Traditional weddings tend to call for more traditional photos, modern weddings have more contemporary photos, and casual weddings have more laid-back, less formal photos. But what if you're getting married in a destination like the Florida Keys, Key West, the Bahamas, or some other island getaway?
Just because it's remote doesn't mean you're roughing it, and just because there won't be 300 people doesn't mean it's a low-key event. A mixture of relaxed attitude, a flair for the unique, and keeping only the closest friends and family as part of the celebration calls for a unique set of images.
So toss out that mainstream photo list you were given. Here are the images every destination wedding should have.
1) Bold, Colorful Backgrounds
If your house is a normally neutral palette of tans and taupe's, the fastest way to spice up a room is with a splash of color. If that color just so happens to be the wild mural your photographer found with pops of yellow and red, or a brazenly blue and turquoise building in the middle of a historic part of town, even better! Plan to get out and explore a little, and come back from your trip slightly more psychedelic than you expected.
2) Relish in the Resort
You probably looked at two dozen websites, spoke to multiple people, and considered many factors before booking the perfect place to stay. Sure, photos in your hometown hotel on the mainland probably wasn't something any website ever recommended, but for a destination wedding, the accommodations are part of the entire experience. Even if you're not getting married there, having photos around the beautiful property you're staying at is one way to add value to that likely-premium per-night rate you've booked.
Diamond [Not] In the RoughResort builders go to great lengths to attend to unique details and interesting angles. Let your photographer stop you on the walk down to the ceremony to incorporate some of this well-placed architecture. Split Level LayoutDon't be afraid to split up the group for a minute, and use your resort's separate levels to create a fun shot with everyone in attendance. Let the Light Shine DownWhere there is a pillar covered in teeny tiles and recessed lighting to make it shimmer, there's an opportunity to get some dramatic overhead lighting before stepping out into the sun.
If you love the idea of getting married near the ocean, but are worried about your guests watching the ceremony through sunglasses or straining to hear your vows over the cawing seagulls, don't fret. You can always have the ceremony elsewhere, then stop off at the beach for photos. Get there early when the sand has been freshly graded by the maintenance crews, or hold off until sunset when the pretty evening lighting makes for sunkissed accents in your hair and dress.
Take a WalkMost beach communities take the time to grade (rake) the sand first thing in the morning. If you're an early riser, you get to lay the first set of footprints in the sand for the day. Come On Honey!When you've got a wedding ceremony to get to, you may only have 5 or 10 minutes, so hurry down the beach, and have fun while you're at it.
4) Get Your Groom Going
Is your man usually pretty mild-mannered, especially where photos are concerned? You'd be surprised how much he'll open up when he's in a beautiful location with his best friend. So don't be surprised when he takes a flying leap off a bench, or busts out with the air guitar in the middle of the day.
5) Embrace the Unusual
Whether it's a funky stump painted by a local artist to resemble a sea creature, or a boat converted into a car to float your bridal party to your ceremony, being in a new location means doing things you would probably not normally do anywhere else.
6) Remove the Rings
Gone are the days when the newlyweds hold hands over the bouquet to show off their shiny finger trinkets. Wiggle off your ring and let the photographer create a sparkling scene with them.
Let it GlowYou wouldn't know it at first glance, but that orange in the background is the faint flickering of a bonfire. Raise A GlassIf your rings come back a little damp, don't worry. They were just getting their bubbly on like the rest of the guests. Shimmer Me TimbersAn island affair doesn't mean everything has to be pirate ships and tiki torches. A sparkly purse makes the perfect backdrop for this stunning set. Make An ImpressionYour wedding day will leave a lasting impression on everyone who attends and is involved in making it a reality. Signify this by letting your rings leave a mark - in the sand - as well.
7) Bridal Party Antics
You'll be with them the entire day, but unless your bridal party are all members of a local theatre troupe accustomed to synchronized displays of expressive behavior, images like these aren't going to just magically materialize. But getting the group of 10 or 12 exuberant friends away from the party for a few minutes doesn't mean the fun has to end. Plan for some time to spend just with them, and your photographer can set up scenarios that look good and non-contrived.
A Stop At Sloppy'sNo need to rush to the altar. We've got all day, so plan for a little stop off at one of the iconic local saloons with the guys - like this group at Sloppy Joe's Bar in Key West - for a quick bit of revelry. Walk With MeYou chose these girls because they're the most important people in your life. Stay close, share laughs, and strut your stuff. Run for the Reception!Something as silly as a run down the beach can really loosen everyone up and make them realize that they won't be forced to stand with stiff poses and forced smiles. Form a HorseshoeLow angles and a little sassy expression means the blue sky and those sweet suits get all the attention they deserve. Just curve toward the camera so no one gets left out.
8) Don't Forget The Details
Pictures of details aren't a new thing, but when your tiny items have traveled hundreds or thousands of miles to make it to your wedding in the Florida Keys or wherever else your wishes have taken you, they tend to feel even more special. So, whether you're making a subtle case for marriage equality with some nicely printed wedding programs, showing off a hot new pair of shoes, or highlighting the "sheer" brilliance of your dress selection, detail shots add context to the entire day.
Light Through LaceAnything sheer should be enshrined in light to give it a beautiful glow from within. Fuchsia ShoesBold shoe colors were meant to be seen. Clever images of bright pumps dangling from gingerbread railings (yes, they're really called that) are a fun scene-setter for the entire set of "getting ready" photos. Cards For HumanityThose subtle little touches distributed in print give meaning and extra context to the day. Just because they aren't tabletop show stoppers doesn't mean they don't have a quiet power that should be ignored.
9) Let the Veil Prevail
Lots of destination brides share that they are torn over whether or not they want to wear a veil. After all, the laid-back atmosphere of a Key West wedding, for example, might make the veil seem a bit too formal. I'm here to tell you that once you see the wonderful things that train of tulle can do when the ocean breeze gets involved, you might just change your mind!
Tighten Your Clip!A long, luxurious veil is such a fun way to frame a shot; just make sure whatever you've got to hold it in your hair is very secure, as those Atlantic breezes can be a bit gusty at times! On The RocksA little elevation onto the coral rocks gives just enough lift for the Gulf breezes to catch the veil and show it off.
10) Sea Walls and Sunsets
This one might be a given, but since sunset can sneak up on you during the afternoon festivities, it's a good idea to plan around it so that it is an integral part of your wedding day schedule. You'll have about a 15 minute window during which the light is perfect and the skies come ablaze with the dramatic pink and orange hues you saw in the travel mags.
Sunset SwishYou could just stand there, or you can grab the dress and swish it around. Warm Skies, Cool ColorsThere is a period of time about 10 minutes before the sun hits the horizon and about 10 minutes after that the skies take on stunning hues of pink and orange, offset by a small bit of remaining blue.
So with these top ten image types, hopefully his helps in your destination wedding planning decisions. Whether you're headed to the Florida Keys, Key West, or another island chain, you'll be well equipped to incorporate photography that makes the best use of the unique locale.
In the meantime, share your thoughts, and your own photo ideas, in the comments!
|Karrie Porter is a
in Key West, Florida.