Wedding planning can turn into a nightmare. As a professional photographer I see many wedding plans in various types of wedding themes. The secrets that I am about to reveal are never thought about when doing wedding planning.
Guests take up more time than you anticipate
We see this in EVERY wedding we do. The timeline for example says that there is 30mins for family photos. But what actually happens is that almost all your guests want to greet and congratulate you after the ceremony. Which in effect can take up to 30 mins extra if not controlled. We give time for your guests to congratulate you, but remember this needs to be controlled. When doing wedding planning, work some extra time in for guests that want to say hi and congratulate you.
Have an extra pair of flat shoes
What is a wedding without a gorgeous pair of high heels with lots of bling and that brand name! Depending on your wedding venue, you may want to take photos deep in the field or on a small hill or some other rough terrain. To try and manage these type of terrains with high heels are not very easy. Thus I suggest you have a pair of flat shoes with you, to make things easier for yourself.
If you want stunning night photos (if your photographer has adequate gear to shoot at night) add at least 30mins in your planning for this. The problem here is the reception is always planned to the very second, and most photographers finish up at 10pm.
When things go south
There are always things that doesn’t work out like you planned. But the worst of these are things that prevent your program to flow like it should. Most bridal couples try very hard to stay on their program, but when things are going south try and be flexible. There are always parts of the wedding that can be done on a later stage in the evening. Like for instance the family photos. If your wedding is late by over an hour, then rather do the family photos later in the evening to make some time up so that you still have enough time to get amazing formal photos.
Groom’s prepping photos
To be honest here, there are almost never a time where the groom actually cares about prepping photos. The bride also want to see these photos and thus the importance of also capturing the groom’s prep. The problem here is that the groom normally waits till the last seconds to get dressed. By that time the main photographer is hard at work shooting at the bride’s side. A nifty trick we have gathered through our experience, is to stage the groom’s prep. I will go to the guys, ask them to start getting dressed as if they would actually would. After the shoot they take off the clothes and go back to their casual outfits. It always helps if the guys are not too far from the bride, this just creates more time to get more photos on both ends.
Venue’s Chair Problem
Not many people know this, there are actually wedding venues that use the chairs of the reception for the ceremony. This is a huge problem, as most photographers take photos of the table settings early in the morning. Now if your venue is using the chairs of the reception for the ceremony, then you will get bad photos of the reception hall without chairs in the photos. Speak to your venue and find out if they do this. Rather let them hire more chairs, so you can have beautiful photos of your reception hall and table settings. When you are doing your wedding planning, be firm but flexible and don’t settle for less.
Multiple weddings in one venue
There are many wedding venues that have the means to have multiple weddings on the same day. However, some of them have multiple reception halls, but only one chapel. Of course they do their planning and have adequate times set out for each wedding. The problem here is that when we start with your formal photos we start inside the church or chapel. Now if there is another wedding hot on the heels of your wedding, the venue will start cleaning up the chapel right after your ceremony is done. Then we cannot capture romantic photos in the chapel as all your flowers and decor in the chapel have been removed for the next wedding’s. Speak to the venue to give you at least 15 mins to 30 mins extra before they remove the decor.
The worst thing you can do is throw rose petals on the dance floor. When danced upon, these rose petals get crushed and become sticky. Rather spend some extra cash on a DJ that has a DRY ICE smoke machine. The dry ice smoke machine makes amazing photos! (If your photographer has the right gear to capture this amazing scene.)
Cutting of the cake
More bridal couples are doing this, cutting the cake right after the ceremony. We have seen this a few times and we suggest it to everyone. There are a few benefits to this.
Firstly while you are away shooting your formal photos, your guests can relax and have some cake. Cutting the cake late at night has one very dramatic downside. NO ONE eats the cake. Everyone has had their main meal, and are basically stuffed and just want to PARTY!! Your R8000 cake goes to waste. But doing the cutting of the cake right after the ceremony ensures that your guests will eat the cake and not waste money. Another benefit is that you get beautiful photos when you cut the cake early. All the guests have nothing else to do than stand close by and support you. Cutting the cake later the evening will result in very lonely photos, as all the guests are outside smoking or dancing.
Wedding planning is ever evolving. These are some of the things we have experienced on the weddings we had the privileged to photograph. I will update this post as I get more ideas and experience upcoming weddings and their wedding planning.