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5 BEST Wedding Planning Tips - from a Professional Wedding Photographer

Hi there Miami Brides and Grooms! It’s Gina and Gabriel, your resident Miami Wedding Photographers and Videographers here to drop some more valuable wedding planning advice.

In the past, we’ve advised you on our take on First Looks, Most Common Wedding Planning Mistakes, and even shared with you our FREE Wedding Planning Timeline. And today we’re excited to share with you our FIVE BIG YESSES when it comes to planning your gorgeous Miami Wedding day!

These are the most common and helpful ideas we hear from Miami Brides when they tell us about their big day. Basically, if any Miami Wedding Photographer hears that you plan on doing any of these things below for your big day, they’ll be doing a secret happy dance!

So, ready for our favorite wedding planning DOs?! Grab a pen and piece of paper - and let’s get started!

1) Starting Hair and Makeup EARLY

Perhaps our most obvious and tried and true tip - Miami brides should be getting into hair and makeup quite earlier than they may think! However long your makeup and hair artist estimate your hair and makeup will take, add an extra hour.

At worst, you’ll need that extra hour for primping and won’t have to rush to be on time for your ceremony and photos. And at best, you’ll have an extra hour for the Instagrammable photos you always imagined, like clinking champagne glasses with your bridesmaids, or admiring your gorgeous wedding dress in silhouette. Because who wants to rush their glam process and miss out on cute photos like this?!

If you're running ahead of schedule, then your Miami Wedding Photographer can take advantage of the extra time to capture fun moments like this!

You’ll also want to add in factors to your timeline such as getting into the actual dress (which can take as long as 20 minutes with all that fabric!) and traveling from your getting ready location to your ceremony location (another point in the day where it makes sense to add an extra 30 minutes or so to accommodate for traffic).

Basically we’ve seen Miami brides lose their limo appointments, start their ceremony an hour late, etc. all because the getting ready process was not planned as carefully as possible.

So please, save yourself some heartache, and ask your hair and makeup artists to connect ahead of time if they’re not on the same team, to create a hair and makeup timeline that accommodates for when the bride and bridesmaids are in hair, in makeup, and when they switch chairs. Like this screenshot below (which P.S. was for a wedding with a 6:30pm ceremony time, with first look, bridal party photos, and family photos prior to the ceremony):

An example of a Miami Bridal hair and makeup timeline

2) Having an Outdoor Ceremony

Ok ok, hear us out on this one. As Miami Wedding Photographers, we already know that the weather in South Florida can definitely be tricky, which is why you may opt for an indoor ceremony - but hear us out first!

To be honest, as “crazy” as Florida weather may seem, in a way it is predictable. June - September are pretty reliably rainy (and not to mention, hurricane season), so these months are best avoided anyway.

And aside from that, you can always check out this website to see the trend of the weather on your intended wedding date in years past. Does it typically rain on your date? If so, at what time? Knowing the possibility of rain ahead of time may help you feel more comfortable setting your Miami wedding ceremony outside, because…

NATURAL LIGHTING JUST LOOKS SO MUCH BETTER IN PICTURES! Not only will you be glowing, but your pictures will be much more warm and artistic. Like this:

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Miami Wedding Photography at an outdoor ceremony, with the sun setting behind

Indoor ceremony venues usually call for a photographer to use a flash, leaving you with a much more harsh, one dimensional, run-of-the-mill photo.

It’s like this: Imagine taking a photo on your iPhone inside with flash. Now go outside and try Portrait Mode at golden hour… and then tell us which photo of yourself you prefer!

3) Choosing a Reception Hall with White Ceilings

Piggybacking off of Miami Wedding Photographer tip number 2, a reception hall with white ceilings makes it MUCH easier for your Miami Wedding Photography to bounce the flash off the ceiling and illuminate the space more during the evening when natural lighting is limited.

Any experienced Miami Wedding Photographer is expecting your reception hall to be dark with classy dinner mood lighting, or flashing DJ lights, which is why we come prepared with flashes. However, if the ceilings, or at least walls, are white, our cameras can bounce their bright flashier easier, and are quicker to adjust to the lighting and leave you with some AWESOME, nicely lit, party time photos… like THIS:

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An example of how MIami Wedding Photographers use flash to illuminate dark venue spaces

4) Keeping all Locations Closeby

Miami Brides, this is probably the NUMBER ONE factor that will make your Miami Wedding Photographer do a secret happy dance… or secret prayer… depending on the plans for your big day.

How close are all your Miami Wedding day locations?

The most ideal wedding day a Miami Wedding Photographer can ask for is that the bride and groom will be getting married in a hotel or a venue that has dedicated suites, so that all events of the day, from getting ready to “I do” to the final dance of the evening are all in the same location.

And the least ideal wedding day for a Miami Wedding Photographer? When the getting ready location is a 20+ minute drive from the ceremony location, which is also 20+ minute drive from the reception hall.

A couple of 20 minute drives may not seem like a big deal as you're planning your special day… But keep in mind all the factors out of your control: including traffic and parking situations. A 20 minute drive can easily turn into a 40 minute one as you might need to wait for valet, race against traffic, and find parking at the next location.

Not only is this stressful in terms of throwing a Miami Bride off her schedule, but it also cuts into valuable photo time! Money you spent on a Miami Wedding Photographer to take photos of you is now being spent sitting in traffic - and trust us when we say that is not ideal for anyone!

5) Coordinating Your Day with Golden Hour

Our final tip of the day for our magnificent Miami Brides has to do with that elusive “Golden Hour.” With the main problem being, a lot of people who are not Miami Wedding Photographers do not exactly understand when golden hour actually is.

If the sun is setting at 6pm on your special day, many people believe golden hour is prior to the sunset, from 5pm - 6pm, but this is not actually true. In fact, it’s the opposite of true because just before the sunsets makes for the harshest, most difficult lighting.

Instead, we recommend doing a quick Google search for your wedding date and sunset, like “March 18 sunset.” Whatever time appears, golden hour will be that following half hour. So if the sun sets at 7:30pm on March 18, then “golden hour” is 7:30pm - 8pm, which is then followed by “blue hour,” another great time to take advantage of soft natural lighting.

So whether you want your mini couples session or your ceremony during golden hour is up to you, but just make sure you truly are scheduling your important photo moments during golden hour, and not before!

Here’s an example of photos taken at true golden hour, where the sun is golden and not casting harsh shadows or beams of light on the subjects:

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Wrapping Up our Top 5 Wedding Planning Tips from Miami Wedding Photographers

So Miami Brides, did you already know those Miami Wedding Photographer tips? Or do you have some different ones to add?

Let us know in the comments below, because we’d love to create a community of brides who can help each other plan one of the most special days in their lives!

Until next time,

Happy Wedding Planning - and don’t hesitate to reach out to us with any questions regarding your special date in terms of photo, video, and beyond!

All our best,

Gina & Gabriel

(516) 724-6566

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