For most brides, it’s a one-off, once-in-a-lifetime, possibly even an I-dreamt-of-this-day-since-I-was-a-child occasion, and there’s very little personal experience to draw on apart from attending other peoples’ weddings and/or being a bridesmaid. So I had a think about what I believe most brides only do on their wedding day and here are the top five from my photographer’s perspective…
1 Wear a strapless/big/expensive dress
It can be all about the dress – full and flowing or slim-fitting and elegant?; Stunning impact or fine detail?; Backless and strapless? Big or small?… the choice is endless and is probably one of the biggest decisions for the bride – especially if money is an object. But let me share a few observations. Firstly – Wearing Strapless is an Art Form.
If you have never worn strapless before – practice; or try one on for a day. It can feel quite exposing, you can feel self-conscious, you may want to constantly pull your dress up…
And – unlike these lovely brides (Heather above and Kate below) – not every bride has the body shape to carry it off. (Just saying!).
Secondly – Going Big specifically needs careful planning – consider how easy it will be to move, sit, dance and go to the facilities. Even getting the dress on and laced correctly needs the help of a small crew.
And thirdly – whatever you do decide to spend on your wedding dress – it is an expensive item of clothing that you will probably only wear once – you will get marks on it, people may step on it, it may catch on something (eg your ring), you may spill something…
All I recommend is that you consider wisely the practicalities so that the day is not all about keeping the dress up, avoiding tripping over and re-mortgaging your house.
Oh, and whilst I am at it don’t forget to ‘break in’ your shoes by walking in them around the house – I’ve photographed many a shoe with the price tags still on them ;0)
2 Carry a bouquet
Unless you’ve already been subjected to the bridesmaid version, this is in my mind one of the weirdest things a bride gets to do on her wedding day. Gorgeous as flowers look (and smell) and how they can make a photo, it is actually pretty awkward to hold onto something out front and on display for most of the day (just try doing that with your handbag or phone for ten minutes then you’ll see!). According to ‘Howstuffworks‘ “The practice probably originated from the time of the Plague, when people clutched the herbs over their noses and mouths in a desperate effort to survive.” Nice.
I do love the bouquets though and one tip I mention to my brides is to always hold the bouquet further down than you think as it looks more natural in the photos… I’d also suggest some practice holding flowers before the day too – discuss the best holding position/shape and size when you meet with your florist…
3 Wear a veil
It’s another traditional element that can look great in photos but can also lead you to wonder why you bothered giving yourself yet another thing to worry about…and an additional expense and a bit of a faff hoping you don’t lose it. Tradition states that the veil symbolised the virginity of the bride. And Wikipedia goes on to state “Further, if a bride is a virgin, she often wears the face veil through the ceremony, and then either her father lifts the veil, presenting the bride to her groom, or the groom lifts the veil to symbolically consummate the marriage, which will later become literal.” So there we go!
If you do decide to go for a veil, (as did the fabulous Simone above), tips from me include practice veiling it over your face and unveiling off your face with your hair done – perhaps get a friend to help. And at least mention the process to your partner – they will be so confused as to what they have to do when they see you at the aisle as if he wasn’t nervous enough!
4 Drink Alcohol (…from the moment they get up)
For some this actually might not be that unique, but if you are not used to drinking champagne whilst you get ready at 8am in the morning, don’t forget – pace yourself, everything in moderation and drink enough water too. (Nice pic of Emma-Lee being sensible).
And especially if you have a big dress, consider the consequences of needing to go to the loo more often (where your Maid of Honour/Chief Bridesmaid comes into her own). And if your favourite tipple is red wine, beware of the dress! Perhaps you can adopt the ‘protect the dress at any cost’ pose as shown by the gorgeous Deborah below:
5 Be the centre of attention ALL DAY
You’ll never be photographed as much as you will on your special day (unless you are a celeb) and it’s quite unnerving spending so much time in front of a lens if you are not used to it. Practice poses, get to know what works for you and get a practice photo-shoot in if possible – we’ll get to know whether you are a blinker, a smirker, a gurner or a super sweaty person and help guide you to ensure every photo is a keeper.
Anyone want to predict what the ‘five things a groom (only) does on his wedding day’ blog will cover?