With more than a decade of experience shooting weddings, you can be sure that we’ve seen almost everything that can happen during the wedding day. From the happiest, most delightful kind of day to the mind-bending stress festival. That said, every wedding is completely unique. But there are a few things you can prepare for that will make your photo experience it’s best.
We’ve collected here for you a few of our time-tested suggestions as you plan your wedding day.
- Create of timeline of the entire wedding day. You’ll probably do this anyway, but a photographer’s view of your timeline might include a few things you’ve overlooked. Estimate how much time you’ll need for travel, for group photos, for getting to the reception. Be savvy about when to pad some extra time and when to simply let things flow. Once you’ve established your timeline, share it with your family, wedding party and other key players.
- Tidy your getting-ready room. Stash the clutter, clothes, food and bags. Open all the curtains, turn off any florescent lights. Unwrap your dress and hang it somewhere out the way where we can find it. It’s also nice if your accessories such as rings, shoes, jewelry or veil are within reach as well.
- Every couple ponders the question of whether to see one another prior to the ceremony. While there’s no exact substitute for that first glimpse down the aisle, some couples find it equally romantic to meet up in private before the wedding. Bonus: now you’re free to schedule group photos at any time that works in your wedding day plan.
- So you’ve decided to do portraits before the wedding. Congratulations, you just got a ticket to your own reception! There are other advantages, too. Your hair and makeup will be fresh and your clothes uncrushed before your ceremony. Plus, you’ll have the benefit of a bit more time, so you’ll likely feel more relaxed.
- Make sure your florist knows where and when you’ll need your personal flowers, especially if you’ve scheduled a portrait session before the ceremony. It’s no fun when your bouquets and boutonnieres are waiting at the church if you and your wedding party are at the park for photos.
- Assembling key groups for portraits is an all-or-nothing proposition. When it comes to a photo of your entire wedding party, it is not going to happen if the best man has gone back to the hotel for his cummerbund. One person’s delay translates into a full stop for certain wedding photos. Also, carve some time in the day for photos with just the two of you, either before your ceremony or after. Although it’s fun to be amidst the whirl of family and friends, a few quiet minutes alone lets us create memorable, emotional images.
- When possible, minimize the number of shooting locations. Zipping up to the park for a few photos seems easy, but consider the logistics of getting your entire family or wedding party there. Who’s driving? Where will they park? Who will take Auntie and her walker? In your mind it can seem easy, but the reality of changing locations eats up time and adds stress.
- Have you noticed that some kissing photos are wonderful and others, well, kind of awkward? It’s often the moments just before or after a kiss that are most photogenic. Here’s the trick: Go slow, keep your eyes closed and hold it a moment. When you go in for the smooch, try not to pucker up too hard. Have fun practicing!
- Try not to fret about getting your dress dirty. Odds are, it will. Odds are, no one will notice. If you’re a complete neatnik, pack a stain stick or fabric wipe in your purse. And if by chance any spot shows up in your images, we can erase it with Photoshop. It will be as though it never happened. We promise.
- Arrive at the church at least a half-hour before the wedding is slated to begin and don’t plan anything for that time. Those last moments before the wedding are prime time for meaningful, emotional images. It’s the perfect time to slow down and soak it all in.
- Consider the best spot for the person giving a toast. Often, it’s right in the center of the dance floor. Don’t let the speaker stand with his back to a wall and nix the podium, please. There is an ideal spot for you, too. You can stand or sit amidst your guests or up front beside the person giving the toast. That way our shots will commemorate not only the speaker, but your reactions as well
- Even if you’re nervous during your first dance, try not to watch your own feet or count your steps out loud. Why? As photographers, we’re waiting for that wonderful moment when you look into each other’s eyes and feel the music and the love. That’s the photo you’ll cherish forever.