Dear Brides & Photographer Friends,
This blog post is for both of you ❤ ❤
Lets chat about Wedding Timeline because it is not one of the mostttttttttt, but THE MOST important thing when planning a wedding (for brides) and setting expectations of the clients & getting things done (for photographers).
those who Fail to Plan,
Plan to Fail!
That’s exactly why I love talking to each bride and discuss their wedding timeline way in advance. This gives me insight of their plans, how the wedding day will unfold, & helps me not to miss any details.
While discussing the timeline, I always ask all the vendors’ names for credits, give tips and insights of the wedding to my brides and answer any questions/concerns they might have. I also make sure to let them know how much time I need for specific section of the photoshoot and to keep some grace time for prayers, late makeup artist, hairstylist, mishaps, etc.
Following are some of the questions I always ask my brides and write them down.
- Is the bride getting ready at a salon, the venue, bridal room, or hotel suite?
- helps me determine travel time to/from the ballroom.
- Who is the makeup artist, makeup start & finish time.
- Is the makeup artist doing makeup on family members or only the bride? This can make/break the entire timeline.
- Who is the hairstylist, hair start & finish time.
- Is the groom coming for the photoshoot before or after the ceremony?
- Brides, feel free to read my recommendation about first look – it is super useful, promise!
- Ballroom/kosha ready time.
- Expected number of guests. Expected arrival time.
- helps me plan how much time I have for the ballroom decorations’ photos.
- Bride’s entrance time.
- helps me know time for bride-groom’s photoshoot from her prep until her entrance.
- Any entertainment, singers, performers, Zaffa, belly-dancers, violinist, etc.
- anything the couple spend time/effort/money on must be documented.
- Groom’s entrance time.
- I also ask if the groom is coming in alone or with family/friends. Helps me choose the right lens in advance 😉
- Cake cutting & drink exchange times.
- Family photos time.
- Expected exit time.
I hope this post helps you plan the wedding day even better. If you have ANY questions, please feel free to leave them in the comments below and I’d be moreeeeee than happy to answer them.
Your UnOfficial Bridesmaid & PF (photographer friend) 😉
My darling Brides-To-Be,
Writing the last blog post about the 5 things brides forget on the wedding day, I thought a detailed post with a bride’s must haves is essential. Although you may buy Sephora’s Minimergency Kit that is ready to use but making one with things from your favorite brands is more fun (& useable).
Bridesmaids, it is a wonderful idea to make this emergency kit for your girlfriends 😉 Just saying….
Following are a handful things that you may need/want on the day of the wedding day and honeymoon.
- BreathMints/Chewing gum – to get your mouth ready for that first kiss.
- Tweezers – for stray hair and clamped lashes.
- Blotting Paper – to absorb the oil & remove shine.
- Face Mist – to refresh the makeup & calm the skin.
- Tissue Papers – to dab away happy tears.
- Safety & Bobby pins – always come in handy.
- Stain Remover – God forbid you need to use them.
- Adhesive band-aids – for small cuts/injuries.
- Earring backs – I lose them like a magician.
- Deodorant towelette – in case you are not carrying a deo.
- Nail polish remover pad – for girls who need to pray.
- Tooth paste & brush – are not included in most hotels’ toiletries.
- Lip balm – for chapped/dry lips.
- Nail filer – always carry one. Alwaysssss!
- Hair spray – to hold hair in place.
- Dental floss – for a picture perfect smile.
- Mending/Sewing kit – I had actually sew a bride’s ripped dress.
- Double-sided tape – for falling hemlines & plunging necklines.
- Pain reliever – for head/stomach aches.
- Lipstick – Ladies, don’t ever underestimate the power of lipstick 😉
Here is a bonus tip – if you are a hijabi (mohajibba), a few hair-ties and a nude-color scarf will definitely come in handy!
I hope the list helps you prepare your emergency kit. For any questions/concerns or to add something to the list, feel free to leave a comment.
Your UnOfficial Bridesmaid,
Words can never explain how much I love my brides. To the moon & beyond…
While my brides have proven to be very organized and amazing planners, I’ve seen a constant pattern of things that most brides tend to forget on the wedding day. Although it is never intentional and totally understandable as the wedding planning is not a piece of cake, but a little reminder is always nice.
Here is a list of 5 things that most brides forget & my two cents about those things. May this post helps you plan your dream wedding day even better, inshaAllah.
- Have the groom’s wedding ring with you.
You’ll need all two/three for the detail photos so make sure the groom’s ring is with you on the day of the wedding.
- Wedding invitation card.
Invitation cards/suite/stationary often tends to get lost years after the wedding. Have them incorporated within the photos. Also, invitation cards provide great ring shots with bride & groom’s names/logos.
- Hangers/mannequin for the dress.
Make sure the hanger is not colorful/flashy to take the attention away from the dress. Also, the hanger should be able to bear the weight of the dress & its hook should be TWIST-ABLE! If you are getting a mannequin, check if the dress fits on it properly and the base is stable.
- Emergency kit.
A sewing kit, bobby pins, safety pins, Tide pen (stain-remover), tissues, face-mist, small scissors, double-sided tape, mini deodorant, nail-filer – are just a few things you might need on the wedding day.
- Eat!!! Pleaseeeeeeeee.
OMG! There is nothing more frightening than watching a malnourished bride faint on a wedding day. I HAVE SEEN IT!!! Not only it is terrifying, it sucks out all the fun and also reduces so much time for photos. Make sure to eat well before the makeup starts.
The ONLY thing I actually wish the brides forget on their wedding day is worrying! Don’t get caught up in the midst of tiny imperfections, a loose thread, a missing flower from the bouquet, etc. Try to enjoy your day to the fullest despite of the small stuff.
May you have an UNFORGETTABLE wedding day, ameen.
Your UnOfficial Bridesmaid,
She had tons of questions…
Being the first one amongst her siblings to get married, she was lost in all the wedding planning process. As I was answering her questions, a past bride of mine came in to meet me. I asked her to join in and the conversation went to a whole new level.
I sat back and watched both of these amazing girls. It was like watching an amateur meeting an experienced one. The crazy idea popped into my head and I asked the bride-to-be if she’d be interested in meeting my other past & future brides to help her plan the wedding. She agreed in a heartbeat. Before leaving, she turned back and said thank you several times to my past bride and myself for being the reason that so much of her stress was reduced.
In that moment, I felt like I was the missing link! I decided that I haddddddd to take a step forward & plan a friendly get-together for my future brides-to-be. To help them connect the dots, help each other with the tiring wedding planning, bring and share ideas to plan and have the best day of their lives.
With that being said, I feel sooooo very nervous & super excited at the same time because I actually did take the step…..the venue has been booked, invitations have been sent, and I can’t wait to see what this small step will result into…
Cheers to a step forward!
The Missing Link,
I cherish spending time with the couple beforehand as well as on the wedding day and getting to know their love story. I love watching their chemistry and writing about it. When I am unable to express my severe joy and/or sadness, I write – hence this specific post is a byproduct of my extreme happiness & dedicated to the bridesmaids who put their hearts and souls to make it the best day of their friend’s life.
This past weekend, I was honored to document wedding of a bride who was loved and cherished and taken care of beyondddddddddd measure. The bride’s family and school-friends since childhood, along with her teachers were so immensely involved throughout the wedding planning process. She had an entire army of absolutely adorable bridesmaids. Their love & compassion for the bride showed in every conversation & gesture.
Not only I thoroughly enjoyed watching their excitement, my heart was doing its happy-dance the entire duration of the wedding and even until now for being able to observe them take love to a whole new level…
Sometimes, reading between the lines leave me speechless. It’s not about how much money is being spent on the stage, decorations, overall wedding. I absolutely enjoy to witness care & love of the family and friends for the bride and the groom. It shows how good-hearted the people giving the love are, but it also shows that people receiving that love are more than deserving.
And that is exactly the type of brides/couples I feel humbled & honored to work with. Who give and receive love with pure heart. Who do things selflessly. Who see beyond what is visible. Who see things worth seeing….
You are probably on a hunt to find the best person who can document your wedding day. Let me take a minute and explain why choosing a wedding photographer is a lot more than choosing someone to take good photos.
Wedding photographers are the only wedding vendors who will be with you throughout the day, witnessing your love story unfold, and documenting the union of two people beginning a new journey. We are in the business of love.
To enhance your experience and to make sure that your day goes smoothly, here are some tips to make sure you choose the right wedding photographer to document your big day.
- Research Well – during the tiring wedding planning, don’t just hire a photographer that your best friend and/or cousin hired. Make sure you choose someone who fits your budget as well as your aesthetic vision. If you are planning an indoor wedding, do NOT choose an outdoor photographer merely based on how much you like their photos. Choose someone who’s style matches yours especially based on the type of wedding you are planning.
- Meet the Photographer – after cutting down the list of best choices, email the photographers to set up a meeting (given that they live in the same city). If you are planning to have a destination photographer, make sure to have a Skype session to explain your wedding planning and requirements.
- Personality Matters (a lot!) – Once you meet/Skype with the selected photographers, then decide to hire one you can imagine having around on your big day. If you gel well with the photographer during the initial meeting, chances are they are the ones you want to spend your special day with.
- Communication is the Key – make sure to keep your photographer in loop via email sharing special details, décor design, asking for their feedback. Do not hesitate to ask questions regarding lighting, timelines, and stage layout. Also, make sure you are comfortable enough with the photographer to discuss any family and/or timeline issues that may occur on the wedding day.
- Timeline is Essential – If a photographer is not asking for a timeline, make sure you take things in your hands and discuss how your day will go. Discuss what time you expect them to arrive and for how long you will need them for. Ask them how much time they need for bride & groom’s formals and family photos.
- Trust is a valuable asset – when you choose a photographer after research, trust them. Refrain from asking to see every photo that they click.What you see is unedited and may make the photographer hesitant and under pressure.
- Go with the Flow – it is crucial to understand that things will go wrong on the wedding day. They always do. The bouquet is not the right size, the makeup artist is late, the centerpieces have pink peonies instead of white. Don’t let things ruin your day (and photos). Brides who are angry will look angry in the photos despite of the efforts to smile. Believe that your wedding day will end well and it will.
May you find the best photographer who’s intention is to provide you an experience along with beautiful photos. May the photographer with happy memories of your wedding day. Oh and in case you want to get in touch with me, fill out the contact form to holla at your girl 🙂
My heart frequently desire to do things outside of the box. I come up with crazy ideas but most of the times I end the thought with ‘may be one day…’ or ‘soon’ because I simply don’t know where to begin.
When Anne from MyList.ae asked me to be a part of their Wedding Workshop in association with BetterLifeUAE, I felt so honored & agreed with all my heart!
The workshop was held at BetterLife’s showroom in Mall of the Emirates. It was absolutely fun, educational for the brides-to-be, and free. Yes, it was FREE!
I was so honored to be speaking alongside some of the best professionals in the industry such as May from WeddingHaven, Olivia from HelloChef, Mirna from MyPediaClinic, and Kiah from ToniqueConsultancy.
Because the event was targeted towards brides-to-be, I spoke about how to choose your wedding photographer. I will be blogging about it under my “UnOfficial Bridesmaid” series soon for those who missed the event.
Thank you to Julie & Anne from MyList.ae for inviting me for this workshop & to put together such a wonderful (and successful) event, to Johanna from BetterLife for being a wonderful host, and to all the attendees. I hope that the event was as educational and fun for you as it was for me.
Congrats on saying YES to the proposal…
If you are planning your first party (milcha/engagement) to announce being officially together, this post is perfect for you!
After documenting countless engagement parties, I jot down a quick list to give brides some thought provoking ideas to think about while planning their first day as husband & wife.
- It is OKAY to be nervous! It is the first time you are being professionally photographed together as a couple. A little nervousness is okay but don’t let it hold you back from enjoying the party.
- Be on time. This is very important. Discuss the timeline with your makeup artist, hairstylist, and of course your photographer. Make sure everything is running smoothly and you are ready on time to make the most of your investments.
- Confidence is the key. The first 20 minutes of photo-session will be awkward. It is normal. Don’t let your nervousness make you more nervous. Make sure to smile a lot & enjoy your time with him. When you are confident, it shows in the images.
- Prepare the groom. If you are planning on having him put jewelry on you, make sure to tell him to practice. If he knows how to open and close the jewelry pieces, it’ll be easy for him to do and will result in more natural photos.
- Set priorities. Having props with sentimental value for both you and the groom is awesome but having 10+ props & expecting the photographer to take photos of each one might not be a great idea. You & your husband are the stars of the night. You are the priority. Don’t get lost in the props game.
- Relax & trust your photographer. You probably chose your photographer after much consideration and for a reason (hopefully their personality is your #1 priority). Trust them. Allow them to be creative & you’ll have an awesome photo session.
I hope these tips help you and result in the best of photos ❤
If you have some tips for the future brides-to-be, I’m all ears. Share them in the comments below.
For this installment of UnOfficial BridesMaid, I am bringing you advice from none other than actual brides of mine. They have been through the wedding planning process and give some incredibly useful tips based on their personal experiences.
I asked them for their best advice to help you with the wedding planning and this is what they have to say…..
- A Checklist is a must!!! ~Afra
- Budget wisely. ~Sara Rouab
- Plan ahead this way you will not get worried about thigs popping up all of a sudden on wedding day! ~ Aysha
- Invest in PHOTOGRAPHY and lower the budget for other things as photos r the only thing that the bride gets to keep as a memory from her wedding day. ~ Maram
- Relax and enjoy every single moment. Stressing out will make things worse and hard to get. ~ Reem AlHosani
- Run! ~ Amna (lol. Amna, you are hilarious).
- 1. Do. Not. Panic !
2. Let your first priority on your wedding day be to having fun with your groom and family. Forget about the formalities.
3. Eliminate sources of distraction and don’t let others interfere.
4. The last few weeks before the wedding should be about relaxing, spa days and just day dreaming…..no stress….no staying up late! And drink lots of water.
5. Practice! Try on your shoes, dress, veil and practice moving in them. ~ Meera
- Once you know the wedding date:
1. Find your perfect wedding gown
2. Book your photographer, makeup artist & hairstylist immediately.
3. Pamper yourself.
4. Relax! everything will be ok! ~ Hind
- The first process is to search the good makeup artist. And then go to the super hero (RIMA) ~ Mahra (I swear, I didn’t pay her to say that :D)
- 1. Finish everything about your wedding 1 week before the wedding , keep the last week for RELAXING !
2. Write every small thing and take the list to the venue so you won’t forget anything.
3. Keep extra money in your handbag for last minute things.
4. Keep the room clean, where you will be getting ready.
5. Try to stay alone in your room till you finish everything (makeup, photography, etc). ~ Moza
- No matter what happens, you should be calm, happy and confident. Don’t stress your self over few decoration or makeup mistakes. Don’t be sad nor cry over silly things. People should think of the meaning of this day not the over look – Meera AlNuaimi
So brides-to-be, plan ahead of time to avoid any mishaps, relax and everything will be great! Look at the bigger picture, go with the flow, and enjoy your day to the fullest. May this day be the better than what you have planned it to be.
Your unofficial bridesmaid,
If you have been worried about whether to have your grooms-to-be look at you before you go into the ballroom or on the stage, then this is the post for you. I’m a huge supporter of having the bride and groom do the First-Look (yani, meet each other before the party begins) for several reasons.
Now before we continue, I want to put a disclaimer: my clients are not required to do the first-look at all…It is totally up to the brides. Some families are more conservative than the others and that is absolutely okay with me. I respect my brides’ decisions regardless of our difference of opinion. But over the years of documenting weddings, I can only make suggestions to the couples as I want the BESTESTEST for them (yeah, I made that word up 😉 ).
So, couples who choose to do first-look before going to the reception/ballroom experience the following advantages:
- Fresh Make-up & Hair – oh lord, have mercy! I think I don’t even need to explain this one…
- Get the Reaction – every bride wants that from the groom. The experience of having your life-partner standing there with a dropped jaw, mesmerized by your beauty is priceless. Because UAE’s local weddings are segregated 99.999% of the times, the groom get too nervous entering the ballroom full of covered women and don’t express their feelings of looking at their beautiful bride. First-looks are the best remedy for that.
- More Time for photos – couples who do first-look get the photography done and are relaxed during the party. Remember, the more time you give to your photographer & videographer, the better job they’ll do.
- Recover the Investment – you invest a lot in wedding photography & videography, and by doing the first-look before the reception, couples generally get 40% more photos. These are the photos for the albums, house decorations, photos you’ll show your grandkids, your legacy! Make the most out of your investment….
- Time to Yourselves – this is the only intimate time you’ll get with each other during the wedding before its 12 am and the day changes. By having the first look before the party lets the groom tell you privately how beautiful you look. Believe me on this one!
- More romantic photos – the more time you get to yourselves alone, the more chances there are to share compliments & make lifelong promises that result in more of romantic photos together.
- More Energy – guess who’s wearing the heavy dress, high heels, and make-up? You are my dear brides. YOU are. Having the first look allows you get the photography and videography done when you have lots of energy. Not only that, the photographer & videographer have a lot of energy to be creative.
- Enjoy the Party – now put all the points together….you got the reaction, recovered the investment, had some time alone with your groom, got very creative & romantic photos while you had energy….now what? It’s time for you to relax & enjoy the party. Dance the night away my friend…
With that been said, I’ll sign off with the hope that this post helped you make your decision regarding the first-look. May you enjoy your night to the fullest!
If you have any questions/concerns, please send me an email on firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have tips, feel free to leave them in the comment box to help others.
Your UnOfficial Bridesmaid,