After working multiple weddings and being a part of the Colorado wedding industry for a while now I have seen a lot of what works and what doesn’t work for a wedding from a photographer’s perspective. This is why I decided to put this article together to pass along some of my experience to you as you plan your own wedding. Having that professional insight from someone who’s seen it all when it comes to weddings can really help make your planning process so much more manageable and less stressful.
What to Look for When Hiring a Wedding Photographer
When hiring a wedding photographer you will want to book them based on both the wants you have for your wedding photos and the experience they provide. As a documentary photographer based in Colorado my wedding albums and photos focus more on capturing the experience of your day as it happens. This leads to your photos having a truly authentic feel to them and lets you relive the moment as it happened when you look back at your photo album. This experience that I provide is totally different from other photographers and may not be the best fit for every couple, and that’s totally fine! There are a lot of incredible photographers out there that have a more traditional, editorial, or fine art style to their work that might be more in line with what someone is looking for.
When hiring your wedding photographer, talk with your partner about what you envision your wedding album to look like. What do you want the photos to make you feel, and what kind of experience do you want your photographer to provide? Once you have an idea on what you’re looking for, start looking for photographers in your area either through Google or Instagram with searches like #coloradoweddingphotographer and find a photographer that best fits your vision!
Unpopular Opinion: Don’t Hire Videographers
Yes, I said it. Unfortunately with today’s style of filming that is most popular in the wedding industry, many wedding videographers have become invasive to the wedding day and pull you out of the experience you’re trying to live in. In my experience with working with videographers as a Colorado wedding photographer, they often make you re-do moments that have happened organically throughout your wedding day, just to get the footage and can cause you to lose the authenticity of your wedding day. This is fine for some, but if you’re like me where authenticity and capturing the moment as it happens is everything, stick to just a photographer. If you do really want a videographer for your wedding ask your photographer if they have any recommendations that don’t interfere and throw off the flow of your day.
Book Your Wedding Vendors Early
When it comes to booking your wedding vendors, especially must have wedding vendors, it is important to start booking them early. As your wedding day gets closer, it will become harder and harder to find vendors that fit the vision of your wedding day that are available on your date. Because so many wedding vendors run their businesses as solo-prenuers, most of them do put a cap on how many wedding days they will take on in a year! So as soon as you have booked a venue and chosen a date, begin working through the list of vendors you hope to book and lock them in so that you can have a full wedding team on the big day.
Choose a Venue with Protection from the Elements
If you are planning an outdoor wedding, it’s important to be sure that your venue has a plan and space for you to protect your guests from the elements whether it be rain or sun. Shade is SUPER important on sunny days for your guests as well as for you and your partner and your wedding party! Having an indoor space in case of rain is also a huge plus and something you should look for when deciding on a wedding venue. If you’re looking for a list of amazing wedding venues to get your search started you’re in luck as I already have an article about my 8 favorite intimate wedding venues in Colorado as a wedding photographer.
Choose a Colorado Wedding Venue that Lets You in Early
When picking your Colorado Wedding venue, be sure to ask the venues what the earliest is that you are allowed on site on your wedding day. As a Colorado wedding photographer, I have found that there are quite a few venues in Colorado that won’t let couples on site until 4pm with a 5pm ceremony. Not only can this be a big inconvenience for set up and getting ready, but it also can rob you of part of your wedding day in my opinion. In general, if your wedding venue will allow you to access the site in the late morning and early afternoon, this will give you and your loved ones plenty of time to prep for your day and celebrate with some quality time together before the craziness of the day gets underway.
Keep Your Wedding Day in a Centralized Location
Keeping your wedding in a single location is key to a non stressful wedding day and helps your photographer to get better images, and more images in general, so you aren’t stuck driving around from location to location. This also creates a more relaxed experience for you and your guests which is huge. Many Colorado wedding venues have a LOT of space for guests to roam around and explore which is a huge plus for them and your photographer. I highly recommend prioritizing space on your wedding day and finding a wedding venue that can host the majority of your day and give your guests plenty of space to roam around.
Have Toasters Stand Next to You During Speeches
Having the people toasting the two of you on your wedding day, not only makes for better photos on your wedding day, but also makes for a better experience for your guests. As a Colorado wedding photographer and in photographing so many weddings over the years, I have found that having your toasters next to you, makes it easier for guests to watch your day unfold. Guests can see your reactions and your love you feel towards your toasters as well as each other all at one. You can also connect with your toasters so much more by having them be so close to you.
Be Intentional with Your Getting Ready Space
Pick a getting ready space that has plenty of light, plenty of space, and a great location in proximity to your wedding venue if one isn’t on site. This will allow you and all of the vendors on your wedding day team to have a more relaxed experience and erase a lot of potential headaches for them and you. With having a beautiful and open space, you and your loved ones will have space to take your time getting ready on your wedding day.
If your venue has getting ready spaces available for you and your partner I do always recommend taking advantage of those spaces. If they do not though, choose an off site location intentionally so that it is close to your venue and a beautiful backdrop for you to start off your wedding day. As your Colorado wedding photographer if your venue doesn’t have a getting ready space available let me know and I can help you plan for one that is close to your venue.
Hold Hands During Your Ceremony
Once you make your way down the aisle, pass off your bouquet(s) to someone who is standing with you or sitting in the front row so you can hold each other’s hands during your ceremony. Holding hands during your wedding ceremony does a couple of things that are great for your experience throughout your ceremony. One, it keeps you connected, and allows you to communicate with your partner in a physical way throughout your ceremony. Two, holding hands will keep you grounded. You will be able to focus on your partner so much easier while holding hands during your ceremony.
Last but not least (this one is super helpful for your wedding photographer) it will also be easier to make sure you and your partner are centered down the aisle during your ceremony. As your Colorado wedding photographer I know that symmetry of your ceremony shots is at the end of your priority list in terms of what you’re thinking in this moment. That’s why I recommend you hold hands as you’re walking down the aisle. You will be happy to see that symmetry when you look at your photos 10 years from now, or in your framed images throughout your home.
Kiss in the Aisle After Walking Back Down the Aisle
As a wedding photographer, I ALWAYS remind my couples to sneak in one more kiss after the ceremony as they’re walking down the aisle. Especially when it comes to Colorado weddings, ceremony locations are absolutely gorgeous, so snapping one more picture of you two kissing before heading down the rest of the aisle as newly weds makes for such a beautiful keepsake photo and something I always recommend as your photographer. This also will really hype up your guests as you’re leaving your ceremony and get them ready to bring all of the energy at your cocktail hour and the reception.
Experience Your Day with Your Partner
As you’re navigating your wedding day, try to stay close to your partner throughout the day so that you can experience your wedding day together. Staying close to your partner will not only give you more candid photos together but also allows you to connect with your guests and enjoy your wedding day together! Give yourself little moments of time to sneak away too so you can reflect on your day, and giggle about all the excitement happening around you.
Build in Time for Golden Hour Couple Portraits
I may be biased, but as a Colorado wedding photographer, I have to say we have some of the BEST and most scenic wedding venues, and some of the coolest sunsets in the country. Planning golden hour couples portraits into your wedding day does a handful of things for your experience on your wedding day. One, you have the opportunity to explore your gorgeous wedding venue with your partner. Two, you get much more variety in your wedding portraits and your final wedding album.
Then three, there is something so cathartic about watching the sunset on your wedding day. Taking a moment with your partner to soak in the final moments of sunshine on your wedding day and slow down with one another will help you to connect with one another and soak in the day before you continue on to the big celebration that will come with the dance floor opening.
Give Yourself Space to Have Fun on Your Wedding Day
Have fun on your wedding day and don’t be afraid to be silly or emotional. Giving yourself space to pause throughout your wedding day in your timeline and be present with the people around you is something that I always encourage my couples to do. This will give you the opportunity to feel different feelings, whether they be fun and exciting feelings, or more emotional feelings while surrounded by your family and friends. As a Colorado wedding photographer, there are so many sights and experiences to soak in during your wedding day, it can feel overwhelming if you don’t give yourself the space to feel them.
A wedding day is a huge experience in your lives together and really catapults you into this next stage of your lives as a couple. As a Colorado wedding photographer I know how stressful this can be to some couples, and it shouldn’t feel that way. You should be able to relax and enjoy your wedding day through and through. Follow along with these tips to set yourselves and your wedding day up for success, and if you still need a photographer for your wedding day head to my contact page here!