Create a timeline to capture the day before and after it happens. You can take more photos before the wedding (Bride & Brides Maids and Groom & Grooms Men), Bride & Parents, Groom & Parents or Siblings, etc. The more shots you can complete before the wedding (Bride & Brides Maids, Groom & Grooms Men, Bride & Parents, Groom & Parents and Siblings), the longer time you have between the ceremony & reception. This will allow you to capture the most important couple with fewer shots.
Make a list with all the group shots you would like, including who will be there and where they are to be taken. This list can be taken to the rehearsal dinner with you along with your timeline. It will help you keep on track. To ensure that the group shots are completed, a friend, a brother or another close relative should be appointed. It is disappointing to find that Grandma has already left for the reception. This list will ensure that no one is left behind in the chaos.
Group shots can take longer than you might think. It will take longer if the bridal party is larger. This time is consumed by trying to gather everyone who needs to be in each shot (see Tip #2). If you don’t have an hour, allow at least 30 minutes for photography after the ceremony.
There are two age groups that need to be out of the way first. They are the children (Flower Girl, Ring Bearer) as well as the seniors. They’ve already been through a boring ceremony and are now getting cranky and unhappy. A happy mood can quickly turn to tears and tantrums. In the heat, seniors (grandparents) might not be as comfortable.
Whittle your way through all the groups, concentrating on the Bride and Groom first. These photos are crucial and can be fun for a photographer to get creative and artistic. These shots are important because today is the day that you finally get to marry the love of your life. You will cherish the photos of the Bride and Groom forever.
Group shots can be serious, but you don’t want to forget to have some fun. Simple things I do are ‘throw your arms up and scream! Or those classic jumping shots. These shots always bring out sparkling smiles; if not in the adults, they will be a lot of fun for the children. You can discuss your ideas with your photographer. There are many examples online.
Consider another location (a nearby park, beach or playground, for example). For a more varied backdrop and a wider selection of locations, Additional locations may be charged by photographers, so make sure to check before you pay.
Have your florist bring the flowers earlier and allow the limousine to be left a little later if the budget allows. If you aren’t in a hurry, you’ll be able to take more time to relax.
Weddings can be a huge event to plan. Despite all the effort you put into planning and the timing, weddings can run overtime. People are often late, and rude service providers will check their watches. While I recommend adding a half-hour here and there for emergencies, it is likely that something will go over the time. So just be prepared. It’s not a big deal if you expect it.
Talk to your professional about the location. Also, ask them if they prefer discretion. This will help you avoid distractions such as Uncle Bob taking photos to the side and guests staring at the camera. Professionals often include in their contracts a clause that the photographer will be the sole one documenting the event. This is not an attempt to stop your guests from taking a few photos.
The most important tip, and increasingly common, is to consider a “First Look”. Although it is against tradition, the first look gives the bride and groom an exclusive moment on their wedding day…TIME ALONE! This also alleviates the stress of having photos taken quickly between the ceremony reception.