Love Notes | How to Tell Your Love Story Through The Wedding Details You Choose

wedding rings sit in moss with Wonder Lake , Denali National Park AL in background

How many hours have you spent planning your wedding details? Have you thought about what they are going to look like? How about what story they are trying to tell? Wait!?! Did you even realize that the details you choose can tell your story to your guests?

wedding rings with inside a paper airplane made of a map

This ring shot from a military wedding at Claxton Farm in Asheville, NC also shows the paper airplanes out of travel maps that we showered onto the very well travelled bride and groom when they entered their reception.

Imagine an air force wedding where instead of showering you with petals, people throw paper airplanes at you as come into your reception.  Or how about a culturally diverse wedding where not everyone speaks the same language. How about each RSVP card has a line where each guest requests their favorite song. Then people are not just guests at your wedding, they are active participants and get to claim their song.  now my daddy is very dear to me and he happens to obsessively collect old toys (while dwindling my sister and my inheritance). For my wedding cake topper, I had a Fisher-Price bride and groom toy instead of your bog standard cake topper. It was a little gesture that was both a surprise for him and a serious conversation piece for everyone there. And it still means the world to me.

I call these gestures “Love Notes”, because that’s what they are. You are referencing not just the person you marry but also the people you’ve invited into the biggest day of your life. Scatter details throughout your wedding that are the connections to the people you love. It will create more emotion, magic and a little sense of ownership to each person you involve.

Just a few ideas to set you on your way:

  • Centerpieces don’t have to be flowers. I’ve seen books, photographs, poems, places the couple has travelled together, even photographs with the people who are sitting at that table.
  • Menu Cards printed on maps of treks the couple has taken together.
  • Charger made out of your favorite childhood tree. (Only if the tree is dead!!!)
  • Bits of trivia about the couple/family/ friends scattered throughout the wedding in little frames.
  • Food! What are your favorite foods? Introduce some to your guests.
  • Cake toppers, obviously!
  • And let’s not forget the cake itself!
  • Little things sewn into a dress or on the back of a tie.
  • I’ve even seen custom stick on tattoos for the guest – so awesome!
  • Photobooths with props
  • You get the idea!

The most successful weddings are the ones that truly express the couple’s love story with every little detail reinforcing that story.  As you are planning your wedding, look at your relationship, your history, and the things you’ve done together and for one another.  When you choose your details based on these things, I promise you, the photographs will be spectacular and your wedding will truly be one-of-a-kind.


Wedding Ring and Dragon fly sits on Cypress Knees in unusual wedding photograph

The detail here is the cypress knees and dragon flies that surrounded the wedding venue as well as the bride’s glorious wedding rings.

Bride wears converse high tops and an Atlanta Brave garter at her baseball themed wedding

When your groom is a professional baseball player making his way up to his dream team, The Atlanta Braves, a baseball themed wedding is so wonderful! Converse shoes on everyone in the wedding party, an Atlanta Braves garter… I couldn’t lose!

wedding rings in Natural History Museum Display case with insect specimens

Amanda and Dave married in the Museum of Natural History. So here are their rings in a display about insects. Thrilled to say that this image not only won a Fearless Photographers Award but, more importantly, made my clients ecstatic!

wedding rings sit in moss with Wonder Lake , Denali National Park AL in background

Ring shots are one of the best mediums for encapsulating a couple’s story but it can also be one of the most challenging concepts to achieve at a wedding. Justin and Margaret are hikers and when Justin decided to ask Margaret to marry him, he did it on the frozen tundra at Wonder Lake in Denali National Park. In the run up to the wedding, I knew I wanted to somehow bring their proposal story into the ring shot. Luckily I found a lovely pot of moss, a good shot of the lake on my trusty iphone and some nice light. It’s everything I wanted (other than actually being at the proposal to photograph it!) I love this photo for its sense of place and story line, plus it jus makes me happy.

bride with blue hair holds her dress on the deck of her Oak Island wedding before getting ready

A dress shot is so much better with a beautiful blue haired girl in it, isn’t it? Bravo to Sara for being herself on her wedding day!

Stripped bridal gown on painted backgound

When a wedding photographer gets married, her dress and the photograph have to be equally artistic.

Sharks swim behind tulip centerpieces at Greensboro, NC wedding

The venue, The Greensboro Science center’s Aquarium was one of the most poignant of details of the wedding. The tulip centerpieces with the sharks in the background told a beautiful story of their location and uniqueness as a couple.

prink and purple hydrangea bouquet sits in swamp in beautiful and unusual wedding photograph

The location as well as the beautiful bouquet tell the story of where the bride and groom’s family come from.

bride smoking cigar at wedding

The couple chose a hand rolled cigar bar for their wedding guests because the cigars were one of the groom’s passions.

Wedding caple double exposed onto the cover of The Great Gatsby in dramatic and modern wedding photography

Allison and Matt are avid readers and they had a Great Gatsby feel to their wedding. This a double exposure – 1st exposure was an underexposed shot of the book, 2nd exposure was of the cake with cross lighting from a flash at 1/64 power so it really stood out. I worked really hard to make the shot match my actual vision and it took a while but I am so pleased with it. It’s true to both the couple’s love story and my own vision. Shot info: 90mm at 1/30 sec @ f/5.0, ISO 1600. Lightroom primary edit & then oped in photoshop to strengthen some of crossover details.

Two glasses of red wine suspend a engagement ring between them

Marissa and Brett’s relation began of long talks and glasses of wine.

Wedding cake with the story of the couple written in icing around the cake.

Jenny and Jeff’s love story was written all over their wedding cake – quite literally. Look close at the decoration in the icing!

4 carved comical dogs sit atop a wedding cake

These cake toppers are modeled exactly after the couple’s four dogs.

Wedding cake in the shape of giant cheeseburger

The groom’s surprise cake is in the shape of his favorite food – A cheeseburger! It had everyone at the wedding in tears!

wedding rings trapped between wooden cogs

Brittany grew up deep in the country and her connection to home and family is so strong. When one the trees died on her parent’s property, her father too the time to cut plate chargers for every wedding guest from that tree. For the ring shot, I wanted to include those chargers. I love the organic yet mechanical feel of the cogs as the ring backdrop.

Empty bourbon bottle and shove in the mud

The bride’s family has a tradition of burying a bottle of bourbon and then digging it up the day of the wedding. Everyone had a sip in a mass pass the drink. Epic!


Traci Arney

I am an overly passionate, slightly obsessive fine art photographer who just happened to fall in love with photographing weddings. Recently I was named one of the top 50 wedding photographers in the United States. I love telling stories so I dig pretty deep into your personal story. We have a blast together and you will be blown away by my images, your prints, and your album!

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