While most of us have been in a bridal party or have at least attended a wedding, it can be a daunting task when it’s your turn to make a successful wedding day happen. After eight years as a wedding photographer, I have seen many weddings of all shapes and sizes. I always ask couples a lot of questions about their wedding day even though hiring me is one of the first things they usually do and they might not have the answers. I hope to give them food for thought and offer suggestions on what I’ve seen work. This is a list I have compiled of some (hopefully) helpful suggestions for the couple who might be feeling like they need some direction:
· Do consider where you're going to get ready. Are those shots important to you? Do you want a beautiful shot of your dress before you're in it? Do you want the pictures of you and your bridesmaids to be picturesque? I have found that this matters to some brides and not others. If this is important to you, consider the location you're going to get ready at. A hotel or a bridal room at your wedding location is likely going to have a better setting for taking lovely preparation shots than someone's home, which offers a less expensive and more convenient space for getting ready. When I show up to where the bride is getting ready, I usually try to find a place to hang the dress and grab detail shots of shoes, jewelry, bridesmaids enjoying the time together, etc. When the bride is near being ready, I will take artistic pictures of her hair being done and applying last touches of makeup, maybe a reflection in a mirror or drinking champagne, and of course getting into her dress. Shots like this can be heavily affected by the setting.
· Do consider if the groom and groomsmen getting ready shots are important to you. When the bride and groom are in locations far from one another, having a second shooter can make this very simple, rather than the photographer having to get to both places. When the locations are close together or in the same venue, I am usually able to cover both.
· Do consider the number of hours getting ready photos will occupy of the photographer's time. This is why I encourage couples to book the all-day wedding package because I have seen a lot of stress take place in trying to accomplish a full day of wedding photography with a package that has limited hours.
· Do leave more of a time cushion than you think necessary. Very few weddings start on time and there's a million factors that can cause this. I've seen prep take longer than expected, flowers not arrive promptly, guests getting lost on their way, you name it. It's far better to hang out because you're early than to be so stressed about time that you don't enjoy your day.
· Do consider a first look if you know the space of time between your ceremony and reception will be very short or if you have a very large guest count and want portraits of everyone after the ceremony. A first look can offer a very tender and emotional, more private moment and I promise the reactions make for amazing photos. And by the way, your groom will still be in awe as you walk down the aisle. I understand that some brides are very traditional and don't want their groom to see them until they make their entrance and that's absolutely fine too.
· Do consider the portraits of the bride and groom! So many times, once family portraits and bridal party photos are finished so much time has passed that there is pressure to get to the reception to not keep guests waiting.What happens is you have a bunch of shots of everyone else, and very few of the two people who matter most! And don’t forget to think about where you want these photos taken.
· Do keep family portraits short and sweet... all of the bride's family in a group shot, all of the groom's in a group shot, and a few combinations of immediate family. Make sure to ask everyone to stay close by if you want them in the photos.
· Do get some photos of the bridal party before the wedding (bride with bridesmaids, groom with groomsmen).
· Do have a cocktail hour. The best way to keep the guests from getting too antsy is for finger foods and drinks to be served while they are waiting for photos to finish.
Other things to consider:
· Do consider reception lighting. Some photographers use a lot of off camera flash to light up a reception. To fit my style which is more intimate, moody and romantic, I use flash but not an extensive lighting set up.If your reception is going to be very dim (think candle light, high ceilings or an outdoor nighttime reception), be sure to communicate this to your photographer so they can be prepared.
· Do consider a second shooter. Your main photographer can only be one place a time so a second shooter will capture different angles and more photos.Also, if something unexpected happened to your photographer (God forbid), you are still guaranteed to have someone who knows your day and wishes there.
Hopefully that gives some direction on common questions regarding planning your big day.
To learn more about Lindsey Romo photography, click here.