Congratulations! If you’re reading this, I assume you’re engaged, or about to get married. Or perhaps you’re just someone wondering what advice a male wedding photographer could possibly give a bride?!

I’ve been shooting weddings for about 8 years now. In that time, I’ve seen hundreds of weddings first hand, experiencing them from a unique, behind-the-scenes view that few will ever experience.

I also write and review camera gear like this for a nerdy photography website called Shotkit – in short, my life revolves around everything to do with photography.

Here are the 5 things I wish every bride knew before their big day:

1. You don’t need to follow tradition

Some of the most amazing weddings I’ve attended completely broke the mould of the ‘traditional wedding’.

Remember that your wedding is exactly that – your wedding. You can do whatever the heck you want! Think outside the box a bit and create something that matches who you are.

2. Do you really need photos of your shoes?

I think this one’s the fault of us wedding photographers, who perpetuate the ‘importance’ of pretty pictures of wedding shoes… necklaces, garters, earrings, perfume (usually laid out neatly on a bed!)… by blogging photos featuring them. Do you really need those photos?

While your photographer is arranging pretty photos of inanimate objects that probably don’t really mean anything to you, all the awesome moments are happening in the next room while you’re getting ready. I for one would much rather be capturing them, or at least something that would evoke a feeling for you when you see the photo.

3. Unplugged weddings are priceless

Everyone wants to sneak a photo of the bride walking down the aisle at a wedding – I get it! As a guest at a wedding, I feel myself reaching for my iPhone too…

‘Unplugged weddings’, i.e. ones where guests aren’t permitted to use their phones/tablets, are so much better – not just for the subsequent photos (which don’t show a sea of screen-hidden-faces), but also for your guests’ attention. Without their devices, they’re encouraged to really experience your special moments.

4. You get what you pay for

I appreciate that everyone has a strict budget for photography, but in general, you get what you pay for when hiring a wedding photographer. Don’t be tempted by that guy who’s offering a $500 all day wedding package on Craigslist.

To be able to shoot that cheaply, he’s likely had very little experience, doesn’t have the right gear (or backup gear), doesn’t have insurance, is shooting 100’s of other weddings to make ends meet, or is doing wedding photography as an experiment while doing another full time job.

Paying the market rate, or slightly over the market rate for a wedding photographer is always a wise investment. After all, paying someone adequately to do an amazing job of recording your most precious memories on the most special day of your life is really important.

5. What’s most valuable to you?

Weddings are expensive things, but before you start haemorrhaging your budget, take a step back and decide what’s really important to you.

Do you really need to have that $10k dress you’ll only wear once? Do you really to book that expensive venue, just because all your friends got married there? Do you even need to decorate the entire venue in flowers that will be on the compost heap by sunrise?

I don’t want to tell you how to plan your wedding, but I encourage you to challenge the notion of a typical wedding with all its outlandish expenses. Remember – it’s your day, and you can do whatever you want. Start ruffling some feathers 😉

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