Our Favorite Wedding Moments from the Year, Plus What You Can Learn from Them
Life’s best memories often lie in the in-between—the waiting, the unknown, the here and now. We asked brides to share the stories behind our favorite photos and had experts offer ideas to help you fondly remember even the smallest moments of your biggest day.
Lauren Ford & Ryan Flahie
October 5, 2019
Before greeting Ryan Flahie at the altar, Lauren Ford eagerly awaits arm in arm with her father—a moment captured in two different, yet equally beautiful, ways. “We were standing to the side before they opened the doors, and I remember feeling, ‘Okay, here it is,’ and knowing that this was right,” Lauren says.
The takeaway: Having more than one photographer not only means that no moment will be missed, but it opens the possibilities for multiple or unique angles. “Your photos will show these moments from all of your important people’s viewpoints because of the extra support,” says Carter Rose of Carter Rose Photography.
Brighton Keller & Duncan Butler
January 25, 2020
With the help of her mother and bridesmaids, Brighton Keller prepares to walk down the aisle from her bridal suite at the Omni Barton Creek Resort & Spa. Matt Shelley of John Cain Photography says a serene (and photogenic) space for getting ready should be on your checklist when scouting venues. “It’s important to have a space to feel at ease and connected to your loved ones without distraction,” he says. Be sure to check out the available spaces at your venue, or find a photo-worthy hotel room or corner of your home in which to take pre-ceremony shots.
Sarah Nelson & Colin South
November 16, 2019
Bride Sarah Nelson snapped the traditional portraits with her groom and bridal party, but it was the photos with her flower girls (looking darling in their Lille Couture dresses from Bella Bridesmaids) that melted our hearts. While the pair’s procession didn’t go quite as planned, needing assistance to get down the aisle, Sarah loved that the lighthearted moment “took a bit of the formality out of the entrances.” The little ones eventually made their way to chaperoned bride and groom’s suites, but not before leaving their mark on the dance floor: “They were the stars of the reception,” Sarah remembers.
The takeaway: If kids are on the invite list, it’s wise to plan ahead. “It’s helpful to have games available in designated kids’ rooms and lots of snacks,” says Elizabeth Gonzales, principal wedding planner at After Yes Weddings. Or like Sarah, hire a sitter to watch the little ones post-ceremony so parents can enjoy the evening unencumbered.
Leah Gilligan & Alan Littenberg
June 22, 2019
Alan Littenberg lifts Leah Gilligan during their first dance as husband and wife, garnering cheers from family and friends. “This feeling was total excitement and truly having the time of my life,” Leah says. The couple elected to host their reception at Fort Worth’s Bass Performance Hall, a unique and personal choice: “Having our reception be at a place the both of us love was so special.”
The takeaway: Consider holding your celebration at a place that’s meaningful to you and your partner. The spot where you first met, had the best date, or where your parents wed could make for the perfect place to tie the knot.
Lauren Perella & Ryan Wilson
November 2, 2019
Following their first-look photos, Lauren Perella and Ryan Wilson make way for a special guest star: their mini goldendoodle, Bogey. The joy on his face echoes the sentiments of his owners as they prepare to walk down the aisle. “I was feeling over the moon,” Lauren recalls.
The takeaway: If involving your pet in your big day is important to you, be sure to ask about animals when venue-shopping. If they aren’t allowed, “Get creative,” say Rachael Kissel and Karen Raehpour of RK Weddings & Events. “Name a cocktail after them, sit cardboard cutouts in front of the head table, or have illustrations emblazoned on your stationery.”
Dr. Amanda Mohammed & Leighton Strait
November 2, 2019
Teeming with anticipation, Dr. Amanda Mohammed waits to make her entrance at her wedding to Leighton Strait. “I felt such peace in that moment,” says the bride. “Everything we had planned for the last year and a half was about to unfold.” The stolen nature of this photo, taken through a glass door, makes it all the more special.
The takeaway: Hiring a photographer that’s familiar with your venue means they’ll know the best spots from which to immortalize candid moments like this one. That said, great photographers are able to improvise. Notes photographer Reigh Walker: “I usually go with my gut.”