Most of my couples are getting married for the first time so they have no idea where to start when it comes to planning how things run, and when things should happen. As a photographer, my main aim (apart from crerating beautiful images) is to make your day relaxing and enjoyable, and to get the best possible photographs without it intruding on the day.
I’ve also been to quite a few weddings! so I generally know what works, and have created a little guide of tips to make sure you day runs as smoothly as possible.
Aim to be ready 1 hour before you have to leave for the ceremony
1 hour seems like a long time right? However, one thing brides always tell me is that the morning seems to go by slowly…. right until they need to get their dress on and then it all becomes a bit of a manic rush. Instead of aiming to get ready just before you have to leave, why not plan to get ready one hour before (time will get squashed anyway believe me!) and if you are ready a bit earlier it’s a great chance to get some lovely, informal shots of you and your parents, or bridesmaids. One complaint I hear from people about their wedding photography (not mine!) is that they don’t have a shot with just them and their mum, or them and their sister. By doing those kind of shots before the ceremony you don’t have to worry about it after.
Guys, get ready even earlier!
If you have a group of your best friends and family around you as well then it’s good to get these done before I start shooting the bride and her family. If you get ready at the same time as the bride then I cannot be in two places at once (!) and will have to send my assistant to shoot you instead. Not a bad thing, but if you’ve hired me to shoot your wedding it might be important to you that I shoot you and the guys as well.
After the ceremony, get everything formal done as quick as possible.
It really is important to me that you and your guests have lots of time to spend together instead of hanging around in lines waiting to have your photos taken. For that reason I do suggest we keep family formal shots to a minimum (usually around 8 different groupings) and do them immediately after the ceremony. That way nobody has had time to wander off and we can zap through the formals in ten minutes (or less sometimes!). My preferred system is: confetti, big group shot, family shots. This way I have everybody’s attention and people do appreciate getting them done quickly.
Give me time to do some great portraits, and I will give you great portrait shots!
If you’re booking me then I guess you love the couples portrait session as much as you love the documentary shots I do so, for that reason it’s good to schedule in a good amount of time for the portrait session of you and your newly-married partner! I do work quick and efficiently and suggest that half an hour is a good amount of time. Instead of spending that time looking at your watch wondering when you’ll get back to the party – really try to forget about that and concentrate on each other. It can be a really beautiful time, and couples who really engage with that session are going to get the most out of it. Trust me… I’ll have you back in 30 minutes (or more if you want it!) and you’ll have the rest of the whole evening to enjoy your party.