However you have chosen to celebrate your marriage, be it a lavish event or an intimate elopement, you want to capture it (and yourselves) in the best light possible.

Because the emotions you experience, and the very core of what your big day means to you, are things you will want to relive, recount and evoke the memories of, for the rest of your lives together;

the soft smile between Grandma and Granddaughter,

a hearty laugh shared with close friends

or the wipe of a tear during a moving speech.

The true value of your wedding photos is not something that you will fully appreciate 6 months or even 6 years after the event; they are a portal through which future generations will see and understand you.

And, while your lives may shift and change over the years, the memories of how you and your guests FELT in those moments will be timeless.

At Unbridely, we believe this is what great wedding photography is all about.

The tricky part though, in the rush and excitement of a normal wedding day, is that these little pockets of time, these tiny opportunities for connection, are fleeting. With so many competing priorities and a schedule to adhere to, there is often the sense that there isn't enough time to take it all in. 

So we asked Adelaide natural light wedding photographer, Wes Beelders, for his suggestions on how to create space and make time on your wedding day to ensure that your memories, and subsequently your photos, aren't just a series of frantic, rushed moments, but rather more considered and mindful experiences to cherish for many years to come. 

Thank you, Wes!

Wes Beelders  (photo by Daniel Wooldridge)

Wes Beelders (photo by Daniel Wooldridge)

1) Alone Time

What is alone time?

Exactly as it sounds, alone time on your wedding day is a deliberate and scheduled block of around 10 minutes when you get to soak up the significance and magic of what is about to happen. 

While the photographs look amazing,  it also serves to slow down your day and give you a moment to be mindful and centered.

How to organise some alone time on your wedding day

  • Kick everyone out of the room.
  • Don't speak to the photographer - just let your mind wander and land on memories.
  • Enjoy a cup of coffee, tea or a glass of champagne and/or write down some notes about how you're feeling.
  • Maybe think back to when you met your fiancé or when you first saw him/her smile?
  • Feel the fabric of your dress (make sure your hands are clean first!) and imagine your fiancé's expression when he/she first sees you. 

2) Wedding dress/gown reveal

What is a wedding dress/gown reveal? 

A tender and moving experience for everyone involved is when they first see you, hair and makeup done, beaming and positively glowing in 'the dress/gown'.

It is not uncommon for there to be shrieks of excitement, a few happy tears and a boatload of love and support expressed by family and friends alike.

A dress/gown reveal for your parents, grandparents or bridesmaids is a controlled and documented version of that moment. 

How to plan a wedding dress/gown reveal for your parents, grandparents or bridesmaids

  • First up, if this is something that you would like to do, you need to let everyone know (your parents/grandparents or besties, photographer and anyone else who will be around while you are getting ready on the day) well ahead of time.
  • For the best result, this means that you won't be showing your family/besties photos of your dress during the planning process, taking them shopping with you or to any dress fittings; this might be the hardest part.
  • Nominate your mum, sister, aunty or someone else close to you to help you with dress/gown shopping, fittings and getting ready on the day.  
  • Allowing a reasonable budget to hire spacious and well-lit accommodation to get ready in is a smart investment. Not only does this make your day feel more relaxed but also provides a stunning backdrop to hang your dress in (more photo ops) and a fantastic way to spoil yourself and your bridesmaids.
  • Let your family/bridesmaids know which room/wardrobe your dress is in so they know not to go in there ahead of time. 
  • Your photographer will find a suitable room and position everyone to ensure that the moment is captured beautifully.
  • There are lots of different versions of a dress reveal; sometimes the parents/grandparents/bridesmaids stand with their eyes closed, the bride walks in and the photographer will guide her into position,  before cueing the parents/grandparents/bridesmaids to open their eyes. Sometimes the bride is waiting in the room and the parents/grandparents/bridesmaids will open the door. Other times the parents/grandparents/bridesmaids are waiting in a room or garden setting and the bride will come around the corner or through the door. It's a great opportunity to have some fun! 
  • Allow for 10-15 minutes in your timeline to chat, laugh, shed a tear and share a champagne.

3) First look

What is first look wedding photography?

A first look is usually (there are several variations on the theme) a considered and staged private meeting of the couple before their ceremony, which is documented by their professional wedding photographer. 

They can take some time to prepare, but are absolutely amazing if done right.

How to plan a first look

  • Plan well ahead to work it into your timeline.
  • Arrange for your hair and makeup to be completed a little earlier and for your flowers to be delivered (if you want them for the photos). 
  • You (or your photographer) will need to find a private and evenly shaded (if possible) location; the last place you want to be is in a public park or somewhere where there are lots of people.
  • If the location is not where you are getting ready, also allow for travel time, getting in and out of the car etc.  as this all adds up.
  • Usually the first look lasts for about 10-15 minutes. It is alone time for just you and partner to soak it all in.  You do not want to be rushed as it spoils the mood and can add stress. 

4) Write/read a love letter

 A great way to celebrate your love on your wedding day is to write or read (or both!) a letter to your future husband or wife. Cute things like, the moment you knew your partner was the one you wanted to spend the rest of your life with, or the little quirks that made you fall in love with them.

How to plan to read/write a love letter on your wedding day

  • Again, you need to plan this well ahead of time and arrange to have the photos/video of you writing or reading the letter taken during  5 minutes your getting ready time.
  • Have a think about whether you would like to have other people in the room, or if you would prefer for it to be a private moment (which is another very good reason to find a photographer that you feel comfortable with that you can trust - it is such a personal day).
  • Your photographer/videographer will find a well-lit room and give you guidance as to where to sit or stand. 
  • Read the letter to yourself in your head and allow your photographer/videographer to capture these moments.
  • You may choose to read the letter a second time for your videographer.

Any other great wedding photography ideas that capture all the feels?

Let us know in the comments!