PLANNING FOR YOUR WINTER WEDDING (HOW TO GET THE MOST OUT OF PHOTOS)
December and January can be excellent months for a wedding. Despite the sometimes chilly temperatures, more often than not you have luxuries you may not always want to incorporate in the summertime (warm wraps, floor-length bridesmaids gowns, coffee bars, winter wonderland themes...). Not to mention, nothing makes you want to cuddle up for outdoor photos like a little chill in the air ;)
One downfall to winter weddings is that the sun leaves the sky super early. An average July wedding may have a sunset of 8:30 or so, while the average sunset in January is going to be closer to 5:30. To ensure you make the MOST out of your photographer's time, the money you've invested in choosing him/her, and your beautiful decor and details of the day, here are some tips to make your winter wedding shine bright and to get ALL the photos you want.....
1. COMMUNICATE with your photographer.
Include your photographer in the timeline planning, in your photo brainstorming, photo lists, and vision for your day. Let him/her share input on suggested ceremony and reception start times to ensure all the photos you want are captured beautifully and at the right times of day.
2. CONSIDER doing a first look.
Assuming a sunset of 5:30, without a first look, a ceremony start time may be earlier than what you might desire (in order to fit all of the necessary photos in following the wedding ceremony). To still allow for a late-afternoon ceremony, consider doing a first look. A first look is when a bride and groom see each other prior to the ceremony, both for photos of them as a couple and combined family and bridal party photos. The history of the bride and groom not seeing each other was actually intended for grooms to not be able to escape arranged marriages by seeing a bride prior to the ceremony and thinking she was unattractive. Additionally, a first look allows for calming of nerves, more clear-headedness going into the wedding ceremony, and some really sweet reveal reactions that may not always happen with 100 guests' eyes on you.
3. SCOPE OUT locations.
I am a sucker for outdoor photography - at any time of the year. While December and January lend themselves to more barren outdoors, there is always year-round greenery (like ivy) and other gorgeous backdrops at our disposal. Ask your photographer for input, especially if they have photographed at your venue before.
4. PREPARE for the weather.
Rain or shine, snow or heat, prepare for your wedding day based on your location. Find a gorgeous wrap that matches your dress, or consider doing some photos with the groom's coat draped around your shoulders. Have an umbrella (or five, for the bridal party) handy, and mentally prepare yourself for spending a bit of time in the outdoors.
5. MANAGE expectations.
Pinterest is a fantastic tool. However, keep in mind that if your go-to photo has the sun blazing through the full trees and flowers in bloom all around, this may not work with your day (and that's okay!) Search the web, Pinterest, and other sources of inspiration specifically for winter ideas, winter inspiration, and venue-specific photos taken during the colder months. This is the best way to make the most of what you have + what you're envisioning for your most perfect day.