I have been to a lot of weddings, and a lot of different weddings. I'm sharing the love in the hope that your day will run that little bit smoother and be even more awesome.
Take what you want out of this, but please remember one thing!
Its YOUR wedding! Do it YOUR way!
TIP 1 - HAVE AN UNPLUGGED CEREMONY.
Not only is a sea of phones and iPads (yes it has happened) in your photos pretty undesirable, your guests should be embracing the moment with you and not through a screen. This also eliminates the risk of guests putting any photos on socials before you’ve even had a chance to look at them. And you’ve hired a professional photographer for the day, so there is no benefit to somebody taking a mediocre phone photo from a crap angle.
TIP 2 - TO CAKE OR NOT TO CAKE.
The question is 'Do we do cake???' Cakes are truly amazing, and beautiful and delicious. So why wouldn’t we? Well the chances are we would. But don’t just get a cake because the wedding bible says you must. Or a white dress, or speeches or anything else. ITS YOUR WEDDING - do it your way. Consciously make the decision for traditions.
TIP 3 - DON'T FAKE IT.
Yes we are still on cake. Due to the constraints of photographer’s timelines, couples maybe led into thinking that a fake cutting of the cake is an appropriate thing to do. IT IS NOT! (Sorry I am very opinionated here!) Years ago, the cutting of the wedding cake was to symbolise the bride losing her virginity. Now a days however, it is more to symbolise the longevity and continuity of a relationship. A fake cutting symbolises nothing - and therefore not really worthy of a photograph. If you need to bring the cake cutting forward, bring it forward. But please please please do it for real!! And put some welly into it, preferably whilst gathering your guests to cheer around you.
TIP 4 - COMMUNICATE WITH YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER.
Decide what is really important to you on your wedding day, and make sure you tell your photographer. So that they know what to pay special attention to. If you have spent weeks making all the decorations, it may be detailed shots of the reception. Or it may simply just be the loving relationships in your family on such a joyous occasion. It sounds obvious but it
is important to communicate with your photographer - so that you are on the same page.
TIP 5 - THE GOLDEN HOUR.
If you want those super, romantic, amazing shots, ideally we want to be shooting during ‘The Golden Hour’ which is the hour before the sun goes down. In Australia, conveniently this is often just before the time that a party would begin!! If things are a little out of sync, no problem - us photographers are used to working with what we have available at the time. Sometimes I might whisk my couples off for 5 minutes in between meals, just to capture the last of the light.
TIP 6 - REMEMBER THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS TOO MUCH CONFETTI.
Get your guests to throw it up in the air rather than at your face. This is one of my favourite shots which also doubles up as a great group shot because everybody is in it. Encourage your guests to be on the ball here, and throw at the right time. Getting the celebrant to remind them and that a photograph is also being taken usually helps.
TIP 7 - DO FAMILY PHOTOS.
I will be the first to admit that these are not always the most creative. With so many families scattered around the universe these days - weddings are the one time when they come together. And this needs to be documented. These images are always the ones that are pulled out by future generations down the track.
TIP 8 - WRITE A LIST FOR FAMILY PHOTOS.
Make sure it runs smoothly for example starting with you the couple, and then adding people in. If possible keep it simple but don’t forget family dynamics and the potential bust up if anybody gets forgotten. By doing it this way, we can get a bit of a production line going. . This may seem like a bad choice of words for a wedding, but believe me you want this to go smoothly, otherwise people start looking really cross and bugger off to the toilet. Its really crucial to be EFFICIENT!
TIP 9 - ASSIGN A FAMILY CAPTAIN.
Obviously your photographer won’t know every Tom, Dick & Harry, so this is just another way to help family photos run smoothly and quickly. Assign a captain on each side, to help organise the family photos. A lot of couples choose their bridal party. Ushers as they are know in the UK are supposed to be good at ushering. Also they could probably do with a job and it may stop them getting too drunk too early.
TIP 10 - THE CAKE SITUATION.
If you want the photographer to get a great pic of the cake, situate it in an appropriate position. Let the photographer get on the other side (Often the wall side) so that you can cut it surrounded my guests clapping and cheering. In my opinion this is so much better than a boring wall or reflective window behind. It does mean that the cake may have to be spun around if its to be displayed prior to this and you want the photographer to photograph the front. Small mercies though. Disclaimer - this is just how I like to photograph cakes. I feel that if the bride and groom consider this a key shot in their wedding photos, its important to give it the time and energy that it deserves.
TIP 11 - TELL YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER YOUR PLANNED ROUTE.
Tiny yet mighty (especially if they’re a lot of tables and chairs involved) When you do your grand entrance, make sure you tell your photographer which way you’re going. This way they can get amongst it and capture all the cheering and congratulating without everyone in their way.
TIP 12 - PLAY SOME GODDAMN TUNES.
Dance floors going crazy can create some of the best shots. You can’t please everyone with every song. But you know what you like and what the people who are going to get on that floor first like. Get that party started!!
TIP 13 - PHOTOGRAPHER'S OTHER ROLES.
Don’t be afraid to ask your photographer’s advice on stuff like timelines. The photographer is the one vendor that sees the day from start to finish. And believe me we’ve seen everything. We have a very good idea of what works and what doesn’t and will be able to advise you. Other roles in the past have included driver and tie-tIer Both prior to and on the day - us photographers are a nice breed and are here to help.
TIP 14 - LIGHTING.
Although it's the 21st century, cameras still struggle in very low light. Think about the way you are going to light your reception. Although the more light the better, atmosphere is also a key factor as you certainly don’t want it looking like a canteen. Festoon lights are perfect. The more light there is, the more I can use it so that everything looks natural, and without having to turn on my flash. And whilst we’re on this subject, make sure that the speech readers are also in good light. That way not only can everybody see them but I won’t have to fire my flash every 5 seconds.
TIP 15 - WE'VE GOT THIS.
Don’t worry about the photos. Don’t worry about posing or organising particular ideas for photos (Sometimes it may be worth telling your bridal party this too. DO NOT WORRY ABOUT A THING! The best thing you can do is have a bloody good time. Trust me - the rest will follow. What a lot of people don’t realise is that the bridal portraits are the one time in the day where you can have a moment to actually take in what just happened!!!! EMBRACE IT!!
Check out Victoria's full profile on Southern Forests & Valleys Weddings here;