Wedding Tips

What happens if it rains? Do I need a permit for wedding photos at the parks in Philadelphia? What should I wear as I get ready? What is a first look and should I do one? What is an unplugged ceremony? And how do I make the most of my wedding day? These are all great questions that you’ll ask yourself during you planning process. The wedding planning learning curve is steep. That’s why I created this wedding tips list below to help take some of the guesswork out of your wedding planning process! And if you have a specific question, email me at and I will be happy to help or check out the podcast I co-host, Put A Ring On It Podcast, for tips, behind the scenes stories, and sensible wedding planning advice.

First and Foremost

Father of the bride laughing with Bride on her wedding day in Long Beach Island, NJ.

How can you make the most of your wedding day so you have great photographs from it?

The biggest wedding tip I can offer is to allow yourself to get lost in the moment. How do you do that? Your wedding day is NOT a big photoshoot, it’s your wedding day. So outside of scheduled photo time, just enjoy your friends, family and most of all, your significant other. Forget that your photographer is there and just live in the moment. Give hugs and kisses to those who came to support you and I promise that will make for the best wedding ever. After all, laughter and tears are what make great photographs.

Embrace the Weather

Happy, laughing bride walks through snow in galoshes to church wedding ceremony in Staten Island, NJ.

What do I do if it rains or worse on my wedding day?

Go with the flow and embrace the weather! Depending on the season your wedding date falls in, hope for sunshine but have a Plan B… just in case. And if it rains, your day is not ruined. Some of my favorite photographs happened under an umbrella, running from the limo into the church, and dancing in the rain with giant galoshes on!

Check out this awesome episode from the Put A Ring On It Podcast about Bad Weather on your wedding day!

Getting Ready in the Morning

Laughing bride and bridesmaids wear matching robes on wedding day in Maplewood, NJ.

What should I wear the morning of my wedding as I get ready?!

Since wedding photography coverage often starts in the morning, wedding tip #3  is to consider what you’re going to wear as you get ready. For the ladies, pick yourself up a nightgown, matching pajama set, button down shirt, or cute robe. Something to be comfortable in, and still look your best while getting ready. The guys are a little easier. Keep it clean and classy. That’s it.

With a little thought and minimal effort, this will greatly affect the final look of your wedding collection. After all, anything is better than last nights wrinkly pajamas.

First Look/Reveal

Very excited groom sees his bride for the first time during their first look in Philadelphia, PA.

What is a first look and should we do one?

If spending as much time with your guests is what’s most important to you, consider a first look. A first look is the non-traditional way a couple sees each other in a private meeting before the ceremony. First looks are a great way to fully enjoy your cocktail hour and the company of your guests before the reception festivities really kick in! You’ll save a bunch of time by seeing each other early in the wedding day and getting some of your couple portraits, wedding party photos and family formal photos done before the ceremony. Build in 1.5-2 hours before your ceremony so you’re not rushed!

Creative Portraits

Adventurous bride and groom walk on rocks for portraits next to the Barnegat Lighthouse in Long Beach Island, NJ.

How much time should I set aside during my wedding day for portraits of my partner and I?

Next to the reception, this is my favorite time of a wedding day (a day after session is a totally different ball game). After family formals and wedding party photos, make sure to set aside 30 minutes to an hour for photos of the two of you. I’ll create some formal, camera aware photos in addition to some worthy to call art and hang on your wall. Don’t worry! I will “pose” you and guide you through the entire experience! After all, I am there to make you look your best!

Outdoor Ceremony

Just married bride and groom walk down aisle during their beautiful outdoor wedding ceremony at the Glasbern Inn in Fogelsville, PA.

Our wedding is not in a church. What else can I do for our ceremony?

If you’re looking to mix it up a little and you like feel of fresh air, an outdoor ceremony can be such a beautiful backdrop for your wedding! You can figure out the ideal start time by looking up the sunset time for your wedding day and subtracting two or three hours. This will ensure you have a great experience and can take advantage of that beautiful evening light.

Unplugged Ceremony

Bride and groom celebrating during unplugged wedding ceremony at a church in Wilkes Barre, PA.

I keep hearing a lot about unplugged ceremonies. What is an Unplugged Ceremony and why should I have one?

Consider an unplugged ceremony if you like the idea of your friends and family being present at your wedding ceremony instead of taking it in through an LCD screen. A sea of smart phones glowing at you might be distracting as you are walking down the aisle and in your photos. Some couples even opt for an entire Unplugged Wedding! If that sounds like too much, an unplugged ceremony is the best of both worlds! For more info, check out this article on the OffBeat Bride.

Reception Lighting

Bride and weddings guests dance in colorful lights at their wedding reception near Allentown, PA.

We want to spice up our reception lighting. What are some options are there for colored lights to add some visual interest to our wedding ceremony and reception?

Use as much lighting as possible to add visual interest to your reception! Uplighting, pin lights, spotlights, break ups, Christmas lights, dozens of candles are all great ideas! For uplighting, champagne, blue, purple, pinks and red look best, but stay away from Green! If your reception is outdoors add as much light as you can. Hang some white Christmas lights and add lots of candles to add some warmth and ambience to your outdoor wedding reception.

Family Photos

Family members, bride and groom pose for a formal family photo at Mallard Island Yacht Club in Manahawkin, NJ.

When should I schedule my family formal photos on our wedding day?

Family photos are an absolute necessity. No wedding collection is complete with them. The best time to take family group photos is immediately following the ceremony unless you’re having a first look. This includes the immediate family, grandparents and wedding party. Scheduling larger groups at the reception after dinner or cake cutting is a great idea. The band or DJ can easily make an announcement for everyone to gather at a certain location.

Permits and Licenses

Colorful photo of bride and groom snuggling on Broad St. in front of Philadelphia City Hall.

Where do I need a photography permit for my wedding in Philadelphia?

If your wedding is in Philadelphia, New York, or any city you will need a permit for wedding photography at many locations. For a Philadelphia Wedding, you can apply for a permit for the Art Museum, Water Works, and Azalea Garden here at the Parks and Recreation Website. For Washington Square Park, First and Second Banks of the United States, Merchants Exchange and other beautiful photography locations go to the National Park Service website. If you’re in for something different, check out the Philadelphia Magic Gardens. There’s no charge for Elfreth’s Alley. Just email for permission. The following locations, amongst others, do not require a permit: Broad & Market Streets with views of City Hall, Logan Circle, Rittenhouse Square, and the famous LOVE park!

These tips were created in conjunction with the incomparable wedding coordinator, Danielle Pasternak of DPNAK Weddings.
The logo for amazing PA wedding coordinator, DPNAK Weddings.