Timing of the ceremony and the reception
You want to have enough time to enjoy getting ready but also spending time with your family and friends during the reception and to not feel rushed. Easier said than done, as there are only that many hours on the day!! Our main suggestion is to plan ahead and don't leave it to late in the day for the ceremony to happen. 2pm should really be the latest if you want to enjoy and not rush your day especially if you have more than one location to get to on the day. We’ve been privileged enough to be present during 200+ wedding days and one thing we can vouch for is the least complicated logisitcs of the day are, the more fun and great time you have on the day!
It's worth having a think about how big a part of your day you want these to be. Before fixing them we really urge you to read our guide to group photos. This subject has a whole page to itself, please see our suggestions here.
Lighting the venue – uplights, candles, LED’s, fairy lights etc
As photographers we know it is almost ALL ABOUT THE LIGHT! It creates the mood to the day so think what that could be for your day. Think about possibilities like glimmering candle lights (in this case more is always better), led lights, hanging lanterns and always consider safety.
Think about the exisiting light in the venue and what and how to add to it to make it yours and spectacular looking. If the venue is overall dimly lit think about how to layer the additional light: it can come as clusters of candlelights on the tables, led lights placed on window ledges or paper lanterns with a battery light hanging from the ceiling. The possibilities of customisation are endless.
However let’s not underestimate the power of the good old daylight – for example the bride’s preparations always look best in a daylit room. Try to leave the brightest spot in the room clear so that it becomes the place where the pictures of you putting on your wedding dress can be taken.
Also the family photographs usually work better and smoother when we can just step outside..
We only use flash or added light for creative effects so we will not disturb the ceremony and any beautiful light you create at your venue will not be wiped out but will get enchanced. So bring out those lanterns!
These give the opportunity for some other portraits of you two as a couple then in your wedding gear and also allow more freedom – you can run and roll in the grass if you so wish which sometimes might not be encouraged in your wedding dress! During our pre-wedding portraits we can introduce you to the way we can work together on portraits, sharing different tricks and tips. We find that, when it comes to the wedding, there is definitely a different dynamic when a couple have done a pre-wedding shoot - they not only have some images for their invite cards ready but they are also more relaxed and the shoot becomes a bit like a stroll with old friends an oasis of calm among the frenetic activity of the wedding day. For this reason alone, we think they are a great idea.
Another good thing about them is that they can take place in a spot that may have significance for the couple aside from the wedding venue - like a favourite haunt, or perhaps the spot where he proposed.
Guests taking photos
We know some wedding photographers aren't keen on guests taking pictures at the wedding. We, on the contrary, are all for it! Taking photographs is all part of the day, and a way that guests like to join in, and we can totally appreciate that, because we like taking photos too!
There are a few things to bear in mind though. Where guests are spending a lot of their time taking pictures, it can make it difficult for us to incorporate those guests into the pictures we take for you - for example, a picture of the father of the bride seeing his daughter in his wedding dress for the first time doesn't look quite the same if everyone around is jumping around with an SLR rather than just savouring the moment! During ceremonies, it can sometimes look a bit distracting if several of the congregations are holding up phones filming the ceremony - larger tablets like iPads look particularly intrusive when held over everyone's heads! Let your guests just enjoying being in the moment and celebrating with you rather that experiencing the events through the screen or via the viewfinder of their camera.
During group photos, if people are photographing behind us, we tend to find that family members will be looking in several directions at the same time, which can look odd in the photographs afterwards.
Above all, during our portrait shoot, we like to get away from all guests for a quiet time, and this leads to the most relaxed pictures because above all it is the time for YOU TWO as a couple. .
We have worked with quite a lot of different videographers and can if you like make suggestions about ones who have done a good job (which, happily, has been most of them!), and an indication of different styles that are available.
If you don't need comprehensive footage of the whole day and don't need (or want) an extra videography team around to achieve this, a great alternative is that we can help by taking video clips in between our stills and editing this footage into a 2-4 minute highlight video set to music. It's a great way of getting an artistic video impression of the day without the risk of extra camera operators giving the day a less relaxed feel, and is also normally considerably cheaper than getting an additional dedicated videographer(s) in.
If your priority in getting a video is to record mainly the ceremony and reception as opposed to highlights, then we may also be able to help with this. This requires an additional helping hand, and we work with our own in-house videographer, Helen. It is also possible to combine coverage of the ceremony and/or speeches with the highlights video. We do charge a fee for highlight videos and/or ceremony and/or speeches, though generally it works out more economical than using a separate team. If this is of interest, tell us what your priorities are, and we can give you a quote.
Winter weddings can present special challenges - and special opportunities. Some things can take a little longer – for example family group photos if it necessary to set up lighting, or to move guests from one room to another when we are not able to step outside.
Timing is more important than ever with a winter wedding. In certain months it may be dark by 3pm, and if you would like to take advantage of daylight for some natural portraits, there is a lot to be said for considering either having an earlier ceremony, or to do a 'first look' portrait session in the morning well ahead of the ceremony.
Weather of course is also a question - the best thing is to assume it will be cold and wet and windy, and if it isn't that will be a pleasant surprise! Having comfortable warm clothing - perhaps a warm stole to throw over the shoulders, or a warm coat - for taking pictures outside is really important, and makes it possible to stay out a little longer. Again, expect the ground to be damp and possibly muddy, so have some spare shoes handy that you don't care if they get marks on!
We will send you a couple of questionnaires in the run up to the wedding that allow us all to work out what is the best for your wedding day. The first gives us an idea of the day, who is who in your families, the timings of the day (alternatively you can cover this one by sending us a separate schedule provided by the venue), which other suppliers are involved in the wedding, where the preparations are happening (the most fundamental point for us is to make sure that we turn up at the right place at the right time!), and so on. The second questionnaire is about what family group photos you would like (see below).
Apart from that, we like to have a chat with you quite close to the wedding so that everything you tell us, your preferences, how you see the day and so on, is fresh in our minds - and also to make sure that arrangements aren't going to change in the meantime. This chat can either be meeting up in person, which is always nice to do if you're not too busy, or it can be done via Skype. As we'll be popping up throughout your wedding day, it's great to build a rapport beforehand and also for us to get a feel for how you would like us to approach the day, what you would like to happen when, how much time you would like to spend for example on the photo shoot and any preferences about where, amongst many other bits to chat about. It helps us to make sure that our approach to the photography chimes with how you see the day, and that certain events (such as family group photos) are achievable in time without taking over the day.