Once you have booked me to photograph your wedding, there isn’t much you need to do until the day itself arrives. I’m a bit of an over-organised weirdo when it comes to the weddings I shoot, so you know you’re in safe hands. However around the 2-3 month mark before your wedding there are just three things I like my couples to organise and check before the wedding day
By now we’ve had your engagement shoot (if it was included in your package) and you’ve seen the images from our time together. Hopefully you’re feeling mega confident about your wedding photographs now and nerves in front of the lens is just a thing of the past. So next up on the agenda is getting a few finer details sorted ahead of the day so that you and I can both relax in the lead up knowing we have everything 100% organised. (theres that word again!)
Complete A wedding Day Checklist
I usually like to receive your wedding day checklist back at least three weeks before your wedding. This document is really important as it lets me know all the addresses, timings and group shot combinations for your wedding and without it I would be very lost! As soon as you know your timings fill this in, and get it back to me. I know working out timings can be really confusing, so lucky for you, I wrote a blog post all about it which you can read here: (A Rough Guide To Wedding Day Timings). Once you’ve read that and have a better idea of how to plan your day take a look at this post here: (How To Write A Wedding Day Timeline).
Although timelines seem a little OCD and bridezilla like, without them no one really has a clue what is happening! Passing your wedding day schedule around to your wedding party, and letting everyone who will be involved in group photos know ahead of time will save you lots of headaches on the day. It’s also really important so that you are aware of how much time we will have to realistically capture all of the goings on of the wedding too. Planning in advance means that I can sometimes make suggestions to better use time in order to really utilise the light for your photos.
Around the time of reminding you about your wedding day checklist I’ll also encourage you to check the rules around your wedding ceremony.
Check The Rules Regarding Photography
In most cases flash is prohibited throughout. This is absolutely fine, and I do prefer to photograph ceremonies without it as its less distracting. The only time that this would be a problem is if the venue is unusually dark (like castles!) and so I would probably want to chat to your wedding officiant myself to see if there were anything I could do to help alleviate that. Civil ceremonies are generally much more relaxed but if you are getting married in church I really do urge you to check with your vicar/priest way ahead of the wedding to avoid any disappointment.
I’ve had some weddings with really lovely vicars who would let me do anything. Some haven’t been as friendly. One told me to stop taking pictures during the first hymn as my camera click was too loud, even though she had previously said taking photos was allowed. Others wont allow any photography during the ceremony at all. It’s important you check these rules as I wont argue with them, I will do as I’m told! The last thing I want is for you to arrive at the top of the aisle look around for me and realise I’m not there because I’ve been told not to take pictures.
During the ceremony I will stay in one spot, I do not move around at all as I do not want to distract you or your guests from the service. If allowed I like to stand at the front to your right, to capture your reactions throughout the ceremony, if in attendance my second shooter will always be at the back photographing down the aisle. checking where we are allowed to stand is always great too, again some weddings I’ve been to I’ve been told its fine to stand in my preferred spot but at others I’ve been positioned in some really awkward spots (behind pillars! and choirs!) where I just can’t get any decent photos at all.
Whilst you are checking your ceremony rules, have a chat about confetti too. Venues and churches alike do sometimes only allow you to throw confetti in certain areas. With churches its usually outside the gates, so please let your guests know as otherwise I always get the blame!
Consider Going Unplugged
While we are on the subject of ceremonies I’m going to let you know about a new idea called ‘unplugged ceremonies’ you may have heard this term before which means prohibiting your guests from taking photographs during the service. On first hearing this it sounds a bit silly and strict but I just want to let you know about the benefits of it for your professional photographs. These days everyone has a camera, and prime opportunity to use it is always at a wedding. Whilst I’m never going to say to you that I wont allow anyone else to take pictures on your wedding day I do strongly believe that wedding ceremonies should be camera/phone/iPad free. (oh and don’t even get me started on ‘selfie sticks!!’).
When you walk down the aisle the last thing you want is to be intimidated by a sea of cameras, instead you should be welcomed by your friends and families happy smiley faces. If phones and cameras are allowed its most likely that everyone will be viewing this moment through a viewfinder or looking at a screen instead. Chances are too that it will also be immediately uploaded to facebook! Aside from this, often the flashes given off from your guests cameras can ruin the exposure for your professional photographer as you are flooded with light from all directions or even worse LED focussing lights.
Throughout the ceremony those dreaded selfie sticks sometimes pop pout into the aisle which can disrupt the composition of my second shooters images from the end of the aisle. Guests also sometimes start creeping out into the aisle to grab that perfect shot during your vows too. At one wedding I was told off by a vicar for allowing one of ‘my team’ to wander around with a video camera. The video man was not part of my team at all but a relative of the couple!
When it comes to walking down the aisle as husband and wife, again you want to be greeted with smiley happy faces, and not screens, flashes and cameras at every turn. Ask your guests to whoop, cheer and clap instead!
For a bit more insight to unplugged weddings take a look at these articles below;
ooh, and just a little bonus checklist item for you….
This is especially important if you are getting married in church again. Churches are notoriously difficult to find parking for, so ask whoever is in charge about what the best arrangements are. Some churches will offer designated parking spaces, if this is the case, I’d really appreciate one for myself! I usually end up arriving after most of your guests or in the midst of them getting there, but as I’m also having a race with the brides arrival if I have a space I can quickly park in so I can jump out and be in position for the bridal car arriving its really helpful! there is nothing worse that arriving at church in a busy town centre and finding out I need to pay and display or try to parallel park on a busy street (seriously does anyone parallel park willingly?!)
After you’ve checked and considered these three/four things it really is just a matter of waiting for the day itself. I’ll be in touch a few days before just to let you know all is still going to plan and to see if there may have been any changes. But once I have my schedule you can guarantee I’m well on my way!