We thought we would share some helpful advice that we have learned along the way while photographing weddings and having planned and got married ourselves. These are just our thoughts, there isn’t a right or wrong way, but hopefully these little points might help you out.
Bridal Preparations... Possibly the longest point to offer our advice on so we will start here first!
Time keeping, although it is important for most of the wedding day, it is especially important with bridal preparations. Make sure you have plenty of time to get everyone ready and allow a little bit of extra time in case something goes wrong or if your hair stylist or make-up artist takes a little longer than you originally planned. If you are getting ready at your wedding ceremony location, you may have a little extra time if needed but if you are getting ready at home or at a different location and the wedding car is arriving for a certain time, you will start to feel the pressure if you are running late. Don't forget, your wedding car driver may have another job on that day so can only be late to a certain extent!
As Northern Ireland wedding photographers we know that good lighting is everything. This also applies to both hair and make-up preparation as well. You will get much better results when the lighting is as natural as possible. Having discussed this with several professional make-up artists, they always advise to have your make up done in front of the window as the soft natural light you get from a window makes it much easier for them to provide great results. We turn up to a lot of weddings to find the hair and make-up being done well away from natural light under the warm glow of normal lamps or fluorescent lighting. This will give you an orange / warm tint to your photos and depending on other light sources can lead to some pretty unflattering colours that can't always be corrected. The easiest way to avoid this is to ask your hair stylist and make-up artists to sit you close to natural light to get the best results.
Always remember if it's in the room, it's in the shot. So make sure the room you are using is clean! We know the morning can be a little manic, but unless you want socks all over the floor, unmade beds and clutter in your photos, we advise a quick 'all hands on deck tidy up' for 5 minutes to make sure the room looks as good as it can before photos take place. It will be one less thing to worry about and you'll be able to find all the things you need on your wedding morning. Hangers, where possible try and get matching hangers for your dress and your bridesmaids dresses. Just a small detail but the photos of your dresses will look so much better.
Time Needed: 90 - 120 minutes
Family Formal Photographs
Family formal photographs are a time honoured wedding tradition so we understand the importance of having them on your wedding day. They are something you can share with family and friends for generations. We are more than happy to take family formal photographs at a wedding but would recommend keeping these to around 10 main shots. 10 shots can take 30 minutes or more depending on the guests at the wedding. Some will try and escape to the bar or disappear to check into their room, and you will soon realise that you have not had time even for a quick sip of champagne! This is your wedding so it's important how you spend your time. Most of the couples we meet say that they want nice, relaxed, candid photos of their guests enjoying themselves. In order for this to happen your family formal photographs must be kept to a realistic number in order for there to be time to capture the shots you want.
The usual photographs we recommend are:
- All of the wedding party.
- All of the Brides side of the family.
- All of the Grooms side of the family.
- Brides immediate family.
- Grooms immediate family.
- Bride and her parents.
- Groom and his parents.
- Bride and Groom with both sets of parents.
- Bride with Bridesmaids.
- Groom with the Best Man and Groomsmen.
These are the top 10 that we have found to work really well. These can obviously be changed to suit your individual requirements but always bear in mind your timeline. The longer we spend on formal family photographs the less time we will have with you our Bride and Groom and less time there is for you to get back to the party!
Time Needed: 30-45 minutes
Bride and Groom Wedding Day Portraits
"I hate having my photo taken" ...Well that makes 2 of us! We were pretty nervous about our own wedding day photos but on the day we went with the flow and ended up enjoying every minute of it. With a little bit of guidance and just being yourselves you will get some amazing photographs. The key to this is to just relax and have fun. On your wedding day you will find that everyone wants a piece of you, so it can be difficult to find some time alone. Wedding day portraits are the perfect time to catch up with each other and to have a break away from the madness. We will give you simple guidance and you will find yourselves falling into the poses easily and naturally from there.
If you are getting married during the winter months or suspect there might be rain, don't let it put you off! Plan ahead and bring some wellies or spare shoes and an umbrella so you can embrace the moment and get some killer shots!
Time Needed: 45-60 minutes
Wedding Day Speeches, when is the best time, before or after your meal?
There isn't a right or wrong with this one, so we can only offer our thoughts for you to consider.
Before: If you are having your speeches before your meal this means those who are doing the speeches get to enjoy their meal even more. There is nothing worse than trying to eat when nervous. It also means that the tables are not full of wine bottles and half-drunk pint glasses, this will make for nicer photos! However, you do have to consider what time you are having your meal and factor in that if you are doing your speeches before your meal that you may have less time for your family formals, couples shots and general mingling time with your quests.
After: If you are having your speeches after your meal then you know that your hungry guests are fed and watered so won't be watching the clock and praying for short speeches. As mentioned above it also means you will have freed up more time before your meal to get the shots you want when the light is best. Sometimes a drink helps with nerves, so a drink during the meal for those doing a speech might help them out. Obviously this opens the flood gates for people having a little too many but for those who need it, they may feel more confident in delivering their speech.
It might also be worth discussing this with those who are giving a speech to see what they would like to do to make them feel more at ease!
First Dance / Party Shots
It's always nice to end the night on some fun shots of you and your quests partying. It's a great way to end your wedding photos with all of your family and friends throwing some funky shapes on the dance floor. The key is to get them dancing after the first dance or towards the end of it. Speak to your DJ / Band and make sure they follow up your first dance with a floor filler to get the party started. If they don't and the mood dies down a little, you might find it a little harder to get your guests back up onto their feet again before we have to bid you farewell.