With intentional planning, you can create a gorgeous wedding no matter your budget. When setting your wedding budget, you obviously need to know a total of how much you can spend. Begin by listing all of your "must haves" that you aren't willing to compromise on. For example, maybe you really, really want real flowers, a great photographer, videographer and a dreamy gown. Allot yourself so much money to spend on the most important parts of your day, then use the rest of your budget for the other parts. You may consider using a really helpful wedding budget planner.
Step Four: The Dress, Then The Rest
Now that the Big Three are planned and ready, it's time to move on and plan the rest of your wedding. The sooner you get it all planned, the more time you'll have for anticipation and excitement! The next most important part to check off the list is your wedding gown (cue all the heart eyes). Keep in mind that you'll probably need or want alterations made to the dress, or it'll have to be ordered, so it may take up to three months to receive your gown. We recommend dress shopping right after booking the Big Three! Depending on where you shop, you can usually have up to four people with you. Based on our own experience and, honestly, too many episodes of Say Yes to the Dress, we recommend only taking those with you who are encouraging. Honest, but definitely encouraging! Finding the perfect wedding gown is such an incredible experience and so much fun, but it can get a little overwhelming if you don't have the right people with you. Find your cheer squad and take them! While you may have an exact idea of the dress you want, keep an open mind. We know multiple people, including our best friend, who knew exactly what they wanted, but ended up loving something totally different in the dressing room. It happens, and it's okay! Once you have the gown of your dreams, you should be sitting pretty, but you may want to create a wedding checklist to stay on track. If you need any other vendor recommendations, check out Arkansas Bride's preferred vendors.
Wedding Day Tips
Of course the first part of a wedding day that comes to our mind is lighting. Lighting plays a large role in your wedding pictures, so it's a super important part of the day! In fact, whenever we create the wedding day timeline for you, it's mostly based around light. While we can make any time of the day look beautiful in pictures, certain times of the day are naturally more gorgeous. Sometimes brides are simply unaware of the impact lighting can have on their images, so we wanted to give you a tip! Unless it's overcast, the best lighting of the day is the "golden hour," which is the last two hours of the day before sunset. If your ceremony is outside, we recommend planning the ceremony toward the beginning of this two hour window. This will provide you with beautifully lit ceremony images and plenty of time for portraits afterward.
Details, details, DETAILS. We really can't express the impact of pretty details! The most important aspect of great details is that they reflect you and your groom! Some details to think about for your wedding include everything from your favorite perfume, stationary, bridal jewelry and shoes, small momentous like your grandmother's special broach, or even a pretty ring box. Your groom might have a bow tie, cuff links, fancy shoes and a nice watch. These are just a few examples that can really enhance your detail pictures! You may even ask your maid of honor to gather these details on the wedding day and organize them into a small box. This alleviates you of worrying about it, and it allows us to begin working as soon as we arrive to the venue.
Perhaps the most important piece of wedding advice that we will give you is this: ENJOY your wedding day! Any former bride can attest to the fact that the wedding day literally flies by in the blink of an eye; and we can agree with that! Our very own wedding was perfect in our eyes, but oh so fast. Be prepared that something may not go as planned, but that doesn't mean it isn't perfect. Sometimes it's those "imperfect" moments that actually become your favorite memories! So slow down a little on your only wedding day, look around at your friends and family, grab your groom by the hand and soak in the precious moments.
engagements and bridals
We include an engagement session with every package we offer, simply because we want to get to know our couples before the wedding day. An engagement session is important for so many reasons! First of all, engagement pictures are likely the only professional pictures you and your fiance will have (other than your wedding, of course), so they'll probably fill some wall space in your living room. Most importantly, this is the most exciting, joyful time of your lives, and it should be documented! These are pictures you'll show your kids and grand kids someday. An engagement session also gives us an opportunity to show you how we work and to introduce some basic poses that we'll likely use on your wedding day. So it's kind of like a really fun practice! Don't be worried if you think you're awkward, or if your fiance isn't a fan of taking pictures. 9 times out of 10, our couples show up feeling awkward and camera shy, but leave having had a great time! We do our best to make you feel as comfortable as possible. Below we've included some helpful tips and tricks in preparing for your engagement session. Remember, though, that this is only a guide and you should ultimately do what makes you happy!
Between your engagement session, bridal session and wedding day, that makes only three days that's all about you. GIRL, if you can, contact your favorite stylist and makeup artist and let them fix you up all three days. Pictures are even a great excuse to get your nails done!
What to Bring to Bridals
Don't get us wrong, we love shooting engagements and your wedding day... but there is just a special place in our hearts for bridal sessions! Maybe it's because we get to see you as a bride before anyone else, maybe it's because you're glowing with joy, or maybe even because it gives us time to create magic with you. Whatever the reason, we love them, and we wish all brides would book a bridal session! When we got married, we actually loved Elizabeth's bridals more than any of our images. There's just something about them! Like engagements, bridals sort of act as a practice for your wedding day, but for different reasons. Before bridals, you've likely only tried on your gown once or twice, so a bridal session gives you the opportunity to get comfortable in your dress and know what to expect on the day of the wedding. A bridal session also gives you the chance to try the hair style and makeup you think you might want for the wedding. So what should you bring to the bridal session? Everything you'll wear on your wedding day! This includes your veil, jewelry, shoes, etc. Though this definitely isn't necessary, we recommend bringing a bouquet made by your florist. Sometimes your florist will create a bridal bouquet for your bridal session for a special rate as long as you've booked them for your wedding. A bridal bouquet adds so much color to your portraits, and gives you a prop to work with! You definitely won't regret it. You'll probably want to bring at least 1-2 people with you to your bridals, to help you carry everything and get changed. The same rule applies to these people as your dress shopping squad - they must be encouraging!