There are so many special moments to be captured on your wedding day! Family portraits are a great way to remember what loved one’s were there to celebrate with you. Depending on the size of your family, this process may be quick or take a little while. The best way to ensure it goes by smoothly and everyone gets a photography is to be prepared! I’ve put together some tips for how to prepare for fast and organized family portraits.
Once your RSPV’s have come back and you know who will be attending the wedding start by making a list of everyone who will be attending the “family portrait” portion of the wedding. This typically takes place right after the ceremony. It is important to make a list because sometimes it is more than just family who needs to stay. It is also important to let anyone who should be staying that they are on the list, so they don’t leave!
After you’ve made you list it’s time to start organizing it! I recommend starting with one partner’s side of the family and then work your way to the other’s. Write down all the different groupings you’d like photographed. Parents, siblings, grandparents, etc. Narrow your groupings down to the exact photographs you want. What I mean by this is if you want photographs with each grandparent, write them down individually (ie. picture with Grandma, picture with Grandpa, and picture with Grandma AND Grandpa). This way there is no confusion between you and your photographer. There will be so much going on that you may not remember that you wanted individual pictures with them and if you don’t write it down you will likely just get a group photo.
When you are done creating all your groupings it is important to share the list with your photographer! If you have a wedding planner or a day of coordinator it is important to share with them, as well. If you want everyone to be informed, you can also share it with anyone who is on your list so they know they need to stay back after the ceremony. When they ceremony is over, have the Officiant make an announcement reminding anyone who is taking family portraits to stay back instead of leaving.
List, or no list, you’re wedding day is going to be perfect! Family members will hang back so they can be photographed with the Newlyweds and then head to the reception. Being prepared just helps move the process along quickly!
Aimee and Dakota had an intimate backyard wedding at their family’s farm where they began dating. The day was filled with love and memories of their relationship!
It was a bright Spring day when they got married under a beautiful oak tree surrounded by all their loved ones. The bridesmaids wore dark green satin dresses that complemented their burnt orange, pink, and white bouquets wonderfully. The groomsmen wore tan vests with green ties to compliment the bridesmaid’s dresses. The wedding party was a fun group!
Some of the couple’s favorite parts of the day were their first look and the donut wall at the reception! Their first look was so sweet. It is a great way to have a special moment as a couple before walking down the isle! The donut wall was a unique and tasty touch to their celebration.
Aimee’s advice for anyone who is getting married soon is to take a minute to take it all in. She was given the same advice before her ceremony and she said it helped her be very present and able to have a clear memory of the most important day!
Thank you Aimee and Dakota for allowing me to be apart of your big day! I will always be a fan of an intimate backyard wedding!
Kirsten and Ryan’s wedding day with just their family and a few friends was in the beautiful Overland Park Arboretum. And it was such a stunning wedding venue. Highly recommend it to my Kansas City Brides!
Following their wedding they had an intimate dinner at Wandering Vine at the Castle. They road in a vintage getaway car they borrowed from their dad to the reception dinner! How cool is it to have all those special details on the day? This wedding was full of them and I am always a fan of that.
We made sure to make time for a first look separate from their ceremony to have a few moments to themselves too. You’ll see lots of private, meaningful moments in this day and it was so sweet to capture those moments for these two.
Kristen also has great taste in florals and her dream bouquet came to life that day. Make sure you scroll down to see it!! It was full of happy color which is so fitting for them! They are two of the most genuine people ever and deserved this day to be perfect. I was so honored to see all these special memories being made.
I loved being able to share my wedding experience with them for their Overland Park Arboretum wedding day on the blog. Kristen and Ryan, I wish you both the best life together! Thank you for letting me share this day with you!
I know it’s hard to imagine now (in the heat of July!) but Kansas City winters are COLD. As a Kansas City photographer I’m shooting weddings year round, so I’ve seen my fair share of winter weddings. If you’re planning a winter wedding this blog is for YOU.
If your dream is to have a wedding ceremony with white snowflakes floating through the air, wearing the ice queen dress of your dreams, with snow frosting the trees, as your guests bask in the beautiful oasis of your love, I get it.
Be crystal clear on your wedding invites that the ceremony will be outside so that everyone can dress accordingly. I’ve seen some couples offer blankets as wedding favors. I’ve also been to a couple weddings where they set out space heaters! I promise your guests will appreciate the forethought.
Work with your officiant to plan a wedding ceremony that doesn’t last more than 30 minutes or so. Everyone is excited about your big day and wants to focus on that without the distraction of numb fingers or toes!!
This is a cute way to get the outside vibe while providing coverage from any inclement Kansas City weather. Make sure to ask if the tent rental company needs insurance! Also ask if they’ll set it up for you. If not, plan accordingly to have some friends set it up the morning of or the day before. You can use cute lights to decorate the ceiling, or hang lanterns around to add to the ambiance.
I definitely recommend an indoor wedding reception venue so your guests can be comfortable while they eat, mingle, dance, & hang out. If your dream has always been a beautiful outdoor ceremony, ask your wedding venue what their backup plan is in case of inclement weather.
Last minute weather situations are why I always suggest hiring a wedding planner as well! They can work with the staff & the team of vendors on the backup plan. Planning ahead and delegating jobs means you can enjoy your winter wonderland wedding day worry free.
You could even have this available before the wedding ceremony! This is a fun way to keep everyone warm and to really make it a winter themed wedding. Offer toppings like whipped cream, marshmallows, or candy canes. It’s a cozy and memorable treat everyone will love.
You deserve to have the wedding of your dreams. No matter the season, your wedding will be beautiful and your love will be everlasting. For more wedding planning tips check out these blogs; How to Prepare for Rain on your wedding day, How to choose your wedding photographer, Wedding Planning Advice from real brides, and much more!
Planning a COVID-safe wedding reception might look different, but that doesn’t mean it needs to be difficult or any less fun. You can still have the day of your dreams with all the people you love! Keep reading to see ideas on how to entertain your guests while still keeping them safe.
For crowds that aren’t big into dancing, or to follow COVID-19 safety protocols, yard games are super popular. You can get cornhole, ladder toss, or giant Jenga to set outside for your guests to play. I’ve even seen some couples use trash cans or buckets to make giant beer pong!
If you anticipate bad weather, or if you don’t want to risk it, you can plan to set up the games inside. If you want people to stay at their assigned tables but want entertainment, here’s an idea that is sure to blow your guests away.
I seriously recommend Felix and Fingers. Your wedding will be the talk of the town for years, if not DECADES to come. They took song suggestions from the crowd, sang things from all genres, and even brought their own colored lights. They encouraged people to sing along, so it was not only a great show, but super interactive! This is perfect for a socially distanced wedding.
Alicen & Brenton got married in November at the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, so their guests’ safety was their number one priority. The dueling pianos entertained the guests after dinner at the Arterra Event Gallery in Lawrence.
Instead of the traditional buffet-style dinner, consider having pre-portioned food at various stations throughout the room. This prevents people from all touching the same serving utensils, and your ushers can direct a couple of tables at a time to prevent crowding.
Ask your caterer if they have servers that will bring plates to each guest at their tables.
Food trucks are gaining popularity in the wedding industry as well! This makes it easier for the caterer to distance from the guests.
If your venue has an outdoor option, see if you can make a few campfires. Set out a table with marshmallows, chocolate bars, & graham crackers. I’ve seen S’mores at a couple of weddings and they’re always a big hit.
You’ll definitely want assigned seats at a COVID-safe wedding reception. To avoid awkward silences or restlessness, offer some table games! I’ve seen tic-tac-toe, decks of cards or even question starters to spark conversation. If you’ll have lots of kids at your wedding, print out coloring pages!
Check out more Covid safe weddings here on the blog Dakota + Jake; How They Went From a Large Wedding to Intimate an Elopement or How to Downsize Your Wedding
You’ve found the perfect wedding venue for your ceremony and reception but don’t forget about the morning of your wedding! The getting ready space for the morning of your wedding is a fun place to spend your last moments as a single gal preparing for the day of your dreams. Choosing your getting ready space is easy once you know what to look for.
You want cute pictures with your best friends PLUS you need a practical space to do your hair and make-up. Don’t stress or wonder about what to look for. Here’s a simple guide on choosing the PERFECT getting ready space for the morning of your wedding.
Look for a space with natural light: big windows & lots of open space for the inevitable pre-ceremony dance party with your girls. A good photographer can shoot in any light but natural is always best!
Look for a house that has big counter space, lots of plugs, and lots of mirrors. You might need to bring some mirrors from home, depending on how big your party is! Bonus points if there’s a full-length mirror.
My brides always love to find a big couch or bed to take cute pictures on with them and their bridesmaids in their robes or matching shirts. Plus this is a cozy place to relax if someone needs a minute to sit down.
A space with plenty of chairs or tables to sit down at is helpful if you have any moms or grandmas getting ready with you – and for a sweet spot to write your vows or a letter to the love of your life. This is also helpful to sit down and put your shoes on.
For an iconic wedding dress picture, find a place to hang your wedding dress. Some brides find a place outside, in a closet, or in a room somewhere. While this makes for a gorgeous and memorable photo, it’s also important to have a designated spot for your dress so it doesn’t get in the way.
Choose a place with neutral backgrounds – no tacky art on the walls, nothing distracting, and no crazy or bright wallpaper. We don’t want anything in the back of your photos to take away from the moment.
Another way to prevent distracting photos is to keep your area clean. I always suggest keeping all your stuff on one side of the room so there’s space for everyone to move around. Doing this also means there’s less clutter in the back of your photos.
If the weather is nice, take the party outside for a few shots with a different background.
Find a place that is close to your wedding venue to save time and gas money.
Look on Air BNB or VRBO for houses that have the features you want. If your wedding party needs a place to stay for the weekend, book the house for an extra night!
It’s actually pretty common for venues to have a bridal suite for getting ready the morning of your wedding. Check with your Kansas City venue to see if their space works for your group and unique needs!
You don’t need to spend more money than you need to. If any of your friends offer, get ready at their house!
These are just some tips to choosing your getting-ready space for the morning of your wedding. As a Kansas City wedding photographer, I’ve seen it all. Feel free to DM me on Instagram or shoot me an email if you have any questions!
At the end of the day, you’ll be married to your best friend and the love of your life, so don’t sweat the small stuff. Enjoy your morning preparing for the most romantic day ever. Let yourself be spoiled by your loved ones! The photos from the morning of your wedding will be authentic and take you right back to the moment before the best day of your life.
Check out these blog posts for more inspo on great getting ready spaces: Summer Wedding at The Hawthorne House, How to Elope in Kansas City -Advice from a Real Couple, and Wedding Photos at the Museum at Prairie Fire Overland Park, Kansas.
Once you begin planning your dream wedding you’ll start reaching out to various vendors. The vendor most couples are looking forward to hiring the most is their photographer. You want to make sure your day is documented from start to finish and captured authentically. These images will be your looking glass back to your wedding day, photos you’ll share with generations (no pressure) but how do you know how to choose your wedding photographer?
Does their style of work align with what you’re looking for?
Look through their portfolio and take note of how they use light throughout different times of day and different types of weather. Light can not be fully controlled during an entire wedding day so it’s important your photographer knows how to get the best images possible with what they have to work with! Request to see full wedding galleries not just the favorite instagram worthy pics.
Do you like how they edit the images? I suggest imagine you’re looking back on your photos 20 years from now, will they still look amazing because they are natural and timeless? or will it be like when your mom shows you clothes from the 80’s – trendy then but outdated now.
I can not stress this enough- make sure you hire a professional photographer for your wedding. There are no re-dos for wedding day photos. I have heard so many horror stories of couples wanting to save money so they hire a cheap photographer or someone that’s never photographed a wedding before then sure enough the photos don’t turn out well or worse…. the photographer bails at the last minute with no solution or replacement.
I would hate for that to happen to anyone. Stay on the safe side and hire a professional. Someone that has a portfolio of work, experience with weddings, and knows how to run their business. A true professional will have a contract, back up gear, and will be prepared for any sort of situation that could happen on your day.
This may be the most important element when searching through photographers. Choose a photographer that you genuinely get along with. You will be spending so much time with them during the planning process and even more time with them on the day of. Depending on the schedule of your day you might even spend more time with your photographer than your partner! Pick someone that makes you feel comfortable, understand your vision, and has your back on your wedding day.
Once you’ve read these tips on how to choose your wedding photographer check out what questions to ask your wedding photographer.
This year I asked my past brides to share their advice for future brides. All of the lovely ladies planning their weddings can take tips from brides that recently planned their own weddings. They all learned what is most important when it comes to wedding planning and making sure you enjoy your day of. Whether you’re planning a big wedding or an elopement these words of wisdom will be useful for you.
“I think my day went so perfectly because I didn’t freak out about small things. I didn’t even freak out about big things. I kept thinking, at the end of the day I will be married to my best friend, and whatever happens today is what was meant to be! I think having an easy going attitude during the whole thing helped a lot.”
“Do what you want and do not plan too much! You should have a simple idea and schedule of the day, but planning it to the T takes away the fun of it! What worked for us was the simplicity of it all. We stayed at our hotel to prepare, the hotel was extremely close to the elopement location, we allowed the scenery and skyline to be our decorations, trusted in our pastor for the vows and ceremony, and focused on us. This was a decision that we would absolutely choose again and would recommend others to do as well!”
“It [the wedding day] really does go by so quickly and it’s over and done before you know it. Hire a day-of coordinator so you can leave all the details and worries to them and really soak in every moment of the day!”
“There are so many things to figure out, but if you can find the right vendors, who you feel you work well with and whose vision meshes with yours, it is a game changer. Don’t be afraid to ask vendors for advice on other aspects of your big day. Keep in mind they have typically done this many times and have likely seen things go right or not so right. A little professional advice never hurts.”
“Don’t stress it will all work out in the end. Just go with the flow and expect little bumps in the road.”
“If anything, wedding planning during a pandemic taught me to be much more go with the flow and embrace everything with a sense of humor. It allowed me to just say “whatever happens, happens.” I know it sounds cliche but what they say is true. Once you are up there with the love of your life, nothing else matters. Don’t sweat the small stuff, and just lean on each other, your families, and if you luck out like us, your amazing vendors. Take in every single moment standing up there. This is it, it’s here, you made it.”
These brides wanted to share their advice to soon-to-be brides to inspire them and give them the opportunity to learn from their experiences. Overall they all express the importance of not stressing over things you can’t control. Let whatever happens, happen. Just focus on enjoying your day to the fullest.
For more wedding inspo check out other wedding day blog posts.