August 31, 2011
Being a wedding professional, it's easy for me to wonder why people don't know this already. I tend to forget that not everyone in the world goes to 10-15 weddings a year. So I decided it might be a good idea to share some knowledge with friends, family, clients, whomever, about why it is SOOOO important to make sure you don't rush your wedding photographer on the big day!
From experience at over 40 different weddings (crazy, huh?), I've had my share of different schedules to work with. There are couple who don't mind doing a "first look," which is when the couple sees each other before the ceremony to make sure they have time for photos. There are couples who don't want to see each other before the ceremony as well. I don't mind this at all, especially since when I finally tie the knot, I would prefer to see that big, dopey smile on my almost-husband's face when he sees me coming down the aisle for the first time. But, if you aren't doing your ceremony and reception at the same location, not doing a first look can REALLY limit your time, unless you've already made sure to schedule a good amount of time for photos before the reception.
When I work with couples, whether they want to see each other beforehand or not, I make sure to get the separate groups, groom with groomsmen and bride with bridesmaids, out of the way first. This saves time later when we are really getting down to business to make sure to get to the reception on time.
After the ceremony, there's always your usual family portraits, where it's best to make sure everyone you want in them knows to stick around for a bit once the guests have been dismissed. This saves time in trying to hunt down Aunt Margarent or Grandpa Roger. I've gotten good at simplifying and quickly getting through the family portraits, but it's best to expect it to take at least 20 minutes to half an hour, just to be safe. And remember, if you do a receiving line after your ceremony, this takes up a LOT of time! Be sure to factor that into your scheduling!
It's best to leave AT LEAST 20 to 30 minutes to do the shots of the entire bridal party together, especially if you have a big group. And if you can, try to leave about 30 for just the couple, as they are the reason we are there in the first place. I promise you, if you allow me that amount of time, you will not be disappointed with your photos!
My last two weddings, Charles and Jenna, then Jon and Emily, were great to work with, and even better, they made sure to give me lots of time to get the photos done after the ceremony, even though they weren't seeing each other beforehand. Even better, they didn't mind being a little late for the reception, if that's what it took, although I always try my best to make sure not to make you TOO late. Remember, once you get to the reception (unless you are hoping for some sunset photos later), I will just be floating around, so you won't have to put up with me anymore :-)
Thanks for listening to me on my high horse about scheduling your wedding photos. As I said before, if you leave a little extra time for them, you will be very pleased in the end! It's all for you!
And I can't post without adding a photo... this is the beautiful, Emily, one of my brides who left lots of time for photos. Look for another preview of her and Jon's wedding on the blog tomorrow!