Moment by Moment: 6 Tips for Planning a Picture-Perfect Wedding
Four Seasons wedding pros from the world’s most photogenic venues share expert advice for couples planning their big day.
Your wedding day is something you want to remember for all the right reasons. From flowers to food to photography, there are many elements that go into an event you and your guests will love. And often it’s the little things that have the biggest impact.
Who better to weigh in on what makes for a standout affair than those with a well-trained eye for “I do” details – our Four Seasons Weddings experts. Here, they offer up their tried-and-true advice for creating the celebration you’ve always imagined, whether you’re dreaming up a destination wedding or one closer to home.
1. Take Time for a “First Look”
Carving out a few minutes before the wedding for a “first look” is a great way to connect with your partner and take a breath before your ceremony begins. “The key to creating the perfect first look is keeping it truly private, meaning just the two of you and the photographer,” says Gerald Lim, the Catering Sales and Wedding Manager at Four Seasons Hotel Seattle.
Lim always recommends planning a first look with your photographer beforehand so you can choose just the right location. The first look above was captured at the Hotel’s infinity pool, with views overlooking the Olympic Mountains, the Seattle Great Wheel and Elliott Bay. The best time? “Sunsets are especially gorgeous in the summer in Seattle,” Lim says.
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2. Let Your Ceremony Space Shine
When it comes to enhancing your ceremony space, let the time of day be your guide. The light-filled Aria event space at Four Seasons Hotel Toronto was a glorious sight for this opulent daytime wedding, with towering green and white floral arrangements that accented the airiness of the venue. Having an evening ceremony? Think candles, crystal and wedding flowers that pop.
Speaking of flowers, you don’t have to say goodbye to all that floral after you say “I do.” Lina Marchesano, Senior Catering Sales Manager at the Hotel, recommends making the most of your ceremony décor by repurposing flower arrangements or candles at your reception. “They can be the backdrop on your ceremony stage, then be moved behind your head table,” she says.“Or keep your ceremony stage and backdrop to highlight your cake or your sweet table.”
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3. Work with Your Baker to Create a Cake That’s Uniquely You
A classic ballroom like the one at the manorial Four Seasons Hotel Hampshire is the perfect setting to experiment with a twist on the traditional, especially where guests least expect it. “Your cake can be the perfect opportunity to showcase your personality and passions,” says Emma Westacott, Wedding and Events Manager at the Hotel, who loved seeing the vision of bride Paula Rooney (who happens to be an award-winning florist) come to life with cake designer Krishanthi Armitt. Using bold colours and cascading flowers, the pair collaborated to create a statement piece that was one of the biggest highlights of the wedding. “Paula’s love of floristry is evident from the use of her favourite flowers on her cake,” Westacott says.
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4. Don’t Forget the Personal Touches
While elements such as your wedding flowers, décor, and even your entertainment are definitely important, it’s the personal touches that guests will find most memorable. “The best way to personalize a wedding is to come up with unique ideas that reflect the couple’s interests and favourite things,” says Gus Tejeda, Director of Marketing for Four Seasons Hotel Las Vegas. For Kalli and Andy, that definitely included their two Cavalier King Charles spaniels, Bingley and Sherman.
Since the Hotel is pet-friendly, wedding planner Emily Reno with Weddings & Events by Emily suggested the dogs serve as ring bearers. “Bingley and Sherman sat with the couple as they got ready for the day and took wedding photos,” Tejeda says. “They even wore tuxedos and mini boutonnières.” After the ceremony, during dinner in the Acacia Ballroom, the pups went with a private dog sitter so Mom and Dad could enjoy the reception.
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5. Capture the (Whole) Moment
Your wedding photos should be a pleasure to look at for a lifetime. Besides choosing a photographer whom you trust, it’s important to make sure that person knows how to take advantage of the destination – particularly one as awe-inspiring as Four Seasons Resort Nevis.
The right photographer will help you explore and highlight your surroundings, as Joy Marie Smallwood did for Katie and Jamie’s wedding photos. “Coming from Colorado, Katie and Jamie wanted to connect with the history and nature of their wedding destination,” says Sabrina Shelton, Conference Service Manager for the Resort. “They fell in love with the island from the moment they arrived and were intent on enjoying the entire resort, not just the beautiful beach where their ceremony took place.”
The couple and their photographer ventured out for photo ops throughout the Resort, including the fairway of the second hole on the golf course, with 17th-century sugar mill ruins as the backdrop. “There’s an incredible amount of geographic diversity here on Nevis and a lot of expansive views,” Shelton says. “A wide-angle lens is key to capturing the wonders of this magical island.”
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6. Stop and Smell the Roses
Whether you’re dreaming of a lush garden ceremony filled with peonies or a sophisticated arrangement of calla lilies on your reception tables, your florist can help bring your blooming Pinterest boards to life. Accentuating your venue’s natural setting, as this couple did for their spectacular chuppah in the Wetherly Garden of Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills, can create a gorgeous backdrop.
“Wetherly Garden is an oasis in the city, surrounded by European-style fountains, citrus, and succulents,” says Jennifer Rebello, the Hotel’s Director of Catering. “[The venue] lends itself to a variety of ceremony and floral styles, like contemporary, enchanted garden, traditional romantic, and rustic Napa style,” she says.
Rebello adds that the combination of mature landscaping and the Italian-tiled aisle often stimulates the creativity of florists and couples alike. “It [gives] our floral partners the creative freedom to design unique looks for our brides’ and grooms’ dream weddings.”