After attending hundreds of weddings we know some of the things that can create hiccups during your big day. Wedding photographers get to see every aspect of a wedding. Here are some general tips and advice from a photographer’s perspective to help your day go smoothly. Because, after all, the less time we’re dealing with minor emergencies the more time we have to document your big day.
We prepare all our couples with these tips and more in our planning sessions, but if your not lucky enough to have us as your wedding photographers, here is Halo Photography’s, tongue-in-cheek, top wedding day tips.
Wedding Tip 1: It’s hard being a parent and a bride & groom
Weddings, traditionally, were the start of your family life. These days most couples have kids first and get married second. But a wedding day is still designed around a couple, not a ready-made family. So how do you juggle both? No matter how hard you want the kids to be involved in every aspect, you still want to be glamorous, socialise and of course be part of all the ceremony without having to worry about changing nappies, making sure they have something to eat so they don’t get grouchy but more importantly, keep them safe.
Churches and country halls weren’t built to be kids playgrounds. We’ve seen kids climbing out of windows, get lost on golf courses and playing in ponds. Ask a close friend or family member, that’s not part of the wedding party to look after them. They can help them get ready, make sure they have something to eat and drink and if they need one, have a buggy or a quiet area ready for them. It’s a long day for young children and they will get bored before you even get down the aisle.
We love keeping kids entertained and will happily be the most expensive babysitter you’ve ever paid for but it won’t get you more photos to choose from. So ask someone responsible that isn’t going abandon your little one as soon as the bar opens.
Wedding Tip 2: Getting your house in order
We love bridal prep photos. They really show the effort you put into your wedding day and because we are a male and female team we can cover the lads at the same time. They start the story of your big day perfectly. However, if you’re getting ready at home then don’t do it if you’re getting an extension built. Likewise, if your a total sadist, and have decided to decorate and get married at the same time, why not get ready from a relatives home.
Have a good tidy up. Put away as many toys as you can (including the rude ones) and get rid of the breakfast dishes. Last night’s cans of lager will shatter the fairy tale. Don’t get us wrong… we aren’t snobs. Our homes aren’t “show houses” and we don’t expect yours to be. We just want your images to be clutter free and show you at your best. We can use your garden too so why not cut the grass and pick up the dog poo. You don’t want that in the Bentley, surely.
We know how hard it is to keep a hotel room, with 8 people in it, tidy while they get ready. If your bride is getting ready at the venue, ask if its possible to relocate to the bridal suite after you’ve gotten all the messy stuff done like hair & makeup. It helps get you that perfect “Hello” photoshoot you always dreamt.
Wedding Tip 3: Try things on before the big day
Your wedding day will fly over. Time seems to speed up and you wonder where it’s gone. So it’s worth checking your clothes don’t have faults or if you’re are missing items when you get them delivered, not on your wedding morning. Don’t trust anything. The Groomsmen love to “wing” these sort of things or assume someone else has checked. Handkerchiefs are often missing. Have a full dress rehearsal a couple of days before if you can, so you have time to correct any cock-ups. Removing tags with no scissors is a huge time waste which your in a hotel.
Another big time waster is figuring out how to put things on. You don’t wear a wedding dress every day so make sure you and your bridesmaids know which way your dress fastens. Lads, know how to attach a button hole or tie a cravat. We can help out but think of the moments we are missing while attaching 6 button holes.
Wedding Tip 4: Remember to smile!
It’s your wedding service. Your standing in front of your whole family and closest friends. It’s one of the most important moments of your life. You have to get it right or embarrass yourself in front of your future partner and their family. Your an emotional wreck, probably sleep deprived and definatly a little bit drunk from the night before. With all this… you want me to look like I’m enjoying myself too?? Yes, yes we do!
Wedding Tip 5: Bridal Party Hard!
Your wedding party members have roles, it’s not just a dress up and let’s get
Best Men get the Groom to the service on time and dont lose the rings. Usher help guests find their seats and bridesmaids make sure the bride is fabulous. Then you can have a drink.
Wedding Tip 6: Spread out walking down the aisle
If you have a procession of bridesmaids, flower girls & page boys make sure to let them get out of the aisle before you set off. If they are young they wont have a clue what to do at the end so let the confusion clear. We want a clear shot of your big entrance. The closer everyone is, the harder it is to get that moment. We have very little scope to move and change angles.
Try not to follow your priest or vicar to closely if they insist on leading the way. They love the limelight really and try to hog every photo. One last thing
Wedding Tip 7: Tell your guests to put their phones away
At least during your service. Later in the day, we can normally sidestep Uncle Bob when he dives in front of us while we’re taking a group shot. But if he does it as your walking down the aisle, there’s little we can do.
Wedding Tip 8: Don’t ask for too many groups
It’s easy to get carried away writing your list of formal groups shots. Its a balance, you want to remember your loved ones on your big day but too many will keep you from enjoying a big portion of your wedding. We suggest one with everyone, both sides of the family, immediate family & then friends
Arranging groups takes time than you think, not to mention waiting for Aunt Sally to come back for the lavatory. The longer you organise to have us on your day the more groups we can then get causally as the day develops.
Wedding Tip 9: Remember to add travel time to your schedule
If you’re having a church wedding, remember to add your travel time to the timings of the day. Often the reception will only suggest an hour between the end of church service. If you have a vintage car it will generally take its time and take the scenic route to your venue. We normally recommend at least an hour for some family groups shots and 30 mins for some special bride & groom time.
Wedding Tip 10: Let your parents know about the photo plan you’ve made with us
If your parents are involved with your wedding and especially if they are paying for the photographer, let them know the groups you’d like to have to avoid disagreements while having them taken. Modern families have to deal with divorced parents, new partners and step-families. You might be lucky and everyone gets on together. If they don’t, as an example, you might need to give your estranged parents advanced warning that you want them within a few feet of each other. Communication is the key to avoid angry faces on the day.
Wedding Tip 11: Make your speeches before the meal
We can’t recommend this enough. Get your speeches out of the way so you can enjoy your meal without the apprehension of speaking in front of everyone. It’s easier to do without dinner medals and 3 fewer pints down your neck. While discussing speeches, remember to look up once in a while during your speeches. We can make you a great public speaker if you look up from your notes once or twice and smile.
Wedding Tip 12: The First Dance Shuffle
If you haven’t worked out an impressive dance routine or your bride isn’t up for doing backflips to “Let’s get ready to Rumble!” then you will probably opt for the “slow sway”. If this is the case then add the “turn slowly” to it. This way your photographer can see different angles of you both and still keep flash or DJ lights where they will be the most effective.
Wedding Tip 13: Keep the Magic Hour Free
For a lot of venues, the hour before sunset produces the best light of the day. We will do everything we can to kidnap you during this time because of the creative potential. This isn’t always possible depending on the time of year but the results will be amazing. Sunsets add a new dimension to your photos.
We hope you’ve enjoyed our wedding tips. Please don’t take it too seriously, especially if you want a laid back wedding. And remember, some wedding disasters make the best photos! Love & Hugs – Lisa & Mark @ Halo Photography