YOUR WEDDING DAY SHOULD BE THE BEST DAY OF YOUR LIVES, NOT JUST LOOK LIKE IT
Over the last few years I’ve shot a few weddings, and I’ve had one myself, so Ive spent a lot of time thinking about how to make the most of this amazing day. There’s a lot of talk about what your priorities should be on your wedding day and I’ve decided that In my humble opinion: The MOST important thing on your wedding day is that you have a flipping fantastic day! Shocking I know!
Ideally, this doesn’t come at the expense of photos, but if it did encroach on your photos even just a teeny bit…. is that the end of the world? Is it more important to have ‘perfect’ photos when all you can remember when you look at them is how rushed, stressed and forced it all felt? Are we setting ourselves impossible expectations of what this day can be? I want the images I deliver to my couples to evoke emotions!, to bring back memories of the BEST day of their lives, not just what LOOKED like the best day of their lives.
SO LETS MAKE A LIST OF WHATS IMPORTANT
This is not necessarily a case of great photos OR a great wedding day, and I’m not trying to make photography the bad guy here (that would be kind of counter to my interests hehe) but I do think there’s a balance that can be struck. You just have to figure out your priorities! For those of you who put ‘great photos’ at the VEEERY top of your list- fantastic! Let’s go away on an epic 3-hour photo adventure, find some totally breathtaking locations, and make some of the most beautiful pieces of photographic art to remember your day by.
For those who’s priorities look more like: ‘have an amazing day’ or ‘spend quality time with guests’ followed by ’great photos’ awesome!! We can totally work with that too! Let’s work out a strategy where ideally you don’t have sacrifice great photos, AND you don’t miss out on drinking cocktails in the sun, and eating small things served on skewers or wrapped in pastry (pretty sure I just revealed the fact that my own priorities are highly food orientated! hehe) surrounded by all your favourite people. So ‘3-hour epic photo adventure’ people, I love you too! Maybe I’ll write another blog post about how to use all that amazing time. But in case you couldn’t already tell ‘have an amazing day’ people, these suggestions are for you :)
#1 LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION
think about cutting down the travel time, this is a huge one. The location 15-20 minutes ‘down the road’ doesn’t sound that bad until you times that by two (I’m assuming a wedding followed by a reception at the same location here) and add the extra 10-20 minutes (sometimes more, no jokes!) that it takes to round up the whole bridal party -who have totally sneaked off to the toilet and to touch up lippy while your backs were turned, and workout who’s driving, which cars you are taking, and where the keys to aforementioned cars are located (this happens all-the-time) When all that’s said and done, you have eaten up 45minutes plus without taking any photos yet!
There’s this weird thing, I love to do in my head (I hope I’m, not the only one) where I imagine what a different choice would impact things, like a parallel universe… Well, parallel universe you is halfway through their photos if they stayed onsite. Nice one!
What are your priorities? Chat to your photographer about what they really need in a location. You might find they are able to achieve something similar to what you had in mind closer to home. Look at your Pinterest photos, is there a common theme? Perhaps most of the photos focus on the couple, and their bond & you find the background (although pretty) is fairly out of focus. You might find that for the types of photos you love, the connection in the images, and the light, are actually more important than the backgrounds. The image below was taken at a car club, with just a few pine trees to work with.
#2 PLAN FOR WHATS IMPORTANT
It seems crazy that you should have to schedule ’time to chat to guests’ into your timeline, but honestly, unless you are having a seriously chilled out day you probably do! There’s a very real chance that without consciously making the time for it, all the other scheduled items on your day will take over.
Between walking down the aisle, and finishing mains in the evening, there’s a really good chance your time will be monopolised by one bride and groom duty or the other, and photos are a huge portion of this. Again, not trying to make photographers the bad guys here, we just want to do a seriously amazing job, and make you happy! So we happily use up whatever time you let us to make sure we do our jobs well!! If you want to make sure you have time to enjoy your cocktail hour, and the company of these amazing people you have invited then make it a priority and schedule it in!
#3 CONSIDER A FIRST LOOK PHOTO SHOOT
An oldie but a goodie, think about doing your shoot before the wedding. You can incorporate a ‘first look’ into your shoot (or just have a private moment) The plus side is everything I’ve heard about first looks, is they feel every bit as special as that heart-stopping moment you walk down the aisle PLUS you get to do that as well! Bonus! They are pretty good at relieving the terrifying nature of that isle moment too, which could be great for those who feel as if they may panic. The downsides are the pre-wedding jitters can make the wedding shoot a little less natural and loved up as it can be post-ceremony (results may vary for different people though!) and you are potentially shooting in light not as nice as it may be later in the day.
#4 DO IT ALL AGAIN ANOTHER DAY
A bit of a newer idea… Would it be possible to split the beautiful epic shoot you have planned into two different days? You could get some wonderful shots nice and close to your wedding venue and get right back to partying with your guests. Plus it’s an excuse to doll yourselves up in your wedding gears one more time and tick off those unmissable photo locations without such a tight reign on the stopwatch! Something to discuss with your photographer anyway :)
#5 LITTLE BIT OF THIS, LITTLE BIT OF THAT
Finally, one of my favourites for weddings where the ceremony and reception are at the same location.
If you have this wonderful picturesque setting all around you who says you have to ‘go away’ for a decent chunk of time at all? Why not pop away for 3 or 4 short photo missions with your photographer, and in between get right back to things. You can split this time over 3-5 hours between the ceremony, and sunset (again results may vary depending on timing, and time of year!) and your guests will barely miss you.
THERE’S NO RIGHT OR WRONG ANSWER
In conclusion, there’s no right or wrong way to spend your time on your wedding day! Spend it however you want, whether that’s with your photographer, your partner, your friends and family, or a mixture of all of the above. Feel free to think outside of the box that the wedding industry has created. I hope some of these suggestions were helpful! xx Tegan