Today I want to walk you through what shooting a typical wedding day looks like in my business!
I assure you while there are plenty of smiles and laughs going around during your day, that I totally understand the underlining stress of hoping everything goes smoothly in the back of your mind. While it’s perfectly normal to want everything to be perfect just as planned, I feel like it’s important to remember that Life Happens.
No matter how much planning you put into your event there is always something that’ll likely go off. For instance, at my wedding, my nephew forgot to bring the cake stand, wedding topper, and half the string lights to light up our tent, but don’t worry, he came just before dinner was served and we got it worked out haha! I also ran almost 2 hours late to starting our first look photo shoot because my morning errands didn’t go as fast as planned, the original location was littered with campers, and next location was closed! So I took a deep breath and just let it be, and you know what? It all worked out! I got amazing pictures on the beach and got to the wedding location with a little over an hour to spare so I could help set up, take a breather, and breastfeed my little girl.
So I hope this blog can help to relax your nerves as I can let you know what you can do to help me and what your timeline for your special day may look like coming from me. They’re also going to have their suggested duration times to help you be able to plan your day accordingly.
Getting Ready – 1 hour (To shoot)
I know getting ready for hours, but I usually want to arrive maybe only a hour before you are finished getting ready. You are probably getting your hair and make-up done while chatting with your gals. This is where you can help me by preparing all your special objects that you want detail images of in a pile. Things like the rings, your shoes, your jewelry, and that beautiful dress that might’ve made you cry when you finally found it. Don’t forget your bouquet, and something borrowed, something new, something blue!
So while you get your hair and make up done, I will take detailed images of all these objects and then come to you as you get your dress on. I love taking images of your lady of choice zipping or tightening up that corset, capturing that look when everyone sees you in that dress, and the moments when you are putting on your shoes and your jewelry.
After all the details, I will take some candid’s of you with all the special women in your life, cause I imagine they are likely all in that room with you, and then do some shots of just you in all your beauty.
I will often leave you for a bit and take a few pictures of your man while he fixes his tie or bow tie and take some pictures of him with his best buddies in his life.
The First Look – 45 mins-1 hr (Option 1)
This is an event that is quickly catching on and I hope you consider it too! Gone are the days of “It’s bad luck to see your bride before the wedding” and enter a special time where just the two of you get to spend just in awe and in love with each other.
I’ll admit, I only got to shoot one of these for the first time recently and it has quickly become one of my most favorite things to do. This is the time for the First Look part of your wedding day.
We will set up your handsome man in a location of choice where he can either be blindfolded, or simply just facing away from you. Next we bring you into the picture and we do a few pictures of your approach. Then on the count of three he will turn around or take off the blindfold to see you in that beautiful dress.
I will be capturing the moment of awe. Just when he thought you couldn’t get more beautiful, you surprise him. I remember during my first look how this moment just seemed to make it so much more real. I realized that I couldn’t believe I was going to be marrying the handsome man in front of me in a couple hours and I’m sure you’ll feel the same!
I give you guys a few moments to talk and hug with each other, though don’t be surprised if I’m running around taking pictures of this as well. Then we will do a quiet session of photos with you two together. Remember your engagement shoot? It’ll be likely to that but now you are in a white dress looking so perfect and your man is looking so very handsome! Sounds great right?!
Your Wedding Party/Family Shoot- 30 mins-1 hour
Usually right after the first look, it leads into the wedding party. We will start having the special people in your life join you and your soon-to-be spouse in a bunch of photos. This is where things get entertaining. Have fun during this time, mess with each other, laugh, lets get creative and create some great memories with these people! You can also have your parents or special family members that you want pictures of together before the chaos and noise of the ceremony and reception happen cause trust me, after this, your night is going to go by very quickly.
After this shoot is usually where there is a pause. Everyone should rehydrate and relax. Maybe even have a small meal or snack. Like I said, things are about to go very fast so take a moment to just soak it in.
The Ceremony 20-40 mins
This is where I highly suggest you look into the pros of having an unplugged wedding. We live in a technological age. We take more pictures in a few minutes then all the history of photography did during the 19th century! Isn’t that insane?! That being said, everyone has cameras, phones and tablets. Now you hired me to take some beautiful photos right? And you invited your friends to enjoy your special day right? Why not have those people put those electronics down and enjoy this celebration of not only two people, but two families coming together. You will get the most of your money for all that you on venue, lights, design, décor, flowers, and all the other things that come with wedding planning if you and your guests are able to enjoy the celebration while I do my job capturing the raw details of everyone present.
By asking them to put their electronics away, it also allows me to move freely without trying to find creative ways to crop peoples phones out or see orange circles on that dress you paid so much money for. It’s a celebration that only lasts the length of a TV show and they don’t need their electronics during that time. Let them be present. Let me get the best images I can get for you.
I will run around taking images of you coming down the aisle, your vows, and I dos. I will watch the crowd for your friends and family to capture the expressions on their face as they are so proud of their girl. And soon you will be walking down the aisle with your husband and we will celebrate!
After Ceremony 45mins-1 hour (Option 2)
In the event that you don’t do a First Look shoot, this is time that I do instead to take pictures of you as a brand new happily wedded couple as long as doing pictures with your wedding party and special family members.
To prepare for this shoot, please ask your special wedding guests to meet at a specific location after the ceremony so that we don’t have to run around trying to find Grandma Susie. It is also helpful to provide me with a list of specific images you want to make sure don’t get forgotten ahead of your wedding day. I do my best to make sure we do all the combinations but there are always family dynamics that I’m not aware of that are extra important and we don’t want to forget those.
At this location we will take shots with those special guests then send them on their way. Next, we will do the couple with the wedding party and get all those fun group shots. Last, we will have some quiet moments together and a mini session of you guys now being the happily married couple before heading to the reception to have some fun!
Reception 2-5 hours
Let us all take a break and eat a meal, or at least try to if not too many people are coming up for hugs or tapping their glasses to make you kiss, not that you mind anyway. Please rehydrate again, get some food on you cause then the fun festivities start! It is customary to provide your photographer with a meal if you are getting more 4 hours of coverage, so please make sure that there is space for me to take a little break as well.
After the meal, you will likely want to do things like tossing the bouquet and the garter, a toast, father-daughter dance, first dance, and the cutting of the cake. No matter what you choose to have here, please make sure you make a schedule to give to your me so I can be aware of the events to take pictures of. In the downtime, I will take pictures of your guests. I will also take pictures of the details of your centerpieces and other decorations for your reception.
If you are not getting full reception coverage, some people try to schedule things within the first hour or two to get the events most important to them photographed.
If you do have me stay for all the events you have planned, some still allow me to head home usually an hour into the dancing portion of the evening as not much changes once an hour of dancing pictures are taken. Going home allows me to get your sneak peeks done a little quicker as well.
Well we did it! We got great coverage of your perfect day! And I hope you found some good tips to help your day go a little more smoothly. Now you job is to dance the evening away, enjoy your friends, family, and of course your spouse! Then just wait patiently for you pictures to arrive!
Until next time!