I decided to write this piece to give advice for couples for their wedding day. This is practical advice that I have built up from experience over the past decade as a wedding photographer.
Bi Ullamh(Be Prepared): The old Scout “Motto” is very important on your wedding day!
If possible try and meet your photographer before your big day to discuss your wedding plans in detail. It is important that you work out how much time you want to spend getting your photos taken. Check out locations with him if he hasn’t covered your area before. I store all the locations for a wedding in my SatNav and this reduces the chances significantly of getting lost on your big day. Make sure you share the Postcode of key locations and don’t mix up the Zeros with the O’s! Have a fine weather plan and a plan B if it is raining. Work out accurate timings for the day with your photographer. If everybody is singing off the same hymn sheet it makes the day run smoothly and will be easier for all involved.
I would also recommend an engagement shoot near the wedding day. This gives couples an opportunity to get used to being photographed together and by themselves before their big day. It builds up trust and confidence with with the photographer as well. These photos are often used for invites and signature pictures for the wedding. You can read more about the advantages of doing an Engagement shoots
on my blog here.
Let your families know when you plan to do the family shots. I normally take them in the church or on the church grounds because it is easier when everybody is in the one spot. Trying to findyour siblings in the hotel bar, toilets or rooms can be a bit of nightmare at times, believe me!
Normally Family shots consist of the following:
Bride and Groom &Bride’s Parents
Bride and Groom, Bride’s Parents & Bride’s Siblings
Bride and Groom, Bride’s Parents, Bride’s Siblings, partners and children.
Bride and Groom, Bride’s Parents & Groom’s Parents
Bride and Groom, Bride’s Parents & Groom’s Parents
Bride and Groom & Groom’s Parents
Bride and Groom , Groom’s Parents and Groom’s Siblings
Bride and Groom , Groom’s Parents, Groom’s Siblings, Partners and Children.
If there is Grandparents you would normally include them in the family photos. You generally don’t include the extended family(Aunts and Uncles, cousins etc) due to time constraints but most photographers will include them if asked. They do add a bit of time to the group shots.
I would recommend ordering one or two extra flowers for the wedding party. I have seen the flowers break when being put on the suits the morning of the wedding! Also the pins for the flowers should not be more than a inch and half long. I have seen some over two inches long and they cause a big problem if the groom is wearing a suit with a narrow lapel. I would also recommend the magnetic flower Catch(instead of pins) for the mothers of the bride and groom. Sometimes you may have to use both or do without (or she can wear something on her wrist) depending on the mother’s outfit.
Men wear the flowers on the left and the women on the right!
You should have some basic equipment on standby by for your big day. I would suggest having some large plain coloured umbrellas (without sponsorship if possible!) in the wedding cars. A couple of times
this year the groom’s men have ferried guests to the car using umbrellas.
A nice wooden hanger for the Bride’s dress is good for photos. Also, the bride should remember that she will be photographed before the wedding dress is on and should be dressed bearing that in mind!
A few white towels are good if the bride wants to sit down on the grass or a bench for a few photos. Also, a few baby wipes are great for emergencies in case of a spillage on the dress!
If you are going to a location like a beach for a shoot, sometimes runners, flat shoes or Ugg boots are a good idea. These will be hidden under the dress. I also recommend extra jackets if it’s cold for the
bridesmaids and bride. These can be taken off just before the photographs are being taken.
Make sure your bridesmaids know how to tie up the back of your dress. Practice it outside the shop before the day of your wedding!! Some dresses can be complicated and time consuming to get right!
There is nothing worse than a bride panicking because her sister can’t remember how to tie up the dress forty minutes later. Also, make sure they know how to “tie the dress up” for the dancing later. There
has being many a first dance delayed by this!
Unplugged Wedding Ceremony
With the rise of camera technology i.e. Mobile phone, Ipads etc many guests are totally distracted from the ceremony and are spending their time trying to capture the moment on their devices rather that witnessing it with their own eyes. I have seen this particularly during the bridal procession at the beginning of the ceremony where the professional video person and I can’t see the bride and her father because the guests have leaned out and stood out in the middle of the aisle. I had a case recently where guests were actually standing on the seats in the church so they could get a picture of the bride going up the aisle. I think they are ruining one of the nicest moments of the day without even realising it. I have suggested to couples that they announce something like this before the ceremony.
“We invited you all to be here today to witness our marriage ceremony. We ask you to turn off all mobile phones and camera devices so that you can watch the ceremony through your own eyes rather than through your devices. We have hired our favourite photographer to capture every detail of the day so you don’t have to. The last thing we want is the only images of you to be behind a camera or device. You will have a opportunity at the end of the ceremony to get a photo of the happy couple!”
On The Day Of Your Wedding:
I know on the morning of your wedding you will be nervous but it’s important to eat a good breakfast. It will set you up for the day!
Don’t fret over the weather. You have no control over it so just “roll” with it. It makes our job as photographers a little tougher because all the photographs are inside but any qualified photographer should be able to work in all weather conditions. For the record the best light for photographs is when it is overcast and dry. The light is very soft which is great for photos. Sunshine causes as many problems as rain because of the harsh light and glare etc…. A lot of time you end up putting the couple in the shade!
Hair and Makeup:
It is very important the Bride get’s her Hair and Makeup done First rather than waiting for the Bridesmaids or sisters etc. (Some hairdressers and Makeup artists prefer to leave the bride till the end)
The reasons for this are as follows:
- The Bride will get more stressed while she is waiting for the other girls to get ready. This won’t help her nerves before the church.
- Things always take longer on the day than it did in your trials.
- It will give the bride more time in the morning and means she will be more relaxed. A relaxed bride photographs a lot better than a stressed one!
I have seen the scenario in the past where the bride has been left to last. The stress build and the panic as she is trying to get in to the dress is not a pleasant one.
If things do get delayed it’s not such a big deal if one of the bridesmaids have to be rushed afterwards. You definitely don’t want to rush the Bride’s makeup.
- Having it done early means you’ll spot potential hair/makeup problems and have time to fix them
- You can do photographs with the Bride when the Bridesmaid’s are getting ready but not the other way around!
Don’t drink too much the night before the wedding. The last thing you want on your wedding day is a hangover!!
Try not to drink too much alcohol before the wedding. Some champagne is fine and is great at soothing the nerves, but try and avoid shorts like Vodka in particular.
Keep the wedding party happy:
Keeping the wedding party content is key to getting the best wedding group photos. It is important that they are informed of your wedding day plans for photographs in
advance. It also helps to ensure that they have plenty of supplies. I would recommend plenty of bottled water, sandwiches, chocolate and maybe some champagne for the wedding party for the photos after the church. Sometimes people are too nervous to eat before the wedding but will be starving after the church. A good picnic at the wedding location always goes down well. It will help to keep everybody’s spirits up for the photos!
Don’t fret over the small things:
I understand that the bride puts an awful lot of time and thought in to the fine detail but don’t’ get upset if there are a few mishaps. If the wrong flowers are delivered your
guests won’t even notice and there is no point stressing over it. More than likely it will be too late to change it so don’t let it ruin your day.
The most important bit of advice I can give is to enjoy your day.
The more relaxed you are the better your wedding photographs are. Sit back and enjoy your big day. Enjoy the pre-wedding nerves, the hairdressers, the makeup and the “craic” when you’re getting ready. When you’re walking up the aisle to marry the man you love it will be all worthwhile.
Enjoy the time you have in the wedding car. It is probably the only quiet time you will have together. Most couples always say that it is one of the best times of the day. Time to reflect on the madness all
After the ceremony, don’t worry about your friends or relatives. They will look after themselves and they will understand if you don’t have too much time to talk to them all before the meal. In the end it is
your special day and they all appreciate that. That is after all why they are there!!!
Emergency Kit for Weddings:
Every bride should have the following on Standby in case it is needed (Hopefully it won’t be!).
Crochet Hook, scissors (For Dress)
Pins, Safety Pins, Sewing Kit, Buttons,White Cloth
Deodorant(Non Staining) – Male & Female, Green Florist Tape
Hairspray, Sellotape & Double sided tape
Immodium or Motillium(In case you have upset stomach) / Piraton/ Rescue Remedy/Paracetamol
Baby Wipes, Baby Talcum Powder, Tampons & Sanitary Towels
Lighter, Nice Pen(For Signing of Register), Tissues, Perfume (Nice Bottle for photos if possible)
Mints / Chewing Gum, Vaseline / Lip Gloss,
Plain Umbrellas with no sponsorship on them.
This article was written by Liam Kidney Photography LIPPA. Copyright 2018.
If you like this article I have also written one to help couples
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Thank you for visiting this post from 2012
As a professional photographer since 2007 my style has continuously evolved and changed with the times.
Feel free to check out this link to my favourite photos from 2019.
Here is a link to one of my favourite weddings from 2019 that will reflect my modern style that mixes documentary photography with the more classical style.