PLANNING YOUR WEDDING DAY - A FEW HELPFUL TIPS
Most people, by definition, are rookies when it comes to planning their wedding day. Timing is super important for a whole bunch of reasons. The better planned you are the less stressed you will be, the more fun you will have, and the more time you will give yourself for those beautiful, messy, emotional, drunken, heartfelt, insert-adjective-here moments that are what it's all about (and your photographer will be stoked). These are the parts I love to capture and giving your photographer time to witness these is essential. So, I've put together a few helpful tips to get the most out of the day, and out of your photographer.
All of these are designed around, to be honest, creating the space and mindset for epic moments to happen, both for their own sake (obviously) and so they can be captured for posterity.
1st hot tip - Plan in as much buffer time throughout the day as you can. This way if something runs late - which it inevitably does - you don't have to worry, your friend who you love to death but is a bit of a stress head won't start reminding you of the time every 10 minutes, and everyone will be much more relaxed. Plus, if nothing runs late you get more time to hang out with your mates / family, or have a few sneaky vinos / beers / gins with your closest before the reception. Win win.
I always insist on meeting couples wherever possible before letting them put down a deposit and you should too (this goes for meeting with photographers, videographers, make up-artists etc etc). This is super important for a few reasons. Firstly, to make sure everyone is on the same page as to what you are after, and secondly, just to make sure you get on with each other on a personal level. Your photographer / videographer in particular is going to be in your immediate vicinity literally almost the entire day, so make sure you are comfortable enough with them to be able to completely relax, both because it's your wedding day and you don't want to be around anyone who's going to stress you out, and because if you can't relax around them it's likely to be reflected in the final product.
Getting Your Kit On
When people think of 'getting ready' photos they typically think of cufflinks getting put on and close up shots of rings. That's not at all what it's about (for me at least). I love capturing the quieter, oft unseen moments that happen this time of day.
Your photographer has hopefully met the two of you before but this is most likely the first time they'll be meeting your family and close friends. Personally, I like to use this time to get to know everyone so they are at ease around me throughout the day, and more importantly to watch and observe everyone interacting so I can get a feel for which relationships are particularly important to you. This way I know who to keep a close eye on later in the day.
Above - I had noticed Tahnee's dad Noel seeming quite nervous himself much of the morning, busying himself amongst all the chaos going on around him. Saying so to Tahnee she mentioned that he was likely get pretty emotional. So, once she was ready to go I cleared the room to take a few quick portraits and then asked someone to go grab Noel to help her walk down the the stairs. The second he walked in, he turned and saw her and was immediately overwhelmed, and they shared a long, unspeaking embrace made all the more poignant for it's silence. This may not have happened had I not had the time to watch and observe everyones mood's and interactions all morning.
I also always suggest to tell your HMU artist that you need to be completely ready at least 45 minutes before you need to walk out the door - that way you have plenty of time to get dressed and ready exactly the way you want to be, and there are inevitably some beautiful scenes as emotions run high between you and your parents / friends when they see you all set to go for the first time. I also love taking just 5 or 10 minutes here for some creative portraits too.
On that note - if you're not going to get ready at your / someone's home, always go airbnb over a hotel. There's generally much more space and beautiful light, and they're often cheaper too.
Keep in mind you'll possibly be running 5 to 15 minutes late to the ceremony venue. Also, if you want to have a confetti exit, make sure to tell the celebrant to remind everyone as you are signing the registry (and to tell everyone to throw it up over your heads and not in your face). I've occasionally seen baskets half full of confetti after a ceremony when people weren't informed.
Immediately after the ceremony, literally every single person at the wedding is going to want to come up and give you a big hug and say congrats - this is actually one of my favourite parts of day but when planning just remember if you have 100+ people this can easily take 20 minutes.
Immediately after the this is also the best time to do any family / group shots you want too. If it's just family on both sides it can normally be done in about 15 minutes, but if you want more specific groups of uni friends, work mates etc etc I always suggest appointing someone (who isn't afraid to be a bit of a hard-ass) as photo captain with a list of the group shots you want that can coddle the appropriate people together so we can work through them quickly and everyone can relax and have a good time afterwards.
This is actually the most flexible part of the day. I've done portrait sessions that last twenty minutes and portrait sessions that last an hour and half, but most fall somewhere in the middle. It all depends on who you want to be there, where you want to go and how important to you this part of the day is.
As a general rule the later in the day this is the better. I'm all about authenticity over aesthetics, but that sadly doesn't change the fact that good light can make or break a photo. As such the best time of this is golden hour, the hour or so before the sun sets, which is when the light is typically soft and golden (who'd-a-guessed) and super flattering. Typically in Australian spring / summers sunset occurs during the reception, and I always recommend planning on ducking out for just 10 or 15 minutes right before the sun goes down to capture some of the more dramatic, striking images you simply can't get any other time of day. This can also be a really great opportunity for the two of you to take step outside of the wedding moment and reflect on it all as opposed to be in it, if that makes any sense. Weddings can be such busy days that I regularly see people get to the end wondering where the day went, and it can be really important to take a quiet moment to yourselves reflect on the big, beautiful, hopeful, romantic and all round fucking rad thing you are doing and I always try to facilitate this when we duck off.
Once you get to the reception most of the formalities are done with, and even if dinner service or the canapes are running slightly behind time by now everyones chatting, having a few drinks and generally having a grand ol' time.
I love sticking around until after speeches and formalities are done and the dance floor has kicked off. Speeches in particular can get pretty emotional / funny / absurd and are definitely worth capturing.
Above -Dave, during his speech, was overcome with emotion whilst talking about his mum's role in shaping their family and unable to continue. So his brother Michael came to stand beside him, resting one hand on his arm and another on his back until he could gather himself and go on. It was a poignant reminder that weddings are about much more than story of the two people at the centre of it all, and that they can be a catalyst to think about, and publicly acknowledge, a whole range of important relationships that might otherwise go unsaid. He then nailed it and celebrated suitably.
These are all general tips, and won't be applicable to each and every wedding. Have a chat to your photographer about making the best plan for your day, or get in touch with me here.