Like most brides, I suffered from pre-wedding nerves and insecurities. Unless you're a fan of performing on stage, it's not often you'll be standing in front of a large group of people with all eyes on you. It's totally normal to feel scared or worried - so here's our top tips for rocking your wedding photos, feeling gorgeous on your wedding day, and turning your anxieties into positive energy!
Have an Engagement Shoot
You'll read about how picking the right photographer is essential on so many blogs, and we couldn't agree more! No matter how good an amateur photographer your Uncle is, leave your big day in the hands of a professional. Once you've booked a photographer who you connect with and whose style you LOVE, book an engagement shoot! Yes, those words may conjure up dread, but honestly, if you've picked the right photographer you'll have a ball - not to mention some lovely photos to look back on. They could be anything from lunch at a country pub with your dog, to a day out at the beach. The most important thing is it will allow your photographer to find out the optimum way to capture great shots of you, and also for you to develop trust and good rapport with your photographer!
The Right Light
Without a doubt, the best light for dreamy wedding photographs is natural light. Your fabulous photographer will know exactly how to work with light - especially if they are familiar with your wedding venue and know how each space looks at a certain time of day. You can make this easier for them by making sure your itinerary for the day leaves enough time in the daylight hours for your photographs, whether it be group shots or couple portraits. But be flexible - if the night is drawing in quickly, or if the sun is so bright that it's making you squint in all the photographs, you may need to be prepared for the time or location of the photographs to move slightly. Basically though, light is your friend - so when having your photo taken make sure you're facing it if you can!
We could write all day about how beautiful and unique you are, and how everyone is gorgeous in their own way - it's totally true! But simply telling you that won't make you REALLY believe it. Like you would with any relationship, you should invest time into self care and treating yourself right. Whether it be giving yourself a mani-pedi, getting your hair cut regularly, wearing lovely outfits that get you compliments... do it! You're totally worth it.
Why not start a class? The idea of burlesque or pole dancing classes may make you cringe to start off with, but not only will you feel fitter and meet fab new friends after a few weeks, we're sure your partner will love you practising your sexy moves at home too!
A boudoir shoot might be your idea of hell, but some gorgeous underwear and a great professional photographer who can teach you how to pose will leave you with an album of foxy photos to look back on when you're doubting your beautiful self! (Again, we're pretty sure your partner will enjoy this too).
Dress for YOU
There are loads of different wedding dress styles and bridal designers out there, so it can sometimes seem impossible to choose just one! Don't be pressured into having what's "popular" or "on trend", but instead choose a dress which is a similar shape and style to what you normally wear. If your day to day look is 1950s, go with a short twirly dress. If normally you wouldn't be seen dead in anything but black, why not on your wedding day? The same applies with how your dress fits - don't wear something that's making you feel uncomfortable or self-conscious. Don't like your arms? Wear a dress with sleeves. Not a fan of your stomach? Something A-Line would look great on you. Hate wearing dresses? There are loads of designers out there who are making really great tailored bridal suits! Whether your choice is designer or high-street, just make sure it fits you properly - a seamstress can work wonders on making an outfit more flattering to your body shape!
Wedding Hair and Beauty
If you're not brimming with confidence about your ability to do your own hair and make up, hire a professional. You'll feel so much more confident for it, and pampered! Make sure you have a trial - this way you can rest easy on your wedding day knowing that you're going to love the look your hair and make up artist creates. If you've got a go-to beauty product you can't live without, tell your beautician - it may be that they can incorporate your product into your wedding day make up, or suggest something similar which would work as an alternative. As we mentioned with your dress, don't feel pressured to go for a natural barely-there bridal look if you're more of a red lips and winged eyeliner gal!
If hiring someone to do the job for you isn't a priority, or financially viable, why not go to your favourite beauty counter and get a tutorial? They'll be able to give you some top tips on how to apply your make up, and also what products work well for a wedding (looking at you, waterproof mascara). Most brands will give you a tutorial or makeover in exchange for purchasing a couple of products, but if you can't treat yourself to new make up on your wedding day, then when can you?!
Walking Down the Aisle
This is the thing that I was freaking out about most before my wedding day... The idea of all eyes being on me was my worst nightmare. In reality? It was totally great! Just breathe, smile, and remember everyone in that room is someone who cares about you. You invited each one of them to be there to share your big day - they want you to enjoy it! Not only that, but the love of your life is at the other end of the room, and they are SO excited to marry you. Enjoy it, savour it - don't rush. I promise it's an amazing experience, and not scary at all.
Your Couples Portrait Photos
So after your awesome engagement shoot, you'll have this couples photograph thing nailed. Just make sure you allocate enough time for these on the wedding day - it's easy to get swept up in the festivities of the day, but in years to come you'll be glad for investing time in your couples portraits. These are usually the most fun and artistic photos of the day, which allow your photographer to really come into their own. The pictures don't have to be super posey, even just a romantic walk around the grounds of your wedding venue can produce some stunning images (and not to mention it's nice to get some quiet time with your new husband or wife). If you're still feeling a bit weirded out by the idea of having a camera pointed at you, check out this brilliant blog post about posing for photographs by Kat at Rock N Roll Bride - SO many great examples and tips in there!
The First Dance
Would you rather eat your own shoe than have everyone watching you dance? You have a few options here: One is to just embrace the awkward slow shuffle - it happens at pretty much every wedding, and honestly, no one is expecting you to break out into a full on La La Land style dance routine. Another option? You could always enrol into some dance classes with your partner - if learning to dance is something you've always wanted to do, it's a great excuse to start. Not to mention the classes and practicing will mean you'll be full of happy endorphins and feeling fit! The third option? Don't have a first dance! You absolutely don't have to do anything you don't want to on your wedding day just because it's tradition. If it makes you feel awkward then scrap it! There's always the option as well to go with a more upbeat song, and invite your wedding party to join in at the same time to make it less intimidating! Do what makes you happy.
Smiling, laughing, and having a great time on your wedding day is a sure fire way to look better in photographs, and to feel better too (yay for endorphins)! But it isn't just on the wedding day itself that you need to chill out - you should take the time to destress in the run up to the wedding too. Wedding planning really can take over your life. All those DIY projects and to do lists need to take a back seat though, as if you're burning the candle at both ends in order to create your dream day, you'll probably feel exhausted by the time it actually comes around (hello eye bags)! Limit how much time you're going to spend on your wedding each week, and take time to do the things you love, whether it be reading a book, going to the gym, spending time with your friends... You'll be a more chilled out bride because of it!
(Or you could hire a wedding planner to do all that time consuming wedmin for you, just saying...)
Put Things Into Perspective
When thinking about one of the most important days of your life, it's easy to put yourself under SO much pressure, and in turn spend a large percentage of your engagement feeling anxious and worried. Your guests are not going to care if your name cards aren't pinterest-worthy, nor are they going to notice if your bridesmaids shoes are all a slightly different colour. They won't be judging you on how much weight you have or haven't lost, nor will they recoil in horror if you've got a pimple on your chin. They honestly won't. Your guests are coming to see you both declare your undying love for each other (and then the secondary reason for their attendance is probably to get drunk and make fools of themselves on the dance floor).
Your fiancé loves you
The most important thing about your wedding: The person you are about to spend the rest of your life with. They are marrying YOU, as you are, right now. They have probably seen you at your worst, and witnessed your most embarrassing moments, and yes - they still want to marry you! Because they love you unconditionally. Yes it's nice to feel beautiful on your wedding day, and like every detail is 100% perfect, but it's not everything. That person who you're walking down the aisle to is your everything, and that perfect moment where they put a ring on your finger and everything else in the room fades away into background noise is what's important.
Photo Credit: Picture from our Scandi Brights styled shoot, taken by the super talented Kayti Peschke