I’ve been a professional wedding photographer in Kent and across the South East for over 10 years and have photographed lots of different weddings of all different styles and sizes. I’ve seen weddings diligently planned down to the very last detail and others where the planning is a little more relaxed. Whatever the degree of planning you undertake the ultimate goal for all couples is a relaxed and stress free day. Relaxed and stress free does, however, mean there should be some careful planning on your part regardless of how informal you want your day to be.
Here’s a few tips to help you get ready for your wonderful relaxed wedding.
Give yourself time
One of the most important tips I can give you is to leave some breathing room in your timeline so that you don’t feel rushed at all throughout the day.
In my experience most wedding timelines run behind by at least 15 minutes but often more than that. If you pad your timings then everything you’ve planned will happen seamlessly and without stress. For example, get into your dress 10 or 15 minutes earlier than you are planning as it nearly always takes longer than you think. Make sure you have enough time during your drinks reception to actually mingle with your guests as well as have your family photos and couple shots.
Most importantly, give yourself time to step away for a few minutes together to take it all in as the day will go by so quickly.
I will happily be on hand to give you some guidance on your timeline and how best to fit everything together.
Be in the moment
Your day will fly by in a whirlwind so it’s important to try to be in the moment as much as you can. Concentrate on each other and the day as it unfolds and don’t worry about what’s coming next. Trust the team of wedding suppliers that you have carefully selected to manage your timeline as you planned it, they’ve done it many times before!
Cherish your time alone
Think of your couple photo shoot as time for just the two of you and allocate enough time for it in your timeline rather than just something to be squeezed in between your family group photos and your wedding breakfast.
Your wedding is a busy and social day and you won’t get to spend much time alone with your new spouse so the time you have for your couple photos can be a special and treasured part of your day. Make the most of it, just enjoy being together and your photographs will be beautiful.
I usually ask that you allocate 30 minutes during your drinks reception for your couple photos which means that we generally we get about 20 minutes, which is absolutely fine. My aim is to give you some time together without keeping you away from your guests for too long and my relaxed style allows couples to catch up with each other without feeling any pressure to perform for me.
If you can, take a few moments later in the evening to be alone together just to take it all in and why not have some lovely romantic evening light photos while you do!
Short and sweet is key
Speeches are a lovely part of the day but no-one really likes long drawn out speeches, regardless of how funny they are; especially if you have them before your meal is served! Brief your speakers on the timeline before the big day so they can plan their speech so as not to hold things up. 10 minutes is ideal but 15 is fine although they do often go on for longer.
If you plan to have speeches before your meal then consider having your starters served first rather than make your guests wait too long for food. This is definitely one to discuss with your catering team!
Make a point of starting to relax in the days leading up to your wedding. Take some time to do something special together, maybe a nice romantic meal or a day out somewhere meaningful to the two of you.
Collect your dress and suit, pack your bags and then delegate any last minute tasks or things that will need to be done on the day to your bridesmaids, groomsmen or family. Then trust them to do it. If there’s some special decorations that can only be placed on the morning of the wedding or if an extra chair needs to be provided for grandma at the start of the ceremony, let other people take charge of it and don’t worry.
The only thing you need to focus on on your wedding day is getting married and having a good time.
Small things can make a big difference
Here’s a few little tips that you can put in place before your wedding which can make a big difference to your photos in particular.
Ask your bridesmaids to keep your ‘getting ready’ space reasonably tidy. There’s only so much strewn clothing, suitcases and general stuff that a photographer can move or tidy out of the way to avoid getting in photos.
Make sure one or all of your bridesmaids know what time they need to get into their dresses so that it doesn’t delay you getting in to your bridal gown.
Make sure that you have told your photographer about any special or sentimental items or people that must be photographed. Are you wearing grannies jewellery or do you have an elderly relative or someone from abroad that you must have photos with?
Have a pair of flat shoes on hand just in case the ground is a bit wet or soft. You don’t want to miss the opportunity of that perfect shot of you and your new spouse just because your heels are sinking.
Be flexible. Sometimes the weather can be a little unkind and it may mean that the timings of your couple photographs need to be swopped around a little. Both your family groups and your couple shots can be taken indoors so don’t worry, but if there’s a short break in the weather its always good to be ready to make the most of the opportunity to get outside, with an umbrella or not!
And last but not least
Take a breath, slow down and enjoy it. Don’t worry about anything just keep smiling, it’s going to be the most wonderful day of your life!