Bride & Groom getting ready. Make sure that the room that you are getting ready in is tidy, uncluttered and has decent light. Ladies particularly, you’ll find that good light is also important for your make-up artist.
Hair & Make up. As you’re fleshing out your wedding-day schedule, ask your hair/makeup artist for an estimated time on how long this process will take, and then add at least 30 minutes as a buffer.
Wedding Details. Have any little details like, full invitation set, other stationery, wedding favors, dresses, suits/ties, shoes, jewellery (rings!), bouquets, accessories ready as I like to start with shooting these things first. There is also the option of mailing me the full invitation and any other paper goods before the wedding. This allows me time to style and shoot these before the wedding day and also allows me an insight to the color/theme/scheme so that I can be prepared before the wedding day with any additional styling props.
Extra fleurs. If possible, please ask your florist to deliver a couple of extra loose flowers that match your bouquet/wedding flowers as it’s a nice thing to use to style your details and tie it all together! This is a nice-to-have and not essential. I can also work without them 🙂
The Dress. A small thing that is overlooked but makes a huge difference in photos is to make sure you use decent looking hangers for the wedding dress and the Groom’s suit as well as uniform hangers for the bridesmaid dresses. You can see an example HERE and if you want something extra special for the wedding dress HERE.
Brides/Bridesmaids: If possible, please try to wear something also presentable even though you are just getting ready, as bright cartoon covered PJ’s usually doesn’t help the flow of an otherwise very pretty day! Pretty robes are great! Otherwise, neutral colours work well ie white, grey, black. Some of my favourite images are during the getting ready and of the bride/bridesmaids in their robes!
Bridal Portraits. Once you are completely ready, allow time (I suggest 15-20mins) in the schedule for bridal portraits and photos with the bridesmaids / bride’s parents.
First Look. If the schedule following the ceremony is tight or you are getting married at a time of the year where the sun sets early, I would suggest doing a First Look before the ceremony. This means you are not stressed about things running over time slightly, not having enough time for the group photos and couple portraits, or even worse, missing out all together.
Unplugged ceremony. What this means is getting someone (ie. officiant or priest) to make an announcement for no cameras during the ceremony only. You can also include it as a note in your programs. You’ve paid good money for photographers and videographers to capture it, and the last thing you want is iphones, ipads, cameras and people stepping into the aisle etc that potentially can get in the way of the beautiful set up that you’ve created. It also means people are completely present and mindful for the ceremony and the announcement can be worded in such a way that having everyone’s full attention during the ceremony is important to you. The number of times I’ve had to battle guests with camera’s stepping into the aisle! I’m in no way requesting that this must happen but it’s just something for you to think about as I find clients often overlook this. Obviously this is a personal preference for you both and I’ll leave that decision to you.
Walking down the aisle. Leave ample space between bridesmaids walking down the aisle. This will ensure that we can get a clear shot of each bridesmaid. This is especially important if the aisle is short. The bride should wait until the last bridesmaid has walked down completely before starting down the aisle. This is the moment the groom will see the bride for the first time and the bride’s moment to shine – there shouldn’t be any obstructions!
First Kiss. Make it memorable. None of this 1 second peck stuff! Hold it for at least 3 seconds…and I mean, why not go for a second kiss too to really seal the deal? 🙂
Group photos. I advise to allocate 2-3mins per group shot. I would also advise for these to be done straight after the ceremony, as everyone is already together and easy to round up. I also suggest appointing a go-to person who knows the relevant people and can help round them up for photos on the day. This ensures that the process is pain-free and efficient!
Couple Shoot. Make sure that when I take you on the couple shoot, that noone else is around. This is a nice time on a very busy day that you both finally get a moment alone together. If you have a big dress to navigate then maybe have one bridesmaid there to help you. I find that if there are any distractions around, it’s much harder to create beautiful imagery showing the love and connection that most of my clients really love.
Church Ceremonies. Please be sure to ask whether photography is allowed and if there are any restrictions. We are happy to work with anything, but it’s important for your own peace of mind to have realistic expectations of what this is in advance. If the church is dark (and often flash is not allowed), this will mean that I may use a lot of black and white imagery.
Outdoor ceremonies. Avoid ceremony times around high noon especially in the summer. Generally, the best time for an outdoor ceremony is 2-3 hours before sunset. The later time ensures the sunlight falls more evenly on the skin (no harsh shadows), and is consistent for both the bride and groom (so you don’t have one person in the light, and the other in shadow).
Indoor/Marquee Receptions. The more lighting you can bring in the better! Fairy lights, candles and chandeliers will add so much to the atmosphere.
Outdoor Receptions. If you’re having a completely open-air reception, under the stars, we recommend adding as much extra lighting as possible, such as strands of twinkle lights and candles in hurricane vases. The extra lighting will help warm up your photos and add a prettier, more dynamic atmosphere. Otherwise, you will have a completely black background requiring extremely harsh flash – unless the reception takes place during the day.
Speeches. Mark a spot on the floor where people who are making a speech should stand. Make sure the background is clear of anything distracting like speakers. As you are listening to speeches or sitting together during the reception – snuggle up and soak in the moments together – this always makes for sweet, candid imagery.
First Dance. Incorporate at least 3 twirls in your first dance. This classic shot is beautiful and much loved.
Embrace the unexpected. Allow your wedding day to simply be what it is. Whether that means inclement weather, forgetting that necklace you wanted to wear, or events running off schedule. Keeping an open mind will allow spontaneity and magic to surprise and delight you, and make your wedding uniquely yours.
And finally….Breathe. Delegate and let your bridal party take care of everything on the day. Make sure you take the time to take a deep breath every now and then, soak in all the moments and enjoy the day!