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Wedding Style Handbook Sunshine Coast Bride and groom tenderly hold each other's hands. BW tone

Ask the Experts: First-hand Advice for Your Dream Day

Dreamy dresses, beautiful bouquets, and awe-inspiring styling details – at Lovers Like Us, we know how much fun wedding planning can be. But with so many aspects of the planning process to attend to – from finding the right photographer, to choosing the perfect bridal hairstyle – and an abundance of talented suppliers to choose from, it’s easy for any bride to find herself quickly overwhelmed.

When it comes to pre-wedding preparation, there’s nothing better than first hand advice, straight from those within the wedding industry. We’ve asked some of our favourite vendors to answer your most commonly asked questions, so read on for their best tips and words of wisdom.

The Makeup Artists:

What tips would you give a bride who is unsure about her makeup look for the big day?

Jess Connelly from Makeup by Jess: I always recommend for brides to have a trial before their big day. A makeup trial is the perfect opportunity for you to discuss your makeup ideas and it also ensures that you both share the same vision to create the perfect bridal look for your wedding day.

Shayla Howard from Dot & Birdie: Don’t make major changes to your normal formal makeup routine. Stay with colours that you like wearing and feel more like you. It’s not the day to try crazy out-there looks for the first time (exciting as that might be)!

Natalie Hunter from Natalie Hunter Makeup Artist: Stay classic, rather than following trends.

What do brides need to keep in mind when booking a makeup artist, and organising their trials?

Jess Connelly from Makeup by Jess: When booking your makeup trial, it’s important to make sure that you’ve done your research. Choose an artist that will fit in with you and your style. Prior to booking your trial, have a good look through bridal photoshoots, different makeup artists websites and social media platforms to view the recent work that they have done and choose some images that appeal to you. I always suggest having your hair and makeup trials on the same day if possible. Sometimes this isn’t always an option, but where possible try to coordinate your hair dresser and makeup artist for the same day. Seeing your hair and makeup done together after both trials are done is a lovely little sneak peek for you to see how your complete bridal look will come together on the big day.

Shayla Howard from Dot & Birdie: Don’t book your trial too early – a month or two out is best, once you have your entire outfit picked.

What prep/beauty treatments would you suggest brides do in the lead up to their big day, in order to look and feel their best?

Natalie Hunter from Natalie Hunter Makeup Artist: I always suggest starting from the inside out, with a cleansing diet. Lots of water and lots of greens. Facials are a great idea, but stop about two weeks out from the wedding to let the skin settle down.

Jess Connelly from Makeup by Jess: Pre-wedding eyebrow shaping and skin prep is very much a focus for brides at the moment. This is a trend that I hope stays around for the long term! Having a professional shape, design and tint of the brows is absolutely essential to finish off that perfect eyeshadow application and to frame the eyes. Consulting a skin care professional a couple of months out from the wedding day can be a good idea to discuss a treatment plan for your skin if needed. It’s important that your skin is in a healthy condition if possible, to ensure a smooth makeup application. Make sure the skin is well hydrated and don’t forget about your lips! Keep your lips soft and hydrated to enhance that plump, naturally fuller look. Self-love and being happy and comfortable in your own skin on a daily basis has never been more celebrated, so your wedding day shouldn’t be any exception!

What are the most common questions brides ask you about wedding day makeup?

Shayla Howard from Dot & Birdie: What is airbrush? Airbrush is a waterproof HD quality makeup applied with an air compressor. It truly gives you an airbrushed finish. I wouldn’t recommend anything else to my bride. How long does it take? Each makeup takes a minimum of 45 mins. What shades will suit me? It really does vary, so we always recommend trials, so we can play with different tones to come up with a look that you’re comfortable with.

Jess Connelly from Makeup by Jess: The most common question that I get asked by my brides is “Will my makeup last all day?” The answer is YES! As a professional makeup artist, my kit is full of skin prep lotions, primers and setting sprays, just to name a few! These beauty essentials, along with a professionally selected foundation base will give you the peace of mind to know that your makeup will last you all day AND night!

What essential items should a bride have on hand throughout her wedding day?

Natalie Hunter from Natalie Hunter Makeup Artist: I always advise a repair kit, including a powder compact, concealer, blotting papers and a touch-up lipstick.

Shayla Howard from Dot & Birdie: Lipstick, powder and tissues.

Jess Connelly from Makeup by Jess: A pressed powder. Many of our Sunshine Coast brides will agree with me here – our peak wedding season is sometimes warm and very humid! Having a little compact close by is a nice way to keep any excessive shine or perspiration at bay during your professional photos, especially if you’re spending substantial time outdoors on location.

The Hairstylists:

What trends have you noticed this year in hair, and how do you see these being best incorporated/adapted into bridal looks?

Mel from Dot & Birdie: There is an element of undone-perfection coming through in red carpet and catwalk styling. Bridal hair would channel this by taking classic shapes and giving them more of a ‘lived in’ feel, with messier textures being worked through styles.

Nicola Daly from Hair By Nicola: I am finding that in 2017, many brides are leaning towards a bridal look that is minimalistic, with natural hairstyles, such as ponytails, low effortless bun/chignon or hair down with soft waves and movement, or tucked behind an ear or secured with a comb. These styles allow the other elements of the bride’s look to shine and not be in competition.

What tips would you give a bride who is unsure about her hairstyle for the big day?

Evalyn at Evalyn Parsons Hair: Wait until closer to the wedding day to have your hair trial, as the theme of the wedding starts to come together at the end and it’s easier to then select a hair style that works with all the other elements (dress, flowers etc.). Look through magazines and online for inspiration pictures and create a mood board. Don’t look for one picture that is your perfect hair style – rather look for elements of a style that you like (e.g. part line, amount of volume, waves, etc.) Come to the trial with an open mind and let your stylist talk through your ideas and your perfect style will form out of that.

Nicola Daly from Hair By Nicola: When a bride comes to see me for their hair style, I suggest that when it comes to their big day, they aim for a look that allows them to still feel like themselves (just a better version).  All eyes are on you, so it’s important that you choose what’s right for you and your special day.

Mel from Dot & Birdie:  Start with the bigger picture of what hair styles will complement your dress and then work with your stylist so that they find one that perfectly suits you.

What do brides need to keep in mind when booking a hair stylist and organising their trials?

Mel from Dot & Birdie:  Having the skills to create your desired style is always important, but also consider how they listen and care about what they do. You will be spending a good part of your wedding day together, so it’s important that they help you feel relaxed. Bring any accessories to your trial that you hope to have in your hair, so that your stylist can plan the perfect hairstyle around them.

Evalyn at Evalyn Parsons Hair: Look for a hair stylist that creates looks that you love and follow them on social media to get to know what kind of work they are doing. Make sure you lock in your stylist as soon as you have a wedding date and you have found one that you are happy to work with. Dates for hair stylists can book out as quickly as venues and photographers do.

Bridalwear:

What advice would you give brides who are still shopping for their dream dress?

Madison Bryers from White Lily Couture: Keep an open mind, your dream dress could be sitting there on the rack with what we call “no hanger appeal” – meaning it completely transforms when you put it on.  Brides often end up with the dress they never would have thought they would try. The right dress WILL appear. For some it just takes a little longer. Make sure to keep the process fun and enjoy the moment.  Just make sure YOU feel special in the dress.

Gill from Bertossi Brides at Paddington Weddings: Our advice is to only bring a couple of your closest friends and family along to your appointment (it may be tempting to invite the world but it makes it very stressful for you when they all like a different dress!). Do your research online and via magazines beforehand and then pick two or three shops that you like the designs of – any more than this and your head will be spinning and you won’t remember a thing! Never impulse buy – it’s important to go home and sleep on such an important decision. If it is meant to be, your dress will still be there in the morning and you will feel 100% sure it is the right gown.

Some brides have a ‘lightbulb’ moment when trying on a dress, where they realise it’s ‘the one.’ Other brides do not – what would you say to a bride who is struggling to make up her mind between several different options?

Madison Bryers from White Lily Couture: One dress will always sing to you more than the others – even if you don’t think you know it yet! Close your eyes, relax and imagine yourself at the alter taking your vows, or at the venue, champagne in hand chatting to guests – which one can you see yourself in?

Gill from Bertossi Brides at Paddington Weddings: I would say most brides end up loving a few gowns, rather than just putting one on and knowing it is ‘the one’ – so don’t worry, you are not alone. Our advice is to imagine yourself on your wedding day with all your other choices around you and you will find that one dress will fit the setting more and you will feel like yourself in it! Another top tip is to ask the designer. If you have done your research beforehand, you will hopefully be in a store that will give good, honest advice on shape, colour and style. I know for us at Paddington Weddings, we don’t want to make you just any dress, we want to create the perfect dress that flatters your figure, and in a colour that makes your skin glow!

What should a bride look for in a wedding designer?

Madison Bryers from White Lily Couture: One that she feels she has an affinity with, one that speaks to her sense of style and personality, and also quality – a quality dress will always feel beautiful on.  

Gill from Bertossi Brides at Paddington Weddings: Your wedding dress is the most important dress you will ever purchase and will probably be the most expensive! Make sure you go to a trusted company with years of experience that create quality gowns in real silks that will fit like a glove and be comfortable to wear.

What trends/looks can we expect to see in bridal wear in the next 12 months?

Madison Bryers from White Lily Couture: Elegance, decadence and stripped down sheerness. Minimal bridal looks are going to be very popular. We will also see an art deco influence creep into designs with scalloped beaded embellishments, opulent chandelier-esque layered necklines draping down backs and capes, and feathers and bows.  Sheer corsetry and uncovered boning continues to be a big trend, as is beautiful boho with pocketing.  Deep V-necks, side cut outs & off the shoulder styles are also set to be very popular. 

Gill from Bertossi Brides at Paddington Weddings: Our Bertossi Brides gowns at Paddington Weddings are always classic and timeless, and we try to avoid the very obvious trends that come and go in bridal fashion so our brides never look back and regret their choices (think of the 80’s wedding gowns ladies!) If you use pure silks and delicate French laces and cut them to perfection, you are always going to look like a million dollars. In the words of Coco Chanel – fashion changes but style endures.

The Floral Designers:

When it comes to flowers, where should a bride prioritize her budget?

Julia from Ginger Lily and Rose:  I like to get to know the couple before I recommend where they will get the most out of their florals. Some clients love the idea of a garden of flowers for the ceremony, while others prefer to leave the big ‘wow’ factor for the reception, where they and the guests will spend the majority of the evening. Ultimately, we tend to recommend the reception area the most, or at least help the couples to design pieces that can be used on both locations. Couples should also consider the bridal party flowers – if you are on a budget, stick to the bare minimum requirements for your significant others. As soon as you start adding in aunts, uncles and second cousins for buttonholes or corsages, the dollars really add up!

Terrianne from Mondo Floral Designs:  I am a big believer that flowers absolutely make a wedding. A styled floral space will wow your guests, a uniquely styled bouquet will add to your styling and accessorise your gown, and a ceremony floral concept can uniquely transform your chosen space. I always suggest to my clients to focus your budget on the areas that are most important to you. The reception space is the area where most of the time is spent, so it’s a great idea to try and dedicate a larger part of your budget to this area. Of course, a wedding bouquet adds to the overall styling of your wedding day look, so don’t ever compromise that – it’s just as important as that special pair of heels, and plays a big role in your wedding photography!

In the age of Pinterest, when florists are seeing a lot of the same ‘inspiration shots’ from brides, what advice would you give brides who want their floral theme/design to be truly unique?

Terrianne from Mondo Floral Designs:  I think social media platforms and Pinterest are great resources for inspiration, if managed in a positive way. From a creative direction perspective, it’s a wonderful tool for clients to then be able to connect to certain imagery and suggest to me in meetings what they want or maybe don’t like. It is however, our mission to create bespoke designs for our clients and there is something quite special in a uniquely designed bouquet. Much of what we do at Mondo Floral Designs is generated around creating uniquely individual concepts for clients – it’s often why they come to us. If I have a client who wants to push the boundaries, I love to see what they like or what doesn’t appeal to them, so cataloguing inspiration is a great way to achieve the end result, but it’s fabulous for us to then conceptualise something unique and individual for them. Trust is an important factor in this process, so if you have confidence in the ability of your designer to translate your style through florals, and a unique design is something that is important to you, surrender to the process and trust the expert – the results will be amazing.

Julia from Ginger Lily and Rose:  The most important thing to remember when starting your planning is that the space surrounding you (i.e. the venue) is going to play a significant role in determining exactly what you can do to enhance the existing environment. We recommend considering wall colour, natural textures and light present, the dimensions of the room as well as the existence of support features that can aid the construction of any installation. I suggest that brides book their venue prior to checking out Pinterest, otherwise you can get completely LOST with ideas and inspiration!

What will be some of the big trends in wedding florals in the next year?

Julia from Ginger Lily and Rose:  We are seeing a lot of modern ‘grouping’ type arrangements coming through, with an Ikebana feel of isolation and the seclusion of certain blooms within an arrangement. Phalaenopsis orchids will continue their dominance in the field of modern, clean and elegant design; while dark colours will be teamed with pastels to give an almost monochrome contrast to the look. Foliage will continue to play a huge role. Rustic is definitely out this year, and couples are feeling far more adventurous with their options to create unique styling!

Terrianne from Mondo Floral Designs:  I see a trend of chic, clean-line floral designs, with architectural foliage accents and luxurious blooms such as Phalaenopsis orchids and voluptuous roses. While colour will always be appealing, I see a return to white-on-white floral concepts with interesting textural foliage and greenery accents. The last word – BIG ceremony floral concepts – 2017 will bring back the floral wow to where you say ‘I Do.’

If there was one tip you could give to brides to be, what would that be?

Terrianne from Mondo Floral Designs: Don’t compromise on your flowers – your wedding day is the one day where a girl needs to splurge! I also recommend doing your research on seasonality, to find out when your dream flower is available. I have seen many clients who have chosen their date without having an understanding of the available flowers for that month and who are then heartbroken because their favourite blooms are not available. Finally, engage a professional floral designer to create your wedding flowers. A talented and reputable floral designer can help you create your dream floral concept, and if flowers are important to you, hunt out the best from the rest!

Julia from Ginger Lily and Rose:  If you’ve been planning your wedding for a while, and you follow the leaders in the industry, don’t be tempted to search high and low for the ultimate ‘bargain’. Quality styling and service takes manpower, knowledge and industry experience – which always comes at a cost. This cost however, is offset by building trust and confidence that the wedding you are dreaming of is going to be delivered with precision and professionalism. A good florist will give you what you ask for, and not much else – but a truly passionate, artistic and inspiring florist will allow you to create a wedding that uses new ideas and premium materials sourced from all over the world. Don’t settle for second best!

The Wedding Stylists:

Some brides are confused by the terms ‘wedding stylist’ and ‘wedding planner’ – could you explain the difference between what you do (wedding styling) and the role of a wedding planner?

Trudy Croad from Lovebird Weddings: The roles of wedding planning versus wedding styling are quite different. A wedding planner coordinates the elements of the day, which includes sourcing venues, hiring all suppliers, and then creating the order of the day which ties all these elements together. Styling becomes a subset of this, as it is the creative element that gels all the pieces together. Wedding styling is about creative concepts, the choice of furniture and decor, and direct assistance with all the other creative elements of the day, such as stationery, florals and cake designs, to ensure a beautiful synergy in all aspects of a wedding day.

Carly Baum from CL Weddings and Events: A wedding planner has expertise in the planning and management of all aspects involved in the wedding. They’re the logistics, and backbone of the wedding day. Wedding planners manage and execute and have a full comprehension of the entire event’s requirements. A wedding stylist is the creative – they’ve designed and curated alongside handpicked suppliers to bring forth the aesthetic of the couple’s wedding day. All aspects of design and what makes the wedding day so personal and richly suited to that particular couple, is created by the wedding stylist and her team of creative suppliers, such as florists, cake designers, stationers, decor hire specialists and lighting designers. 

What are the biggest advantages in hiring a professional to style your day?

Trudy Croad from Lovebird Weddings: When you hire a stylist, you are hiring a creative professional. Their job is to inspire you with creative concepts, to have a dynamic approach to styling, and to personalise your wedding so that it really feels like you. They should be able to take your wedding into real “wow” territory in a very seamless, professional, and fun way.

Latoya Rodriguez from Deep Love Weddings: Having a professional who understands your style and creative vision ensures that this flows through every element on the big day. A stylist will bring every detail together to create something that is truly unique to you.

Carly Baum from CL Weddings and Events: Aside from having one specialised creative director working with your style and vision, a great stylist will search high and low to find the prefect pieces for your day and will personally set up and pack-down all of the elements.  Having the styling team handle this will save you money on individual decor & hire companies’ set up and pack down fees. 

What should a couple look for in a wedding stylist?

Trudy Croad from Lovebird Weddings: A good listener. It’s a huge responsibility to take on the styling of someone’s big day. It requires trust – and trust is earned when you really do make an effort to completely understand what is inside a couple’s head, and how they imagine their day to be. This means that your stylist needs to be a good listener, able to take your brief and deliver on it. Secondly, your stylist needs to be creative, and have the ability to create unique ideas for you, and to personalise your day to really reflect your style. Finally, your stylist needs to be committed to delivering your day perfectly, with each piece personally hand-picked and presented with care and attention.

Latoya Rodriguez from Deep Love Weddings: Brides should look for a stylist who is passionate, creative and driven. Looking at someone’s portfolio is a great way to get an idea of how they work and whether they are what you are after. I recommend making an appointment with a stylist, telling them what you do and don’t like, and asking them to create a mood board of inspiration images that they think would reflect that style. This is a useful tool to ensure all suppliers and vendors run with the style and their details complement one another.

What does a wedding stylist do on the actual day of the wedding?

Carly Baum from CL Weddings and Events:  Your wedding stylist will be managing the necessary creative suppliers that will be working together to bring forth the design and aesthetic for the occasion. You would expect to see your stylist at both wedding ceremony and reception set up, overseeing the suppliers involved, ensuring all aspects of the design are delivered and of course setting up your decor hire and any stationery design. Your wedding stylist would then return for all bump out and pack down requirements

Latoya Rodriguez from Deep Love Weddings: In a nutshell, a stylist ‘makes things breathtakingly beautiful’.  Your stylist will bring all the organised elements together, set them up and make them flow into a beautifully styled atmosphere.

What do you see as some of the biggest styling trends for weddings in the next 12 months?

Trudy Croad from Lovebird Weddings: We believe that beautiful crockery, cutlery and glassware will have more of a place at wedding reception tables in 2018. Table linen will still be a big part of table styling details and flowers will never be out of trend. 

Latoya Rodriguez from Deep Love Weddings: Festival Bohemian weddings are trending at the moment, as are weddings with a bohemian luxe vibe.

Carly Baum from CL Weddings and Events:  Contemporary and clean styling, geometrics, wire furniture, and simple elegant pieces. Fabrics will be big, with more options available for table cloths and napkins in gorgeous fabrics, as well as a bigger choice in table design and colour, for those who don’t want to do cloths. I also think the trend in rustic styling will dissipate and contemporary coastal will return.

The Wedding Planners:

What are the biggest advantages to hiring a professional to plan your day?

Latoya Rodriguez from Deep Love Weddings: Your wedding day is something that every woman thinks about and plans for, from when they were a little girl. It can at times be overwhelming and stressful ensuring that you have dotted all your I’s and crossed all your T’s. A professional planner is like a specialised BFF in all things wedding – someone who will creatively bring your wedding to life, without the worry or stress of you missing anything.

Carly Baum from CL Weddings and Events: First and foremost, planners will have first-hand knowledge of supporting suppliers that will be best suited to the couple and their wedding day needs. There are so many amazing suppliers in the wedding industry, so having a knowledgeable planner to sort through the options and present the bride and groom with their best fit, can save them from a time consuming and sometimes, emotion-fuelled process. 

What makes an amazing wedding planner?

Carly Baum from CL Weddings and Events: Someone who listens to what the couple wants. An experienced planner will have an understanding of all aspects of a wedding day, not just how to book the suppliers. An amazing planner is experienced and can anticipate things before they go wrong. Being organised is important, but being flexible and capable of thinking fast in order to solve problems is vital.

Latoya Rodriguez from Deep Love Weddings:  Someone who has exceptional organisational skills, a creative mind and real drive. Weddings are all about love and passion and bringing out the unique style and personalities of both the bride and the groom.

Some brides need someone to plan their whole day, start to finish, whereas others just want some extra help in certain areas – could you tell us a little more about the different types of services/planning packages you offer?

Latoya Rodriguez from Deep Love Weddings: Deep Love Weddings offers an entire planning package where we are with you every step of the way, from start to finish. This includes creating Pinterest boards, booking vendors, sending payment reminders, creating floor plans and run sheets, as well as on the day planning and co-ordination. We also offer packages for purely on the day co-ordination, where we create a run sheet for all vendors and suppliers and are on the premises making sure everything goes smoothly and is completed to perfection. We also offer a package where we find and book in all you need for your day, researching and providing you with quotes and alternative options to suit your needs and your budget. We can do as little or as much as you like and can customise a package for you individually.

Carly Baum from CL Weddings and Events: Another option is to have our team step in at 6 weeks prior to the wedding date. This is perfect for couples who like to be in charge of their planning and supplier bookings, but want to hand over the on-the-day-work to a dedicated professional who can execute it in a manner that reflects all of their hard work and planning. This option is hugely popular for couples who don’t want their family or friends to do any work on the day. 

The Photographers:

Choosing a photographer would be one of the most crucial decisions a couple makes in terms of wedding planning – after all, the photographs are the lasting record of their wedding once the day has come and gone. What percentage of their budget should couples therefore dedicate to photography?

Leah from Bliss Photography by Leah: Your wedding day is a huge investment. Time, effort and budget play a big role in making decisions about how you see your day coming together. When making these decisions you need to be clear on how much you are spending and where. According to ASIC, the average wedding is costing couples $36,200 and 10-12% of that is spent on a photographer.

Liz James from Soda Wedding Photography: Most commonly, photography and videography comes in at around 10-12%. While these breakdowns can be a great starting point for wedding planning, like anything, I really believe this decision is unique to each couple. My advice would be to do your research, but ultimately choose a photographer based on the feeling you get when you look at their work. Catch up with the photographer to see if you hit it off – after all you will be spending A LOT of time with them on one of the biggest days of your life! I think choosing personality over price is really important.

Marcus Bell from Studio Impressions: I recommend identifying the 3-5 things that are important to you to have on your wedding day. For example, good food, good music and great photography were a big part of our lives and so at our wedding, we allocated more to these things than we did to other aspects of our wedding because it helped to create a day that truly reflected us. We also invested a higher percentage in the things that we would have forever after the wedding – the photos and our rings.

What questions should couples ensure they ask a potential photographer?

Calli Burnett from Calli B Photography: Couples should make sure they understand what is included in their photography package and when they should expect delivery of images/albums etc. They should also understand how the day will progress in relation to the photography – i.e. discuss a schedule of the day. Check whether the photographer knows the venue and some locations nearby for their photos. Find out contingency plans if the weather is bad or if the photographer is sick.

Marcus Bell from Studio Impressions: How many weddings have you photographed? (Consider the depth of their experience) Can I see some examples of full wedding albums? (Look for consistent high quality and originality in their work) Are you a member of the AIPP? (This shows they have met a professional industry standard and offers you some protection through the ACCC). Have you ever photographed a wedding similar to mine and what did you do? Include some specifics about your wedding like – venue or time of day or culture – and find out how they might handle any unique challenges that your wedding might present, such as night-time photography, family feuds or tight timeframes. A more experienced photographer will have handled a wide variety of situations, will think on their feet and will remain calm no matter what – that experience can be priceless.

How important is it for a bride and groom to know what they want in their photographs (ie should they provide a shot list, state preferences on posed vs candid, colour vs black and white?) Or is it best to leave it to the photographer?

Calli Burnett from Calli B Photography: It’s generally best to leave it to the photographer, although I do recommend advising if there are some really special items/people/moments etc. that the photographer needs to be aware of. If you have a check list of images you want captured, please don’t put everything on it – just the things you think we won’t be aware of, or something different to what we normally capture. A long list of image requests can mean we’re looking at paperwork all day and may miss something else. While it’s great to get inspiration from Pinterest or other photographer’s websites, it can be difficult to re-create an image due to different light, location, weather etc. We’re happy to receive these images but please keep them to a minimum and be aware that you may not get exactly the same shot.

Liz James from Soda Wedding Photography: If you have chosen your photographer because you love their work and have complete faith in them as a professional, you shouldn’t need to provide a shot list. There are a million little things going on during a wedding, and your photographer is there to capture them all in their unique style. Don’t get me wrong, it is extremely important to chat about specific formal photos and family photo combinations, but other than that, you should be having so much fun that you forget you’re having your photo taken at all… not ticking poses off a list!

Marcus Bell from Studio Impressions: It’s a balance. A couple should choose a photographer who has a photographic style that they love, then they should provide the photographer with details of their day that are important to them and that they definitely want a photo of – this should include people, things, places or rituals/moments. Then they should relax and let the photographer do their thing. A great photographer will have the skill and creativity to get all you wanted and so much more.

What makes a ‘perfect shot’? How can brides and grooms assist photographers in getting the best possible captures of their day?

Liz James from Soda Wedding Photography: A little bit of planning in the lead up to the wedding can ensure you get those ‘perfect’ shots. Beautiful photos are all about the right light. If you are booking somewhere to get ready the morning of the wedding, make sure it has plenty of natural light. This will ensure your photos are beautiful, clean and crisp. Also, when you are chatting to your photographer about bridal party photos, make sure you have enough time allocated between the ceremony and reception if you are planning to go off-site. Generally, the best time for location photos will be in the late afternoon, about one hour before the sun sets.

Marcus Bell from Studio Impressions: Connection makes the perfect shot. You can feel the moment! How can a couple assist? Be in the moment – every moment – and relax and enjoy every second of that one magical day. Do that & I’ll give you a perfect shot or maybe a few hundred of them!

What are your thoughts on ‘first look’ sessions? To do or not to do?

Liz James from Soda Wedding Photography: I’ve done some really beautiful first look sessions. They are so intimate and romantic, perfect to ease the nerves before the ceremony. They can also save some time after the ceremony if the couple doesn’t want to be away from their guests for too long. I am happy to do whatever my couples want on the day and make that work – it’s the most important day of their lives after all! My advice is to throw the wedding rule-book out the window and make the day unique to you as a couple.

Leah from Bliss Photography by Leah: Call me old fashioned, but I like the look on the groom’s face when he sees his bride for the first time walking down the aisle. I have photographed a first look before and while it was just beautiful for me, it took that emotion away. Don’t get me wrong – he still looked surprised and emotional but not as much.

Calli Burnett from Calli B Photography: I think if the circumstances require it (it’s normally due to timing), it’s a great idea. It means the couple can mingle with their guests straight after the ceremony rather than leaving for photos.

If you could offer first-hand advice to a bride and groom who are nervous about having their photo taken, what would it be?

Marcus Bell from Studio Impressions: Forget about the photos. Focus on marrying this amazing person you’ve chosen. Enjoy your friends and family. Breathe deep. Smile. Drink it in. Let me worry about the photos. After all, the best photos are ALWAYS the ones you didn’t even know were being taken.

Liz James from Soda Wedding Photography: Don’t worry! I have never met with a couple that isn’t a little nervous about having their photo taken. If you’ve chosen the right photographer, they should feel like another friend along for the ride on your wedding day. They will be able to relax your whole bridal party and get everyone to have a fantastic time, all while creating beautiful images. I do a little internal happy dance every time I get feedback like, “we forgot you were even taking photos” and “you made it so easy and fun.” That is my ultimate goal! When I am shooting a wedding, I always try and think about how I would want my photographer and wedding photos to be, and then I try and top that.

Calli Burnett from Calli B Photography: Have a practice run – an engagement shoot/pre wedding shoot can give a couple an idea of how the location photos will be and get them used to the camera and photographer. On the wedding day, it can sometimes be uncomfortable getting photos as a couple with an audience, therefore I often suggest to have the first half of the session with the full bridal party and then allow some time afterwards just for couple shots.

Leah from Bliss Photography by Leah: Just relax and have fun with it. Choose a photographer who you feel comfortable with. If you have the opportunity, have an engagement photo session to get a feel of what it will be like on your wedding day and also get to know your photographer.

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