Wedding Planning Folder

After photographing literally hundreds of weddings in Hawke's Bay over the years, I have learned to love the wedding planning folder, and what it tells me about the bride holding it.

Sometimes a wedding folder will be so big it enters my studio several minutes before the bride holding it, who (when she finally arrives) is dwarfed by its size and weight.

Other times the folder is instead a collection of scribbled notes and pages ripped from magazines stuck together with a paperclip.

Some brides are all about the technology and have wedding planners saved in snazzy formats on their ipads or at customised wedding websites, while others with a penchant for scrap booking keep notes and ideas in beautifully creative collections that will almost certainly become family heirlooms in future generations.

There is no right or wrong way to keep track of your wedding preparations. The best advice for preparing for a wedding is to ignore that given by bridal magazines which insist that unless you have a wedding folder thicker than the old testament and containing lists longer than the train on Princess Di's dress, your wedding will be a disaster. It won't.

However that doesn't mean you won't find it an awful lot easier to sleep at night if your ideas, correspondence with wedding suppliers and to-do lists aren't all kept together in a practical way for easy reference when you need it.Wedding Planning Folder

When I meet my couples to discuss their weddings, we throw around ideas for locations and the all-important timeline so that as other plans get locked into place the separate sums form to become a whole that is streamlined, efficient and exactly the way you intended it.

There's not much point talking to your wedding specialists about this sort of detail unless you somehow keep a record of it for later reference.

But don't go overboard. As a photographer it's great to see a few pictures clipped from magazines to help me understand your wedding style and the look and feel you'd like for your day. But don't clip 20 different pictures from 20 different photographers at 20 different locations and expect them all to be replicated on your day.

As unlikely as it might sound, I have had a bride-to-be ask for photos to be replicated from specific photos, even though they showed crashing waves (her reception was at a winery inland and she wanted to stay on site), a couple backlit by the setting sun (for a mid-summer wedding with the indoor reception starting 3 hours before sunset) and an editorial shot with the bride stationed high up in the branches of a large tree.

Wedding planning is about being organised and communicating to those that are working for you what you want without stamping out their creativity and your own by setting too many boundaries and unrealistic expectations.

When you first start planning a wedding it can be really useful and fabulous fun to create a wedding pinboard on Pinterest (www.pinterest.com) because then you can squirrel away online all of the visual ideas, inspirations and colour options you love without scaring your fiancée (and your wedding suppliers!) with a giant folder. Plus it is super easy to send your suppliers a link to your pinboard so they can see your ideas and get a feel for how to tailor them into something that is truly unique to you.

I have my own pinboards (my username is evabradley) which lots of brides follow and where I get my own creative inspiration for future shoots. If you're not doing it already, start pinning!

And don't worry that your wedding planning folder is big, little, wide, thin, a bit of a shambles or fastidiously well organised. Folders are a reflection of the brides who created them and just as every bride is different, she is also absolutely perfect for the man waiting for her at the end of the aisle.

Eva Bradley