bridal advice

4 Ways You Can Help Your Wedding Photography Go Smoothly

Columbia South Carolina wedding photographer | Lorin Marie Photographyy

There is so much planning & preparation that goes into a wedding! Hours & hours & HOURS that all come together for one 8-10ish hour celebration - that a lot of prep work, right?! Having been both a bride who poured nights & weekends into planning my own wedding & as a photographer capturing weddings, I know there's so much to be processing, thinking about & staying on top of. all. the. time.

And the last thing you want is for something that could have been discussed before your wedding day to not turn out great simply because it wasn't discussed. So here are 4 simple things you can do to help your wedding photographer help you have a stress-free wedding day:

1. Gather all bridal details to be photographed before your photographer arrives - When a bride has her dress, shoes, jewelry & all her details ready to go when I arrive on the wedding day, that just kicks things off to a spectacular start! No photographer wants to be rushing around asking, "Sorry, do you have the wedding bands?" & "Excuse me, but have you seen the bride's veil?" By printing off & checking over a Bridal Details List, that's a great way to remember everything & have it all in one corner of the hotel suite, easily save your photographer time & energy which leaves MORE time & energy for your photos. Win WIN!

2. Have your florist deliver your bouquets to your getting-ready location - You found the perfect colors & blooms to grace your bridal bouquet so having them in place with your bridal details before any portraits are taken gives your photographer the opportunity to photograph them, along with your bridal details, which helps to connect the beautiful moments of your day & tell the story as it unfolds. Plus, if your bouquets are with you & your bridesmaids before you get dressed, they will be in place & ready for bridal party portraits! For your DIY brides, I'd suggest having a flower point person so that you aren't the one stuck doing last minute stemwork. And give way more time than you need for them to be put together. Depending upon the type of arrangement, have them finished the night before if possible.

3. Consider the natural light available when choosing a getting-ready location - If you have a choice between a room with no windows or sunlight pouring in & one that has at least one window, definitely choose the room with a window! Your photographer will thank you for allowing some of the sunshine in as he/she is capturing these once-in-a-lifetime moments of you stepping into your dress, laughing with your girls, holding back happy tears & slipping on your wedding shoes. Soft, natural light is just heavenly when it graces the lines of a bridal gown & is much more skin-tone friendly than tungsten or fluorescent bulbs buzzing overhead. 

4. Pass along the time & location for Family Portraits in advance - By letting your family know when & where they are needed for Family Portraits, you're setting up yourself for Family Portrait success! It can be difficult to wrangle a missing aunt or uncle when everyone else is in position for the photo, plus that can very quickly eat into the precious minutes set aside for portraits. As a photographer, I cannot keep the sun from setting (although it would be nice, only God has that kind of power!) so doing what you can to pass along that Family Portraits will start at this time immediately after the ceremony is so, so helpful! Less questions for your relatives to be asking you day of, less running around trying to find your missing cousin & more beautiful portraits!

Happy planning!

For even more advice for brides, check out my past posts here.

Advice for Brides: Keeping perspective

Advice for Brides | Lorin Marie Photography

Throughout our bridal advice series, I've talked about making decisions, deciding on your bridal party, The Top 5, seeing your groom & more (to see past blog posts, check on this link!).

And now, let's chat about when things go wrong on your wedding day.

It sounds like just about the worst thing I could share with you, right? Way to bring us all down to Debbie Downerville, Lorin (I don't think that's a thing but we're going with it!). But the truth is, there will probably be something on your special day that doesn't go according to plan/gets left behind/doesn't quite work out like you had thought it would.

Here's the secret: When something does go array, it's likely that only you, your groom & wedding planner/coordinator will even know about it!

Having been a bride who planned her wedding day down to a T, I couldn't have anticipated the few small not-according-to-plan things that happened on November 11 almost 2 years ago.

As part of our ceremony, we had decided to tie 3 cords together to represent the strength & unity of the relationship between Dean, myself & the Lord & asked our pastor to read Ecclesiastes 4:12: "Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken."

Well. In the midst of transferring boxes & boxes of decor to our venue, the lovely Cloverdale Barn, the beautiful woven rope Dean & I had picked out online & had shipped to us. somehow. went. missing.

Ahh! What's a bride to do? Insert incredible wedding planner! She pulled together 3 long pieces of beautiful gold ribbon that we were able to tie instead. And none of our guests knew the difference. Just another reason that having a planner/coordinator/day-of coordinator is so crucial to making your wedding day a success!

So what if something happens that your guests do notice? It can make for a great story to laugh about later on!

Like I mentioned in this post about remembering your wedding day, as my sister was carrying the train of my wedding dress, she lost her footing and fell, scraping her knee in the process. Just seconds before she was supposed to walk down the aisle. Once again, incredible wedding planner Sam to the rescue! She quickly wiped off Chelsea's bloody knee & set her on her way.

Because the bridesmaid dresses fell just to the knee, however, Chelsea's freshly scratched leg was visible for our guests to see. I was later told that one of our guests sitting near the bridal party kept trying to pass along a handkerchief for Chelsea's wound. Right after the ceremony we were all able to laugh about the situation & give my sister a big hug for being such a trooper. And to this day, it's still one of the highlight moments of our wedding.

Another not-as-planned moment: after I finished walking down the aisle with my dad, our ceremony playlist continued playing, switching from A Fine Frenzy's sweet ballad "What I Wouldn't Do" to our upbeat recessional song, "Ho Hey" by The Lumineers. After the music was quickly shut off, our witty pastor addressed our guests saying, "Ho hey ho, everybody!" Such a fun, nerve-squashing moment that really helped to set the mood for our ceremony. Otherwise I know I would have cried my happy tears the whole time, instead of just most of the way through.

If something on your wedding day doesn't get delivered in time, or goes off schedule, or gets lost between your getting-ready location & the venue, or if your music continues on, or if your MOH trips & scratches her knee, don't sweat it.

It secretly happens to most of us brides & makes for the most memorable stories to share & laugh about for years to come!

Advice for Brides: Bridal details checklist

Advice for Brides: 8 Fabulous date night ideas

Advice for Brides: Making Decisions

Advice for Brides: Get more sleep

Advice for Brides: Seeing your groom

Advice for Brides: Your bridal party

Advice for Brides: Putting the wed in wedding

Advice for Brides: 8 Fabulous Date Night Ideas

Advice for Brides

Since wedding planning while you eat does *not* count as a romantic way to spend time together, I asked a few of our past LMP brides & grooms to share their favorite, go-to date nights. If you're looking for some Valentine's Day inspiration for you & your boo, here are 8 fantastic, tried-&-true ideas:

Steve + Bekah {See their engagement session + wedding day}
Married for 16 months

Luray barn wedding

Date Night Idea #1: Pack a picnic

"Our budget-friendly date night is in the spring & fall, we like to go on long walks & share a mini-picnic in one of our favorite downtown Leesburg spots, like the garden where Steve proposed to me. We enjoy the flowers & trees surrounding us & munch on some cheese & crackers & other goodies."

Date Night #2: Enjoy a movie night in

"When the weather isn't cooperating, we like to have Mexican night followed by a Redbox or Netflix comedy. We make sure not to talk about anything too serious & just enjoy cooking together and laughing at a good movie."

Dan + Lara {See their engagement session + wedding day}
Married for 15 months

Virginia Theological Seminary wedding

Date Night Idea #3: Snuggle together at home

"One of our favorite things to do is to come home from work, change in to PJs, cook dinner, & then snuggle on the couch while watching TV or a movie."

Date Night Idea #4: Cheer on your fave sports team or head to the theater

"This year instead of getting each other anniversary gifts, we bought season tickets to Philly's Major League Soccer (MLS) team & for Christmas, we bought each other tickets to the Nutcracker (including dinner before & drinks at a jazz club after)."

David + Jesica {See their engagement session + wedding day}
Married for 6 months

Meadowlark Botanical Gardens wedding

Date Night Idea #5: Go for fondue

"David & I spent our most recent splurge date night at the Melting Pot. We had a glass of wine & ordered the three-course special. It was delicious & so much fun to cook fondue together. Our absolute favorite was the dessert. It felt like we were spoiling each other & it felt really romantic and fun!"

Date Night Idea #6: Explore the city on foot

"The weather was beautiful last weekend, so David & I got outdoors and took a nice long walk from our apartment to downtown Bethesda. We walked for about an hour, did some window shopping, talked about our future plans & even got to enjoy some music from an electric street cellist."

Charlie + Laura {See their engagement session + wedding day}
Married for 6 months

Bull Run Golf Club wedding

Date Night Idea #7: Go for a romantic stroll

"One of our favorite dates is a simple, peaceful walk around Roosevelt Island, which always generates fun & important conversations between Laura & I."

Date Night Idea #8: Sit back & enjoy the view

"If we're feeling adventurous, we'll bring picnic foods & climb out onto the rocks in the Potomac River to enjoy the contrast between the busy Georgetown Waterfront across the river & the wooded island behind us."

Thanks to all our amazing couples who shared some of their favorite date night spots & activities with us! Here's to a wonderful Valentine's Day weekend with your love :)

Advice for Brides: Bridal details checklist


This post is not only beneficial for brides but for photographers, too! The morning of your wedding there are usually so many things happening at once - last minute to-dos, caterers arriving, centerpieces being dropped off, family members milling about & more!

Definitely not the time to try remember off the top of your head all the bridal details your photographer will shoot as part of your beautiful wedding day details.

So how about we go over a list of them now? Peeeerfect. (P.S. What if you don't have all of the items on the list, or if you're including other details? Great! Bring the other details along :) )

After arriving & exchanging big, you're-getting-MARRIED hugs with my brides, it's time for the photography storytelling to begin! By having all of your bridal details gathered together in the bridal suite or hotel room where y'all are getting ready, getting gorgeous photos of your details is a snap.

Bridal Details Checklist

>> Your dress PLUS a heavy-duty hanger -  Wooden or personalized are great! Much prettier options than the standard white plastic hangers.


>> The bridesmaid dresses - If you have the bmaids' dresses out & ready to be photographed, it's another snapshot of your wedding that we can easily capture.


>> Your veil or hair accessories - Whether it's a hair comb, flower or rhinestone pin :)


>> The rings - This is probably one of the trickiest details to remember. Definitely make it one person's job to be responsible for the whereabouts of all 3 rings. Goodness, my hubby & I actually didn't even bring the rings out to Winchester with us for the wedding! They were locked away in our safe about 90 miles away. SO thankful for an awesome brother-in-law who jumped in the car & made the drive to go fetch them.


>> Shoes (or boots!)


>> Garter


>> Necklace - It's much easier all around if I can shoot your jewelry all together before you begin getting ready.


>> Earrings


>> Perfume - Confession time: I actually picked out my own wedding day perfume based on how pretty I thought the bottle would look in photos. Yep :)


>> Your bridal bouquet - Beside rings, bouquets are one of the other wedding details that can be tough to track down on wedding mornings. If we're taking bridal party photos or doing a first look before the ceremony, I would definitely recommend having your bouquet & bridesmaids' bouquets ready to go & ready to be photographed in your getting ready location. And if a friend or family member is helping DIY your beautiful floral arrangements, make sure to let them know what time we need the bouquets to be finished.


>> The boutonnieres - Ditto to above


>> Something borrowed/blue/old/new - It's SO wonderful to see the meaningful keepsakes bridals choose to include on their special day. From hand-me-down hankies to love letters from a generation ago, these are the intricate details I want to photograph as part of your love story.


>> Invitation suite - Including RSVP card, directions, map & any other details you had printed. Already planned to or have mailed an invitation to your photographer? SCORE! You rock!! One less thing to bring with you on your wedding day :)


>> Gift or letter for your groom or bridal party - Whether y'all are exchanging gifts during a first look, having it delivered to your soon-to-be hubby's room or handing out gifts to your best gals in the morning, this is another special moment to capture.



Bridal Details Checklist

>> Your dress PLUS a heavy-duty hanger

>> The bridesmaid dresses

>> Your veil or hair accessories

>> The {3} rings

>> Shoes (or boots!)

>> Garter

>> Necklace

>> Earrings

>> Perfume

>> Your bridal & bridesmaids bouquets

>> The boutonnieres

>> Something borrowed/blue/old/new

>> Invitation suite

>> Gifts or letters for groom or bridal party

Happy planning, y'all!

Advice for Brides: Making Decisions

Advice for Brides: Get more sleep

Advice for Brides: Seeing your groom

Advice for Brides: Your bridal party

Advice for Brides: Putting the wed in wedding

Advice for Brides: Your bridal party


When my then fiance/now husband & I started discussing the size of bridal parties with his family last fall, we quickly realized there was a difference in matters of how big is just right.

What's the average number of bridesmaids & groomsmen? my mother-in-law asked.

About 8 to 10 people, I said.

They. were. shocked! In the South, once you included siblings, maybe your closest cousin or two, plus your longtime friends & college roomies, you're probably looking at a double-digit bridal party. For Mr. D & his mama, who originally hail from the Midwest, they decided 4 or 5 was about average for weddings they'd seen or been a part of.


So what is the best size for your bridal party? Although space, money & resources can quickly add up with a larger group of bmaids & gmen, let's put that aside for now & ask yourself this question:


Who do I want walking beside me in the months leading up to our wedding & who do I want standing beside me as we say our vows?


When you think about what you're asking your bridal party to do - support you, cheer for your upcoming marriage, help with wedding planning/tasks - & how asking them to be in your wedding reflects just how deep & meaningful your relationship is with them, it helps when deciding to ask or not to ask.

What if I feel like it's simply expected for me to ask this friend? Maybe you were in their wedding. Or y'all were really close buds years ago. Are they automatically in your bridal party? My hubby & I asked 8 girls & guys to stand with us on November 9 (#ourbigSouthernwedding, anyone?). It was almost 9 - I thought about asking another friend because it felt expected, although our relationship had become distanced over time. But we realized that wasn't going to help our friendship or our wedding party. It would only add stress in ways that no one wanted or needed. Do you actually want this friend to celebrate your marriage with you? Then ask away!

Should all of our siblings be included in the bridal party? Realizing family ties are different than friendships formed throughout our life, think about it like this: "Will my brother/sister/soon-to-be in-law be crushed if they're not a groomsman/bridesmaid?" For those with laaaarge families, you may just have your closest siblings at the altar, or those that are unmarried/don't have kids/still enjoying being in weddings. Remember, your wedding is a family affair & a time for your loved ones to gather with you & toast to your marriage. If a family relationship will be drastically impacted for the worse by not including a sibling, it may be wise to ask them.

Do we need to have an equal number of bridesmaids & groomsmen? I've had brides ask if having an uneven number in the bridal party will throw things off or look bad in photos. Honestly, it doesn't! Whether you have 1 bmaid standing next to you or 5 groomsmen next to your fiance, they are there because that person has a special place in your life & they are important to y'all. And that's what matters, & what will shine through, in your wedding photos.

Do y'all have any other suggestions for selecting your bridal party? How did you decide on your bridesmaids & groomsmen?

Happy wedding planning!

Advice for Brides: The Top 5

Advice for Brides: Making Decisions

Advice for Brides: Get more sleep

Advice for Brides: Seeing your groom

Advice for Brides: Putting the wed in wedding

Advice for Brides: Creating your registry