Honest Wedding Advice From a Wedding Photographer
Rather than ease you in, I decided to kick off my newly branded website and blog with some honest wedding advice.
My guidance might be a little blunt but it comes from experience as someone who has spent a lot of time watching people at weddings, seeing what does and doesn’t appear to go down well. I also give this kind of advice on a regular basis to my clients at our pre-wedding meet ups and my honesty always seems to go down well.
1. Be strict with your timings. Your wedding day will fly by so make every moment count with specific timings, this includes too much time taking photos. This is coming from a wedding photographer so you know it is honest advice. I was a guest at a wedding where the couple disappeared for over an hour to take no doubt wonderful, romantic photos, leaving all their guests wondering where the hell they have gone. At the very least, make sure you have something planned so your guests are distracted whilst you takes your couple shots. We were fortunate enough to shoot Jo and Rob’s couple photos in the Sissinghurst Castle Garden so whilst we went off to take their photos, their guest got to explore the gardens.
2. Make sure your guests are entertained and occupied. No offence wedding guests but I know you get bored easily and need a bit of entertaining. It sounds silly but just because your guests have drinks in their hands, doesn’t mean they will automatically start having fun. I have shot weddings where timings have been a little off post-group photos but pre-wedding breakfast and the entire wedding party have just sat around, not quite sure what to do with themselves. Sadly, when you’re hired to take candid shots and everyone is just sitting around drinking, there really isn’t much a photographer can do. There really are only so many shots of people sitting around you can take before guests start feeling awkward.
3. Little surprises go a long way, keep things unexpected and exciting. A wedding I shot a few years back hired a chimney sweep to arrive after the ceremony. I’d heard about this good luck tradition but not seen it in practice. Whilst it was a little bit random, it made for some really funny shots of the couple and their guests posing with a Dick Van Dyke look-a-like. Inventive garden games are a fab idea if your wedding is in the summer, it keeps everyone entertained and makes for some fun photos. The vintage golf buggy in the photo below was a brilliant touch at Charlotte and Garry’s wedding at The Goodwood Hotel Golf Course.
4. Whether you like it or not, kids are often the stars of a wedding. I recently shot a wedding where the bride specifically asked that I make sure there are lots and lots of photos of all the children. The couple have four of their own so it was of the upmost importance that the kids have fun and I capture the little moments that are so easy to miss. Their wedding album is full of happy little faces and I saw after the big day was over why it was so important to them, these photos can’t help but make you smile.
5. Get help and remember to have fun. A wedding is likely to be one of the biggest events you will ever organise and people know that so make sure you ask your nearest and dearest for help. On the day, you should really only be thinking about yourself so assign specific roles to make sure everything runs smoothly. When it comes to the photos, I always ask that there be someone who knows the whole family very well that can help me pick out the right people during group shots. Often this falls to a bridesmaid or an usher, once the group shots are done they can relax, meanwhile you should be relaxed and having fun all day long.
Try seeing your wedding through the eyes of everyone you have chosen to share your day with and remember the good and not so good aspects of weddings you have attended. Strict timings, surprises and remembering to have fun will help everything run smoothly and make for more interesting wedding photos.