I'm Tori, a portrait and wedding photographer based in central New Jersey. Thank you for visiting my little corner of the internet; I'm so happy you're here. Come check out the full galleries from recent weddings and portrait sessions, behind the scenes, personal posts, helpful tips and more. Please feel free to take a look, and let me know if there is anything special you'd love to see in a future post. I hope to hear from you soon!
You might think all of those pretty getting ready photos are for the ladies, but nope – great light is needed for great photos. I know all of the camera mumbo
If you can control it, choosing a location that is nearby to your ceremony and reception locations (or even better, having everything all at one venue) is super helpful to an efficient timeline. It reduces travel time and eliminates the chances of traffic or any hold ups from place to place. Mainly, choose a getting ready location that is close enough, so that we can stay on track and fit in all the amazing photos during the day!
Find some time to be alone. Just you. You’ll quickly find that a wedding day can get a bit hectic once it gets going, from hopping from one place to the next to stopping to hug and catch up with your out-of-town relatives! You might find that the only alone time you get is if you have to make a quick bathroom run. If you can take some time early in the morning just for yourself to relax, breathe, and prepare, it will bring a calmness over you that will set you on the right foot for the day. It will be a much better start than rushing to get ready right as you pop out of bed. Plan for additional time!
Sleep, sleep, sleep! I HIGHLY recommend taking the day before
A tip that came right from my dad is to schedule a full-body massage the day before. This will help you relax, unwind, and feel amazing for the long day ahead. Just like taking some time to yourself the morning of, you can take time for yourself (or a couples massage?) the day before! Prioritize relaxation way in advance to allow yourself to decompress and eliminate as much stress as possible!
I will make sure to remind you of this beforehand, but I want my second photographer to be able to come in and say hello, and then immediately be able to grab your details box or bag and start shooting right away! I don’t want you to have to search around for any stray details and take you away from just enjoying your morning! For my second photographer to be able to do this, you’ll have to prepare a box or bag AHEAD OF TIME of all the details you want to be photographed. This should not be something you do 10 minutes before the photographer arrives, but rather the day before or way in advance, so nothing goes missing! Here are some ideas of details to prepare, but please feel free to throw in anything you want documented: tie, shoes, socks, cufflinks, watch, cologne, boutonniere, belt/suspenders, letters/gifts, and any other details you can think of! All of those flat lay images that you see at the beginning of my blog posts happen right then, so we need all of the details to make it happen!
You might notice that I DO NOT have wedding rings or invitation suite in your list of details! That is because all rings should be with the bride in the morning, as I will be photographing those with the bridal details! So, PLEASE make sure your ring is with your sweet bride, so we don’t have to go chasing your best man down to find it for me!
This might sound really
This one is CRAZY important! Do not forget to eat!! Even if you’re getting a little nervous and it seems hard to eat, please try to snack on some healthy, filling foods during the few hours you have in the morning. This will be a long day, so you want to make sure you can stand through your ceremony and party hard at the reception. Make sure to have some bagels, sandwiches or snacks out for your bridal party, as well! They are working hard and going to be on their feet a lot of the day, as well, so we don’t need anyone fainting! Oh, and LOTS of water to intersperse between those beers, so you’re still kickin’ by cocktail hour ;)!
Talking about food and drinks – it’s definitely part of the wedding morning vibe to drink with your buddies, so please, have fun with them! However, stay in control and do not over drink before your ceremony. Seriously, the last thing you want is to be feeling nauseous during one of the most important moments of your and your fiancé’s lives. Also, have a chat with your fiancé before the big day to see what matters to her. Trust me, I’ve seen a bride’s entire day ruined because her fiancé had a bit too much to drink in the morning and she could smell it on his breath. You want to make sure to have a great time, but please be responsible. Stay hydrated and drink lots of water, so you can pace yourself. It’s going to be a long night of partying, so maybe save those shots for cocktail hour!
Stick to the plan! I will be helping you make your wedding day timeline that is broken down by the minute, so there is a solid plan for every aspect of your big day! What that means is if anything doesn’t go according to the timeline, we risk throwing the entire day off. If you want to throw something in there, please let your photographer know WAAAY in advance (for
Since there is a plan, be aware of it! READ the timeline FULLY and understand where and where you need to be everywhere during the day! Yes, things get hectic and you may not remember the exact minute you need to be putting your boutonniere on (don’t worry, we will keep you on track), but please make sure your wedding day isn’t the first time you’re looking at the timeline! Be aware of all the events happening on your day!
Going off of that, let ALL of your groomsmen know the timeline. SEND it to them. Tell them to review it. Go over it at your last get together before the wedding day! There may be times where we need the entire bridal party, and if your brother is missing, it can really hold us up!
Same as the bridal party, please also let ALL family members who will be in photographs know exactly where and when they need to be in certain places. Make sure they come dressed and ready to go. If family photos are starting and your uncle is in the bathroom, he risks missing the photos as we only get a certain amount of time to capture all of these important pictures!! Keep everyone in the loop! Send them a copy of the part of the timeline they need to know about in the mail and tell them to arrive early, email it to them, or text them a screenshot to have on their phones. Maybe this means making sure your father is present during the getting ready portion of the day to help you put your boutonniere on or your mother coming in to do
Let your bridal party in on the photography end of this whole day! Share your photographer’s website or Instagram with them, so they are excited for all of the pictures you want them to be a part of. It feels more like hanging out with old friends when everyone knows your photographer’s style and personality from their social media!
Practice everything – this means knowing exactly how to tie your tie or bowtie BEFORE the morning of your wedding! It can take up SO much time if we have to pull up a Youtube video with all of the guys to teach everyone how to make the perfect tie knot. Make sure everyone knows how to do this beforehand. Same goes for your boutonnieres! Please make sure to learn how to do this in advance – it’s not all that easy and we usually always have to call mom in to have her put everyone’s on!
Make all of your decisions in advance! I recommend knowing EXACTLY what details you want to wear on your wedding day and exactly how you want to wear them. So, if you’re wearing a tie, know the exact length you want the tie to
Make sure your suit and all of your groomsmen’s suits are all pressed in advance BEFORE the wedding day. Keep your clothing hung up to avoid any wrinkles.
When you’re deciding on your final attire, make sure to add your own flare and do it your way! If consistency matters to you and your fiancé, make sure all of your groomsmen match whatever you’ve chosen. If you want some photos with sunglasses, make sure all of the guys have their glasses on them for portraits. If you want everyone in funny socks, make sure they all have a pair approved by you and are wearing them during portraits. If they should have matching chubby shorts at the reception (yep – for real!), have them all prepped in advance so everyone can be matching. This goes for any details like cufflinks, shoes, ties, and so on. REMIND them – sometimes these little details can get missed or slip people’s minds, so make sure you’re taking the time to decide on what kind of fun flare you want to add and that everyone is on board. Make sure to try everything on before the day
Let’s talk groom self-care! I know you probably are a pro at shaving by now, but this time, there are going to be photos to document your skills! Think about how your skin reacts when you shave – do you often get little nicks around your neck, does your skin get a little red and blotchy, do you get some breakouts? KNOW this, and prepare for it. If you often have little nicks, bring a styptic nick relief pencil to stop the bleeding. Red and blotchy? Maybe shave the day before to let your skin relax. A pimple or scabs from the cuts? Don’t be embarrassed to find some cover-up that matches your skin so you can hide any redness or scabbing. As little as it may seem, it can actually hold up your photos being delivered sooner, as the photographer will have to retouch each image to make your skin look more flawless! Try to be proactive here and learn about what products you can use to hide anything (maybe seek out a professionals help to make sure the color matches your skin)! Also, consider getting shaved by a professional instead of doing it yourself!
Other grooming tips – the hair on your head and cheeks aren’t the only places to be aware of. Trim those nose hairs, ear hairs, and any other hairs you think may be seen. Yes, there is a chance that a close up photo of you kissing your bride will be close enough to show your ear hairs – crazy right?! Clip those nails and file them nicely so there are no sharp
Travel light! Try to keep your phone, wallet, and keys in a bag with someone else or in a secure place instead of in
If your furbaby will be joining you for the morning getting ready, I recommended having them cleaned that morning or the day before so they’re less likely to cause any mess. Try to keep their paws clean, so when guests arrive and they get excited, they aren’t getting paw prints on your people! Make sure they go to the bathroom or someone is in charge of them for the day, as you don’t want to be dressed and ready to go and then remember that you need to take Buddy out to poop!
Emergency kits are KEY. Maybe you want to designate a groomsman to prepare this for your big day, but have someone create a bag or box with the essentials. I always carry one with me, but just in case I haven’t arrived yet, you want to have some items like lint rollers, deodorant, toothbrush, toothpaste mouthwash/mints, band-aids, razors, shaving cream, baby wipes, safety pins, and the list goes on! You never know when you might even need a hot glue gun or super glue, it’s a lifesaver!
Go to the bathroom before getting dressed! Sounds so silly and probably won’t be much of an issue if you have to go again, but just in case you’re hurrying and accidentally get water or soap on your suit right before your first look… maybe try to get it done beforehand!
Do not stress. Talk to your family and friends before the wedding day (maybe at a rehearsal dinner or pre-wedding hang out) and go over the timeline with them. Tell them what you want from them, and let them know that you don’t want to stress on your big day. This means that if they notice the timeline is running over, they do not need to panic. Your vendors know how to keep your day on track and will do everything we can to get you to where you need to be at every moment. It always hurts my heart when I see a sweet, but overly concerned, mother or sister start getting frantic and making the couple antsy over a few-minute delay. You both deserve the most amazing day and nothing less. Nothing can start without either of you!
Recognize that if something little goes wrong, like a flower falling out of a boutonniere or an incorrect sandwich order arrives for your groomsmen, there is very little that you can do to fix it at that moment, SO try to let the little things go. Enjoy this milestone in your life and realize that all that matters is that you are marrying the absolute love of your life, so the little details won’t matter as much in the long run. My couples value a lifelong marriage over a perfectly flawless wedding day because that is what this whole big thing is all about. Let it go and focus on the happiness and love that you are surrounded by. It’s going to be incredible!
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How to Plan a Stress-Free Wedding Morning!
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