We want you to have a wildly successful and overwhelmingly JOYFUL wedding day! We don't just want it to be as stress-free as possible, we want you to be so incredibly present and blissfully happy that countless minutes from the day write themselves into your heart forever. We've been at this for a while now - we joke that we get married every weekend, so take a peek at this Tips Guide and reach out to us if you have any questions or just need a neutral sounding board. There's a lot to read, but we promise it's worth it!
Over the years, we've learned a lot! We promise this advice will change the course of your planning and your day!
Our Love Theory
A wedding is the proverbial shouting of your love from the mountaintops, but with cake! It's the official profession of some pretty spectacular promises followed by a celebration of those promises - pure & simple. It is a big day, an important day, an extraordinary day ... but still, just one day. The planning and preparation of it shouldn't steal your joy, rob your peace, put pressure on your relationships or jeopardize your financial security. It is NOT meant to be stressful and anxiety inducing ... it is meant to be outrageously joyful & raging with hope. Our wish for you: we want you to be so calm & present on your wedding day that you can soak up every fleeting minute and feel the gravity of it all with a happy heart & clear head. Just imagine starting your marriage like that!
IT'S YOUR WEDDING
This is your wedding - you can make it whatever you want it to be. Don't be pressured into maintaining any
traditions that make you uncomfortable even when that pressure comes from people you love! Follow your own heart and do what makes you & your partner happy! Capitulating on minor things that mean little in the grand scheme of things is a great way to create peace but don't compromise your own vision in the process!
Your wedding day will NOT be perfect! This is real life, y'all. Things will go wrong - we've seen it all & boy, do we have some stories. But fear not, it will still be a beautiful, amazing day because you're marrying your best friend. The day will be perfectly imperfect, just like you guys. As soon as you embrace this, the happier and calmer you're going to be both in the planning process & on your big day!
We lied - there is one rule: You must set a realistic & reasonable budget for your wedding day after assessing the going rate for services and determining a limit that feels right & comfortable. Then prioritize what is most important to you and be careful not to let little items add up! Keep true to your budget because the last thing you want to feel after your wedding is financial regret or anxiety.
YOURSELF WITH LOVE
Weddings are wonderful, but they can be very stressful! If you are having a wedding party, make sure the people you choose are truly there for you. Surround yourself with people who love you and will center & restore you when you're feeling overwhelmed. If you're eloping, surround yourself with your most treasured humans & don't feel bad not inviting the whole world for even a second!
DON'T SWEAT THE
Try not to agonize over little things. We love Pinterest weddings & pretty details, but those things won't make or break your wedding day! Weddings are a blur of big emotions, dancing & joyful chaos. You won't remember the exact arrangements of your centerpieces. The color of your napkins will become a distant memory. Your wedding is a celebration of your love so stay focused on what truly matters & we promise you'll be far less stressed & disappointed.
BE KIND TO YOURSELF
BE KIND TO YOUR PEEPS
Getting married is a BIG deal! It's okay to be on a veritable rollercoaster of emotion! You don't need to feel blissfully happy all the time! We are human beings and guess what, being human is messy and emotional. And planning weddings is stressful. That being said, don't be a bridezilla or groomzilla. Instead, have a lot of grace with yourself and the people you love while planning and on the day itself! Be gentle with yourself and the people you love.
A FIRST LOOK?
A first look is when you two get to see one another before your ceremony in a very private, intimate setting. Getting to see your best friend, to reset & breathe in their comforting company always makes our couples calmer. From here we can move right into your portraits together & shots with your bridal party, freeing up the time after your ceremony so you can join your cocktail party sooner. We love first looks from a photographic standpoint because it really opens up your day but we’ve also found that our couples love them too because they are better together than apart. We love first looks with dads too! We shoot weddings with and without first looks all the time, and support whichever decision you make full heartedly.
First looks are BEAUTIFUL! And private and drenched with emotion that is ALL YOURS! That time belongs soley to the two of you! Your wedding is FULL, it's go-go-go, it's a blur of love and laughter, and accommodating guests. We want you to have as many private, sacred minutes as possible, so that can you soak up you day and feel truly, calm and happy. Those are the minutes you get to hold onto for a lifetime.
Having a first look opens up your wedding day timeline DRAMATICALLY! Without a first look, the bridal party pictures, family formal pictures AND couples portraiture must take place after the ceremony, therefore delaying the start of your reception by up to 1.5 hours! A first look allows this time to be cut down to 1/2 hour, so you can actually join your cocktail party and see your favorite people!
We don't have to rush and for artists, this is paramount! Also, we hate being timeline drill sergeants!
Squeezing all your love into 30 minutes flat after your ceremony is TOUGH - you're distracted, you're excited, you want to get to your party! We don't blame you! Plus, then when sunset comes just a few hours later, you are SUPER reluctant to leave your party so quickly after getting to it! And, you definitely want sunset with us!
YOUR AISLE WALK WILL STILL BE SPECIAL!
We PROMISE that a first look does not detract from your aisle walk, in fact we would even say it adds to it. Before we started doing first looks, our couples would tell us they could barely remember that aisle walk (or even their ceremony), from both angles! The emotions are BIG, there are 100+ people watching you, you're about to get married - it's a lot! A first look lets you be present in that aisle walk. If you or your beloved are shy or super private, it let's you truly embrace your emotions privately. Just look at Kasey and Kait - their first look was emotional & the man still almost passed out during her aisle walk. Why? Because seeing your person walking down that aisle to you, standing there in front of all the people you love, about to get married . . . is all a pretty big deal!
We love first looks with dads, moms or the people you love dear. We want to flood your day with as many REAL, beautiful minutes as we can! It's also practical! Your dad or whomever is walking you down the aisle WILL obviously see you before the ceremony, so a first look with them this just makes it more special!
Our favorite thing! While we 100% advocate family and friends capturing awesome candid moments throughout the day, as your photographer I highly recommend having an unplugged ceremony. This is when all unofficial photography and videography is suspended during the ceremony. I recommend this for a few reasons.
Unplugged ceremonies allow us to capture your ceremony without any incidents, distractions or missed moments. Your ceremony is an incredibly precious and non-repeatable experience. It fleeting and SHORT as heck! I cannot tell you how heart breaking it is to have a wedding guest armed with an ipad jump in front of us during your first kiss as a married couple and we end up missing that important shot. Or to have your beautiful walk down the aisle to the love of your life lined with rows of guests holding up their phones and spilling into the aisles to get a shot. I want your ceremony images to be timeless and a row of glowing cellphones is far from that. I cannot reshoot these moments and the back of Aunt Ida’s head is just not as pretty as your first kiss even if she’s sporting a wicked beehive.
Your ceremony is simply the most important part of the day! It’s when you're making huge promises to one another amidst all of your most beloved family and friends. I want your guests to really be in the moment...to listen to those promises and experience every emotion with you directly. It’s a big deal! Sometimes phones and cameras stop us from really being present. Call me crazy, but for some reason I feel like when your guests are really present, all of their beautiful thoughts, well wishes and happy tears are like quiet prayers that bless the beginning of your marriage. And I think that’s an incredible way to start a life together - how beautiful!
Let us take care of capturing the memories while you and your guests enjoy making them during that precious, fleeting ceremony. I promise that our images of your ceremony will outshine 1000 crooked iPhone photos
every .single. time. And I really don’t want to have to body check your overly exuberant Aunt Ida. PLEASE trust me to do my job!
HOW TO TELL GUESTS
Simply add it to your website, throw a few cute signs up at the end of the aisle, put it in your wedding program, have some key guests let other guests know and let your officiant know he/she will be making an announcement at the very start of the ceremony so they feel prepared. We have the verbiage all ironed out and it’s worked out swimmingly for years!
BLURB FOR OFFICIANT
“Hello guests! Thank you so much for coming today! Our bride and groom are so happy to have you here and want you to be truly present with them while they make their promises to one another. We ask that there be no photography or video during the ceremony except by those asked to do so. That you for being in the moment with us, now let’s get these kids married!”
We are known for our love of light and our breathtaking sunset imagery! Let’s sneak away from the hustle and bustle of your reception and spend a few glorious, quiet moments letting you two catch your breath while capturing your first sunset together as a married couple. It’s 20 minutes that you wiil cherish for a lifetime! MAKE TIME FOR SUNSET!
Real Wedding Mishaps
Weddings do not happen in a vacuum! This is real life - things WILL go wrong but it WILL be okay. It's gonna be a wild ride and we can't wait! Here's some of our favorites - hope they give you a laugh!
Bride dieted for 6 months, couldn't wait for her chocolate wedding cake. It was winter in Glacier National Park and the baker crashed on icy roads on the way to the wedding! The cake was splattered all over her car so they had NO wedding cake!
The bride's mom was carrying the wedding rings in a special bag . . . the bag had a hole! The rings were lost SOMEWHERE on the humongous grassy knoll before the ceremony - the couple ended up using their parents rings which was pretty full circle/poetic. Later, all of the wedding guests and vendors, including us, walked the grounds barefoot, searching for the actual rings!
At a posh, high end Whitefish wedding, the DJ got drunk , disrobed and sang karaoke - he had to be subdued by the groomsmen and escorted off the venue property,
The bride and her gals did their hair and makeup for 3 hours, an hour overtime and then rode in a Red Jammer bus in Glacier National Park with the top off and windows down because those ol' busses don't have air conditioning - their hair was 1980s chic by ceremony time!
Torrential rains made the tent cave in - the guests spent the night holding up the steel supports and trying to save the wedding!
The bride was so nervous she vomited ... repeatedly during the bridal party session. The bridal party shielded her from onlookers.
The officiant misspelled the couples names, so they had to meet the following day at a gas station and technically got married next to the hot-dog rotisserie instead of Lake MacDonald in Glacier Park.
Dog friendly outdoor wedding: 4 dogs got into massive dog figure DURING THE CEREMONY!
At a ceremony in Idaho, a man decided to chainsaw down a tree during the ceremony and no one could hear a thing! Some venue workers took off in not so speedy golf carts and 'raced' off to try and stop them.
The bride used the portapotty. The toilet was leaking and she came out with a fragrantly drenched dress.
The bartender got heat stroke, fell and hit his head and had to be rushed to the hospital.
Flower crown arrived, it was made so big it literally could only be worn as a necklace on an amazon woman.
Two birds crashed violently into the church window during the speak your peace part of the ceremony!
A large accident on the road to the venue delayed guests by over 1.5 hours from the ceremony!
The bride’s extra long veil caught up during her walk down the aisle and yanked her backwards during her entry, ripping the veil off her head:. THREE WEDDINGS!