A photographer is not solely responsible for the outcome of a couple’s wedding images. His or her performance can be enhanced or hindered by the cooperation he or she receives from the bride, groom and other participants on the wedding day. A little extra effort on the part of the client to stick to the photographer’s schedule can make a marked difference in the quality and quantity of images that are taken on the wedding day -- and ultimately, those that will be fit for the treasured keepsake album.
A final meeting with the photographer about two weeks prior to the wedding is a great opportunity to make sure everyone is on the same page. During this meeting, solidify a start time, gathering location and directions, and exchange important phone numbers such as cell phones and pagers. Agree upon a schedule that works for all parties involved, and then communicate if things come up that require a change. Having this conversation with a photographer will help ensure that everything runs like clockwork when the big day arrives.
There are other organizational checklists a couple can make before the wedding day to keep a fluid, stress-free celebration:
The bride should be responsible for her own wedding dress. Keeping the bride and her dress together avoids the all-too-common problem of a missing dress (and its caretaker) holding up the rest of the day. It also prevents a pre-wedding headache.
Delegate a driver for the day. The bride and groom should avoid traveling with multiple bridesmaids, groomsmen or family members. If one person in the group is running late, it will affect the entire wedding party, including the guests of honor. With their own transportation and a dedicated driver, the bride and groom can keep their busy schedule and not be delayed by others.
Allow extra time for hair and makeup. A bride should consider telling her stylist that she needs to be ready for pictures one hour before actual start times. This way, if more time is needed for the bride’s or bridal party’s hair and makeup, the photo session will not be affected. If everything finishes on time, then the bride has extra time to spend with her girlfriends.
Be specific with your florist about delivery times and locations. It is important to most couples that the bouquets and boutonnieres be included in the pictures, as they are memorable elements of the big day. Again, arrange for a slightly earlier than necessary delivery time so the flowers will be there (and properly pinned!) when the photographer is ready to begin.
Communicate with friends and family who will be participating in which photos. Depending on the size of the families and bridal party, most photographers allow about three hours prior to the ceremony for photographs. The first hour is dedicated to the bride and groom. The second hour is generally reserved for immediate family and bridal party, and the final hour is often set aside for extended family and special guests. Having everyone where they need to be on time is key, especially those being photographed in the last hour. Send a note or place a phone call to each person expressing how important it is to you to have a special photo taken with them. Simply let them know the schedule in advance of where they should be and at what time -- and gently remind them at the rehearsal dinner.
We all have friends and family members who are notoriously late; their behavior is unlikely to change just because they’re attending a wedding. Adding a little cushion to the schedule to get them where they need to be at least a half-hour early really works wonders.
A photographer is trusted with documenting one of the most important days in a couple’s life. Utilizing the time requested by a photographer to its fullest allows him or her to maximize creative abilities and take the best pictures possible.
Opening photograph by Robert Evans Studios