Kauai Wedding Photography Blog

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Hyatt & Shipwrecks Beach, Kauai: Angela & Steven (Featured Wedding)

Hyatt & Shipwrecks Beach, Kauai: Angela & Steven (Featured Wedding)

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Angela, at the Hyatt near Shipwrecks Beach, Kauai.

The Grand Hyatt and Shipwrecks Beach, Kauai

were the scene of a wonderful wedding on Friday December 9th, 2016, between Californians Angela and Steven. We have married hundreds of people but this bride was one of Timory’s favorites. Before the wedding, they chatted and laughed about the similarities and differences between California and Hawaii. Also, being December, it was Christmas season in Hawaii, which adds a festive and celebratory touch to your Kauai wedding day.

Getting Ready Photos – Always Fun!

If you’re thinking about a Kauai wedding, consider having some getting read photos done. On this occasion, Timory arrived at the bride’s room at the Grand Hyatt on Kauai while the hairstylist Stephanie was finishing her hair. Stephanie had taken Angela’s medium length blond hair and skillfully added extensions, making a gorgeous braided crown. The bride looked stunning in her light pink satin robe and slippers. Timory joked around with her that she should get married in the robe! Timory and Angela had a great time taking a wide array of getting ready pictures, including shots of the rings on the poinsettia flowers.

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Strolling Through the Hyatt on the Way Down to Shipwrecks Beach

Strolling throughout the grounds of the Hyatt is a wonderful experience. There’s so much beauty everywhere – photo opportunities abound… Meanwhile the groom and Joel the wedding officiant (there were no guests) were waiting patiently down at Shipwrecks Beach at the far end near the cliff. The ceremony went off without a hitch. When it was finished you would never have known that it had been raining all week. Timory took the couple up the hill to the top of a cliff before sunset to take some amazing shots across the cliff, including some breathtaking shots of the sun going down over the ocean.

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Wonderful Feeling, Wonderful Day

The feeling of this Kauai wedding was wonderful, with both the bride and the groom, the photographer married to the minister, and the photographer and the bride creating a new friendship that may easily last for years to come. The weather and sunset were gorgeous. One of the things that made the day so relaxing was that the bride was seemingly unattached to whether it rained or not – she was resolved to the fact that it might rain. So of course she had perfect weather! That type of relaxed attitude is what helped her enjoy her day immensely – oh yeah that and the fact that she was in paradise marrying the love of her life!

Congratulations Angela & Steven!

This wedding was performed by Aloha Ever After, with wedding photography taken by Timory McDonald Photography.

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Kauai Family Photos at Hanalei Bay

Kauai Family Photos at Hanalei Bay

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Kauai family photos: Christy Ensign and family at Hanalei Bay.

Kauai family photos

are always fun to do at Hanalei Bay. What a location! A beautiful family from Utah contacted us to do photos at Hanalei Bay so they could use some Kauai Family Photos for years to come as well as for their family Christmas card. It was December 18th, 2016. When they arrived, we met Christy Ensign and her beautiful family – she had 5 sons ranging in age from 13 to mid 20s. The oldest had already married, so one of the “kids “was a 25-year-old beautiful blonde. The whole family was Mormon and they lived in Salt Lake City.

Wearing Shorts in December?!

They were thrilled to be out here in such gorgeous weather and wind. Their mom asked them to wear khaki shorts or pants. It was easy for them to all show up wearing khaki on the bottom and white on the top – I was surprised that not one person in the family had to buy anything new. When I look carefully at the pictures I realize that no one actually had the same shirt and same shorts, yet they all seemed to match perfectly, looking very much like mainlanders with their perfectly white clothing that no locals. Everyone had big bright smiles … you could tell how happy they were to be in paradise for Christmas!

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Great Weather for Kauai Family Photos

The weather was perfect! When it sprinkled lightly for two or three minutes we went to the end of a pier and took a couple of interesting shots out over the water. Since it was a bright sunny day the issue was not really rain but rather how to pose the family so that they were not squinting. It was fun for them to get their toes in the water and for their 13-year-old boy to be able to look at me instead of the water when I took the pictures.

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Vibrant Colors for Kauai Photography

As expected, the pictures turned out beautifully with vibrant colors of blue in the sky and the water, white with their shirts and the seafoam, brown from the sand and the pier, and to top it all off, vibrant green from the fact that they were standing in the middle of one of the most beautiful tropical places on earth. The end product of the photos had a nice range of group shots, couple shots and individual shots of everyone there including the parents, as well as photos of just the boys, and all the grown up “kids”.

Even though the family met with me only a few days before Christmas they were able and excited to “rush” their photos for a mere $40 and have them within several days. Most photographers here on Kauai charge $75 and would not do that right before Christmas! We aim to please with our Kauai family photos!

This Kauai photography was taken by Timory McDonald Photography.

Haena Beach, Kauai: Julie & Bob (Featured Wedding)

Haena Beach, Kauai: Julie & Bob (Featured Wedding)

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Haena Beach is a wonderful location for a Kauai beach wedding. Check out the amazing wedding photography at Haena for featured wedding of Julie and Bob.

Haena Beach, Kauai,

was the scene of a beautiful island afternoon and sunset on Sunday, November 20th, 2016, for the wedding of Bob and Julie. With a guitarist-vocalist to accompany the minister, the ceremony was a special event. On that day the Kauai sky was a little cloudy but never actually rained – which was good because it meant there was not too much heat or glare. Too much heat can make all the participants uncomfortable, whereas too much glare can mean the bride and/or groom have to squint, leading to awkward-looking photos. Luckily, the weather at Haena Beach was perfect for the wedding and the wedding photography.

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Haena Beach: Beautiful Beneath the Majestic Mountain Cliffs

Hanna Beach on the north coast of Kauai really is a jaw-dropping location for a wedding or a special event of any kind. The mountains looks thousands of years old, adorned with all kinds of hanging moss and vines that have taken a long time to develop. When it rains, the rain drips down the vines all the way from the 1000ft towering peaks to the caves below.

Haena Beach has a famous dry cave which was sacred to the Hawaiians. The scene is must-see for tourists and typical of Kauai, which manages to combine the tropics, a river, a cave, majestic mountains, the beach, jungle vines, moss and more all in one scene.

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Julie and Bob – Texans Who Chose Kauai as Their Wedding Spot

Julie and Bob come from Texas, but now having chosen Kauai as their wedding spot, the garden island will always hold a a special place in their hearts. Every time they come back to visit, Kauai in general, and Haena Beach in particular, will have special meaning and significance for them.

Congratulations Bob and Julie!

The wedding ministry/officiant service was performed by Aloha Ever After, with wedding photography taken by Timory McDonald Photography.

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Featured Kauai Proposal: Adam & Joy, Anini Beach

Featured Kauai Proposal: Adam & Joy, Anini Beach

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Joy and Adam – our featured Kauai Proposal.

Our featured Kauai proposal

took place on December 20th, 2016, at Kealia Beach, Kauai. It was the beach chosen by Adam for his grand surprise: a Kauai proposal! After contacting Timory McDonald Photography, we had excitedly (and secretly) planned out how the proposal was going to work. The plan included Timory dressing up as a tourist who just so happened to be walking along a beach. Then, with camera in hand, she would snap the magic moment when Adam got down on one knee to pop the question. As it turned out, Joy was completely surprised – and said “Yes”!

Starting Out With a Bang

This was a fabulous experience – it was fun to help a young man because dreams can come true, especially if they get off to a good start like a romantic Hawaiian sunset proposal. All Adam had to do was contact us, put down a small deposit and then Timory came up with some amazing ideas which she presented to him over email and phone. Adam and Timory weaved together their ideas to make it a very personalized proposal.

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Featured Kauai Proposal – Making It Purple on Anini Beach

Adam ended up choosing Anini beach so we could see the sunset clearly. Timory arrived early to set everything up, spread rose petals around and create a magical picnic area. Adam had told Timory that Joy liked purple, so we came up with a beautiful picnic basket, a lovely drink and surrounded the romantic scene with her favorite treats and special purple decorations. The blanket was at the edge of the water with the beautiful sound of the lapping waves a nice gentle breeze while the sky was filled with colors and birds.

Timory Pretended to Be a Tourist

Adam wanted everything to be a surprise so Timory pretended to be a tourist on the beach so she could capture the entire moment as it happened spontaneously. Joy just thought she was showing up for a photo shoot, so she was looking beautiful and feeling good about herself which is important for every woman. Then she got an amazing photo shoot of the most romantic proposal you can imagine and everyone involved felt great!

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Featured Kauai proposal: The Plan

Adam came out to a certain designated point Timory had marked in the sand for him. He got down on one knee and asked her to marry him – she was shocked and in tears and loved every second of it. Once Adam had popped the questions, Timory came in closer to get special pictures and Joy still had noticed her – so finally Timory told her that she’d helped plan the surprise and that she was the photographer for it too! Joy was so excited to know that the once-in-a-lifetime moment had all been caught on camera by a professional. 

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Proposals Have One Thing that Weddings Don’t

Wedding proposals have one thing that wedding ceremonies do not – the element of surprise. Unlike the wedding companies who strictly do weddings only (just the ceremony), Timory McDonald Photography is happy to all parts of the wedding process – from proposal to ceremony to reception. We understand that for many men, dealing with the added aspect of surprise makes the proposal more stressful, especially on a place far away from home like Kauai, which many are visiting for a holiday, vacation, destination wedding or honeymoon. However, we are here to help. We are ready and willing to provide you with any assistance you need for a Kauai proposal, including doing all the planning and suggesting romantic ideas and touches to make it an extraordinary moment for your fiancée.

Congratulations Adam and Joy!

This Kauai proposal was photographed by Timory McDonald Photography.

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Kauai Engagement Surprise! Brendon’s Kauai Proposal to Roshi

Kauai Engagement Surprise! Brendon’s Kauai Proposal to Roshi

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In this Kauai engagement surprise, we helped Brendon plan a Kauai proposal on Kauai’s Maha’ulepu Beach and hid in the bushes to take photos!

What a high-energy Kauai engagement surprise this was!

Today was one of those days that made me remember how much I truly love the excitement of working in the wedding industry. A couple of weeks ago a man in his early 30s from Northern California named Brendon contacted me about helping him plan a proposal for the love of his life, Roshi. Since I am the queen of surprises, I am a great person to ask (see our page on Kauai engagement consulting)! So I helped Brendon plan a beautiful Kauai proposal where they hiked from the Hyatt on the south side of Kauai to beautiful Maha’ulepu Beach.

Enhancing a Dazzling Kauai Engagement Location

We planned ahead via phone and email using maps and came up with the secret code. I put a row of shells in the sand near the water’s edge so he would know where to stop and get on one knee. Since I’m a photographer, I look at things from the point of view of how to make the pictures look great, so I got there early and set things up for the optimum photographic angles.

I prepared a beautiful picnic blanket with orchid heads and had glasses ready for the toast. I also provided gorgeous tropical Hawaiian leis for the couple as well as for Brendon’s family who were hiding in the bushes waiting to congratulate them (good thing she said yes!).

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Finishing Touches for the Kauai Engagement Surprise

I had brought a rake to make the sand look smooth and perfect and then carefully wrote the proposal date out in shells which I had brought along for the occasion. (Later, Roshi would eagerly take them home as a keepsake from one of the most romantic moments of her life.) The couple was running a little late so we waited anxiously as we tracked them on Google Plus. I pretended to be a tourist on the beach and when the couple finally arrived I acted like I had just been there taking pictures anyway.

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Maha’ulepu Beach, Kauai

Brendon asked Roshi to walk down this lovely beach so he could take a picture of her walking along the ocean. When she turned around to walk away he quickly laid down his stuff, took out an exquisitely gorgeous (and large) diamond ring and got down on one knee. By the time Roshi turned around he was down on one knee. In that perfect moment, Roshi’s romantic childhood expectations were completely surpassed as she was proposed to on a gorgeous deserted Hawaiian beach at sunset surrounded by whales, shells, flowers and her family.

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Roshi’s Happy Hawaiian Moment – Unforgettable Kauai Engagement Surprise

As soon as she realized what was happening, she ran towards Brendon and collapsed in his arms, crying on his shoulder. Speechless, she excitedly and eagerly nodded her head “Yes!!!” Roshi was so swept up in the moment she gave him her right hand (instead of her left hand) for the ring … they were both so excited that no one noticed. It was funny because the ring wouldn’t go on … he tried to get the ring on but it still wouldn’t go on! The happy couple were crying and hugging as the family ran out of the bushes and of course I was taking pictures the whole time – I was up very close by this point.

Kauai Engagement Bliss

Eventually she looked up and said “Thank you, thank you, thank you” to me. Even though she didn’t know who I was yet, she could tell I was involved. It was probably the happiest moment of her life. She saw her new in-laws asking them “Did you know about this? … I can’t believe it!” and started jumping up and down holding out her hand yelling “We’re engaged! We’re finally engaged!” This adorable jumping up-and-down continued for the next hour, much to all of our delight! She was so excited it was contagious – we all had a beautiful rush of excitement and it was an amazing feeling to be a part of. It’s moments like these that make me love my job!

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Finale at Famous Shipwrecks Beach, Kauai

The gates were going to close to Maha’ulepu Beach, so we moved the celebration I had planned to Shipwrecks Beach where I again set up the picnic blanket with the orchid heads, organic cheese platter/crackers, champagne glasses and beautiful leis.

We did couples photos and a family photo shoot. We took pictures of everything from honoring the family with leis to sharing a toast. Brendon’s father was so happy because Shipwrecks Beach is one of his most favorite beaches in the world. He comes there every year to celebrate with his family. Now their family has yet one more sacred event to remember on that very beach.

Congratulations Roshi and Brendon!

This Kauai engagement planning and consulting was performed by Aloha Ever After, with photography taken by Timory McDonald Photography.

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Swiss Couple Gets Married on Kauai: Sandra and Patrick (Featured Wedding)

Swiss Couple Gets Married on Kauai: Sandra and Patrick (Featured Wedding)

A Swiss Couple gets married on Kauai!

Not something that happens every day … after all, Hawaii is on the other side of the world to Switzerland. However, that didn’t stop Swiss couple Sandra and Patrick from choosing a Kauai destination wedding. The couple got married on Kauai at Tunnels Beach on the North Shore on January 17th, 2017, on a bright sunny day in January, which is supposed to be the “rainy season”. However on that day the weather was perfectly clear without a drop in the air.

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Sunny day at Tunnels Beach: what a way to get married on Kauai!

Love is Beyond Language

The parents didn’t speak a lot of English – luckily for us both Joel and I speak German and Spanish (and Joel speaks Japanese too). The family had a hard time parking at Tunnels beach. Even just parking a few cars there turned out to be way more difficult than anyone would’ve thought on a weekday morning during non-peak season. Once everyone finally got their cars parked the wedding started quickly and effortlessly. There were three of us working the wedding, plus the bride, the groom and two guests.

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To get married on Kauai often means to do a ring exchange on the beach.

From Switzerland, the Other Side World to Hawaii …

The brides’ parents were unable to make it from Basel Switzerland. One of the most touching moments of the ceremony was when the mother of the groom hugged the bride – you didn’t need to speak their language to see that she loved her like a daughter. There embrace was exaggeratedly long. It was clear that this family was a unit and loved each other deeply.

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Exquisite Turquoise Ocean and Scenery

We found a nice shady spot even though it was 11:30 in the morning. We did the service right next to the exquisitely gorgeous turquoise and blue ocean, standing underneath the most magnificent sheer tropical cliff. I couldn’t imagine a more beautiful setting surrounded by the lush Napali Coast, plus the amazing whales which are around and jumping this time of the year. And, to top it all off, some of the most exquisite blue and turquoise colors I’ve seen in a long time!

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Great Kauai Weather for Wedding Photography

After the ceremony we took some group photos and then the bride, groom and I went in the sun to the waters edge for a couple shots. The weather could simply have not been more perfect. It was hot enough to want to stand in the shade but not uncomfortably hot – it was so sunny it may taking pictures easy and once they were edited the colors were magnificent. There was just the right amount of cloud cover to be comfortable and yet make the photos pop.

This couple decided to rush their photos for only $40 and received them 3 days later – they were thrilled!

Congratulations Sandra and Patrick!

This wedding was performed by Aloha Ever After, with wedding photography taken by Timory McDonald Photography.

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Featured Kauai Family Photo Shoot: Kealia Beach

Featured Kauai Family Photo Shoot: Kealia Beach

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Pretty! This featured kauai family photo shoot has some girls in sync.

Our featured Kauai family photo shoot

took place on December 20th, 2016, at Kealia Beach, Kauai. Right before Christmas we had the opportunity to meet a lovely family from California who were out here on Kauai for their parents’ 30th wedding anniversary. The 5 siblings decided to gift their parents with a long overdue photo shoot of the whole family. The siblings had contacted Timory McDonald Photography ahead of time, splitting the cost of the photo shoot so it didn’t cost any of them very much money.

The Best Way to Incorporate the Surprise Element with Women and Photo Shoots

Additionally, we planned to do the whole thing as a surprise, and we love surprises! However we‘ve learned over the years that while it’s a great idea to surprise a woman with the photo shoot (you can’t go wrong with offering her photos) … it’s not always a good idea to spring it on her right in the moment. A woman needs to be ready, with her hair and makeup the way she feels comfortable, in order to enjoy the pictures! So the mom and dad were told that they were going to take some family pictures with their iPhones down at the beach – the surprise was that it would actually be Timory, a professional photographer.

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Family Photo Shoot with A Christmas Theme

Since it was right before Christmas, Timory met with the siblings right before the photo shoot to come up with a plan to make it as festive of a surprise as possible. She drove up in her white SUV, decorated as Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer, put on a Santa hat and met them right next to the bike path full of Christmas joy and enthusiasm as she wished them a happy 30th wedding anniversary surprise as well as “Merry Christmas”!

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Great Variety of Backdrops for Photos

One of the 5 siblings was a very wonderful disabled man in a wheelchair. Timory had gone early to find the perfect location where we could get a picture with the beach in the background but still keep him on the cement bicycle path. We took a surprisingly large selection of background shots given that we only left the path once. For instance, we took pictures near a tree with the ocean background, just an ocean background, trees and pine trees surrounding the sand and the ocean and we even went down to a bridge to have a river and the ocean in the background. It was a wonderfully varied 60 minute photo shoot!

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Happy Anniversary and Happy Holidays

The clients were very happy. We received this testimonial about their featured Kauai family photo shoot:

“Thank you again for the quick turn around with the photos. They turned out amazing! Thank you, thank you, thank you! Best ~ Hannah

Happy 30th wedding anniversary and happy holidays to Hannah and all her family!

This family photography shoot was taken by Timory McDonald Photography.

Tunnels Beach, Kauai: Matt & Ryan (Featured Wedding)

Tunnels Beach, Kauai: Matt & Ryan (Featured Wedding)

Tunnels Beach, Kauai,

was the scene of a beautiful, picture-perfect sunset on Sunday, Sept 23rd, 2016, for the wedding of Matt and Ryan. The sunset was so stunning and gorgeous it looked like a postcard, with gentle touches of pink draped across the fading blue sky. Against this Tunnels Beach backdrop 20 people gathered, all dear family and friends of Matt and Ryan, to celebrate a love they were finally able to legally consummate.

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Tunnels Beach: Wide and Long, With Bali Hai Mountains in the Background

There is a reason why Tunnels Beach is chosen by so many brides and grooms doing a destination wedding on Kauai. During the summer months, the sun actually sets into the water, providing a truly spectacular sight. Tunnels Beach has it all: a wide long beach, calm waters, nearby jungle and forest, and towering mountains surrounding you on one side – the unique shape of Bali Hai. The jagged outline of Bali Hai is often used in tourist commercials advertising Kauai as a holiday destination.

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Wedding Ceremony: Touching and Emotional

The wedding ceremony itself was touching, with Matt and Ryan both choosing to write their own vows, which they read aloud before exchanging rings. They involved their 10 year old daughter in the ceremony, by including her in the traditional Hawaiian lei exchange at the beginning. Matt and Ryan both wore the open green ti leaf leis, traditionally worn by men, while they daughter wore a purple-and-white orchid lei.

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Amazing Beach Wedding Photos

Some wedding groups are more friendly, outgoing or photogenic than others. This group was particularly joyful, which made it easy for photographer Timory McDonald to bring out the best in them and capture some great shots. The group was composed of babies, young children, other married couples and family elders; the group photos thus reflected a wide spectrum of ages and interests.

Congratulations Matt and Ryan!

This wedding was performed by Aloha Ever After, with wedding photography taken by Timory McDonald Photography.

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Lydgate Beach, Kauai: Adam & Francesca (Featured Wedding)

Lydgate Beach, Kauai: Adam & Francesca (Featured Wedding)

Lydgate Beach, Kauai,

was the scene of a most unusual – but romantic – wedding on Wednesday, October 26th, 2016. Adam and Francesca had decided to get married on Kauai, and when the big day arrived, it was raining on almost every side of the island. We eventually found a secluded little shelter or hut right next to Lydgate beach where they could get married near the ocean, despite the Hawaiian rains. However, rain on your wedding day is considered a blessing in Hawaii.

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A Misty Tropical Hawaiian Beach Wedding

Lydgate Beach is a great Kauai wedding location because it is private, not often frequented by tourists, and features many secluded areas. It is normally also dry and sunny at sunset, but on this occasion, the rain had set in. Despite this, we actually conducted the wedding in the open, right next to the shelter. Adam and Francesca actually exchanged vows while the minister (Joel) prompted them in the mist!

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Wedding Music with “Love Song” (by the Cure) on Ukulele

The atmosphere of the wedding ceremony was augmented by Aimee Brown, a superb vocalist who also played traditional Hawaiian ukulele wedding songs. Adam and Francesca had requested a special song for them: “Love Song” by the Cure. Aimee played it right at the conclusion of the wedding ceremony, right after they had been declared husband and wife.

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A Day to Remember Forever

Some brides have a fixed idea of what they want on their wedding day. This is fine, however if you are choosing to have an outdoor wedding in Hawaii, you can’t control the weather! Francesca was a very relaxed bride who flowed with the conditions and was happy regardless. They were a couple that was clearly and deeply in love. They will remember their wedding day forever thanks to the rain. The next day, which was dry, Timory did some wedding photography for them at another location, so now they have 2 sets of photos instead of just 1.

Congratulations Adam and Francesca!

This wedding was performed by Aloha Ever After, with wedding photography taken by Timory McDonald Photography.

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How to Prepare Your Bridal Party for Wedding Portraits

How to Prepare Your Bridal Party for Wedding Portraits

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Learn what you need to do to prepare your bridal party for the after-ceremony wedding portraits, including tips on styling and making a master list.

Wedding portraits

are an aspect of the ceremony for which many people in your bridal party may be unprepared. After all, some people may be following you all the way to Kauai for your Hawaii destination wedding to have fun, let their hair down and celebrate! You, however, may be counting on them to step in front of the camera and say “cheese” when they are told by the wedding photographer. Read on to learn about making your photo list, styling and posing, and how to communicate what you want. With this info, you’ll successfully prepare your bridal party for their part in the keepsake beach wedding portraits that will bring back all the memories of that special day!

Make a List and Check It Twice

Making a master list for you, your wedding party and your photographer will be a great help when it comes time for family pictures. Keep these things in mind:

  • Work with your photographer on a detailed photo list and give it to every person in your bridal party. It should include who, when, and where. For example: Parents of the bride at 3:00pm by the water fountain.
  • Pad the times a little to account for delays.
  • Have kids go first.
  • Your photographer is a professional and knows which shots to take of your bridal party. However, if there are any creative poses or specific locations that you’ve been dying to use, put it on the list.
  • Put someone in charge of ensuring everyone is present when it’s their time to smile.

With a master list, your photoshoot will run like clockwork.

Styling and Posing

The biggest thing to remember about styling and posing is to trust your photographer. He or she knows how to show off everyone’s best features in the wedding portraits. Here are a few other pointers:

  • Carry the “feel” of your wedding into your pictures. If it’s a black tie affair, you’ll want formal portraits. If it’s a wedding with a kick-back vibe, you’ll want spontaneous and fun snapshots.
  • If using any, assign someone to bring props, hand them out, and then gather them up.
  • If a child isn’t looking and smiling, maintain your composure. It’s confusing and overwhelming for the child when many adults make different demands at once. Then, if the child does smile, the adults aren’t ready. Let the photographer use his or her own tricks.

The best pictures don’t always have perfect styling and poses but instead have personality and genuine smiles.

Communicate, Communicate, Communicate

The number one thing you can do in preparing your wedding party for pictures is to communicate the following items well beforehand:

  • The list
  • The styling and posing
  • The assignments
  • The desired lack of drama and stress

Remember, trust your professional photographer and you’ll forever look back on your wedding portraits with a smile.

For Kauai wedding photography or any other aspect of your wedding planning, contact Timory McDonald Photography today!