8 Pieces of Honest Advice from One Bride to Another
By Esther Dawson

17 December 2015

It’s natural to feel nervous in the build-up to your wedding day and, sometimes, the prospect of posing for a 2-hour photoshoot can be more than a little daunting!

Last month Auckland Weddings was involved in a fun, creative, fashion photoshoot with a group of talented wedding vendors. Somehow, I became a model for the shoot and in the process discovered a lot about what it takes to be a bride for a day. This included extreme hunger, clumsiness, and tears (you’ll see what I mean). Read on for gorgeous images, funny stories, and a few pieces of (very) honest advice from one bride to another.

Pose for the Camera!

Armed with 7 dresses, 3 bouquets and a few nerves, we were off to our first photographic location – Mexico! Not the country. The café. With stunning full-wall murals and authentic décor, this was the most unexpected but awesome location for a photoshoot. It wasn’t without a little trepidation that I posed for the first photo. What if I didn’t look good on camera? What if my smile was too big? What if my shoulders were too hunched? And then I thought, “I bet this is what every brides feels before their big day.” Wedding photographers amaze me. They are so directive while still managing to make you feel gorgeous despite the fact that your neck hurts or your eyes are watering. A good photographer should make you feel stunning and confident on camera. Even if you haven’t done this before, remember, they’ve done it a hundred times!

wedding makeup

Makeup & Tears

This one is perhaps not so surprising, but makeup takes waaay longer than you think to apply! And you’ll probably cry. Let’s face it, it’s a gruelling experience. Just kidding – your makeup artist will be one of your closest friends during the morning of your wedding. She’ll ask you questions, listen to your excitement and get you pumped for the day! But if you’re not used to someone applying your eyeliner or mascara (or just have super sensitive eyes like me), chances are you might shed a tear or two. But never fear, tissues are always at the ready! In my case, I shed far more tears than just one or two… but everyone joined in with the laughter, relaxing me even more.

wedding dress

A Clumsy Bride-to-be

I’m generally a clumsy kind of gal, so what happened next was inevitable. We were situated in the gorgeous Parnell Rose Gardens, snapping magical images of a soft, tulle wedding gown beneath the rays of sunlight filtering through the foxgloves and camellia leaves. I was perched on a wooden bench with a plate of colourful cupcakes on my lap. And suddenly, in an accidental gesture of distraction, the plate tipped and every single cupcake fell to the ground! Good one, Esther.

If you’re a clumsy bride-to-be (like me) or you’re concerned that something will go wrong, don’t worry! It’s ok to trip over, it’s ok to spill something on your dress, it’s ok to set fire to the reception table… (depending on your venue’s insurance policy of course). My point is, embrace the funny moments, they could end up being the best parts of your day (and make great photo opportunities)!

fashion photoshoot

Epic Photo Shoot Locations

The best locations for your photo shoot may be hard to access, but they’ll be totally worth it! Trust your photographer – they’ve done this many many times before. We had to traverse a few dirt paths to find this gorgeous nasturtium bank. Then I had to jump into the middle, lie down gently and look as if I had floated onto this bed of flowers oh-so-gracefully. “Yes, just lie there… oh, and try not to look like you’re dying.” Righto. I forgot to mention the bugs. Once those little blighters are caught in the tulle of your dress, there’s no getting rid of them – they’ll be there for dinner, the speeches, and your first dance… Just try not to think about it. 

wedding gown

Changing Dresses

If you’re the kind of bride who’s planning on wearing more than one dress on your special day, you’ll have to think about when and where to make that all-important change. You probably won’t have to make the transition like I did – in the middle of a rose garden with photographer, makeup artist, and passers-by present! Thankfully, I had two lovely assistants to hold one dress above my head and grab the other as we swiftly changed from one tulle creation to the other. Just ask a bridesmaid or two to help you out. And make your second dress reveal a surprise for your guests (and groom), they’ll love it! 

wedding photoshoot

Hunger!

This is a big one! On the way to the secret nasturtium location, our wonderful photographers stopped off at McDonald’s and bought some fries (which were my constant companion for the next hour). Thank God for fries! We’ve all had that thought before, right? There are a few ways to stop yourself going from ‘hungry’ to ‘hangry’! Make sure someone packs you and the bridal party a little (or large!) food basket to stave off those hunger pangs. In all the hustle and bustle of the big day, this could be the first time that you’ve eaten, so make sure there’s more than just wafers and jellybeans in that picnic basket. If all else fails, make a quick stop off on your way to the photo shoot locations. Your photographers might be equally as grateful!

wedding venue

Bathroom Break

However much you look like an angel on your big day, you’re still a human with human needs… such as the bathroom! The problem with being a bride for a day, is that there are no bridesmaids to give you a hand. Do you see this multi-layered, full of tulle dress with a super-long train (above)?! Yep, I could barely get through the bathroom door. If your wedding dress is anything like this gorgeous gown from Calla Bridal, don’t battle it on your own – take a bridesmaid along just in case. This is also a great time to freshen up your makeup with the little kit your makeup artist will have given you. Your bridesmaids should be your mirror – ask them to let you know if your forehead needs a blot or your lips a dab of lipstick.

wedding advice

Final Advice

If there’s one thing I learnt during my day as a bride, it’s this: let go, enjoy the process, and be willing to laugh when things go wrong! Remember, your photographers will be there to help you relax, your bridesmaids to make you laugh, and your partner to hug. Even if you feel nervous, drop the cupcakes, smudge your makeup, change dresses in public, trek through mud for the perfect photo, get super hungry, or can’t fit through the bathroom door, have FUN! All these experiences are part of the most amazing day of your life and will become fantastic memories which you can look back on and laugh about in the years to come. And let’s be honest, you’re sure to be a much more graceful bride than I was!

fashion photoshoot


Wedding vendors often collaborate together during the quiet winter months on fashion shoots to create gorgeous imagery for their social media sites. This is the first such shoot that Auckland Weddings has been involved in and we had the pleasure of working with the talented vendors included below:

Photography – Amber (Perspectives Photo + Cinema) & Zahn Trotter (Auckland Weddings)

DressesCalla Bridal

Hair & MakeupLipstick & Co.

FlowersHansen’s Wholesale Flower Market

Venue Wine Chambers

wedding photography

wedding photoshoot