Destination Wedding: 5 Things You Need To Know To Plan Your Own

Husband and wife | Brooke Bakken | Destination Wedding Photographer

Your Destination Wedding

When it comes to planning your destination wedding, you don’t want to miss these 5 must read ideas that will make planning your perfect day a breeze!  Did any of you just picture yourself standing at your beach side wedding when I said breeze? That tropical reference wasn’t completely unintended. It’s your day and you want it to be a picture perfect resemblance of what those expectations are floating around in your head. Well, I’m here to help. Follow these 5 tips to make your destination wedding planning run smoothly, in turn, making your destination wedding day exactly what you want it to be.Beach wedding destination | Brooke Bakken | Destination Wedding Photographer

Location

First up, let’s talk about the location. When selecting a destination make it a place that is meaningful to the two of you or somewhere you have always wanted to go. You want to make it mean something!!!  It will become part of your love story, if it isn’t already. It can be a reflection of who your both are and what you love. Let it add to your wedding day while you soak up the experience of having all of your closest loved ones surrounding you in your hand picked paradise.

Beach wedding ceremony set up | Brooke Bakken | Destination Wedding Photographer

 

Hire Professionals (Photographers/Videographers)

This is a big one in my book. You’ve traveled all this way, the last thing you want is to be stuck with a resort photographer that you don’t love. The location you choose might not always have a photographer/videographer that is going to give you what you want so it’s ABSOLUTELY okay to bring your own photographer along.  You want someone that you are comfortable with that you KNOW will capture you and your day just they way you want to remember it forever.

Bridal bouquet | Brooke Bakken | Destination Wedding Photographer

Guests

Your guests love you enough to join you at your destination so this is a biggie! Be sure to consider your guest traveling time and accommodations in relation to the venue. I always like to say to stay within a 10 minute radius of the venue. You will want all of your friends and family close. The last thing you want to have happen is to have them stuck clear across town. Also, keep in mind the time of year when selecting a date for your destination wedding. Keep in mind holidays, school breaks and other events your guests may be faced with in joining you at tyour destination.

 

 

Less is More

First and foremost, a destination wedding is about YOU and the commitment you are making!! Believe me, you don’t need to be worrying about  fancy centerpieces or having a fancy ballroom with high floral centerpieces that make a statement. You are the statement!  And the destination is complimenting it. Don’t be afraid to stick with local flowers, fruit, and food. In this Tulum, Mexico destination wedding, pineapples were used for centerpieces which created a complement to the surroundings. The atmosphere stayed consistent to the location with colorful chairs that the venue had on hand. Not to mention, desert florals are easy to buy in the local market and create interest while keeping with the destination being the theme.

Bride and Groom kiss on beach | Brooke Bakken | Destination Wedding Photographer

Hire a Planner

Here’s another one, you need to trust me on. You need a professional by your side to take care of any issues that happen if and when things go wrong at the last minute. I don’t want you to even lift a finger on your wedding day!!!  If you don’t have a planner that accompanies you to the location then make sure the venue has a killer on site wedding coordinator.  You want that person by your side to answer questions while you focus on your day!

Local flare at destination wedding | Brooke Bakken | Destination Wedding PhotographerCenterpieces for wedding table | Brooke Bakken | Destination Wedding Photographer

VIVA LA MEXICO!!!

Tulum Mexico destination wedding | Brooke Bakken | Destination Wedding Photographer Tropical scenery at destination wedding | Brooke Bakken | Destination Wedding Photographer Grooms suit | Brooke Bakken | Destination Wedding Photographer Toast before the wedding | Brooke Bakken | Destination Wedding Photographer Groom suit | Brooke Bakken | Destination Wedding Photographer Tulum Mexico wedding venue | Brooke Bakken | Destination Wedding Photographer Groomsmen | Brooke Bakken | Destination Wedding PhotographerSuits for groomsmen | Brooke Bakken | Destination Wedding PhotographerWedding gown for beach wedding | Brooke Bakken | Destination Wedding Photographer Wedding gown and tropical flower bouquet | Brooke Bakken | Destination Wedding Photographer Bridesmaid dresses pink | Brooke Bakken | Destination Wedding Photographer Beach bridesmaids | Brooke Bakken | Destination Wedding Photographer Tulum Mexico destination wedding | Brooke Bakken | Destination Wedding PhotographerTropical destination wedding venues | Brooke Bakken | Destination Wedding Photographer Couple enjoys destination wedding | Brooke Bakken | Destination Wedding Photographer Wedding party at Mexico destination wedding | Brooke Bakken | Destination Wedding Photographer
How to plan your destination wedding | Brooke Bakken | Destination Wedding Photographer Tulum Mexico wedding | Brooke Bakken | Destination Wedding Photographer Destination wedding for friends and family | Brooke Bakken | Destination Wedding Photographer

Cutest of the wedding party | Brooke Bakken | Destination Wedding Photographer

Beach wedding | Brooke Bakken | Destination Wedding Photographer Floral centerpieces for wedding | Brooke Bakken | Destination Wedding Photographer Chairs and flowers at wedding | Brooke Bakken | Destination Wedding Photographer Mexican beach | Brooke Bakken | Destination Wedding PhotographerLocal flowers at destination wedding in Mexico | Brooke Bakken | Destination Wedding Photographer Colorful chairs at outdoor wedding | Brooke Bakken | Destination Wedding Photographer Destination wedding centerpieces | Brooke Bakken | Destination Wedding Photographer Destination wedding centerpieces | Brooke Bakken | Destination Wedding Photographer Wedding ceremony on the beach | Brooke Bakken | Destination Wedding Photographer I do moment | Brooke Bakken | Destination Wedding PhotographerBeach wedding | Brooke Bakken | Destination Wedding Photographer Destination wedding and how to plan yours | Brooke Bakken | Destination Wedding Photographer

Cheers to the newlyweds | Brooke Bakken | Destination Wedding Photographer

Wedding party at destination wedding in Mexico | Brooke Bakken | Destination Wedding Photographer

Now that you have all the tips to planning the destination wedding of your dreams, make sure your hire a professional to capture every moment and detail of your day. It just so happens that I know a good one you can call. 😉 😉

XOXOXO – Brooke

 

 

 

Advice FOR Brides FROM Brides | Wedding Planning Tips | Brooke Bakken

Bridals in the spring with pink blush bouquet by Utah wedding photographer Brooke Bakken

So I think that EVERYONE in the world is getting engaged right now! My Facebook feed is blowing up with Relationship Status changes! So, I thought this would be the perfect time to share a little advice. But DON’T WORRY! It’s not advice from me. This is advice FOR brides FROM five brides of mine who have recently gone through this whole wedding planning thing. So they are totally legit. And to make things all pretty, I included some gorgeous spring bridals with amazing blooms by Blushing Rose Floral for you to oooh and ahh over!

Advice for brides by destination wedding photographer Brooke Bakken

Advice For Brides

Bride #1

My advice for brides? After you think you’ve found THE dress, go home and think about it for 24 hours! You want to be completely in LOVE with your dress and not just jump the gun because you’re excited to find a dress! I learned the hard way and was not completely in love! I got it altered so I liked it more but was not ever “in love” with my dress… biggest regret by far!

Real clients of wedding photographer Brooke Bakken share advice for brides

Bride #2

Wedding planning is a full-time job! But it’s a BLAST. It was a really cool experience to personalize all the small details of our ‘Big Day’. We wanted our wedding to be “very us”– so who better to plan than myself & my groom! If you don’t have the time to plan the entire thing yourself (because there are so many little details you don’t even consider)– then get a wedding planner! No matter what, at least get a Day of Coordinator to take the stress out of the actual day. Totally worth it.Blushing Rose Floral bridal bouquet by destination wedding photographer Brooke Bakken

Wedding Must-Dos: First look! Such a precious moment between the two lovebirds. And it’s one of the few moments in the day that you get to spend alone!

Must-Haves: Open bar (duh!), videographer and photobooth! My guests seemed to really enjoy taking silly photos with props. Also a plus: If the photobooth company provides a guestbook where friends & family can paste in their prints and write a little message, definitely include that! So funny to read all of the little notes the next day.Bridals in the orchard by Utah wedding photographer Brooke BakkenThe best advice for brides I can give? If I could do it all over again, I would worry less about cutting corners to save money. I was so worried about staying in budget that I didn’t invite everyone I wanted to and went with a smaller venue to save cash. Looking back, I would have spent a couple thousand for the extra space and the extra people. Oh, also, LISTEN TO YOUR DJ BEFORE YOU HIRE HIM! My DJ had all 5-star reviews on Yelp and was affordable, so I hired him. Sadly, he didn’t play anything on my “must play” list and didn’t really grasp the overall feel or vibe of my wedding day. Big disappointment. But, overall the day was still my highlight of 2016! And did I mention my photographer was amazing??? (AWWW, thank you!)

Spring wedding bouquet by Blushing Rose Floral, a Utah wedding vendor

Bride #3

My number one piece of advice for brides planning their wedding is to use theknot.com for a checklist! You can put in your wedding date, and it gives you a month-by-month list of things you need to do! It’s super helpful!  Spring bridals in the orchard with advice for brides by Utah wedding photographer Brooke Bakken

Bride #4

Here’s my Advice for Brides:
1) Discuss the wedding budget with your babe and parents thoroughly and openly. If under a tight budget, a beautiful wedding CAN STILL be achieved, and your big day is not worth arguing over money for!
2) On your big day– CHILL OUT! My biggest regret is that I did not take the time to relax and enjoy my big day for what it was. I was worrying about my bridesmaids, my makeup, the reception decor, if people would show up, and so on and so forth…and I am sure that I would have enjoyed my wedding day that much more had I just CHILLED OUT! Relax and remember that this is YOUR day!
3) MUST HAVES: A BANGIN’ photographer and a BANGIN’ videographer! These photos and videos will be your only way to relive your big day over and over again!

Spring bridals in the Orchard by Brooke Bakken Photography

Bride #5

The best advice for brides I can give is that no matter how well you plan, or how far in advance you plan, there will be things that come up out of your control. Learn that you are going to have to be flexible and roll with the punches, or else the whole process will be overwhelming and you will forget to enjoy the journey! Spring bridal bouquet idea with advice for brides by Brooke Bakken PhotographySpring bridals in the Provo Orchard by Utah wedding photographer Brooke Bakken Bridals in the spring with pink blush bouquet by Utah wedding photographer Brooke Bakken Modest wedding dress with a spring wedding bouquet by destination photographer Brooke Bakken Blush blooms for spring bridals in the orchard by Utah wedding photographer Brooke Bakken

These amazing brides of mine have given you some AMAZING advice to help you plan for your big day! I would love to chat with you about how I can help capture those once-in-a-lifetime moments and make your day run as smoothly as possible. So

Give me a Shout!

5 Things to put at the TOP of your Wedding To Do List
AKA: He Proposed...Now What!?

Show of the ring after a winter proposal by Brooke Bakken Photography

So, he FINALLY popped the questions? YAY! You’re engaged! Wait…what now? Don’t worry…after shooting literally HUNDREDS of weddings, I am here to share with you 5 things to put at the TOP of your Wedding To Do List! To assist me and make things pretty, you can also oooh and aahh over this romantic winter proposal I got to shoot last weekend! This proposal was set up by the AMAZING team at The Yes Girls!

Engagement season is in full swing around here!Winter proposal details by Brooke Bakken Photography

1. Make your Wedding Budget

YUCK! Does this really have to be the first thing on your Wedding To Do List? Sorry, but it really does. Imagine you skip this step and forge ahead with no idea of your budget…you find wedding vendors and fall completely in love, only to realize later that you can’t afford them. BUZZ KILL! Set aside a quiet night at home to sit down with your fiance (and parents, if they are involved with the financial side). Make a list of wedding expenses (use Wedding Budget sheet to help you remember everything). Then prioritize. What is the absolute most important to you? It might be the photography? Maybe it’s your dress? Line them up. Then break up your budget by percentage you want to spend on each item. You may have to change things around as you plan, but at least this gives you a jumping off point!You're the Jelly to My Peanut Butter

2. Book your Wedding Venue

The SECOND thing that should be on your Wedding To Do List once you are officially engaged is to start shopping for your wedding venue. Venues, especially popular ones, tend to book up…some as much as 2 years in advance! DON’T WORRY though if you have less time than that to plan…there are so many beautiful wedding venues out there to fit every budget, style, and wedding timeline. Start with an online search for wedding venues in the area you want to get married in. Make a list of your 10 favorites, then sort them according to budget. Set aside a few days for you and your fiance to dedicate to touring venues. Call ahead to set up a tour of your top 5 choices. When choosing your venue, make sure to ask the right questions. Find out what exactly is included and what is NOT. Can you use your own caterer? What about the alcohol policy? Are there restrictions on open flames (this will be a big deal if you want candles or an sparkler exit)! Do they do the setup and cleanup? Will you be provided with a personal event manager who will be with you every step of the way?She Said Yes! Now find out what to do to plan your wedding!

3. Book your Wedding Photographer

Of course I am a HUGE advocate for booking your photographer early…whether it’s me or one of my thousands of amazing colleagues. But did you know that most wedding photographers are booked for the entire year by the end of January? YEP! Again, start with an online search. Referrals from past friends can also be an awesome resource for finding a wedding photographer. Make a list of your top 5 then set up consultations. I can’t stress enough how important a consultation is! In-person, if possible, but Skype works well too. You are going to be spending a LOT of time with this person, and it will be the most intimate of your relationships with wedding vendors. You need to make sure you have a good vibe and mesh well.Proposal down on one knee in winter by Brooke Bakken Photography

4. Find your Wedding Dress

Already, you might say? But my wedding isn’t for 12 months! That may be true, BUT here are a few things to consider. First, most wedding dresses are not purchased “Off the Rack.” They are custom ordered to fit your measurements. Some dresses can take as much as 8 months to arrive (don’t worry, there are a lot that take only 2 months). Once it comes, you then have several fittings and alterations to make sure it is absolutely perfect! The last thing you want to do is be stressing that your dress won’t be here in time for the wedding. Also, if you plan on taking bridal portraits, you will want to have your dress in plenty of time to get your photos back and print enlargements to display at your wedding!Winter dip kiss at a Utah proposal by Brooke Bakken Photography

5. Decide on your Wedding Party

It’s SUCH a tough decision to decide who will be in your wedding party, especially the coveted roles of Best Man and Maid of Honor. But, the sooner you finalize it, the sooner friends and family will stop bugging you about it. First, make a list of potential bridesmaids and groomsmen. Then, look at your budget. How many can you afford to have in your wedding party? And how many do you even want? Some brides want a small wedding party while some want as many as they can afford! You will need to provide the bridesmaid dresses and tuxedo rental, as well as possibly hair and makeup for your bridesmaids (at least for your Maid of Honor). Plus, it is customary to give each member of the wedding party a thank you gift on the day of the wedding. Once you have decided the number, look at your list again. This is the tough part. Try not to break up any “groups.” For instance, if you are having one sister-in-law, you should probably include all of them. Same with friend groups. If 4 of you are a close-knit group, try to avoid excluding anyone. In the end, though, realize that this is YOUR WEDDING! Feelings are important, but true friends will love you whether or not they are in the wedding party.

So there you have it! The 5 things to put at the TOP of your Wedding To Do List!

5 Things to Put at the TOP of Your Wedding To Do List by Brooke Bakken PhotographyTop 5 Things to Put at the TOP of your Wedding To Do List
Winter kiss by Brooke Bakken Photography
5 Things to put at the TOP of your Wedding To Do List by Utah photographer Brooke Bakken
Winter engagement in Utah by Brooke Bakken PhotographyShow of the ring after a winter proposal by Brooke Bakken Photography
Top 5 Things to put on your Wedding To Do List after he proposes
Newly engaged couple share 5 tips for a wedding to do list 5 Things to do after he proposes by Brooke Bakken Photography Cheers at a winter proposal by Brooke Bakken Photography Brooke Bakken captures a winter proposal in Utah 5 Things to put on your Wedding TO DO List by Brooke Bakken Photography Winter proposal leads to 5 tips for planning your wedding by Brooke Bakken Snowy winter proposal captured by Utah photographer Brooke Bakken Winter proposal details by destination wedding photographer Brooke Bakken Top 5 things to put on your Wedding To Do List after the proposal We're Engaged! Now what to put on our wedding to do list. He proposed, now check out 5 things to put at the TOP of your Wedding To Do List Snowy winter proposal in Utah by Brooke Bakken Photography Winter proposal photography in Utah by Brooke Bakken Winter Proposal by Utah wedding photographer Brooke Bakken

 

It’s All in the Details | Weddings {Wedding Photographer}

As I sit here and write this post, I am writing as a past (clueless) bride and as a photographer that wants to educate her own brides. As a past bride, there were certain things I didn’t even realize about planning a wedding day, and especially about planning a wedding day timeline.  For the most part as a bride I took orders from my wedding planner and my photographer about how much time I would need for each part of my day, and thank heavens I yielded to the professionals! I honestly didn’t have the eye for details back then that I do now (sad face). I really wish I would have had a cute little hanger from easy with my new last name to hang my dress up on, or had all my significant details (new, old, borrowed, blue) all together for my photographer to capture. Lucky for me, I hired a true professional and she captured them despite my lack of organization or attention to detail. Well, fast forward to now, I get to be one of the professionals….HOLLER!!!

 

Continue reading “It’s All in the Details | Weddings {Wedding Photographer}”

Engagement Shoot Prep | FYI

I consider myself lucky in this business for many reasons, one of them being I have the most beautiful brides, with awesome style! I often get asked how I help my brides and grooms prepare for their engagements. Do we have to have an engagement session…is it REALLY necessary? Do I tell them what to wear? Do I pick the location we shoot at? How do they know how to pose like that? So today, I am sharing a few tricks of the trade I have picked up along the way! This will hopefully be helpful to future brides, as well as aspiring photographers.

When it comes down to the whole wedding experience, I honestly think it is so incredibly crucial to have a session with your photographer before the big day. For most this will be an engagement session (sometimes a formal session with bride+groom). This allows a few things to happen, and really gets you not only excited for wedding day, but comfortable with the idea of your photographer being with you the entire day. Engagement sessions have 2 purposes: 1. it is suppose to be FUN! This is an opportunity with no stress to get out, love up on one another, and get to know your photographer. I can’t tell you enough how amazing it feels to get to know my couples before showing up to shoot their big day. An engagement session not only allows me to get to know my couple, but allows them to get to know me, and how I shoot. I like to think I do a good mixture of both posed and candid images ( my heart LOVES the candid, snuggly, romantic ones!!) and it’s always a good thing to know that come wedding day, I am going to make you snuggle up! They say practice makes perfect, and let me tell you, by the time I see my brides and grooms on wedding day, come portrait time, they are pretty much professional and it totally shows in their images!

So let’s dive in to the nitty gritty details of what to expect and consider for your engagement shoot:

1. Outfits– At all of my engagement sessions I allow for 2 outfit changes. Most couples choose to do one dressy outfit and one casual. No matter what your style, I always encourage my brides to wear something that they feel beautiful and comfortable in. Make sure when choosing an outfit, you highlight YOU! If you wear mostly skirts and dresses, then carry that over to engagements! I also try to tell my couples to coordinate. Don’t be too matchy-matchy,and I love when couples mix patterns (wear big bold patters, tiny patterns have a hard time showing in images) and solids, as well as a pop of color! It’s always fun to have a bold color necklace or scarf, or even a fun shoe color! The biggest thing here to stress, is make sure you are 100% you!

2. Location & Time– This one always gets the most questions! Where should we go? Do you pick the location for us and tell us when to show up? My answer is always simple and always the same. Choose somewhere that you are drawn to, that has special meaning to you, or choose somewhere that you know you will want to revisit and love the way the images look while hanging on your walls at home! I start shooting about 1.5-2 hours before sunset (and in some rare cases 2 hours after sunrise…but I am NOT a morning person ha!). I usually brainstorm with my brides before our session to ensure that the location is perfect or unique to them as a couple. I LOVE when brides have things they want to incorporate that is unique to them as a couple to help tell their story.

Come look at these killer locations my beautiful brides have picked in the past:

Orchard:

Urban/Downtown:

Capitol Building:

Open Fields:

Mountains:

Beach:

Architecture:

Boat Docks:

Unique to the Couple:

Seasonal-Spring Blossoms:

Seasonal-Fall:

Seasonal-Snow:

3. Be On Time: This one is SUPER important. It actually seems like it would be a no brainer, but I know things happen and sometimes they are out of your control. However, when planning a session based on when the sun sets, I can’t make it un-set, if my clients are late. This means we lose out on time together, and images too! So if at all possible, plan ahead and be mindful of traffic when traveling to your session.

4. Prep Your Groom: This can be so vital to a good session…PREP THE GROOM! As girls we naturally tend to love taking pictures, looking at pictures, or anything that has to do with pictures! Guys…not so much! And that’s ok, and to be honest it is expected. You wouldn’t believe the bribes I make to get my man to take pictures! I swear it is just part of their DNA. So with that…give him a heads up on what to expect. I would suggest sitting down with him, and showing him your 3 favorite shoots, so he can understand the type of style of photography that I shoot. If he sees that in my images I LOVE a good snuggle picture, when the time comes and I ask him to “whisper why he loves you”, or “go nose to nose”, or “ok now snuggle up and smile at one another”…he won’t look at me like I am insane! Let him know that really he has the easy job of the day, he will either be looking and loving up on his bride or looking at the camera…piece of cake right??!! TOTES!

5. Hair & Make Up: Some brides choose to have a trial run of make-up for wedding day (and sometimes hair) on their engagement session, and I think this is a FANTASTIC idea! I realize not every bride will do this, but if you can budget for it, having a professional make up artist make make a HUGE difference in your images! I will never do my own family pictures again without one! Plus what a great excuse to celebrate and be pampered before the big day!! If you choose to do your own make-up, don’t worry, just try to apply more make up then you would on a day to day basis. What might feel heavy on a daily basis, actually photographs perfectly! So don’t shy away!

6. Relax & Trust: Last but not least, RELAX!!! Just remember that you have hired your photographer for a reason! I don’t expect any of my couples to know how to pose, that is MY job! I rarely work with professional models, but I can tell you by the end of our session you will leave feeling like one! Don’t be nervous, and come ready to have fun! I think the biggest things for couples to do, is to trust the vision your photographer has as an artist. Allow them be creative and I promise you will have an amazing time!