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Summer is on its way – I think. Wedding season will soon be in full swing and I couldn’t be more excited. 90% of weddings take place in the summer months in the Ottawa Valley. These months tend to be hot and sticky. Here are a few tips to survive if your day is HOT.

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Stay hydrated and eat! I know it is tempting to start the party early but I strongly encourage you to hold off. Alcohol leaves you dehydrated and that could turn into a major issue on wedding day. I suggest filling the cooler with water and bringing it along for photos. Also, eat! Wedding day gets busy and often people forget to eat. Have some veggie trays, crackers and cheese, and munchies. Even if you’re just grazing, at least your belly won’t be empty.

Bring sweat “dabbers”. Bring a handkerchief for both your and hubby to be AND the wedding party too! When the sweat starts to show or drip (lol) you can easily “dab” it away without disturbing your makeup.

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Ask your makeup artist to leave your lipstick and some foundation (if possible). These days, makeup artists have handy setting sprays that do an amazing job of setting your makeup in place for the day. It doesn’t hurt to have a backup, just in case your sweat some off.

Leave a bit of time after photos are complete and your grand entrance. This gives you time to freshen up. You can re-apply makeup, deodorant and take a minute to cool off.

Last, if you need a break tell your photographer.  No one wants you to get sick, dehydrate or worse, faint on your day.  

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So you finally get to be alone with your new spouse……and your photographer lol. The # 1 point I stress is trust your photographer. Do not worry about about the posing, the angles or your chin. That is your photographer’s job.

Next, relax and have fun! The absolute BEST shots are when you are in the moment with your new spouse. Laugh, cuddle, kiss – don’t be shy. You just married this person, you are madly in love, remember? Ha ha, sometimes this can be hard. You are most likely sweaty or cold (depending on your date!) thirsty, hungry and maybe a bit distracted with other wedding related details.

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Here are some of my “rules” for wedding day couple’s portrait sessions:

NO one else is allowed to join us during this shoot. Not parents, no wedding party members – not a soul. These are intimate photos that do not require an audience. You will feel much more comfortable this way.

Next, no stressing about the wine, the buffet or how much Uncle Harold is drinking. I am quick to remind my couples that someone else has it under control and revert the focus back to each other.

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Last, bring all the resources you need. For example: bring some water, have some appetizers brought over during your shoot (if possible), bring a hanky to dab sweat and have your lipstick with you for reapplying. Prep this before the wedding for smooth sailing during.

Very last – ENJOY a bit of time alone with your new spouse (and your photographer lol) it will be only time you will get until your day is over!

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Pinterest…..so great for ideas and inspiration…..for some things. That old dresser you want to refinish? Perfect! Doing a bathroom reno? Absolutely! Christmas rolls around and I am all over that app for ideas. However, Pinterest can not plan your wedding. In fact, in my experience Pinterest can in fact give a false perception of what is actually doable on wedding day.

Here is the thing, those beautiful photos you see of tablescapes, floral arches, centrepieces etc? Nine times out of ten those are staged photos done for a stylized shoot. I know this because I shoot stylized weddings for magazines all the time.

Meaning…..that is not a real wedding. This means there is no budget for flowers, decor etc because it is ONE table. No food, venue, photographer and DJ to pay for! You however, DO have a budget. This makes managing expectations hard when you approach your planner and/or decorator.

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This false perception is also true for wedding portraits themselves. Wedding photos can not be duplicated. Those photos you see on Pinterest are either staged or they are that couples “moment.” The lighting, location, time of year and most importantly, the emotion can not be copied.

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Pin the style of photography you like, certain poses that appeal to you but don’t expect your photographer to copy a Pinterest photo. Your photographer will create your very own Pinterest moments for you! After all, you hired him or her for reason, their creativity and talent – trust that and let the magic happen.

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Like everything else on wedding day, getting ready photos do require some prep on your part. Here are some points to keep in mind.

Your prep location should be kept clutter free and have good lighting. This does not mean your location needs to be kept spotless, as that is nearly impossible on wedding day! However, designate a room for your prep shots and keep it neat and tidy. This could be a room with a big front window or even a gorgeous front porch if the lighting at the location is very dark. If you are at a hotel, pick one room for getting photos only.

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Have everything out and ready for your photographer. That means, your dress, shoes, rings, jewellery, veil, flowers and I like to have an invitation too. Also, anything sentimental, Grandma’s broach, a loved one’s photo. If you are busy, elect a bridesmaid to show your photographer where they can find all these items.

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If you and your groom to be are giving each other gifts, hold off on opening them until your photographer arrives.

Make sure your bridesmaids are aware of timings and what is happening next, they should be getting dressed while your photographer is getting detail shots so they can then help you with your dress when the time comes!

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If you want any special moments captured, such as revealing the dress to your Dad or your bridesmaids make sure your photographer is aware and then they can set up those shots for you.

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Last, enjoy these moments, do not worry about posing or if you cry, your photographer is there to capture the emotion. Relax and take it all in!

Claire xo

YES! So often I hear “I don’t think we need engagement photos.” Well, I am here to tell you, yes you do!

Engagement photos are the perfect opportunity to get to know your photographer before the big day. You and your spouse-to-be get a preview of how your photographer shoots, what posing styles they go to and most important, how they give direction. It also gives you time to chat more about your upcoming wedding, share details and manage expectations. Grooms also discover that photos are not a form of torture but can, in fact, be fun! :)

I find that couples who partake in engagement sessions are much more relaxed on their wedding day because they know exactly what to expect from me. This makes wedding day portraits flow smoothly and take less time.

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And bonus! You get a beautiful reminder of that period in your relationship! You can also include the photos in the wedding! I have seen engagement photos used for guest books, table numbers, save the dates and invitations just to name a few.

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A little advice? Personalize your session. Do you love the beach? or camping? do you love to get dressed up? Incorporate those things into your session. Also, I always suggest to my clients to do the engagement sessions during a different season than their weddings. That way, your engagement photos have a completely different look than your wedding photos.

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Trust me. Get those engagement photos done, you won’t regret it.

Claire xo