Whenever I photograph a wedding I go a long way to help and ensure the day goes smoothly. As a photographer I have a unique insight into the day and understand the processes and emotions that the Bride & Groom have to go through. I know when and what to photograph and where to be at the right time. I know planning a wedding can be hectic, so there are a few things to both prepare for and expect on the day that will make the ‘I dos’ even sweeter…
So many Photographers are brought to tears by formal Group Photos, nerves are frayed and why has that key wedding guest disappeared to their room to get a coat when they are needed? Actually, Group Photos can be fun but they need to be planned. No more than 10 formal group photos after the ceremony and as many impromptu informal group photos as you like later (that way Chef won’t say bad things to me if everyone’s late). I always ask for a list upfront, that way the guesswork is removed on the day. Keep those formal group photos to just the nearest and dearest – your close family. In fact, I always suggest group photos of friends are much better later on when we can really have some fun posing – that’s the evening entertainment sorted!
Here’s a typical formal group list for you to work from:
- Bride & Groom and close family
- Bride & Groom and close family
- Bride & Groom and both sets of close family
- Bride & Groom and Bride’s Parents/Siblings/Grandparents/Aunties/Uncles
- Bride & Groom and Groom’s Parents/Siblings/Grandparents/Aunties/Uncles
- Bride & Groom and Bridesmaid
- Bride & Groom and Groomsmen
- Bride & Groom and Bridesmaid/Groomsmen
Prepare for weather
Wet muddy grass and high heels go together like Prosecco and Baileys (a brown mess). If it’s been raining consider some flats for outside, if you think its going to rain bring some umbrellas too. Touch wood, I’ve never had a complete 9 hour wash out at any wedding (that’s reserved for when I’m at Glastonbury) but it’s always good to come prepared and to keep an eye on weather.
From the loudest voice to the tallest person, nominate and delegate. Ensure that key people know the itinerary, when they need to help and how. Google docs is pretty awesome at sharing your orders! I will of course lead where necessary and always be on hand to help guide your through the wedding journey.
Brief your photographer about special guest requirements
That perfect spot for a large group photos may look amazing, but some guests may have mobility issues, older people especially may not appreciate hanging around in mid-December outside and younger children may simply have their own sweet little ideas on how to entertain themselves on your special day.
Don’t sweat the little things
A wedding should be a perfect day made up of fun and love, and yet things may still go wrong, dresses get stepped on or the wrong wine is served and sometimes the cake may look like the leaning tower of Pisa. At such an emotionally heightened time,its best not to add to your stress and just go with the flow. I’ve never noticed a dirty hem of a dress in any of my shots.
Allow enough time
There always seems so much time when getting ready, and then the Registrar turns up or the car arrives to take you to the church – where does it all go? I always think it is a good idea to nominate someone on the group to keep an eye on the time for you. If you fancy lot’s of portrait work, ensure adequate time is set aside for this, sometimes we can even even do portrait work during one of the Wedding Breakfast courses if time is tight.
Prep the Bridal Prep
Keep the dress, shoes and flowers in one area before the photographer arrives, this way I can capture your important items without disrupting your hair and make-up. If possible keep part of the room clear for photography, alternatively it may be necessary to find a quiet part of the venue to photograph those special details.
Phones & Social Media
Guests should keep social media and phones to a minimum during the formal part of the day. (I know, I’m addicted to mine!) No one wants to see that beautiful kiss captured during the ceremony with a guest’s head stuck behind their iPad. A Registrar or the person responsible for the Church Service will always ask for phones to be switched off and no photography during the service except for me of course! However, bear in mind on some rare occasions certain venues such as Churches will be very strict on the amount of images that even I am allowed to take and request very little movement during the ceremony. Some couples also ask that no photos taken by guests are posted on social media, facebook etc during the day, always something to think about especially if you want to have some control over your wedding images.
Look at me go!
Don’t underestimate mobility when wearing a dress and shoes. A 100 metre stroll to the beautiful lake at your venue may take longer than you think. If possible, perhaps bring flats or even wellies, it is unlikely they will be seen in the portraits and you’ll be able to walk freely around site.
Breathe and take it all in
It’s only one day, take a deep breathe, relax and suck it all in. Weddings can go by in a flash (just as well I’m there to capture it all!).
and have fun! (sorry that’s 11)
Yep, sounds easy, but so many couples get so caught up in the running of the event that they sometimes forget it’s a celebration. Always try and unwind with friends and try and enjoy the day your way.