The number one sentiment that brides communicate to me is that they wish they would have had a better idea of what a wedding day is actually like, rather than what they imagined it would be like. Some things can only be realized through experiencing them. However, there are many tips, realities, ideas and nuggets of wisdom that I’d like to attempt to pass on. Keep in mind one of the best sources for wedding day wisdom is from those that are involved and at weddings on a weekly basis (i.e. photographers!).
One of the best things you can do for your self as well as your wedding photography is to develop a realistic schedule that allows for plenty of time for your wedding photography and keeps you from being rushed and pressured.
Plan for it to take at least 1-2 hours longer to get ready than expected. Getting ready is the key to the whole day. If the getting ready is delayed it will almost certainly keep the photography from getting started on time and thus push everything else back. Ninety percent off all weddings I’ve seen – the bride is late in getting ready. Now don’t worry if this happens, it’s not the end of the world and I’ve learned to make due and compensate for whatever happens. However, it is not the most ideal situation and can be taxing on everyone and should be avoided if possible.
Usually when I share this fact with most brides they tend to think “oh – not me – I’m going to be on time – my hair and make up will take this long, plus so many minutes to put my dress on and bingo – I’ll be ready!” However, week after week after week I see one thing after the next that throws of the bride’s wedding day schedule. Wedding after wedding brides tell me: “Trent you were right! I wish I would have listened.” Keep in my that I do this a good number of weekends out of the year : )
Here are typical things that tend to happen and will cause all that extra time you thought you had to evaporate like mist on a hot day. Usually it is a combination of many of these factors.
A. The make up/hair person is late, you are late to getting to the salon, or it takes more time than expected
B. The bridesmaids are late
C. There are 5-10 girls but only one bathroom
D. People are calling for directions to the venue
E. Things get lost.
F. Things have been left in the car or back at house, etc. and must be retrieved
G. Family members are late, lost or missing
H. Nails break, a button comes off, hair and make up need to be touched up.
I. The dress doesn’t fit quite right or takes longer to strap up, etc.
J. Something smears on the dress
K. People keep interrupting you while you get ready or during the photography
L. The flowers are late
M. Cell phones keep ringing and people need to talk to you
N. Your parents, the venue and/or wedding coordinator, the minister need to talk to you delaying things
O. Someone gets locked out of their car
P. The list goes on…
I don’t mean to sound pessimistic but I have seen many things in my career as a wedding photographer. The reality is that the above listed occurrences are not rare- and do happen to the even the best planners. In fact, I would say they are common occurrences. The only real solution for these things, besides diligent planning, is to allow for extra time by which the almost inevitable occurrence of such things will not throw the schedule off.
Here are things you can do that will help your timeline.
1. Work together with your photographer to develop a timeline
2. Start getting ready earlier than planned.
3. Get as many things done – the night before the wedding
3. Don’t have all your bridesmaids getting ready in the same room.
4. Make sure key decisions on all the details of the wedding day have been made ahead of time.
5. Only accept phone calls from ultra key people.
6. Make sure you have your flowers delivered before your wedding photography is scheduled to start. Your flowers can survive being out of water an extra hour or two.
7. Make sure that it is understood that the groom and groomsmen need to have their ties, shoes, suspenders, hats and boutonnieres on before the photography begins. Also understand that it takes a bit of skill to put boutonnieres and bow ties on.
Don’t go drinking the night before your wedding. Additionally, if possible have everyone ditch their drinks before the group photography gets started, unless they are going to be used in a particular shot.
Consider asking guests to not bring or use cameras during the ceremony. Almost every wedding good intentioned guests end up getting in the way or getting in the shots. Imagine how much better the shots of the Bride and her Father coming down the aisle look with out 10-20 guests leaning in with a sea of point and shoot cameras!
Consider making an announcement for guests to stay seated during the ceremony rather than stand in the back where they wrongly assume they will not be in the way or in any shots.
If you hire a professional videographer – put him or her in touch with the photographer so that they can work together for the best possible results. If you are having friend video your wedding make sure they don’t set up or position themselves in a spot where they will end up in some of what would be your most favorite photographs. Most importantly, make sure they don’t set up a tripod directly down the center aisle.
Make sure all the vendors you hire have the attitude of serving you and putting your needs, desires and preferences first.
More to come soon….