How To Make Your Wedding Morning Picture Perfect

Bethany Melvin Photography | Sioux Falls Hilton Garden Inn Wedding

It’s the morning of your wedding! Hopefully all of the little details are taken care of and you’re relaxing with your best friends while your hair is being done. If certain items haven’t been checked off of the to-do list, it’s time to hand them over to someone else. I know it’s hard to hand over the decorating duties and all of the last minute things that need to be done, but it really is important to relax the morning of your wedding. The rest of the day is going to be fast-paced and filled with a lot of emotions! Take advantage of this down time!  There are a few things to consider about the “getting ready” portion of the day.  Do you want to share a “first look” with your dad or any other person who plays a huge role in your life? Will you and your groom be exchanging gifts during this time? If so, who would you like to deliver them? 

Bethany Melvin Photography | Sioux Falls Wedding Photographer
Bethany Melvin Photography | Sioux Falls Wedding Photographer
Sioux Falls Wedding Photography | Sioux Falls Wedding Photographer
Bethany Melvin Photography | Sioux Falls Wedding Photographer

Are there certain women in your life who would appreciate seeing you get into your gown? Some brides want very few people around for this moment. Other brides love having aunts and grandmas present! It’s totally up to you!  A few other things to consider.... as you get ready to put your dress on, refrain from putting any jewelry on.  I love shooting all of those final steps once you’re in your gown!  Speaking of the gown, if your gown is on a plastic hanger, try to make a note to bring a ‘fancy’ hanger along for picture sake. If you forget, no big deal! Are you wearing flats? Grab your favorite pair of heels from your closet or ones that match your colors! They will be great for photos and no one will know you went with a comfy option instead! Keep reading along for more “getting ready” tips to help you prepare!

The Window Effect
By having just a  simple window in the bridal prep area, I am able to create beautiful portraits with soft light.  I prefer natural light so the more windows, the better! 

Bethany Melvin Photography | Sioux Falls Wedding Photography
Bethany Melvin Photography | Sioux Falls Wedding Photographer
Bethany Melvin Photography | Blue Haven Barn | Sioux Falls Wedding Photographer

Rings, Shoes, Jewels...

The whole day begins with the DETAILS!  This is one of my favorite parts of the wedding day, because it allows me to prepare and get my creative side warmed up for the rest of the day! I photograph a bride’s details in a way that matches and showcases the style of the entire wedding day.  So, in some ways, the details set the stage for the look of the whole wedding and I love having ample time to stylize, and shoot everything from the dress, to the jewelry, to grandma’s handkerchief!  To the right, you’ll find a list of the most common details that I shoot.  One suggestion I have is, if you decide to go with flats or sandals that you don’t want photographed, grab a pair of your favorite heels from your closet or ones that match your colors and bring those! No one will never know you didn’t spend the whole day in those heels!  I ask brides to gather any details they have before I arrive so that I can walk in, say hello, give you a big hug and then begin with all the goodies!  (Please assure your mom that I will take GREAT care of the dress, I promise!) 

Bethany Melvin Photography | Twin Cities Wedding Photographer
Bethany Melvin Photography | Sioux Falls Wedding Photographer
Bethany Melvin Photography | Blue Haven Barn | Sioux Falls Wedding Photographer
Bethany Melvin Photography | Sioux Falls Wedding Photographer
Bethany Melvin Photography | What to Bring To Wedding Photos

Day of Reminders!

Bethany Melvin Photography | South Dakota Wedding Photographer
Bethany Melvin Photography | Sioux Falls Wedding Photography
Bethany Melvin Photography | Twin Cities Wedding Photography

Gather the Goods

If possible, collect all of your details before I arrive so that I can begin quickly and have more time for some “getting ready” shots of you and your girls!  If we are doing getting ready shots of your guy, make sure he knows to only put on his pants and shirt and leave the rest out (cuff links, watch, tie, shoes, socks, pocket square) for me, or my second shooter!

Bethany Melvin Photography | Twin Cities Wedding Photographer
Bethany Melvin Photography | Sioux Falls Wedding Photographer
Bethany Melvin Photography | Sioux Falls Wedding Photographer

Hang The Dress

Buy a nice hanger for your dress! It doesn't have to be personalized or expensive, even a nice wooden one looks better than a plastic one. I will take your dress for a few dress shots somewhere near where you are getting ready. No worries, I will make sure it doesn't get dirty or seen by the groom!

Bethany Melvin Photography | Sioux Falls Orpheum Wedding
Bethany Melvin Photography | Sioux Falls Wedding Photography
Bethany Melvin Photography | Sioux Falls Wedding Photographer

Extra Elements

Sometimes, depending on the theme and “look” of the wedding day, there may be some extra elements that you could include when you gather your details.  For example, if you’re having a country themed wedding, you could include a piece of burlap or lace.  If you’re  having a rustic themed wedding that includes some wooden elements, maybe save a small piece of wood for me to use when I’m shooting your rings and jewerly.  This REALLY makes for beautiful, consistent album spreads!

Bethany Melvin Photography | Sioux Falls Wedding Photography
Bethany Melvin Photography | Sioux Falls Area Humane Society
Bethany Melvin Photography | Sioux Falls Wedding Photography | Blue Haven Barn

Keep all 3 rings!

The most common detail missing when I arrive are the rings! Moms, officiants and planners will tell you to hand over your wedding band to the best man before the day begins. However, it’s actually better to hand it over during the bridal party portraits so that I can shoot some great ring shots in the AM!  If you forget, no worries, I can always shoot the ring shot at the reception  if there is extra time!

Bethany Melvin Photography | Rochester, MN Wedding Photographer
Bethany Melvin Photography | Twin Cities Wedding Photographer

Bring the Bouquet

Don’t forget the Bouquet! Have the bouquets and bouts delivered to the bride before the first look so that she can have her bouquet in her portraits. No worries, if it’s hot, we’ll be sure to keep it in water as much as possible before the ceremony

Bethany Melvin Photography | Sioux Falls Hilton Garden Inn Wedding
Bethany Melvin Photography | Sioux Falls Hilton Garden Inn Wedding
Bethany Melvin Photography | Twin Cities Wedding Photographer

Tell Your Groom We'll Be Taking Photos!

Sometimes the Bride forgets to let the groom know we will be there taking photos of him putting on his final details and taking photos of his stuff too! Typically my 2nd shooter will go to wherever he is getting ready and get a few shots of him getting ready. If you only have me as the shooter, if your groom is getting ready close by I can typically get some shots of him as well!

Bethany Melvin Photography | Sioux Falls Wedding Photography
Bethany Melvin Photography | Twin Cities Wedding Photographer
Bethany Melvin Photography | Sioux Falls Hilton Garden Inn
Sioux Falls Wedding Photographer | Bethany Melvin Photography

I hope this helps you when it comes time to start planning all your details and starting your day off on the right foot! Look for more blogs soon about timelines, inspiration and more!


It’s your love story. Brag a little.™

Bethany Melvin Photography is a Sioux Falls, SD wedding photographer who specializes in capturing love stories. Bethany Melvin Photography is based in the Midwest, but is available nationwide and for destination weddings. Have a question or want more information on booking? Contact Bethany today at hello@bethanymelvin.com or visit bethanymelvin.com

Prepping For Your Engagement Session!

Sioux Falls Area Wedding Photographer | Bethany Melvin Photography

It's always a little intimidating to have your picture taken...even if it's just a photo on your phone taken by a friend. This may be the first time you've had professional photos taken since your senior photos! We still want to look nice, make sure nothing is in our teeth and that our hair is behaving. That's what I'm here for, to ease your nerves, make you look amazing and get to know you! You'll have the chance to get to know me as well, experience how I shoot and how I handle posing and lighting. 

This session will make a HUGE impact on how the wedding day flows. I'll arrive on your wedding day already knowing how you two interact, what your best poses are and how to photograph you in a genuine way. What I will learn about you during your engagement session is invaluable! You will feel like such a pro on your big day, because of the great practice you had during your engagement session, and that's how it should be!

Sioux Falls Area Wedding Photography | Bethany Melvin Photography

It's always a little intimidating to have your picture taken...even if it's just a photo on your phone taken by a friend. We still want to look nice, make sure nothing is in our teeth and that our hair is behaving. That's what I'm here for, to ease your nerves, make you look amazing and get to know you! You'll have the chance to get to know me as well, experience how I shoot and how I handle posing and lighting. 

This session will make a HUGE impact on how the wedding day flows. I'll arrive on your wedding day already knowing how you two interact, what your best poses are and how to photograph you in a genuine way. What I will learn about you during your engagement session is invaluable! You will feel like such a pro on your big day, because of the great practice you had during your engagement session, and that's how it should be!

Twin Cities Wedding Photographer | Bethany Melvin Photography

When should I schedule my e-shoot? Your engagement session can be scheduled anytime before your wedding day. I normally suggest booking it at least 3-6 months in advance to avoid stress. I shoot engagements on weekday evenings or some weekends, normally from 5-7pm depending on the light and time of the year. In the winter months,  3-5 pm is the normal time frame for an e-shoot!

Twin Cities Wedding Photographer | Bethany Melvin Photography

Where should we go? As you start to plan for your engagement shoot, we will need to start brainstorming location ideas. I LOVE it when couples pick a location that is special or sentimental to them in some way! If you can't think of anywhere specific that you would like to shoot, I can help you decide on a location. As long as the light is great, I can make any location look awesome! I shoot at farms, campuses, downtown alleys and even laundry mats! I'm serious! Do not shy away from crazy ideas; the more creative, the better! 
 

Sioux Falls Area Wedding Photographer | Bethany Melvin Photography

I realize that preparing for your engagement session can be a little overwhelming, so here are some tips that will make the e-shoot prep a little more manageable! 

  • Don't try to MATCH...try to pick outfits and accessories that coordinate instead!
  • Don't be afraid to be BOLD! Accessorize and make your outfits your own. Scarves, bold necklaces and fun shoes are always welcomed! I don't recommend hats, unless for just a few photos!
  • Most patterns are actually OK...however, graphics are not favorable for portraits. If you're wearing a pattern, make sure it's not overwhelming and distracting.
  • If you're worried about your hair and makeup, make an appointment to primp beforehand! This is always a nice addition and makes you feel even more confident. 
  • Empty your pockets! Literally! You don't want to have key chains, phones or anything else in your pockets (This is for the guys especially!)
  • Most often, couples like to have one casual, every day outfit and then one outfit that is dressier. This will give your shoot two totally different looks. I recommend beginning with the dressy outfit first depending on our location.
Sioux Falls Wedding Photographer | Bethany Melvin Photography
  • Make sure you're comfortable in what you're wearing. And ladies, if the top is super low cut, that will limit the amount of angles I can shoot from, so keep that in mind as well.
  • Make this a date night type of event. I don't recommend bringing friends or family with you. Let this be like a date night for just you two! Having others there can be distracting and take you out of the moment.
  • Feel free to bring your dog! If you would like to bring your dog with you for a few photos, I would more than happily oblige.
Twin Cities Wedding Photography | Bethany Melvin Photography
  • Clean the ring! I love to shoot a few ring shots while you change outfits. The cleaner the better!
  • Relax. I'm going to help you along the way and it's going to be a blast! Enjoy this time together, and make a fun time out of it. Plan dinner afterwards and celebrate another check mark done off the list of things to do!

I hope that this has helped ease your mind and bit and if you have any questions please let me know. I'd be happy to answer anything! 

Sioux Falls Wedding Photographer | Bethany Melvin Photography

It’s your love story. Brag a little.™

Bethany Melvin Photography is a Sioux Falls, SD wedding photographer who specializes in capturing love stories. Bethany Melvin Photography is based in the Midwest, but is available nationwide and for destination weddings. Have a question or want more information on booking? Contact Bethany today at hello@bethanymelvin.com or visit bethanymelvin.com

Wedding Stationery from Basic Invite!

Wedding Stationery from Basic Invite!


You can say a lot with your Save the Dates and wedding invitations! The best part about your invites is you can make them exactly what you want them to be. A simple card all the way up to a multi-facted invite fit for a classic and fairy-tale wedding. That's where Basic Invite comes in; they are a website that let's you be totally in charge with what your invites will look like. It's super simple and a ton of different combinations you can make!

Caitlyn + Joseph | Minnesota Fall Wedding

I couldn't stop myself from overshooting when it came to Caitlyn and Joseph's wedding. Every time I turned around I found new things to capture. I don't know what I loved more, the beautiful fall colors or the amazing people that surrounded Caitlyn and Joseph. 

They are the friendliest people you could ever meet and their families and friends were the same way. From start to finish, their wedding day was so much fun and I was completely in awe of how great the day came together. I can't wait to show you more of their day below!

Photography: Bethany Melvin Photography // Bride’s Dress: The Wedding Shoppe // Bridesmaids' Dresses: Infinity by Sisters Bridal // Tuxes: Mister Cool's Clothing  // DJ: Silver Sound Entertainment  // Rings: Shane Co.  // Florist: Marshall Floral // Cheesecake: Muddy Paws Cheesecake // Reception: Red Baron Arena  // Wedding Decor: Simply Stunning Designs // Hair: Urban Appeal Salon // Makeup: Artistry by Brooklin Leigh

Shoutout to my amazing 2nd shooter, Kylee for helping me capture the day!


 


It’s your love story. Brag a little.™

Bethany Melvin Photography is a Sioux Falls, SD wedding photographer who specializes in capturing love stories. Bethany Melvin Photography is based in the Midwest, but is available nationwide and for destination weddings. Have a question or want more information on booking? Contact Bethany today at hello@bethanymelvin.com or visit bethanymelvin.com

Kristi + Jayden | Downtown Rochester, MN Wedding

I got to make a fun-filled weekend trip across my home state to Rochester, MN for a wedding with Kristi and Jayden! We had explored some areas of Rochester for their engagement session so I was looking forward to going back and finding even more. I did some scouting the night before and found some amazing places, plus I got another serving of Newt's cheese curds which are definitely the best cheese curds, ever. They are amazing, and you can quote me on that. 

Kristi's family has been great clients of mine for the past 3 years and I was so excited to be apart of the next step in her life. Kristi and Jayden are hilarious people who surround themselves with funny, kind friends so how could the day be anything but filled with laughter and love. From the vintage trolley, to the flower's that were picked up at the Rochester farmers market that morning, to the amazing downtown backdrops, this wedding is one for the books and will always hold a special place in my heart. 

I hope you enjoy a peek into Kristi and Jayden's day! 

Photographer: Bethany Melvin Photography // Florist: Rochester Farmers Market // Bride's Dress: Rush's Bridal // Bridesmaids' Dresses: David's Bridal // Tuxes: Mestads // Reception: Doubletree Rochester // Cakes & Desserts: Hyvee  // Bride's Ring: James Allen // Groom's Ring: Lasker Jewelers // HMUA: Blu H20 Salon


It’s your love story. Brag a little.™

Bethany Melvin Photography is a Sioux Falls, SD wedding photographer who specializes in capturing love stories. Bethany Melvin Photography is based in the Midwest, but is available nationwide and for destination weddings. Have a question or want more information on booking? Contact Bethany today at hello@bethanymelvin.com or visit bethanymelvin.com

Carley + Mike | Elegant Shades of Purple Wedding | Marshall, MN

Where do I even begin with Carley and Mike's wedding? Every detail was planned out and perfected by Carley ahead of time; right down to the printed timeline for all the bridal party. I am a huge fan of a gal with a spreadsheet and a plan! I had the hardest time ever just choosing a sneak peek for them, because everything was so beautiful for their day. 

To top it off, Mike and Carley are two of the most in love people I have ever met, and their love is centered in God. Carley told me that the entire day was her favorite, but the ceremony was their main focus. It was a chance for their 3 strands of a cord to be braided into one; a truly inspirational couple. 

I hope you enjoy the beautiful day below, because I know I couldn't stop smiling the whole day. 
A big shoutout to my amazing second shooter, Emily, who withstood the heat with me to get some amazing shots!

Photographer: Bethany Melvin Photography // Florist: Marshall Floral // Bride's & Bridesmaids' Dresses: Elegant Xpressions  // Tuxes: Mr. Cool's Clothing // Venues: Living Word Church, SMSU // Cakes & Desserts: Taylor'd Cakes  // Wedding Decor: Just Beautiful Creations // HMUA: Savvy Salon & Spa


It’s your love story. Brag a little.™

Bethany Melvin Photography is a Sioux Falls, SD wedding photographer who specializes in capturing love stories. Bethany Melvin Photography is based in the Midwest, but is available nationwide and for destination weddings. Have a question or want more information on booking? Contact Bethany today at hello@bethanymelvin.com or visit bethanymelvin.com

Nathan & Nicole | Heritage Village, Iowa Wedding

I got to kick off a beautiful, hot Memorial Day weekend on a Friday with Nathan and Nicole. This was such a laid-back, low-stress wedding that between getting ready and the first look the bridesmaids hung around and played Monopoly Deal! We headed from Nicole's family farm to the awesome Heritage Village in Sioux Center to do photos with not 1, but 2 vintage cars and were able to use the rest of the village as a fun backdrop as well.  They had a few other personal touches including the wooden box that Nathan handcrafted for Nicole for their proposal and their college alma mater flags. A little rivalry never hurt anyone right?

Their reception was in the beautiful and bright Terrace View Event Center right on the edge of the golf course and we had a MAGNIFICENT sunset to do photos with. And then to top it off we went inside to a WALL of dessert. Not one table, not two tables, but an entire wall. Nathan and Nicole know how to speak to my heart directly ;) 

Take a peek at their day below! 

Shout out to my 2nd shooter Kaley for her amazing help all day!

Photographer: Bethany Melvin Photography //  Florist: Petals & Perks // Bride's Dress, Tuxes & Bridesmaids' Dresses: Bridal Gallery // Rings: Pat's Jewelry // Cakes & Desserts: A Little Something Sweet // DJ: Concorde Music // HMUA: Renae's Salon // Reception Venue: Terrace View Event Center

It’s your love story. Brag a little.™

Bethany Melvin Photography is a Sioux Falls, SD wedding photographer who specializes in capturing love stories. Bethany Melvin Photography is based in the Midwest, but is available nationwide and for destination weddings. Have a question or want more information on booking? Contact Bethany today at hello@bethanymelvin.com or visit bethanymelvin.com

Tanner + Amy | Minnesota Greenhouse Nursery Wedding

Who said rainy wedding days mean you won't get amazing photos or have a beautiful day? Tanner and Amy had lots of good luck raining down on them! We did their first look in the father of the bride's vintage car with umbrellas in tow - Amy and Tanner were such troopers and were up for anything! Afterwords we need to duck inside and dry off, and Greenwood Nursery right between Milroy and Marshall was so hospitable and let us shoot in their greenhouse! It was beautiful and was the perfect backdrop on a rainy day. 

After their wonderful ceremony, we got lucky with exactly 10 minutes of no rain to do some more portraits in the SECOND vintage car that Amy's father owns. How great, right? Take a peek below at their day! We headed to the reception to party and fill out on an ENTIRE TABLE of cake. Amy and Tanner really know how to party their way into my heart.

Shout out to my 2nd shooter Rachel for her amazing help all day!

Photographer: Bethany Melvin Photography // Videographer: Refractor Films // Florist: Schmiesing Flower Farm // Bride's Dress: Sister's Bridal & Tux // Tuxes & Bridesmaids' Dresses: Infinity by Sister's Bridal // Rings: Helzberg Diamonds // Venues: Greenwood Nursery, The Caboose // Cakes & Desserts: Jean Schmidt // Wedding Decor: Grapevine Gifts & Rentals // HMUA: The Escape Spa