Things to consider when planning your dream wedding!

I'm a wedding photographer that has shot tons of different weddings. It's amazing the things I have seen that make or break a wedding and so, I thought it might be helpful to share some of the things that make for the best weddings! 

1- Focus on the LOVE!

Please remember the reason you’re having a wedding in the first place. You are 100% head over heels in love and nothing, no matter what happens on your wedding day should ever change that! You’d be surprised what can derail a wedding... family dynamics, the wrong flowers, the wrong music, or things just didn’t go the way you planned them to go. I NEVER plan much as a photographer, because things always change. As long as you remember that you are in love, nothing else will matter.

2- Find the perfect location

Location is very important when is comes to your wedding! You want a place that means something special to you. Weddings can be held just about anywhere, so be creative and try to find something that makes you feel amazing!  Keep in mind, that your wedding location needs to have a back up plan in case it rains. Believe me, even if you get married in the middle of a hot August day, there is still the chance of rain and I’ve seen amazing locations turn into cramped sweat factories, because there was no “plan B.” Of course, if you remember to “Focus on the love,” then just get married in the rain! I would LOVE to shoot those pictures! :)

3- Hire the right Photographer

I tell every couple at the end of our consultation, "I don’t care how much you like my photography, if you don’t like the way we interact, don’t hire me" because your photographer will be with you ALL DAY LONG. 

  1. Find someone’s work you love and meet with them - whether in person, on the phone, or videochat.
  2. DO NOT hire the first photographer you meet with! Talk with your 3-4 favorites.  
  3. Often times, this is the first time you've ever hired a professional photographer… DO YOUR RESEARCH! Understand what the contract will and will not include.
  4. Ask them every question you can think of. (It's hard to compare apples-to-apples with multiple photographers.) Ask to see their 2-3 most recent weddings, in their entirety. 
  5. Find out what their turnaround time is like from reviews and past clients. 
  6. Don't fall for "deals" during the consultation. Pressure tactics are used by photographers that just want your money.

Wedding photographers look awesome on their websites, but not every photographer performs well on the wedding day. This is why you need to really do some research! Remember, you will NEVER get the opportunity to retake these important pictures! I see way too many couples that go with the very first photographer they meet and most of the time, it's because they are pressured into some kind of a deal. Awesome photographers normally don't give "deals" because they have no problem booking weddings.

4- Hire a legit planner

Planners take stress off of the bride. Enough said! Nearly every wedding day has some kind of hiccup, whether there's a boutonniere missing, or your dad forgot his tie. With a good wedding planner, you'll never even know these things happened! They know the great vendors, coordinate all the logistics, and will handle all the details of your wedding. The majority of brides want to do everything themselves, but over and over again, I see “DIY” brides focus more on the wedding instead of the marriage. I end up being the instant coordinator at weddings, because there is no way the couple can keep things on schedule when they are having to deal with everything else going on that day. YES, you may save money without a planner, but you will have a lot less stress if you hire a good one!

5- Flowers can ruin a wedding!

Time and time again, the one thing that ruins the mood of a wedding more then anything (besides family dynamics) is flowers. I know, I know… how can that be? Wait till the wrong flowers come to your wedding and you will quickly see how fast your mood changes. The flowers are usually one of the first things you see, if that can go wrong, then what else can go wrong?? That’s why a great florist goes a long way! Just like hiring a photographer, do your research and visit multiple florists. The best cost more money for a reason and it is 100% worth it! Of course, if you have a great planner, you don’t have to worry about the wrong flowers and if you remember to focus on the love, then nothing can affect your wedding ;)

6- Invite the right amount of people

The happiest weddings I see are the ones where the Bride and Groom know every single person there. Whether it’s a 30 person wedding or a 300 person wedding, the one thing that makes these weddings great, is that every single person brings the Bride and Groom a smile to their face! There is so much more joy for the Bride and Groom when they can each have a great connection with the people there.

7- Benefits of the first look

A "First Look" is when the bride and groom have a special moment together before the ceremony. Here are the pros and cons of doing the First Look. The Pros: You get to have time alone on your wedding day. I know you think you will get that time later, but you won’t. You have too many people who love you so much, that want to say hi and talk... and it will exhaust you! You won't get any time alone for the rest of the day, unless I pull you away from the crowd for pictures later in the evening. Everyone who has ever had a first look will tell you that it does NOT take away from the exhilarating "walking down the aisle" feeling. It also allows for me to take a lot more of pictures of just you two! The wedding party, the Bride and Groom, and even the family pictures can be taken before if you wish, and the best part is we can take our time and not steal anytime away from your guests later. Obviously, I am PRO first look ;) That said, if you wait to see each other at the ceremony, then you will have to do all the pictures afterward, you will not get any time to yourself unless your planner has planned for a private dinner, which takes time away from seeing everyone else. I think it’s so important to have alone time together on your wedding day. You just have to choose the most efficient way of making that happen.

8- Anything goes!

There is no magic formula to having the perfect wedding. If you include all the things I mentioned above, you will be very happy at your wedding, but remember… it’s all about you two. I’ve seen people dress up in costumes at weddings, I’ve seen themed weddings, I’ve seen a wedding that took place in a living room with 12 people and I’ve seen them with over 400 people! You just have to think of what it is that makes you happiest and don’t let anyone else steer you away form that! I promise you, that the more original you are, the more every vendor will want to be a part of your wedding, including the photographer! I absolutely love it when my couples do something different! It’s a breath of fresh air, because we see the same things every single weekend. 


The best weddings are when the Bride and Groom are heads over heels in love with each other! You would think that’s easy to come by, but weddings have a way of becoming more about the wedding itself and less about the love that made it all happen in the first place. A couple in love sticks out so much to me. They are so easy to the pictures of and I find myself wiping away the tears at the ceremony. It’s rare, and it’s something you should make sure is a priority at your wedding.







Joe Hendricks