Often times on my pre-wedding calls couples will ask me about their wedding detail photos. They want to know what they should bring, how long they will take, and if there’s anything they’re missing. They love the look of these photos and the way it compliments the story of the day, but they aren’t sure exactly what they need to provide for me to capture beautiful detail photos!
Beyond just the flatlay, there are so many details you might want, or might not even know that you want, in order to make your wedding look luxurious and elegant. When I was planning my own destination wedding there were so many items I needed to purchase that I felt incredibly overwhelmed. Oh what I would have given to have an all encompassing details guide, so that’s what my goal is with this post!
Before we begin, it’s important to note that most all of these details are optional, and some couples will choose to be more or less thorough with their details. The important thing to remember is that this is your wedding day, so pick and choose what of this guide will be applicable to your vision for your day!
Pick a color scheme
The beauty of detail photos is their ability to tie together your entire wedding story. It’s important to start with a color scheme before you start purchasing your details. Your accent color will often times be the color of your bridesmaid dresses, or perhaps it will be the color of some of the florals in your bouquet.
For our wedding, we didn’t have bridesmaids and my goal was to keep the colors as muted as possible, therefore our color scheme was white, tan, and the color of the greenery in our florals. When selecting our ring box, I opted for a white box, however if I was having a wedding with blue accents, then a blue ring box or blue ring dish would have played nicely.
Think about ALL of the little details
Often times when couples think about their wedding details they think about the big items – the shoes, the veil, maybe even perfume… But they don’t think about the smaller details. I always carry ring boxes in my styling box at weddings, but a nice touch can be to purchase a custom ring box, or a ring box that compliments the accent color of your wedding. Some options for ring boxes are the famous The Mrs Box, or you can even just get one on Etsy (this is the box I purchased).
Another example of these “forgotten items”, are the items that you might not even have thought to purchase, let alone give your photographer to photograph! These items include gifts/vows/letters that you are gifting to your spouse, other family heirlooms (your grandmas necklace you’re wearing, or a charm with a sentimental photo on it), custom printed napkins, bar menus, place cards, welcome signs, pajamas/robes for getting ready, wedding weekend itineraries, the list goes on.
When my couples give me all of their details I am able to create different scenes for the day like what you see below. On the left I used a Mexico dish I got at a vintage thrift store to go with our custom napkins. On the right I created a rehearsal dinner scene with the shoes, jewelry, and hair piece I wore for our rehearsal.
Bring the whole invitation suite and any other paper goods
This ties into the point above. Couples often remember to bring an invitation to the wedding day, but they may forget the RSVP card, the envelope(s), and all of the other stationary they purchased. When setting aside an invitation for your photographer to photograph, it’s important to set aside the whole suite, including the extra stationary. This includes details and RSVP cards, all envelopes, wax seals, ceremony programs, menus, bar menus, printed napkins, vow books, placecards, and even stamps if they go with your theme!
On the subject of wax seals – they are a beautiful way to make your envelope look more elegant. If your calligrapher doesn’t offer them and you don’t want to hassle with making them yourself, check out Etsy for some wax seals that are pre-made and have sticky tape attached! A favorite shop of mine can be found here.
Bonus tip: If you are having your envelopes custom printed or written with addresses, address one envelope to your or venue or planner’s business address and set that one aside to be photographed! Having the card addressed adds another layer of elegance to the photos.
Request extra from your florist
I always reach out to the florist and request leftover or extra floral blooms when I have couples who value detail shots. It doesn’t take many florals to add lots of character and tie your theme into your detail photos! This is something I take the initiative to do myself, however, don’t assume your photographer will do this for you if they haven’t told you they will. You may need to reach out to your florist yourself to request this!
Hire your photographer for enough time
The reality is, good detail photos take time. For a plethora of flatlay details I can easily take an hour to capture them all, or in the case of capturing my own details, I played around with them for 3 hours. Oops. I will say, for the average wedding flatlay it will only take me about 20-30 minutes.
This is why it’s important that if you have lots of details you would like captured, you shouldn’t be afraid to hire your photographer for enough time to capture them! Another trick to this is that if I’m capturing a wedding locally, or if I’m in town the night before for the rehearsal, I will capture the details the day before so we can focus solely on the moments happening on the actual wedding day. This takes some extra planning though!
Selecting a perfume
Ah, the difficulty in finding a good smelling perfume that is also beautiful. I won’t lie, it’s more of a challenge than you’d think, but the beauty in the end is all worth it when your details tie perfectly together. When you’re picking out a perfume for your wedding, there are a few things to consider.
You’ll want to consider the size of the bottle in relation to your details (is it really small or really big?), the color of the bottle (does it clash with your wedding colors?), and while this isn’t photographable, you should also consider the scent. Does the scent make sense for the day? (If it’s a beach wedding, maybe don’t choose the scent of a pine tree!) Because scent is such a powerful sense, I recommend picking a new scent you’ve never worn before. Every time you wear it from your wedding day forward you will always be reminded of your wedding day.
Some of my favorite perfume and cologne brands for both scent and bottle aesthetics are below. I personally chose a Jo Malone perfume in the Nectarine Blossom and Honey scent, and Ryan chose the 154 cologne. Ryan and I actually made a fun date out of selecting our wedding day scents. We went to Macy’s and showed an associate our stationary and told them we wanted the perfume to compliment it. The associate showed us all through the department and we fell in love with Jo Malone, especially as we learned it is a favorite wedding day scent among the royals! Have some fun with the process!
Selecting your jewelry can feel like a big task when there are so many options. When it comes to selecting wedding day jewelry the best advice I can give is to choose what feels like you and makes you feel beautiful and bridal.
You may also want to consider how comfortable and practical an item is, as you would hate to be distracted by heavy earrings or have a ring that snags your dress.
I chose to wear Kate and Mari earrings and my late grandma’s diamond tennis bracelet. Ryan ended up gifting me a simple necklace from Mejuri as his wedding day gift to me, so I wore that also! My favorite wedding jewelry brands are linked below.
To veil or not to veil
While some brides choose to forego a veil, I think it’s nice to have as an option, even if just for a handful of photos. The veil can be beautiful for detail shots, but it also adds in extra romance when it comes to bridal portraits and couples photos.
An alternative to a veil is a shoulder cape, which is something I personally chose to wear at my wedding. The perk of a shoulder cape is that it doesn’t interfere with your hair style, and you will probably forget you’re even wearing it!
Besides looking nice for photos, your wedding day pajamas/robes will serve as the outfit you wear while you get your hair and makeup done! Some brides opt for custom pajamas with their names and the names of their wedding party on them. I decided to keep it minimal and went with these super comfy pajamas, without any customization on them. I also got these slippers from Amazon.
The most important thing to consider when you’re selecting your getting ready outfit is that it is easily removable without having to pull it over your head and mess up your hair and makeup. The pajamas I chose had buttons on the front so I could unbutton them, but wearing a robe would also work!
I chose to have our vow books made by our stationer so they would match the rest of our paper stationary. However, if you don’t have a stationer then Etsy has some great vow book options for any style of wedding. What I love about vow books is that they look way better in photos than reading your vows from an old notebook or a phone/tablet. They also are a great place to preserve your vows forever in!
Menus & Ceremony Programs
I’ve seen quite a few TikToks recently of brides talking about how menus and programs are a waste of money, and to that I say, to each his own. I personally have zero regrets spending extra to have beautiful menus and ceremony programs, as I felt like they added extra elegance to our wedding day! Once again, we had our stationer make these for us.
Our place cards were also made by our stationer and added some extra beauty and elegance to our table scape. We had an intimate wedding with a family style long table, so we didn’t have a seating chart, but rather guests just walked around the table and found their names.
Don’t forget your groom!
If you’re a bride planning your details, don’t forget about your groom too! Common details for a groom include shoes, tie/bowtie, cuff links, cologne, his wedding band, and on the day of – his boutonniere. For Ryan’s details, we got him an Alfani tie, which he only ended up wearing for all of 3 minutes on the wedding day (it didn’t even make it to the ceremony, lol.) As I mentioned above, his cologne was 154 by Jo Malone, and while we *really wanted* wanted these Gucci loafers, he ended up wearing some simple dress shoes from Aldo.
Other miscellaneous items I purchased for our wedding
Wedding Guest Book
This wedding guest book. We set a polaroid next to the book and had guests put their polaroid photo with our welcome donkey in the book. We used the remaining space in the book to fill in with the rest of our polaroids from our wedding!
An item that I notice is often forgotten at weddings is pens for the guest book. We spend all this time making our guest book look pretty, only to have ugly pens in the photos! I got these pens on Amazon to go with our guest book.
If you decide to have polaroids at your wedding (which I highly recommend!) I’ve found that Walmart actually has, by far, the best price on film. Also, use these stickers to attach the polaroids to the pages of your guest book!
Welcome Card/Weekend Itinerary
I realized approximately three weeks before our wedding as my mom and I were designing welcome bags that I never asked our calligrapher for welcome/itinerary cards! So off to Etsy I went. I found this editable template that worked perfectly for our welcome guides, although in hindsight, I do wish I had our calligrapher Shina make these along with the rest of our stationary. We had the digital files printed by Smartpress on their white “linen” paper, which had a similar texture to our handmade stationary.
Bridal Shower Invitation
Which, while we are on the subject of stationary I totally forgot about, I also failed to have invitations printed for my bridal shower. I used a template from this shop and sent out e-invitations for my bridal shower! Although again, if my planning skills were better I totally would have had these done by our calligrapher as well.
Wedding Welcome Sign
Our wedding welcome sign gave us a bit of trouble, as I needed something that we could easily travel to Mexico with, but that was also sturdy enough not to blow away in the case of wind. We ended up going with an acrylic sign from Smartpress. Our calligrapher created the design for us digitally and we were able to upload the sign to Smartpress for print. I ordered this sign smaller (12×18) because we had to travel with it, but generally you will want one that is 18×24 or so.
Well, that’s all for now! I hope this guide was helpful for you, and as always, please feel free to reach out if you have any questions about anything you read!