Things I’ve Learned From Being A Wedding Photographer

Last month we celebrated 14 years in business. And somehow 2007 seems like yesterday.

Over the last 14 years we’ve photographed a couple weddings... okay, a couple hundred. We’ve seen wedding day successses and wedding day nightmares.

I’m going to sum it all up in this blog - and hopefully it will help a couple planning their wedding day.

  1. Write down your list of priorities (3-5 items) and only spend money on those specific items; Beg, borrow, or thrift the rest. We‘ve seen so many couples spend HOURS and CASH on Pinterest inspired wedding favors - only for hundreds of them to be left on the tables. We’ve also seen couples spend money on a “new” DJ - only to end up with a DJ who played a generic playlist on Pandora (with commercials) and didn’t even have any of their fist dances downloaded. Things like your wedding pictures will be around after the wedding. Having a DJ that kept the party going until midnight will be a forever memory. Centerpieces will be tossed in the trash.

  2. You pay - you say. While mom and dad pushing the checkbook across the table might sound enticing - sometimes your darling parents think that if they pay, they now own your wedding day. If you’re not brave enough to say no when mom wants a swan ice sculpture or dad thinks you should have your reception at the local tavern... saying no to financial bribes now might cause less wedding stress and keep everyone on good terms after the wedding day. Don’t forget to ask your vendors about payment plans - most vendors will allow you to make monthly payments leading up to the wedding day.

  3. Add Extra Time. We always joke that photographing a drunk bridal party is like trying to get a kindergarten class to pose for pictures. If you have an outgoing bridal party, and you’re supplying the beer and liquor, add extra time in your wedding day schedule. We also suggest adding extra time if you’re planning on having a receiving line - this is when people are going to want to talk and linger. Extra time is also great if you’d like to stop anywhere (between the ceremony and reception site) for pictures. Getting a bridal party on and off a bus can be a little challenging - someone always forgets their bouquet or needs to finish their beer first.

  4. Don‘t sweat the little stuff. You’re the only one who knows what the centerpieces were supposed to look like. You’re the only one who knows what music should be playing. You’re the only one who knows what the order of events are. Seating charts are going to be changed by the guests. Your real bouquet might be accidentally thrown during the bouquet toss. Mistakes are going to happen on a wedding day - especially with that many people in one room. Ultimately, you’re going to be marriying to your best friend. All the small details in the world won’t change that.

  5. Leave money for your honeymoon (or house). Your wedding day should be more than 24 hours. Keep the party going with your new hubby/wife. When we got married - we were waiting to save up for our honeymoon trip. Unfortunately, life got in the way, and we didn’t take our honeymoon trip until 10 years later. Sad, but true. If you’re not planning a honeymoon trip out of town - take the week off of work and enjoy a staycation in your house/apartment.

We hope this information is helpful as your plan and keep things organized. If you’re planning right now - or have planned your wedding, make sure you comment below with your best advice too!

Rachael + Joshua Dowling specialize in wedding photography, video, and drone work. We have a light-hearted attitude when we photograph you… and both enjoy keeping a non-scary, cheerful approach to wedding photography. Admittedly, I laugh the most! “Fierce Giggles” as one bride nicknamed me… So fitting and I love it!

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