Do’s and Don’ts
Whether you’re having a beach wedding when everyone you know has had church ceremonies, or you’re getting beach portraits rather than stuffy studio posing, here are some hints to help things go a bit smoother.
Tips for the Bride (and Groom)
Lots of people coming to Florida’s Emerald Coast like to enjoy the sunshine whether it’s sunbathing on our sugar white sand or sport fishing in the Gulf of Mexico, but both brides and grooms (and anyone else for that matter) should remember that tan lines (and even worse, burn lines) are almost impossible to fix with digital retouching. Women should keep their dress neckline in mind when choosing a bathing suit since burned-in shoulder straps are quite visible on a strapless gown. Men need to beware of “reverse racoon eyes” caused by wearing sunglasses ALL of the time while outdoors. The best advice: Use sunscreen! That includes your feet if you’re going barefoot.
Chances are you paid a lot more for your dress than your flowers, so don’t feel like you have to hold the bouquet in front of you for every photo.
Florida is a tropical state. It gets hot here during the summer and especially so during midday. Wearing a full formal outfit for a July wedding is a mistake, even in the cooler pre-sunset hours. Also bear in mind that alcohol is a diuretic so “a few beers to cool down” will just result in you being dehydrated. Save the toasts for the reception.
Don’t feel the need to give your wedding photographer a list of “must have” photos that you found on the internet. You will only hinder any photographer’s creativity and the capture of true spontaneous photographs. Hire a photographer with a style that you like and then give him or her artistic freedom to capture your wedding day photography. On the other hand if there is a certain pose that you want that your photographer hasn’t had you use (the groom picking up the bride for example), don’t hesitate to ask about it!
Give your guests an idea of what they should be wearing to look good in those big family shots. If the groom is wearing a tux and Uncle Steve is wearing a T-shirt and shorts it will look just as bad as a groom wearing a Hawaiian shirt next to Cousin Herb wearing a coat and tie. This will also prevent unexpected things such as your sister’s kids all showing up in matching camouflaged jumpsuits (oh how I wish that was a joke).
The Bride & Groom
Yeah you! Above all you should remember your wedding isn’t about anything but the two of you. Worrying about trivial details will show in your photos, so relax and enjoy your day. No matter how much you plan for your wedding day, something will invariably not go as you had planned. No one will think twice if your flowers are the wrong shade of peach, but they will notice if you’re scowling. And be sure to spit out any chewing gum before the ceremony!
Tips to pass on to your guests
Let your guests know that they are welcome to bring their cameras to your wedding, but your photographer is taking YOUR photos. They shouldn’t be running around during the ceremony trying to get their shots when it may prevent your photographer from getting vital shots for YOU. If Uncle Paul is taking a photo of you and he can see the photographer, chances are he’s going to be in YOUR photos.
If you are having a beachside ceremony many of the local companies set up the decor so that you can get the best photos during the ceremony and this includes their experience with photographers.
When it comes time for photos after the ceremony, any family and friends taking photos may distract from YOUR photos, so be sure everyone knows to be looking at YOUR photographer’s camera so you don’t wind up with big group shots of everyone looking in different directions.
Be sure any children attending a beach wedding are not making their first ever trip to the beach, or they will be far too interested in the sand, shells, seaweed, waves, birds and everything else to be bothered to look at a camera and smile. It’s always a good idea to have someone the children know stand behind the photographer so it will at least appear they’re looking at the camera.
Oddly enough, the toughest part about taking group photos with children is not the children themselves, but the loving grandparents who forget that they also need to look at the camera rather than the kids.
Tips for family photos/portraits
Family photos always look best if everyone dresses similarly, but not exactly alike. For example, dad has a button up shirt with the sleeves rolled up, and son has a collared polo, but both have white tops and khaki shorts.
Most people like the look of white shirt and khaki/tan pants, but there’s nothing wrong with going with something more “you” like everyone wearing cut-off denim shorts or Hawaiian shirts. Vivid reds usually give poor results as well as stripes and plaids.
Ladies should be reminded that “less is more” is even more important on the beach, however mascara is recommended. Feel free to bring a touch-up kit with you. Nail polish should be a neutral color like a natural pink or beige. Any photo session is not the time to try out new makeup or a new hair style/color. If possible, hire a professional hair and makeup artist and have a trial session before the day of your photos.
Feel free to bring anything you’d like to the location that suits you, such as musical instruments, hats, toys for kids or sports gear like a football, baseball bat or surfboard.