The big day is finally here! After weeks and months of planning, it’s time! On your wedding day, I will arrive at the pre-agreed start time. Typically this is some time around noon and I start with either the guys or girls getting ready. For the girls, after meeting everyone, I start by taking detail shots. In the bridal guide, I suggest having all of your details gathered in one spot so I don’t bug you or anyone else to go find them when you’re trying to get ready. “Details” can include shoes, garter, jewelry, flowers, your invitation suite, the rings, perfume bottle, etc. I take candid shots of you and your girls getting ready, whether that’s hair and makeup at the house, fixing a manicure, having some lunch, etc. No one needs to look at me – you all just do you thing and don’t worry about me! I will definitely chat with your bridesmaids a little to get to know them a bit better before formal pictures later, but mostly I try to stay in the background.
I suggest having your bridesmaids get dressed before you do, so they are all ready and can give you their undivided attention! Also, the photos look great when you’re all in your dresses together. 🙂 Save your shoes and jewelry for last, too. The best place to get your dress on is a room with lots of natural light, so this means windows! Or, at least one big one. If you want to step into your dress in another room and then have your mom or bridesmaids do up the buttons in the best light, that’s fine too! I don’t start taking pictures until your dress is up. As far as directing you goes, I’ll face you towards the light and then step back and just shoot while you and your girls do your thing! This is such a fun part of the day for you!
At the ceremony, I will take candid photos of guests arriving and mingling, as well as decor details. When it’s time to start, I start out kneeling at the front of the aisle to capture the groom and his parents, the groomsmen, and the bridesmaids making their way up the aisle. I stay there to catch you walking down the aisle with your dad, or whoever you have accompanying you, turning back to get shots of the groom’s face as he sees you coming! During the rest of the ceremony I will move around as quietly as possible to capture shots of you two exchanging vows and rings, the final kiss, signatures, and your walk back down the aisle as husband and wife!
These two had a beach ceremony planned and in true Waterton style, they couldn’t keep the chairs up! So they had to resort to a last-minute backup location.
Most of my brides choose to have family photos done immediately after the ceremony. In the morning before the ceremony is also an option. On your final details questionnaire, I give you a standard list of family shots, to which you can add any additional shots you would like. I bring this list with me to make sure I check them all off! We move as quickly as we can to get your family back to where they want to be – enjoying the day! I will often enlist the help of one of your relative to help me identify people on my list that I haven’t met yet so I can find them quickly. This is a part of the day where I don’t try to blend into the background – so you’ll hear me speak up and direct people! This is a fun time for me to see who makes up your family and I love meeting them!
For bridal parties I recommend a half an hour. I take shots of the whole group, just the girls, just the guys, each bridesmaid with the bride individually, each groomsmen with the groom individually, and if you would like it, the groomsmen with the bride and the bridesmaids with the groom. Again we try to work quickly and keep it fun! No one wants to be bored taking pictures for hours on their friends’ wedding day. 🙂 I will tell each person where to stand and how to stand so they aren’t left feeling awkward and unsure.
For this portrait time of just the two of you, I recommend sending your bridal party back to the limo or off to cocktail hour to just get some time alone. For both of you, it can be a little disconcerting to have an audience, and since you haven’t been alone together all day, this can be a great time to really soak in what it’s really about – you guys! I find the best photo results when it’s just the bride and groom, and I think it’s because your focus is on each other without distractions (other than me! ;)). You’ve already gotten to know me better through your engagement session, and have a good idea of what it’s like to have me direct you and be in front of my camera, so we get right to shooting! I recommend a minimum of 1 hour for the bride and groom. If we travel to more than one location, then we’d add in that travel time, too. Once again, I tell you where/how to stand/move and give you prompts of things to do or say!
Back at your reception, I’ll capture your grand entrance as the new Mr. and Mrs.! Usually we build in some time in the timeline for me to arrive ahead of you and get lighting equipment set up (it’s much darker at your reception than outdoors and we’ll need to catch those dance moves! :)), and capture some detail and decor shots. If I don’t have time before, I’ll get those shots during the reception. Centerpieces, guestbook displays, seating cards, head table decor, etc. Before dinner I capture candid shots of guests mingling and visiting. During dinner, I will sit down and take a break from shooting. Either I’ll eat the provided vendor meal or drive to another location to find some dinner! Once people are finishing up eating, I’ll capture more candids of visiting guests, then the speeches and toasts and reactions to those, the first dance, other dances, bouquet toss, and cake cutting! Your package includes a certain number of hours, and the clock starts when I start in the morning. When it’s time for me to go at the end of the night, I will find you and hug you goodbye and be sad to leave. Congratulations! You’re married! 🙂