Wedding Photography Advice For Couples For Their Wedding Day

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This piece is written by a guest blogger photographer Liam Kidney!
I decided to write this piece to help couples on their wedding day, with practical advice that I have built up from experience over the past few years. 

Bi Ullamh (Be Prepared):  The old Scout “Motto” is very important on your wedding day!   

Photographer:  If possible try and meet your photographer before your big day to discuss your wedding plans in detail. It is important that you work out how much time you want to spend getting your photos taken.  Check out locations with him if he hasn’t covered your area before.  I store all the locations for a wedding in my Sat Nav and this reduces the chances significantly of getting lost on your big day.  Have a fine weather plan and a plan B if it is raining. If everybody is singing off the same hymn sheet it makes the day run smoothly and will be easier for all involved.  wedding advice for couples 2

I would also recommend an engagement shoot.  This gives couples an opportunity to get used to being photographed together before their big day.  These photos are often used for invites and signature pictures for the wedding.  You can read more about the advantages of doing an Engagement shoots on my blog here :
Family Shots:  Let your families know when you plan to do the family shots.  I normally take them in the church or on the church grounds because it is easier when everybody is in the one spot.  Trying to find your siblings in the hotel bar, toilets or rooms can be a bit of nightmare at times, believe me! 
Normally Family shots consist of the following: 

Bride and Groom & Bride’s Parents 

Bride and Groom, Bride’s Parents & Bride’s Siblings 

Bride and Groom, Bride’s Parents, Bride’s Siblings, partners and children. 

Bride and Groom, Bride’s Parents & Groom’s Parents 

Bride and Groom, Bride’s Parents & Groom’s Parents 

Bride and Groom  & Groom’s Parents 

Bride and Groom , Groom’s Parents and Groom’s Siblings 

Bride and Groom , Groom’s Parents, Groom’s Siblings, Partners and Children. 

If there are Grandparents you would normally include them in the family photos.  You generally don’t include the extended family (Aunts and Uncles, cousins etc.) due to time constraints. 

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Flowers: I would recommend ordering one or two extra flowers for the wedding party.  I have seen the flowers break when being put on the suits the morning of the wedding!   Also the pins for the flowers should not be more than a inch and half long.  I have seen some over two inches long and they cause a big problem if the groom is wearing a suit with a narrow lapel.  I would also recommend the magnetic flower Catch(instead of pins) for the mothers of the bride and groom
General Advice: You should have some basic equipment on standby by for your big day.  I would suggest having some large plain coloured umbrellas (without sponsorship if possible!) in the wedding cars.  A couple of times this year the groom’s men have ferried guests to the car using umbrellas.  A nice wooden hanger for the Bride’s dress is good for photos.   Also, the bride should remember that she will be photographed before the wedding dress is on and should be dressed bearing that in mind!

A few white towels are good if the bride wants to sit down on the grass or a bench for a few photos. Also, a few baby wipes are great for emergencies  in case of a spillage on the dress! 
If you are going to a location like a beach for a shoot, sometimes runners, flat shoes or Ugg boots are a good idea.   These will be hidden under the dress.  I also recommend extra jackets if it’s cold for the bridesmaids and bride.  These can be taken off just before the photographs are being taken.
Make sure your bridesmaids know how to tie up the back of the bride’s dress.  Practice it inside the shop before the day of your wedding!!  Some dresses can be complicated and time consuming to get right!  On average a zip dress will take 2mins to put on, a button dress will take 15mins and a corset dress will take 30mins.  There is nothing worse than a bride panicking because her sister can’t remember how to tie up the dress forty minutes later.  So practice makes perfect.   Also, make sure they know how to “tie the dress up” for the dancing later.  There has being many a first dance delayed by this! 

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On The Day Of Your Wedding: I know on the morning of the wedding bride and groom will be nervous but it’s important to eat a good breakfast.  It will set you up for the day! 

Don’t fret over the weather.  You have no control over it so just “roll” with it.   It makes our job as photographers a little tougher because all the photographs are inside but any qualified photographer should be able to work in all weather conditions.  For the record the best light for photographs is when it is overcast and dry.  The light is very soft which is great for photos.  Sunshine causes as many problems as rain because of the harsh light and glare etc…. A lot of time you end up putting the couple in the shade!
Hair and Makeup: It is very important the Bride gets her Hair and Makeup done First rather than waiting for the Bridesmaids or sisters etc.  (Some hairdressers and Makeup artists prefer to leave the bride till the end)
The reasons for this are as follows: 

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The Bride will get more stressed while she is waiting for the other girls to get ready. This won’t help her nerves before the church. 

Things always take longer on the day than it did in your trials. 

It will give the bride more time in the  morning and means she will be more relaxed.  A relaxed bride photographs a lot better than a stressed one! 

I have seen the scenario in the past where the bride has been left to last.  The stress build and the panic as she is trying to get in to the  dress is not a pleasant one. 

If things do get delayed it’s not such a big deal if one of the bridesmaids have to be rushed afterwards.  You definitely don’t want to rush the Bride’s makeup. 

Having it done early means you’ll spot potential hair/makeup problems and have time to fix them. 

You can do photographs with the Bride when the Bridesmaid’s are getting ready but not the other way around 

Alcohol: Don’t drink too much the night before the wedding.  The last thing you want on your wedding day is a hangover!!   

Try not to drink too much alcohol before the wedding.  Some champagne is fine and is great at soothing the nerves, but try and avoid shorts like Vodka in particular. 

Keep the wedding party happy:  Keeping the wedding party content is key  to getting the best wedding group photos.  It is important that they are informed of your wedding day plans for photographs in advance.  It also helps to ensure that they have plenty of supplies.  I would recommend plenty of bottled water, sandwiches, chocolate and maybe some champagne for the wedding party.  It will help to  keep everybody’s spirits up for the photos! 

Don’t fret over the small things:  I understand that the bride puts an awful lot of time and thought in to the fine detail but don’t get upset if there are a few mishaps.  If the wrong flowers are delivered your guests won’t even notice and there is no point stressing over it.  More than likely it will be too late to change it so don’t let it ruin your advice for couples 6

The most important bit of advice I can give is to enjoy your day.  The more relaxed you are the better your wedding photographs are.  Sit back and enjoy your big day.  Enjoy the pre-wedding nerves, the hair dressers, the makeup and the “craic” when you’re getting ready.  When you’re walking up the aisle to marry the man you love it will be all worthwhile. 

Enjoy the time you have in the wedding car.  It is probably the only quiet time you will have together.  Most couples always say that it is one of the best times of the day.  Time to reflect on the madness all around you!!! 

After the ceremony, don’t worry about your friends or relatives.  They will look after themselves and they will understand if you don’t have too much time to talk to them all before the meal.   In the end it is your special day and they all appreciate that.  That is after all why they are there!!! 

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Photographs by Liam Kidney.
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