It's your BIG day. Weeks or months ago you met with venues, caterers, florists, DJs, planners, decorators, stationary designers, your mother, your mother in law, your sisters, cousins, and best friends to make this the most special day of your life (so far!) Now that you've settled the planning and hired your wedding vendors, have you made sure that between all of the crazy events that you've made the most of your wedding timeline so that you can preserve these memories for years to come?
Here's where my experience as a wedding photographer comes in handy. Your wedding photographer is the person who you will spend the most time with on your wedding day (yep, it's true). Whether you've booked a half day just for the formal and family pictures, or you have a full blown team following you from dawn until midnight, you want to make the most of your wedding photography timeline.
Here are a couple of things that I've found helps you capture everything you want to remember about your wedding day:
1. If you have a couple of hundred dollars in the budget ask your photographer about having a second shooter (if you haven't already booked it in your package). Having the second photographer there means that you have twice as many shots of the important events (ie, ceremony, first kiss, speeches), a second angle on the wedding day, and someone who can take candids of your guests while your main photographer is working with you and your bridal party etc. This is seriously my number one tip for capturing your whole day!
2. Ask family to come early to the ceremony to take as many family pictures as you can before the day gets rolling - that way you can spend quality time mingling and chatting with all of your guests after the ceremony and not chasing down extended family members.
3. If you have a tight timeline between the ceremony and the reception, consider doing a 'first look' with your groom before the ceremony and then taking a few romantic pictures with him and some fun ones of the whole bridal party together so that you can reduce panicking about trying to fit everything in after the ceremony.
4. Don't worry too much about your guests during cocktail hour - if they have food, booze, and other people to talk to (or even just one of those three), they won't mind not being 'entertained' for a couple of hours while you get your photos taken. If you're worried about leaving them to fend for themselves, consider providing an optional structured activity (some venues offer tours or tastings) like lawn games, board games, live music, or any sort of themed station.
5. Communicate with your photographer once you've finalized your details - photographers have been to lots of weddings, but since every wedding is different, don't make them try to guess what is unique about it and miss out on something that was important to you. Photographers even need to know about the 'secret surprises' so that they can catch them on film (ahem, I mean pixels), especially if these are reception events, the photographer might need a heads up to move or use different lighting equipment.
6. The best part of the whole process is your day - so once you've got yourself all planned out, enjoy! After all, it's your day. Focus on what is important to you and make it happen (just make sure your photographer is in on it, of course)!