Every wedding day is totally unique and I have never had two weddings that have felt the same-your wedding day will take on your own personality, style and character.
For each wedding I will have a planning meeting a few weeks before to take notes, share ideas and get a feel for the wedding day. I like to break the day up into parts, the wedding morning, the wedding ceremony, the formal photographs, the reception and then the party!
This is a little run-through the flow of a typical wedding day and some things to think about when planning your wedding day and ideas on how to get the best from your wedding photography!
The Wedding Morning.
I like to arrive approx 2 hours before the ceremony time- I can be there as early as you like but I have found that its best to have a bit in time in the morning free from cameras when getting ready.
The preparation shots are best taken in a candid manner, the wedding morning can have such excitement and emotion as the family and friends gather together.
I would recommend having at least one room ready that could be used for portraits.I know that the wedding house can be madness and I expect there to be clothes, boxes and stuff lying everywhere- I can work with that! As long as we have at least one good clear room we will get the results we need!
Once the bride is ready I like to take a quiet moment on our own to get some gorgeous portraits, this may be the only chance in the day that you get this quiet moment and these portraits are usually my favourite of the bride.
There are certain moments that are important, the bride coming down the stairs, parents catching their first glimpse of their daughter as a bride, a bride fixing her dad’s tie.
Arriving at the ceremony
I will leave the bride's home before the bridal cars to get to the church and meet the groom and his boys. Depending on time I like to get the groom for some portraits before the bride arrives.
The arrival gives opportunities for great photos, if possible I like a photo through the wedding car window, then a special one before the bride walks down the aisle I then like to position myself at the top of the aisle and capture that amazing moment where the bride walks to meet the groom. This is just a natural, exciting part filled to the brim with emotion from everybody present.
Once the bride reaches the top of the aisle the ceremony will take part naturally and at that point I will find a spot ideally where I can't be seen but can still capture the moments with a zoom lens. The exchanging of the rings is also important capture for me, every church will have different ways of doing this, I would always ask at this time just make sure that yous haven’t got your back to me.
The Wedding Ceremony
I don’t like to go on the altar during ceremonies and will most likely be down the aisle looking towards you on the altar.
Depending on the size and shape of the interior of the church I will capture as much of the guests as possible, if there is a gallery I would also use that to get wider views of the church. Wedding couples would usually comment that these are great photographs to have as they get to see so much of your wedding day that they missed themselves.
Coming down the aisle as a freshly married husband and wife is probably my favourite moment of the day. I feel that this is when all the nerves are gone and you feel a relief that the ceremony went well and everyone stats to relax at this point!
The shaking of of the hands at the door of the church gives me a good chance to mingle with the guests and get nice candids of your nearest and dearest which you are occupied at the doorway. Once the handshakes are done and the guests start ti move on this is the time that I lie to get the formal photographs done, if the church is good for photos then we can slip back in and your first portraits and husnband and wife!
This is a good chance to get the bridal party together, to get formal group shots on the altar. The family portraits are very important in my opinion and I like to get them done at the ceremony before anyone moves on (there is next to no chance of getting them done easily at the venue as there will always be someone at the bar when they are needed!).
Before the wedding day I will take a list of the family photos that you would like, usually will be the brides family and the grooms family then the larger group with couples and kids, grandparents. Let me know if there are any guests who are at the church that won’t be going to the reception.
The Formal Photo Time!
This time between the ceremony and the reception is the most important time for the wedding photos, this is when I like to get the real gold! The photos that will hang on your walls forever!
If your hotel is a good spot for photographs then we can head directly there and get photos done before you join the wedding party (once you go in it will be impossible to het back out!)
Most hotels will have lovely grounds that we can use to walk around for photographs, but if not we will plan ahead and work out the best locations on the way that we can use for photographs.
Personally I love a tradition Irish scenery setting for the photographs, there are many spots and manor houses/castles around that allow you to use for photographs (usually £100 fee).
Once you arrive at the hotel, you will usually be greeted by a lovely glass of bubbly and your guests will all be there ready and waiting to celebrate their new married couple.
This part of the day makes for great candids, lots of air-kissing, hugs and excitement! I know that you won’t want an album collection filled with photos of just yourselves so I always try to get as many of the guests as possible-its not everyday you are surrounded by your closest people all in one room.
As you would have spent so much time and effort on decorating the wedding room, I think it is important to take time to photograph it before the guests come in (and wreck it!). I will do detailed shots of the tables, the cake and any personal extras that you may have added to your room. I like to do some fake cake-cutting photos at this stage when it is just us and maybe even a practice slow-dancing! If you have booked the signature package this won’t be needed as I will be there until the later hours. The speeches are a great chance for me to catch photographs of the guests which they are sitting (and can't run and hide from me!) . Again this is a time when my long zoom lens comes into use and I can capture the tears and laughter from a distance.
For the signature package you will also be having the later part of your day photographed, I will usually take a break while the wedding party are eating, and this gives men a good chance to sit and go over your images and make sure we have got everything that we need. After the meal can be a great time to explore the grounds for some evening/sunset shots.
At this stage I can take just the bride and groom off alone to get some gorgeous evening portraits, either using some nice interiors or nearby scenery. Once your band have set up the first dance is a special moment to be captured as part of the Signature package.
Then of course the last photographs of the day will be the guests on the dance floor and its great to have those dance moves caught in camera!