So, I know what it’s like. You are frantically Google searching for everything wedding related, adding things to lists all over the place, looking at prices of all of these “weddingy” things and thinking “right what do I actually need here?! Surely these aren't all necessary?!" Well, I mean, the fancy cutlery and extra flowers are maybe something you can cut out. These will not live long in the memories of your guests. The photographs from your wedding day, however, will be something you, your family and friends will look at for generations to come and will look back on that special day with a smile on your face. So this is not something to glance over.
I have written this post to include all of the things us as photographers will generally be getting up to during your wedding day. This will hopefully do two main things - highlight the value in having a professional photographer covering your wedding day as well as putting your mind at ease knowing what I will be doing on the day so you are not thinking “where is he?!”. Having said this, all weddings are different and things may happen at different times depending on a number of factors including venue, light, type of service etc. All of these things are simply a guide to an average wedding day.
Depending on how long you have booked your wedding photographer for, they will tend to arrive at Bride prep towards the end of when you are getting ready. We don’t want to put pressure on you by having a camera pointed at you constantly before you have your hair and make-up finished.
For an average wedding day with a ceremony at about 2:30pm, I tend to arrive at Bride prep about 11-11:30am. This gives me enough time to capture some detail shots of the dress, jewellery, shoes, rings and flowers before you get them on. These shots may seem insignificant, however they are a key part of telling the story of your wedding day.
Once I have introduced myself to everyone and made sure everyone is comfortable with me being there, I will move on from the detail and dress shots to shots of the Bride and Bridesmaids having their make-up touched up and hair finished off. I try to do this just as the make-up artist and hair stylists are just finishing up so that I am not interfering too much with them and getting in your way while you are still getting ready. I will capture the moment that you get into your dress and have your Bridesmaids help with those footery buttons at the back.
Us guys tend not to have much to do in terms of getting ready, so Groom prep sessions are normally quite quick and painless and the images may include putting cufflinks in your cuffs, fixing ties, trying to remember how to tie those very confusing kilt shoe laces, etc. All of these moments are often forgotten about or overlooked but as I mentioned before, they really do begin to tell the story of the day.
Once you are just about ready to go, I normally try and ensure we factor some time in for some portraits just before you jump in the car. This is the moment when your hair, make-up, dress, bouquet and everything else looks immaculate as it has just been finished. We can capture some beautiful images of you in your stunning dress before you head off to marry your best friend. This is the time that we can get a few quick portraits of you and your Bridesmaids before the official group shots after the ceremony.
Although a first look is not as popular over this side of the Atlantic with your Groom or Bride to be, the Father of The Bride or whoever might be giving you away may be entering the room to see you in your stunning dress for the first time to take you to the ceremony and there may be (hopefully) tears involved! This is when I can capture the natural and raw emotion of this moment that will help you remember that feeling for the rest of your life. We can then capture some nice photos of the two of you before the ceremony begins.
Now, for the main event. As I prefer to work on my own on a wedding day, this does mean that I will need to move around a lot. I have enough weddings under my belt though to be able to do this in a well-organised, unobtrusive way.
For the most part, I will be positioned down the front of the aisle with you both. I will be looking to capture both of your faces with the emotion and smiles that are made during the ceremony. I will also be looking to capture reactions of members of the wedding party, friends and family who will be seated at this point too. Some ceremonies may include a handfasting or drinking from the quaich ritual and this is something I will discuss with the celebrant/humanist/minister, whoever is leading the ceremony, to ensure I am in the right position to capture that event at the right moment. Towards the end of the ceremony when I feel it is coming close to an end, I will sneak up to the back of the aisle to capture the first kiss and the newly married couple walking back up the aisle hand in hand.
Following the ceremony, something that is becoming very popular is the confetti shot. This is something I love capturing as it is the first thing the newly married couple do, hand in hand, with their closest friends and family. There are always so many smiles I genuinely always smile myself when I look back at these images or when I am sitting editing them.
For something that is over so quickly, it is a bit of a military operation to ensure it is captured effectively and as quickly as possible. Everyone is ready for a drink so the quicker we get this done the better! We will chat more about this on the day.
Once everyone has grabbed a drink, we will work our way through the group shot list that you will have filled out before the wedding day. This group shot list can include any variations you like. Sit down together and decide who would benefit and will treasure an official group shot and write it down so we don’t forget it. I ensure that this part of the day is as efficient as possible so that everyone can get back to their drinks and catching up with friends and family as quickly as possible. To help make this part of the day as efficient as possible I will ask for you to nominate someone, ideally an usher or bridesmaid, to help identify the people who are being photographed and ask that they bring them to the photoshoot location so that we can rattle through them.
Couple Portrait Session
I completely understand that this is the part of the day that you might be dreading as you are not a fan of being in front of the camera. However, I promise that this will just be a fun time with the three of us as we walk around the grounds of your wedding venue. Drink in hand, away from the noise of all of your guests for a short while, we will capture some beautiful moments that you can cherish forever. These photos will make for good thank you cards following your wedding or for your first official social media post as a married couple.
Depending on the time of year, this part of the day may often coincide with sunset which will give us that lovely golden light. If your wedding is in the height of summer then this may be too early for sunset, but don’t worry - I will keep an eye on the light and if it is appropriate to do so later on in the night you might see me appear and say “we need to go now the light is insane!!”
I make a point of ensuring that we are not away for too long. I know how much this day is about bringing both of your families together to catch up, chat about life and to enjoy the moment in real time with. This is why we will disappear for about 30 mins at most. I like to plan in advance so I will have already have either scouted out locations to go to for these images or I will have captured beautiful moments at this location before so will know where the best light and scenery will be.
Dinner Set Up
I will always try to get into the dining room just before the guests so that I can capture images when everything has just been set up and is looking pristine. I like to liaise with the staff at every venue I photograph at so that I know exactly when everything will be set up so that I can get in before everyone else. I will also be in constant communication with the venue to make sure everything is running on time. It’s not just about taking photos for me, it's about the day going smoothly for you both and if I can help with that in any way, I will.
Couple’s Entrance to Dinner
Once all of your guests have found their seats I will make sure that I am in position in the dining room ready to capture the newly married couple making their entrance towards the top table. I will strategically position myself somewhere in the room where I will know you will both be walking towards so that I can capture the best shots possible of that moment.
This part of the evening is the final part before I leave you all to enjoy the food and drink until I see you on the dance floor. This part of the day is very often where there are tears, laughter, smiles, shocked and disgusted faces. There is always so much emotion to capture during the speeches so I always position myself in such a way that I can ensure that I am getting those moments, those funny faces and the smiles not just from the top table but from your guests too.
Your first dance as a married couple is an important one to capture. You will have carefully selected a song that is important to you both and one that means a lot to you. There will be emotion there and I want to capture it from the edge of the dance floor. You might have your first dance and then a dance with your parents or some other family members. Your bridal party might be asked to join you on the dance floor. We will discuss the plans for this part of the evening so that I can position myself to capture the dancing in the best possible way.
Following the first dance I will aim to capture plenty of images of your guests including evening guests who will just have joined us. These tend to be the images you laugh at the most, when the ties have been ditched, there’s shots of jager being passed round and everyone is just absolutely loving life.
Just before I leave you both, I will often try to get a last few images after dark. Images out the front of your venue when it is all lit up, out in the rain with a fancy umbrella, whatever we can find that might make a cool image of the two of you that might even end up being the cover of your album because it is so cool! This is normally just a final few minutes just the three of us. I will thank you for choosing me to be a part of this amazing day, to be trusted to capture your wedding day and to wish you all the best in the future as a married couple.
Being your wedding photographer, for me, is a lot more than just taking your photograph. I want to make this day as perfect as possible. I want it to run smoothly and for you to have the best memories for the rest of your life. This is why I go into so much detail on your wedding day and plan meticulously. Every couple and every wedding day is different so I adapt to each individual couple through getting to know you as well as possible.
Let’s start that process of getting to know each other now and, together, we can make your special day perfect. Download my full brochure below with collections, pricing and how to schedule in a call for a quick chat.