August always brings us the worst heat and humidity of the summer. A final tease for a few weeks before the gorgeous fall weather comes back. Traditionally, July and August have been slower months for weddings, until recently. As we have extreme heat in the forecast again for this weekend, I thought I’d share a few quick tips for how to cope with hot weather on your wedding day.

How to Handle Hot Weather on Your Wedding Day

How to Cope with Hot Weather on your Wedding Day

I know that standing out in the 100 degree heat for hours for wedding photos is less than ideal, especially for the guys in suits and the bride in a heavy dress. If you only do one of these things I recommend, make it to hydrate!  It’s also a good idea to lay off the alcoholic beverages until the reception (assuming the reception is indoors or outside after sunset.) Lots of water for everyone – bride, groom, wedding party, and yes, your photographer. You might be surprised at how quickly your wedding party goes through water on a very hot day, so I suggest packing a large cooler full of ice and water bottles. Find a groomsman to put in charge of water duty.

Secondly, be sure to communicate with your photographer. This means reviewing your plan for the day, your shot list, and your backup plan. Prioritize your photo list. What is the most important on the list? Is it wedding party photos, family photos, or romantic photos of the two of you? By prioritizing, I can move quickly through the list and you can get back inside to cool off.  Keep your photo locations close to a building where you can duck in for some air-conditioned relief. Any good photographer will already be looking for areas of open shade. When you are outside for photos, keep water handy, look for shade, and consider picking up one of my favorite secret weapons against the heat, a Cool Tie. For $11, they work fantastically! You may also consider moving some of the formal portraits inside as well. Have a backup plan in case it is simply unbearable outside.

How to Cope with Hot Weather on your Wedding DayFor the ladies, using a good setting powder and spray can help keep shine at bay, but also stop by the local drugstore and grab some blotting rice paper. Usually less than $3 for a pack of 100, and it will keep your faces looking cool and fresh for portraits. Guys – good ol’ Gold Bond spray can help with the sweats. (I know, it’s gross to think about, but trust me…it’s an issue.) A few of my brides have packed little “emergency kits” with cool wipes, extra deodorant, hairspray (for when the humidity gets to hair), and more. Bonus tip: having a tin of mints in your bag can not only freshen your breath, but also has the effect of making you feel a little bit cooler!

My last suggestion: consider having your romantic portraits as a newlywed couple taken at sunset or even at night. It might even be possible to do a morning-after session, as well. Temperatures drop dramatically after the sun goes down, so you will be much more comfortable. You’ll have some gorgeous nighttime portraits as well!

I hope those are helpful. Just remember, as a photographer the heat is just as hard on me – particularly when lugging around gear. I just want to give you gorgeous memories from your wedding day! Stay cool this weekend!!!
How to Cope with Hot Weather on your Wedding Day

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Welcome to the first post in my new series of real advice to help you plan your wedding day! As a wedding photographer, I see every imaginable situation you might run into on your wedding day. Usually, if there is a snag in the plan for the day, it’s pretty minor, and could have been avoided with a little bit of help or pre-planning. That’s where my series will come in – to help you identify and plan for potential hiccups on your wedding day! I’m going to kick off the series with a popular trend in weddings: the sparkler exit.

How to Plan a Perfect Sparkler Exit for Your Wedding

The sparkler exit and send-off has become extremely popular over the past few years. I’ve seen dozens, and I can share with you what works, and what doesn’t. On the surface, it seems like a simple and fun idea; buy a few dozen sparklers, line up your guests, and your photographer can take beautiful photos. However, there are a few recommendations I can make to ensure that your sparkler exit is executed perfectly.

In my opinion, the most important thing you can do for a picture-perfect send-off, is have someone from the venue or your coordinator/planner help organize your guests at the end of your reception. Be sure to cover the plan with them in detail, as occasionally I will run into a planner who has never helped with a sparkler exit previously. By having someone in charge of lining up your guests and instructing them on when to light their sparklers, and what to do after they are burnt out, you are greatly increasing your chances for the perfect exit. Your coordinator will work alongside your photographer to make the whole process run smoothly.

Buy the Right Sparklers!

Another key, and possibly the second most important point of this post: buy the LONG sparklers. Tons of websites sell them specifically for weddings. There are many reasons I can think of why the longer sparklers are better, including they simply burn longer. The result is more time for your guests to all light their sparklers, and for you to make your exit. It’s also good to note that special sparklers tend to produce less smoke. I’ve seen couples use the typical sparklers you buy around Independence Day, and they burn fast and give off so much smoke, you can hardly see!

As you have your trusted coordinator or staff member line up your guests, be sure to tell them to not light them until they are given the “go”. It might seem like this is intuitive, but trust me when I say it isn’t. Ask your coordinator to not start lighting the sparklers until you are ready to make your exit, and you may want to ask staff to start lighting from both ends of your lines, especially if you have a lot of guests. I find that the long candle or grill style lighters work the best to get the lines started, and most of the guests will light their sparklers off the person beside them.

Speaking of lining up your guests, the best sparkler exit photos have a good amount of distance between the two lines. The wider apart your lines, the more room there is for you to (safely) exit. While making your exit down the “tunnel” of light created by your guests, take your time. Be sure to pause in the middle for a kiss, and when you reach the end, pose a moment for your photographer.

A Final, Important Note

Finally, safety first at all times. Following your exit, be sure that your coordinator or staff have a place to safely dispose of the extinguished sparklers. And if they see a guest behaving in an unsafe manner, they should immediately put a stop to it. Unfortunately, accidents do happen with sparkler exits, and sometimes they are severe. I have personally stepped in a few times when a guest has almost burned another guest, or even me. Also, be sure to have plenty of sand-filled buckets to dispose of the used sparklers. Safety, always!

A sparkler exit can be a lot of fun, and result in beautiful, memorable photographs. I hope these tips are helpful as you plan your special send-off! Here’s two of my favorite sparkler exit photos ever! You can see more from Elise and Alvin’s wedding day here.

How to Plan the Perfect Sparkler Exit for Your Wedding DayHow to Plan the Perfect Sparkler Exit for Your Wedding Day

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A Beautiful Day for a Thomas Birkby House Wedding

Elise and Alvin could not have asked for a more beautiful wedding day! After a wet and chilly spring, June announced that summer was here to stay with two gorgeous, sunny weekends in a row! This was my first Thomas Birkby House wedding, and I was excited to be photographing this romantic and historic venue, nestled in downtown Leesburg, Virginia. Elise had sent several photographs of the Birkby House, but I was not prepared for how much I was going to love it!! It is a truly wonderful wedding venue, and I can see why they chose it for their special day.

The bride and her bridesmaids prepared in the ladies’ suite, while the gentlemen kept tucked away in their own lounge. The afternoon was filled with tender and emotional moments, especially when the Elise and Alvin exchanged letters to one another before the ceremony. It is one of my favorite wedding traditions!!! Another favorite of mine: the first look between the bride and her father. It’s always a very tender and sweet moment, and usually a happy tear or two makes an appearance.

When the time came for the ceremony to start, Alvin seemed to be more excited than nervous. Emotions took over when he saw his bride walking down the aisle. Happy tears and a BIG smile! Elise’s father officiated their wedding ceremony, Alvin’s dad was his best man (and took his ring duties very seriously) and all four parents participated in a special blessing of their marriage. 

After the ceremony, we took a short time for formal and fun portraits, because you couldn’t help but have a good time with this bridal party! The best part of a wedding at Thomas Birkby House: you don’t have to go far for amazing portrait locations and gorgeous light, even in the middle of the day! We literally never walked more than 20 yards from the front door of the house for any of the photos, and still had lots of opportunity for variety and fun!

Of course, the perfect way to cap off the evening would be a sparkler exit.  The perfect way to send off the new couple after their wedding day!! Congratulations, Elise and Alvin! May everyday be as filled with love and laughter as this day was!

Venue: Thomas Birkby House, Leesburg, VA

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I’ve been going through my archives of wedding images lately, cleaning out duplicate images and updating hard drives and off-site backups, and I came across this wedding that I second shot with Jen Harvey Photography in August of 2014. Jess + Justin had such a gorgeous wedding day, and it was such an honor to be a part of capturing it with Jen! For some reason, I’ve seen a lot of people mentioning Cape Charles lately, so this morning, I knew I needed to blog these images. Maybe it’s the winter weather that has us all wishing for the warmer days on the shore!

Jess + Justin’s wedding day was the very definition of laid-back elegance. If I could go back in time and plan my own wedding, I would aim for a very similar feel. Every detail was perfect, from the the reception decor to the flowers to the food. And let’s talk about the venue….Cape Charles is a gorgeous area, and Kings Creek Marina & Resort is the perfect location! The ceremony was held overlooking the water and stunning views. We could not have asked for a better wedding day for these two!! I think my favorite part of the day was the sunset. The sky was just glowing with the prettiest pinks and corals you’d ever seen!

Thank you, Jen, Jess, and Justin! Jen – I always love working with you! Jess and Justin – you were so friendly, fun, and welcoming, it was like we’d known each other for a very long time. I hope you smile everyday like you did on your wedding day!

To see more from Jess + Justin's Wedding Day, please visit my friend, Jen HarveyTo see more from Jess + Justin's Wedding Day, please visit my friend, Jen HarveyTo see more from Jess + Justin's Wedding Day, please visit my friend, Jen HarveyTo see more from Jess + Justin's Wedding Day, please visit my friend, Jen HarveyTo see more from Jess + Justin's Wedding Day, please visit my friend, Jen HarveyTo see more from Jess + Justin's Wedding Day, please visit my friend, Jen HarveyTo see more from Jess + Justin's Wedding Day, please visit my friend, Jen HarveyTo see more from Jess + Justin's Wedding Day, please visit my friend, Jen HarveyTo see more from Jess + Justin's Wedding Day, please visit my friend, Jen HarveyTo see more from Jess + Justin's Wedding Day, please visit my friend, Jen HarveyTo see more from Jess + Justin's Wedding Day, please visit my friend, Jen HarveyTo see more from Jess + Justin's Wedding Day, please visit my friend, Jen HarveyTo see more from Jess + Justin's Wedding Day, please visit my friend, Jen HarveyTo see more from Jess + Justin's Wedding Day, please visit my friend, Jen HarveyTo see more from Jess + Justin's Wedding Day, please visit my friend, Jen HarveyTo see more from Jess + Justin's Wedding Day, please visit my friend, Jen HarveyTo see more from Jess + Justin's Wedding Day, please visit my friend, Jen HarveyTo see more from Jess + Justin's Wedding Day, please visit my friend, Jen Harvey

 

For more photos from this fun Kings Creek Marina Wedding in Cape Charles, please visit my friend, Jen Harvey Photography!

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