Planning a Wedding is really hard isn't it? More than anything, you want everything to run smoothly, but there are so many elements to factor in! From getting ready, to the flowers arriving on time, to remembering the rings, to the thank you gifts, to deciding the running order of your day. I can remember feeling a bit overwhelmed when I was planning my Wedding, as I couldn't really imagine how the day was going to pan out! Now that I've covered many weddings as a photographer, I love to chat with my couples about the finer details of their day, and offer advice about time estimates. Each Wedding is unique, but they all have their common elements, like getting ready, the ceremony, bridal party photos, family photos, couple photos and reception and party. Those are the basic building blocks, so depending on how rigidly you stick to the common elements will determine how much more or less work you will have to do! My job is to document whatever you have planned in the best possible way, not to tell you what to do!
All of the Wedding professionals involved in your day have seen many, many Weddings, and we're all here to make sure your day runs smoothly from start to finish. Let us help you create a schedule that will allow you to relax, enjoy and soak up all the magical moments on your special day!
1. Getting ready: Photography should start just as the final touches of make-up are being applied, and just before you step into your dress. To maximise your photography time, you don't want the photographer turning up with their camera just as you hop out of bed and head for the shower! It's such a fun time getting ready, the excitement is brimming over and you're surrounded by your bridesmaids! The champagne may be flowing, but don't forget if you are getting married in a different place to where you're getting ready, and you want photo's of you getting into your dress, you probably need to be in your dress AT LEAST an hour before the ceremony!! Photographers need time to get to the ceremony venue, get parked and get ready for your jaw-dropping arrival! Silverbird_2017_00468-250-351Matfen Hall wedding and make up by Emma Ainsley
2. The Details: I like to photograph all the little details about your day in the context that they are for. I might, for example, photograph your vintage head-piece while it's in your hair. Documentary photography is about putting all of your hard work into context. You could organise all the details you want to be photographed the night before, your dress, veil, shoes, jewellery, perfume, hair accessories, so they're all in one place. I can then get to work quickly and make sure everything is captured for you!
3. Ceremony: Decide what time you want your ceremony, this is your anchor for the day, and everything else can be built around that. It's important to think about what time of year you're getting married. For example, a 2pm ceremony in August leaves plenty of time for photos after the ceremony as theres lots of daylight at that time of year, whereas a 2pm ceremony in December, which would finish at 3pm, leaves a tiny window of about half an hour of daylight before the sun sets to take some photos. Don't get me wrong, a winter sun set can make an awesome photo, but be mindful of the kind of look you want your wedding photos to have. If you want bright colourful daylight photos then a summer wedding or an earlier ceremony time in winter will probably suit you better, or likewise, a cosy candle lit winter wedding is equally as magical, just don't expect the bright airy look to your photos!
It's also worth considering allowing extra time if your ceremony (Church or Registry Office), is at a different venue to your reception, how much time will it take you to travel between the two? After the ceremony you will want to meet your guests and they will want to throw confetti as well, so you won't want to rush off too quickly! It has been known that brides and grooms just totally forget to factor travel times into their day!
sparklers winter wedding1sparklers at a winter wedding at Middleton Lodge 4. Confetti: If you're wanting to throw confetti, brief your ushers and Best man the day before. It really helps if they can hand out the confetti and rally your guests into a tunnel for you to walk through! Remember that some venues ask that confetti is only thrown outside their grounds. As far as confetti goes, the bigger the pieces the better! Confetti cannons, YES PLEASE!
5. Group photos: To maximise the time you spend having fun with your guests and enjoying a cocktail or two, keep the group photo's to a minimum. A lot of couples underestimate the time it takes to round everybody up. Keep things simple and stress free! Consider if there are small children, when they won't be too tired to smile for the camera. Likewise, if you have Granny and Grampa who won't be staying all day, just let me know and we can get that covered. It's also a good idea to have a few ushers to rally everyone together, and brief people beforehand so that they know when they need to be around for a photo...there's always an Uncle Bill who vanishes right when you need him! A lot of couples choose to only include six to eight group photos, only including parents, siblings, grandparents and the Bridal Party. This should only take half an hour so that leaves you to get back to the party, and then I can get on with capturing your guests having fun!
6. Couple time: This is the time when I like to whisk the two of you away for some quiet time alone. It's a chance to take a breather from the whirlwind of emotions you've been feeling up to now. It's probably the only time the two of you will be alone during the whole day, so it's a chance for me to photograph you as a couple and as newlyweds. I only need about half an hour to do this, so that you guys can...guess what?....get back to the party!!
7. Receiving line: Add half an hour or more...they take AGES!
8. Don't forget to allow a time to relax and enjoy the day. A lot of schedules run a bit late, after all, who wants to be clock-watching on a day like this!? But if you allow a buffer for delays, there's no need to worry! Just go with the flow!! I won't be stressing if things are running late, so neither should you! The day really will fly by, so remember to take time out to be present in the moment.
I hope this helps paint a picture in your mind of how you want your day to flow. It's really important to me that couples feel relaxed and deliriously happy on their Wedding day, from getting ready to the final dance. A carefully planned schedule can really help take the stress out of the day, leaving you to enjoy all the amazing things that will happen! I listen carefully to every couple I photograph and tailor a perfect experience that will suit just them, so I can capture all the laughter, tears, and crazy dancing!! I'm always on hand to answer any of your burning questions!