Pre ceremony tips:
1. Details, details, and more details! The first part of the day I love to work on details, the dress, invitation, rings, shoes, flowers etc. I love to concentrate on all the little things that make your day uniquely you. Before I arrive make sure to put all the details together in one area so I can begin efficiently working on them.
2. Ask your florist to deliver your flowers to the pre-cermony location and by the time I arrive I can shoot the flowers with your other details. We will also need the flowers for any pre-cermony portraits with family and bridesmaids as well as bridal portraits.
3. If at all possible have a nice hanger ready for images of your dress by its self. Dresses don’t photograph well with plastic hangers and tissue paper sticking out of the bodice.
4. Please ask your ladies to keep the room as tidy as possible, you don’t need to see bags and random lingerie thrown across the floor or bed in your finished images.
5. Groomsmen should be dressed in their pants and shirts by the time I arrive to photograph the guys getting ready portion of the day. Cufflinks, ties, shoes and jackets should be left off, I’ll capture those details separately and catch them putting on the finishing touches.
6. Walking down the aisle can be a little nerve-racking for bridal party members, ladies have a tendency to raise their bouquets up high almost in front of their chest, hiding their faces. It’s best to keep the bouquet at belly-button level and pointed slightly out. Also walking booking it down the aisle, it can be hard to capture images of each couple, so ask you bridal party members to take it slow and steady, remember it’s not a race to the finish line! Look forward and smile!
7. On the way out of the church (the recessional) after the ceremony, once again it works best if bridal party members walk at a smooth steady pace and don’t pile up on each other trying to make it back down the aisle. Allow enough spacing between each couple even as they exit.
8. Well before the wedding day, and especially at the rehearsal, let family members know their presence is required after the ceremony for family formals. By keeping everyone on track and in the same place (no wandering off after the ceremony!) we’ll be able to accomplish family formals in a timely manner.
9. Rule of thumb is to allow approximately 3-4 minutes per family set up, typically family formals take 20-30 minutes for small to medium sized families and sometimes up to 40 minutes for larger families. The more group combinations and extended family you would like in your formals, the longer it will take.
Bridal Party, Bride & Groom Portraits
10. If possible and especially if your ceremony and reception are in the same location, try to schedule a first look where you and your future soon-to-be spouse see each other for the first time. Not only does it ease tension, but as a photographer it’s easier to photograph raw emotion when it’s just the two of you. Scheduling about 30 minutes after a first look for just couples portraits is also ideal, we’re able to work together at a smooth pace and capture genuine snuggles, cuddles and kisses, without the bridal party cheering you on in the background. It creates more of an intimate experience for the two of you.
11. If a 1st look isn’t an option, try to allow adequate time between the ceremony and reception for portraits. Keep in mind just family formals can take anywhere from 20-40 minutes, then ideally a half hour just the two of you, and allow about 30-45 minutes to work with the bridal party. It’s really difficult to try and fit time for beautiful, un-rushed, and creative images all into your cocktail hour.
12. Speaking of cocktail hour, it’s best for your photographer to have a good 20-30 minutes in the reception space prior to your guests entering to properly capture all the details that were so well thought out, the centerpieces, cake and desserts, table arrangements, room shots, seating cards. Having enough time in the space will allow wonderful images of the gorgeous reception space.
I hope this helps with a bit of photographer insight into helping your wedding day run smoothly! If you have any questions regarding time line (or really any questions at all!) please don’t hesitate to reach out to me at any time, I’m more than happy to help. Remember to relax, smile and enjoy every moment of the day!