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6 Best Kept Wedding Secrets from a Wedding Photographer

We're not about secrets.We're not about hiding things. Which is EXACTLY why we're here, completely transparent, to give you the best tips these Wisconsin wedding photographers have. Weddings are a daily part of our lives and we've picked up a few things along the way to help you sail away into wedding bliss!

1. Record your dress bustle

A woman holds the train of a bride's wedding gown - Wisconsin Wedding Photographers

You've said your "I Do's", your family pictures are done, and now it's time for your first dance. However, no one can figure out how to bustle your dress. I'll be the first to admit- I thought that after photographing weddings for 11 years, I (Olivia) would be able to bustle my own dress in my sleep. WRONG. I was sweating bullets as my bridesmaids and I desperately struggled for TWENTY minutes on how to make my bustle not look look a potato. AND THEN. I remembered that my seamstress had taken a video during my final dress fitting. Talk about a life saver!

While you are in your dress, hand the seamstress your phone. Have her not just show you where the hidden loops are, but talk through it. How many there are, how many hands up from the bottom of the dress they are, which loops to button up first. Have her show what the dress looks like before, during, and after.

Then. Pull this video out of the pocket on your wedding dress (because pockets are the best) and get to cocktail hour 20 minutes faster. All because you had a step-by-step tutorial ready and waiting in your dress pocket:)

2. Crochet Hooks

A person buttons up a bride's dress - Central Wisconsin Wedding Photographer

Silk buttons line your dress- you've fallen in love with them since you were a little girl. But how do you button 100+ buttons with teeny tiny loop holes? Answer: crochet hooks. These guys are a miracle worker and costs less than $3.00. Your bridesmaids will thank you for saving them from finger cramps.

However, getting into your dress is a special occasion, one that mom's or another someone special to you wants to help with. We suggest letting your loved one do the first few buttons by hand. This creates the opportunity for real moments like the one below.

Here's a crochet hook that we recommend you grab (and the best part is that it's only $2.49).

3. The Golden Three Minute Rule

A family poses for formal photos at Wildcat State Park in Wisconsin

If you only get one thing out of this - THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT ONE! Well, this one and number 6. but that's only if you're a skipper! Oh boy. The words family formals have been known to raise heart rates. The good news- they can be completely stress free. How? Follow the three minute rule- each family formal takes an average of 3 minutes to set up and finish. 3 minutes x 10 pairings = expect 30 full minutes of Family Formals.

We've seen many wedding over the years and if things run late - this is where it happens. By having a detailed breakdown of who is who not only for you, but for your photographer and wedding planner, you can be sure that 1. it's clear who should be in each photo and who should not be 2. Great Aunt Judy's cousin twice removed isn't hopping into photos (because she's not on the list) and 3. it keeps things running smoothly and on time.

4. First Look

There is a myth going around...that having a first look with your soon to be husband takes away from the moment that he sees you as you walk down the aisle towards him. I (Olivia) am here to tell you as a bride myself, that is 100% untrue. From a bride's perspective- it helped take away so much of the anxiety that I had from the thought of walking down an aisle in front of everyone! It also gave me a few moments to just * breath * and soak in the most joyous of days with my now husband. The explosion of joy that overflowed from me as I turned around to see my groom and soak in that I would be his WIFE, are feelings that I still relive every time I think about it. And even when I walked down the aisle after the first look? My husband was straight up sobbing.

Here's a gallery from a wedding with a first look, featuring Krista and Dean (peep those photos above)!

5. Schedule Time for Guests

A group of men laugh together - Milwaukee Wedding Photographer

"You'll blink and your wedding day will be over". You've likely heard this phrase many a time, and while it gets old quick, it is so stinking true. Time and time again, we've heard how a couple has looked at their pictures and hadn't even realized that Aunt Betty, Cousin Lilly, or long-time friend Peter had even been there! This one comes from personal experience. I look at my own wedding photos and realized there are people in the background that I never even SEEN through the entire day! By having a flexible timeframe with lots of extra time in-between the big moments, you'll be able to go around and greet the people who are most important to you.

6. Timeline

A man and woman kiss in front of the Milwaukee skyline

Whether you have a full blown wedding planner, are using The Knot, or are doing everything all on your own - the most crucial part of ensuring a smooth wedding day is your timeline. Plan it EARLY. Here's why.

On a freezing winter wedding day in downtown Milwaukee, the wedding party got separated and was having trouble finding the photography location. During the winter months, we lose sunlight quickly- BUT because we had created a flexible time frame, we as photographers, as well as the couple, were able to roll with it...and we ended up with the MOST epic nighttime Milwaukee skyline photographs.

Planning a customized, detailed time-line for each of our couples is one of the things that we are truly passionate about. Because here's the the bottom line: planning a wedding day timeline ensure that your big day runs smoothly, no matter what.

Pro-tip- Sunset varies throughout the year, which directly impacts when pre-sunset photos should take place. In the summer, golden hour may be as late as 8pm, and in the winter, as early as 4pm


Ready to be whisked away into your happily ever after? Here's a few articles to lend a hand with that.

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