7 Tips For Winter Brides
Here are our 7 Tips For Winter Brides – As a full-time professional wedding photographer in Melbourne, Australia, I see lots of weather “events” in our wedding shoots. If you know anything about Melbourne, you’ll know that the weather in this city is almost like a lovable and loyal but unpredictable friend. It’s always around, can be amazing and unexpectedly awesome, but can change suddenly and seemingly attempt to ruin your day at any moment.
So having just come to the end of our Winter, I thought I’d put together some thoughts on some simple tips for helping you all enjoy your winter weddings – and get great winter photographs if the weather isn’t perfect – instead of just hoping to survive them 🙂
Oh – and I’d LOVE to hear any comments or feedback in the comments section below – please let me know your thoughts!
Here are the tips – read below for more explanation ….
- #1 – Look after your bridesmaids
- #2 – Heel stoppers
- #3 – Grab some funky, location specific shoes
- #4 – Emergency Kit
- #5 – Don’t sweat the little imperfections
- #6 – Umbrellas as a fashion accessory
- #7 – The light – don’t forget about the light!
#1 – Look after your bridesmaids
When it’s hot in summer, the guys tend to suffer in their heavy dark suits when the temperature starts to climb. Often the bridesmaids are getting a beautiful tan in the sunshine and strappy dresses while the guys are sweating through their shirts inside a woolen 3-piece .
And then in winter, it’s the opposite – the guys are all snug and the girls are turning blue, trying to stay warm while we get the bridal party shots done.
So perhaps think about including some sort of pashmina or shawl for the girls (and yourself!) as part of their outfit for the day. If it’s going to be freezing, a light shawl or furry wrap can really help the girls stay happy and engaged, and focused on helping you out to get great shots – instead of looking for the nearest inside spot or outdoor heater.
#2 – Heel stoppers
Many venues have grassy areas where you might want to get photos afterwards, or you may be heading out to other spots to get some shots which might require having to either walk across grass, or stand on it for a while. You (or your photographer 😉 ) might have imagined that perfect clifftop shot, only to find that the grass has become soft and you’re having that sinking feeling …
This can leave you with a couple of problems – dirty heels, difficulty in moving around and potentially look like you’re wearing flats instead of the heels you carefully picked out.
Some simple clear plastic heel stoppers can be a huge relief to all three. You can put them on when you head out to get your shots, and then take them off when you reappear for the reception – and no-one will ever know.
You may not need them on the day – doesn’t hurt to be prepared though, right?
#3 – Grab some funky, location specific shoes
Sticking with the footwear theme, this particularly relates to those of you planning to have your bridal photography shot somewhere like a winery, beach, farm, forest – somewhere outdoorsy and natural. You’re going to be walking on a lot of unpaved surfaces, which are not the natural home of the 4″ stiletto.
Why not bring along a different set of shoes for a change of pace? It can make for some great variety in your shots, and give you a couple of cheeky fun shots without having to do anything too cheesy.
Beach – thongs are an obvious choice.
Winery or forest – some cool colour co-ordinated gumboots can be a cute look, especially if you match it with an umbrella if the weather is looking a bit dodgy.
And remember, if your dress is long and floor-length, we can always hide your shoes – so if you’re going to be walking along rocks or tricky terrain, don’t hesitate to put on the Cons 🙂 You can always switch back to the heels later in the evening.
#4 – Emergency Kit
As someone who photographs weddings almost every weekend, there’s a bunch of stuff I have in my own Emergency Kit – spare band-aids, florist’s pins, rubber bands, etc. – and that’s not even talking about the photography stuff!
Possibly you’ll be getting ready at a hotel room or location away from home – and it’s not always easy to know where you can just pop out to get something if you’re a long way from home.
So this is an all-year-round tip – start putting your wedding day Emergency Kit together in advance, so when it comes to the day, it’s already done.
Here’s a few things you may want to consider including;
- bobby pins
- dressmaker’s pins
- safety pins
- needle and some thread that’s an appropriate colour
- bottle-opener/waiter’s friend (how many hotel rooms don’t have them any more!? Don’t they know you’re getting married!?)
- spare earring backs
- spare phone charger
- water bottle
- everyone’s contact numbers written down on paper (in case of phone flat battery or being misplaced/turned off) – celebrant, photographer, venue, florist, etc.
- lip gloss/balm
- little perfume sample bottle of your chosen fragrance
- decent (eg. timber) coathangers for dresses/suits
- gel inserts for shoes (even if you don’t put them on until the reception)
- spare ribbon for your dress, if it laces up (don’t laugh – I’ve seen this forgotten or left out a couple of times).
You can fit almost all that stuff in a little make-up bag that just gets put in your “getting ready” bag – and hopefully you never need it, but it’s there if you do.
#5 – Don’t sweat the little imperfections
OK, this one might be a bit controversial ahead of wedding days, BUT … if you’re going to be walking around outside between the wedding and the reception, there is a chance the bottom of your dress will get a little dirty.
It’s unavoidable, especially if you’re going to get the most out of your shots.
So my advice is try not to worry too much about the underside of the dress – if you’re walking through a beautiful winery or along a beach or thorugh city laneways, if your dress is going to be gliding across the ground, it may get a couple of marks or collect a few passengers (sticks, seaweed 🙂 ) .
If you’re super worried about this, task a couple of bridesmaids to literally follow you around on dress-management detail so they can carry it whenever you have to move spots.
But try not to worry about it – when you get back to the reception, no one’s going to worry about what’s invisible on the bottom of that beautiful dress (and I actually think it gets dirtier from sweeping across the floor while you’re dancing anyway).
#6 – Umbrellas as a fashion accessory
This can actually be true in summer as well – a little lace parasol can be a beautiful accessory for a hot summer’s day shoot, as well as keeping the sun off.
I always bring a few big black umbrellas to weddings where it might rain, but if black isn’t your thing and doesn’t match your theme, it might be worth sourcing some cool umbrellas that are a match.
Colourful bridesmaids deserve some colourful umbrellas, or you can always go with clear ones Casey did below, or the classic white for the bride is sometimes a good option too.
In any case, it’s much better to have them and not need them, than to need them and not have them!
Umbrellas as accessories – 7 Tips for Winter Brides
#7 – The light – don’t forget about the light!
Finally, this one is specifically related to photography – you need to remember to account for the light. Any good professional photographer will have the experience and equipment to shoot in near darkness, using either camera settings, flash units, or both – but it doesn’t mean you don’t have to consider timing around the light.
If you’re getting married in winter, chances are that it’s going to be getting dark earlier in the evening that it does in summer – in Melbourne, that’s absolutely the case.
So around here, in July it gets dark around 5.15pm or so. And I mean that it will be DARK dark by then.
What that means is that if you’re planning a 4.30pm ceremony, it’s going to finish around 5pm or so. If you then want to do a group shot, family formal portraits and all your bridal photography after that, you’re simply going to run out of light.
So when planning a winter wedding, start with the sunset time and work backwards. Talk with your photographer about how you imagine the day going, and let their experience guide you on how much time will be needed for different things.
If seeing each other before the wedding is an option for you, a pre-wedding first-look followed by some of your bridal shots done before the ceremony itself can achieve a couple of things – you can get those sunny garden or beach photos you’ve dreamed about, and also get to the party sooner having done a lot of your photographer before the ceremony.
Unless you want to be signing the register by the light of the celebrant’s iPad (trust me, it happens) – consider the time of year and the light carefully before setting your ceremony timings in stone.
If you made it this far, thanks for taking the time to read this post, 7 Tips for Winter Brides, I hope it’s a help to you. Any comments are welcomed and much appreciated, and I promise to respond – so let me know your thoughts!