I'd venture to say that if you've landed on our site, your wedding photos are important to you- as they should be. I won't go through the spiel, about how they're all thats left after the cake is eaten and the guests are gone, just know its true. Hiring a quality photographer is important, but there are a few things you can do to make your photos even better.

1. Keep it bright, keep it tidy.
This may seem simple, but it makes a huge difference. When you're deciding where to get ready, choose a space that has nice natural light, minimal clutter, and is spacious enough to move around in. This doesn't have to be the room everyone gets ready in, but it should be the room you put your dress on in. This room should be clear of bags, hangers, snacks, and trash. Keep it minimal. I love doritos as much as the next person, but I do not love doritos in the background of your beautiful bridal photos. I know wedding days are hectic, but assign someone to tidy up the space, or designate an area where snacks can be eaten and bags can be stored. 
If your venue doesn't have a good bridal suite, consider renting a hotel room or, my personal favorite, an Airbnb. 

Bonus Tip : Have the guys do the same.

The Standard Knoxville Wedding Venue Bridal Suite

2. Its in the Details. 
When you're planning your details, go ahead and include an extra set of your stationery (envelope included), a nice hanger for your dress, and any other things that are special about you on your wedding day, like the perfume you'll wear. Guys, do the same. Lay out your tie, cufflinks, shoes, etc. Also, if you're feeling extra extra, ask your florist for a few extra sprigs of greenery or one or two extra focal flowers. These can make beautiful additions to the styling of your details. Have all of your details gathered up and ready to photograph. 

popart wedding invitations

3. Consider The Background
When you're picking your ceremony site, keep in mind that you have 2 backgrounds to consider. One is obvious, the altar where you'll stand. The other is often overlooked, looking down the aisle, where you'll enter. The last thing you want is a whole bunch of Honda Accords littering the sweet moment your dad takes your arm and begins walking you toward your future spouse. Parking is obviously limited at some venues, but if you have the option, choose an area not visible from the ceremony site. This is where day of coordinators can help as well. They'll be able tell where the cutoff needs to be for cars to not be seen. Some venues and coordinators also offer a valet service- take them up on that. Photographers can do a lot in photoshop, but removing a sea of midsize SUVs may not be possible. 

Bonus Tip: The sun should be behind the altar, if possible.

estate of grace farm ceremony fall

4. Snag an Engagement Sesh
Y'all, there's a reason so many photographers offer their engagement sessions complimentary- its so we can all get nice and comfy with each other. We want to meet with you pre-wedding day jitters and make sure we're all on the same page. This will give you a chance to get to know your photographer a little better (and vice versa) but it will mainly get you comfortable with their shooting style. Maybe it's just me, but I've noticed that most men who get a chance to do an engagement session with the wedding photographer end up being much much much more relaxed on the wedding day. So, even though your friend who is in the wedding may be an awesome photographer, if she isn't shooting the wedding, do the engagement session with the person (or team) who is. 
Bonus tip: Some photographers also offer bridal sessions and boudoir sessions, grab one of those as well!

Knoxville free engagement session photographer

5. No Cheesin'!
Candids. Candids candids candids. Mama bear, you don't have to yell out "turn around and smile" to the kiddos. I promise you, the photographer knows what they're doing and the candids are worth it. Make sure you let your friends and family know that they don't have to freeze up and fake smile whenever they see a camera, they can relax! Don't worry, we'll get plenty of posed photos too, but part of documenting the wedding day is capturing it as its happening. Nothing can ruin a moment quicker than someone yelling "smile." 

Estate of Grace Farm Knoxville Candid bridesmaids wine dress

6. Pick the Pros
Okay, I lied, I am going to do my spiel. I can't stress this enough. I believe that everyone starts somewhere, but I also believe your wedding day is not an ideal place to start. Pick vendors who KNOW what they're doing. Pick vendors who can navigate your day with grace and without hesitation. Pick vendors you genuinely like. I LOVED (and still do) my wedding photographer. I didn't feel rushed or stressed or anything other than happy. I also had a coordinator helping keep things flowing. Our florist was a seasoned pro who made exactly what I wanted, and my hair and makeup team left me feeling like a princess. My DJ kept the party lit (cringe, but I can't think of a better way to describe it) and my food was exceptional. My venue was the icing on the cake, (ha) and left me wanting to live there. Y'all, we did all of our wedding on a budget and still had everything we could have wanted. Skip the things nobody remembers, like the cocktail napkins and koozies, and spend a little more on vendors who "get" you. They're well worth it, I promise you. 

jesse and quinn winx photo

Bonus Tips
Don't get too turnt before the ceremony or photos. 
- Remind your bridal party they're being heavily documented, so no nose picking and tone down the RBF
- Tell your photographer if there is something special you want photographed
- Don't do something just because its trendy.
- Pros don't need a shot list. We know what we're doing, I promise
- Kiss a little longer than you normally would. 
- Take time for yourself and your new spouse. Those moments are fleeting and beautiful.

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