Hi everyone! Welcome back to The Forever Bride Show! I am your host, Ashley Hawks, this is my favorite part of the week. Thank you so much for tuning in. And if you haven't subscribed yet make sure that you subscribe HERE. I have a very very special guest in the studio with me today Kelly Morin of Kelly Morin Photography.
[Ashley] So you and I were talking a lot about how to create these very real authentic moments during a very stressful busy wedding day. And as a wedding photographer you have seen a lot of great beautiful weddings where they have been able to create these moments and take the time together and you've probably been on the other side where the day flies by and they're running around like crazy. We put together a couple of really great different pieces of advice for those of you listening who are planning a wedding who are trying to figure out what's important and where to prioritize and where to make sure that you're still able to connect and be in the moment. But before we go into some of your advice tell us a little bit about you and how you got started as a wedding photographer.
[Kelly] Yes. So actually I've been in photography my whole life. My mom was a professional wedding photographer and portrait photographer for about 35 years. My sister is a professional wedding photographer and now here I am! I've been doing this now for five years. I actually thought my whole life that I'd be photographing like indigenous tribes really in other countries. Or like mountains or something. But my brother asked me to photograph his wedding and I said yes! And I fell in love right there. So I dove in and absorbed everything. It's the main thing I do and I love it.
[Ashley] So for you guys listening to get an idea of how gorgeous her work is go check her out on Instagram, @kellymorinphotography. So in your experience I mean these are authentic moments. You have to deliberately create them you have to be very aware because if you don't this wedding day is going to like consume you and pull you in every different direction.
[Kelly] Yeah. It's so busy and I think brides can get very focused on your timeline and all the really big things that you want to do and all of the people and those are really great things. But then you if you focus on those you're going to miss some of the intimate moments, some of the personal moments. It’s important to build time in there to have authentic things that are authentic to you and your spouse. I think it's more fun for you that way and probably everybody else, because it keeps you from feeling like you're going from photo op to photo op.
[Ashley] I was going to say that it makes for beautiful photos.
[Kelly] So I mean to me wedding storytelling is really important. I love portraits. I really do. But some of these weddings I'm there for like 14 hours and if I'm there for 14 hours the storytelling is what is really really important. Portraits realistically only take about two hours of your day. So there's twelve hours left for storytelling. So I think make the story of your wedding day something really amazing for you.
[Kelly] Everything on the list today is not really a staged photo.
First one on the list: Vow Letters
So traditionally and what I've seen for a really long time is the groom would sit in his getting ready room and the bride would sit in her getting ready room and they would open their letters and read them quietly to themselves and then that's it. There's still some emotion there, BUT some other ways that I've seen it done.. They wrote each other vow letters and they read them to each other at their engagement session! They stood face to face, holding hands, and the bride read the groom her letter and the groom read the bride his letter to her. Say goodbye to all your makeup (;
Tip: if you're going to do this you want to do this at the end of your engagement session, not at the beginning.
What was really great about that is they weren't rushing because they didn't have other things they had to go to. But I've also seen people do this at their engagement session then read them again to each other at the ceremony.
I had another couple that read their vows to each other after the first look. They pulled their letters out of their pocket. Actually it was in my bag and then they did the same thing. They held hands and read their letters to each other. Every time I've seen it done, both ways, both people are crying. I love it.
We actually had a whole podcast the other day about the first look and why it's so important and the reasons to do it/the reasons not to do it.
Now I've had some brides who don't want their mascara to run. They're a little bit worried. They feel like if they read it aloud they're going to totally ball. I have an option for that bride! I had this couple, they were getting married in the winter so we were inside and they hadn't seen each other yet. So we walked them to each together, their eyes were closed. We brought them so they were standing back to back, and they exchanged their letters from there! Then, they were able to read them while they were together! *This can also be done on either side of a door.
2. Sneaking Away and Going to Someplace Special
It doesn't have to be far, but getting out to do something that's special for the two of you. Take a walk down the street at sunset. There might be a really cool spot to hang out together. It gives you some space to breathe.
Tip: You do not have to bring your bridal party everywhere you go!
It's so many people all day and it's okay to step out, just the two of you for a little bit, like 15 minutes.
So this is one of my favorite ones. I feel like this is as personal as it gets. If you're a religious person or even somewhat a spiritual person building some time into your day to include that. It really grounds people and brings them back a little bit and it takes them away from like the rush of everything in the day and it slows it down. This example is best done before the first look, but where you stand either around the corner from one another or around a door and hold hands and say a prayer. And if you're the type of person that is not like really good on the spot with prayer then write one. I've had some family members where their father or mother is the pastor have them write a prayer for you that you can read and a blessing for your marriage.
Another favorite is - I've seen this done two ways - where you have your family and friends bless you. I've seen it done before the wedding where the bride and groom they were in the bridal prep room still and they had their whole wedding party come around them put their hands on them and then they had one person designated to read a prayer and a blessing. I've also seen multiple times at a wedding where they build a time in for their family to come up and they all gather around them put their hands on them and pray for the couple during the ceremony.
Another favorite: They had somebody in the wedding party that played guitar so they actually built in time for their wedding party while all the guests were getting seated before the ceremony. And they did worship out in the back. They all stood together and sang, the bride and groom held hands. It was beautiful.
Another option: Come together with your partner to put together a mission statement or pick out a life verse or two. This can be printed on your programs or made into decor at your wedding!
4. The Toasts
it doesn't have to be: two people get up and stand in front of everybody and give a toast. You can, but you could do a personal toast as well where each member of the wedding party gives a best wishes to the couple - not in front of all the guests.
This is the perfect photo moment because I mean it's hard to capture those genuine moments and so we're creating these really special things that have good memories tied to them for the couple.
Tip: if you want people to shush, tell your bartenders to stop serving alcohol during the toast.
5. Cultural Traditions
Especially here in the Midwest, we maybe have lost that. But it does exist - it is out there, so it might mean digging back into your family roots a little bit and seeing what you can incorporate in.
Tune in to hear some traditions from Mexican, Scottish, and Roman culture where each of your guests, family members, and wedding party members can be involved! Makes for very personal pictures with each of your guests!
It could be a really small thing but actually it has a huge impact. I love deejays, don’t get me wrong. But some other things I've seen outside of that, that were amazing, was I had a wedding last summer and they hired a jazz band and I wasn't sure when they said “jazz band’ like what that would or could look like. But they did the most amazing version that I've ever heard of Madonna's Like A Prayer. I get goosebumps every time I think of it. And everybody was dancing on the dance floor. It was the coolest thing I've ever heard.
Another one, this bride and groom they got married on Lake Superior up at Larsmont Cottages and their whole day was about being personal and it was a smaller wedding maybe like 50ish people but they wanted it to be really special to them. They had a bluegrass band that played outside the main building. They had a basket with blankets in there that everybody could grab if they wanted to sit on a blanket and watch the band or if they wanted to get out and dance they could! I wanted to stay after, grab a blanket, and sit down and listen to the band because they were so good and it was such a beautiful evening out!
*This makes for really cute pictures of people cuddling up, kids dancing around, and everyone enjoying a beautiful and intimate night!
I recently had another one where the groom is really really into music so he wrote a song to his bride and right before the first look, they were back to back, so they didn't see each other walking up and played it right before they saw each other for the first time.
Tune in for another unique music idea!
7. Stylized Exits
Tip: do a stylized exit early in the day, like after the ceremony, before people are drunk or tired or gone!
Something like, outside of the church, guests standing down the stairs, and you go off in a beautiful car! It's a really special time you will probably never going to have an excuse to do it again.
Tune in to hear how this can be done with or without stairs!
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