IF YOU DON'T WANT TO!  Okay, so let me explain my title for this post.

I'm not a good blogger, but I'm a great blog READER. I adore photography blogs. I gather inspiration, poses, techniques, and a drive from reading other photographer's blogs. I follow some amazing photographers {thanks to twitter and instagram} and I'm currently left feeling awe-inspired over both the weddings they book and the magic they make with all of the help from those involved.

Recently, I was blessed enough to meet Jenna of Red, White and Green Photography. We shot a wedding last night and spent hours in the car talking about ourselves, our dreams, our techniques.. everything! It's so nice to meet someone so well-rounded and totally open about her photography.

Upon stalking her blog {which I highly recommend you doing} I stumbled across a particularly awesome wedding of hers that was shot in Denver, Colorado. What struck me was how un-orthodox her couple seemed to be. They had a first look in front of the beautiful, sprawling Colorado mountains, and then greeted their friends and family together before heading down the aisle per tradition. Most traditional families balk at the idea of a first look, much less a celebration of hugs and cheek-kisses before the wedding happens where the bride and groom are hand in hand.

And that's not for everyone. I'm totally aware that some brides really do love the idea of the super "traditional" not seeing each other before the wedding, butterflies in the stomach walking down the aisle feeling..

But you're also talking to the girl who breaks out in hives when I think about getting married inside a church with green carpets and artificial light! :]

I'll be happy to photograph either kind of day, but I think it's important to remember that your wedding day is one of the biggest parties you will EVER throw.

You've spent so much time (and money) planning and coordinating a wedding day. Embrace how beautiful she is in her dress. How handsome he is in his suit. Allot special time for bride and groom portaits, without feeling rushed to get back to the party. Don't worry about Aunt Betty feeling neglected while you sneak away for pictures with your husband/wife, or your guests getting restless. Just plan accordingly for them until you can arrive and when you are done with your glorious portraits, you can totally continue the party they've started! Have cornhole and games or drinks with awesome appetizers set up. Let them know in the program what your plan is! Tell them to go ahead onto the reception after the ceremony is done. Don't be afraid to break tradition. Use whatever colors you want. Don't wear a long dress. Guys, you don't have to wear tuxes. Use paper flowers.

I've been blessed to have some amazing weddings this year. In one of my most recent weddings, Kristen decided against doing a bride-groom first look and instead we did a bridesmaids first look followed by a father-daughter first look. Both of which I had never been privileged to do before, but ABSOLUTELY loved it!

And then there's the first look. Which a lot of photographers will tell you they LOVE doing, for a couple of reasons.

A) It totally helps the time schedule for the day. If you can see each-other first, then there's no stress about hiding from one another, you can knock out the bridal party shots before the ceremony.. yatta yatta. The flow of the day just feels more cohesive and less rushed. B) It allows us to capture amazing moments between the bride and groom. You know just as well as I do that when you see pictures from a first look, your heart swells just a little bit. And what's that saying? Real men don't cry? FALSE. They totally do. Especially at first looks. The emotion that can arise from both parties literally charges the air with such love that it's indescribable.

I want to be the kind of photographer that helps you to get to know the couples I'm blessed to meet through my blog posts and photographs. Let me show the world your personality! 

So, when I say, "don't have a traditional wedding"- what I actually meant was that you don't have to do your wedding like anyone else's. It's YOUR special day. I'm a believer in some aspects of tradition (guys, girls love chivalry!).. a groom asking for his bride's hand in marriage from her father. Wearing white on your wedding day. I just feel like times are changing and so is the photography world. Don't feel locked into what everyone else does, or what your mother did on her wedding day. Keep her veil but change the venue. Realize that natural light is there for a reason and yes, your pictures WILL look better if you take them outside under most conditions. Remember that people are there to help you, not the other way around. Wear a dress with feathers if you want. Wear red lipstick. Have mason jars. Grooms, wear suspenders or glasses if you want to. Don't have mason jars. Traditionally, yes. There are rules. But in reality- there are no rules on how to "properly" celebrate the day you commit to spending the rest of your life loving someone.
Oh, and just for fun because we all love weddings and pinterest, I spliced together a tiny inspiration board of things I love for weddings!
{all blog images ©Emily Chidester Photography aside from the above collage found on}