How much time needs to be set aside for photography?
It’s absolutely crucial that you set aside enough time for photography both before and after the ceremony. Firstly, I always recommend a 30min BOYS PHOTO-SHOOT with the groom/bestman/ushers (all suited and booted) first thing in the morning. This is before I go to the bride’s house so it means the boys will need to be ready early! Following that, I recommend a 30min BRIDAL PHOTO-SHOOT with the bride & the bridesmaids, again all dressed and ready to go. This means you will absolutely need to keep on top of your hair & make-up team so they don’t run late and reduce your photography time. After the ceremony itself. I recommend a minimum of a TWO hours drinks reception, from the minute you arrive at your reception venue. This gives you time to unwind, mingle, chat and to really enjoy the day with your guests. AND it gives me enough time to photograph everything I need (both candidly and formally). These TWO hours will absolutely fly by and the time is normally broken down as follows: 60mins to mingle and chat with your family & friends, 30mins for formal family groupshots, 30mins of photography time with just the bride & groom. The time can be apportioned to suit your preference. And of course the more time you set aside, the better. But the overriding priority is that you speak to your reception venue and insist on a full 2 hour drinks reception, come rain or shine on your wedding day, whether the day is running late or not.
What if the day runs late?
The beautiful shots which you see on my website, they all take time to create. Even the spontaneous, photojournalistic ones; you still need time to allow situations to develop naturally. And without time, even with the best will in the world, there’s not much I can do! So please build a very relaxed timetable that’s not timed to the minute (it never works out that way and just causes more stress). And do your utmost to be on time. In my experience, late running usually starts with the hair & makeup team at the getting-ready stages, which you can understand; they’re not here to see the impact their lateness has on the rest of the day so they generally care less about adhering to timings. Lateness pre-ceremony impacts on the time set aside for the BRIDAL PHOTO-SHOOT resulting in fewer bridal portraits and, equally importantly, has a knock on effect for the rest of the day.
Be assertive with your venue too, especially about maintaining that all important 2 hour drinks reception, even if the day runs late. Certain venues have no flexibility and simply will not accommodate a bride who is running late – their take is that if you run late, in order to get back on schedule, you must sacrifice your photography time. Don’t let that happen!