Please use sunscreen from the moment you get here! Our Hawaiian sun is more powerful than you realize especially with the cool breezes. For your own comfort and safety use it often and liberally, cover ears, neck, tops of your feet, all exposed areas. Brides, PLEASE avoid tan lines that clash with your dress. I had one bride unhappy with her photos because her swimsuit lines were way out of synch with the dress halter top and it looked atrocious. Of course it wasn't my fault, but retouching is time consuming and expensive and excuse the pun but you get the picture. Grooms, sun burnt faces, sun glasses tan lines, strap marks, ankles and feet not tanned (because cuz, you wore socks and shoes the whole time here with your shorts) are not attractive in your photographs those parts are exposed in your wedding attire. You will still tan through sunscreen and avoid the misery of fried skin. If you are outdoors a lot, reapply the sunscreen every few hours and after extensive time in the water.
FAMILY PORTRAITS! -- Most folks ask for suggestions on what to wear. I suggest “create a theme” either a color family (like white, or white and another color, beige and greens, blues and greens and beige, or each family in a harmonious color, or I’ve seen either white top/or bottom or mixtures of both paired with a Hawaiian print in a same color family (yellows, oranges, reds) … you get the picture here. I’m usually coaxing some subject matters on their knees or sitting in the sand. Please heed my above suggestions about sunburn, this also applies to portraits and well as the comments in the next paragraph.
BRIDES AND LADIES -- please be careful of facial shine. Be sure to clean the face thoroughly before applying makeup. Do not apply moisturizers or anything before the makeup to minimize shine. Makeup should be matte, and dusted with a fixing powder. Please be careful to match makeup colors for your Hawaiian tanned skin if you are doing your own. Your usual color might not match if you have acquired a tan while here. Please “wind proof” your hairstyle. Sometimes our tropical breezes can be strong winds. If you want to wear your hair long and loose, a Hawaiian Haku lei is a lovely way to “anchor” your hair down and it adds a beautiful ornamental touch. Some prefer a small flower cluster on the side, or pin small orchids in the hair. If the groom has “flyaway” hair, some styling gel or hairspray can be a good thing to hold his do in place. If he has shaving nicks or a stress outbreak, cover them with some concealer.
GENTLEMEN -- dress slacks look much better than shorts, no matter how casual your wedding is, it’s still a wedding and you want it to look like one. That’s my biased opinion and I’m sticking with it. However, I’ve amended my stance a bit for what I call the “surfer chic” look, barefoot on the beach with shorts and a nice (preferably) white shirt. Leis add a very Hawaiian touch (there are “masculine” options here- the maile, the kukui nut, if you prefer not to wear a floral lei). Take your dressing cues from your bride, her input in “matching” your dressing style will go along way towards starting off the marriage right! If you wear shorts, please wear sandals/or rubber slippahs! as we call them here (one strap between the big toe and the second piggie type), please AVOID the strappy foot hugger 4WD types), Don't forget to put sunscreen on top of your feet from the day you arrive, please avoid sun glasses lines on your faces and plan to be barefoot on the beach! A nice white, solid color or aloha style dress shirt with dress slacks looks great, it’s comfortable, and will hide sandals if you choose to wear them instead of going barefoot. Beach sand also trashes dress shoes. If your bride wants to go barefoot, you should too. If summer clothes aren’t in season where you live, we have lots of shops here, Macy’s, Tommy Bahama, Hilo Hattie’s, and resort shops where you can find what you need. We also have tuxedo and bridal gown rentals available with advance reservations from our local bridal shop. One more for the men, if you are normally clean shaven, give yourself a nice shave just before the wedding to avoid that 5 o’clock shadow. PLEASE DO NOT decide to shave a beard or mustache off the day before the wedding! (your skin colors won’t match!)
August, September and October are our hottest months. Consider the climate and the time of day for your wedding when deciding what to wear and the comfort of your guests. Consider your location for choice of shoes (stiletto heels don’t cut it in the sand! If the men are heavy sweat-ers, consider light colored, short sleeve, loose shirts, and patterns. Medium and darker, solid colors easily show sweat marks under the armpits and on the back. Being nervous before your wedding is OK, we just don’t want to show it! It's usually too hot for undershirts but if it keeps you from drenching your shirt, suffer what you will. Formal suits and tuxes look really sharp on grooms, just weigh your fashion statement against your comfort levels for happiest results. The rest of the year, the temperatures are cooler and the above is not a critical issue.
St. Peter’s church is what we call an oven, especially late afternoons in our hottest months. The sun heats the church through the makai (ocean facing window. It’s a real sauna if you are getting married there in a hot and heavy wedding clothes. At any location, it helps if the men carry a hanky to mop their brows, and if the bride has tissues on hand, as well as mints (for that dry mouth pre wedding panic attack) hairpins, a couple safety pins in her purse a touchup lipstick and mirror. (I carry these in my camera bag and they frequently come in handy!)
Please carefully limit pre ceremony alcohol consumption. It dehydrates you and the effects are often compounded by nerves, heat, and not having eaten. Inebriated subjects are difficult to work with, do not photograph well, and usually embarrass those around them. Save the partying for the reception.
For optimum outdoor lighting (most flattering), I recommend the last hour before sunset, or early AM wedding whenever possible to schedule the ceremony. Consultants who do not care about the timing of your wedding do not care about the best results from your pictures. Midday hours are usually too hot and too bright for photographs without squinting and sweating, the light is harsh and contrasty, beaches tend to be crowded and noisy. When shooting under these conditions, shady areas are mandatory, but whenever possible consider the best lighting for your event, that helps make the best pictures and it will also be the most comfortable for you and your guests. Feel free to consult me if you need help with a timeline for your photography!
Mahalo for considering the above tips to help me make the best photographs of your special day!