When I moved to Bristol I didn’t know the local area very well and so when it came to wedding photography I really needed to try and make sure my schedule was tight. I always visit the location before so I know what to expect and I would ensure you get a schedule from the bride and groom at least one month from the wedding date. You need to know what’s going on and to check the formal portrait and group shots have been allocated enough time. Normally they haven’t.
Sequence of Events (Photo opportunities are in bold.)
Get to the location of the ceremony beforehand to check for locations both inside and outside for formal shots. You need to know what the light will be like and check the weather forecast. Take some test shots and scout out good locations for the formals.
Getting ready with the bride:
1. Makeup application – (before, during and after shots)
2. Get dressed – (after shot)
3. Hair styling and and decoration – (during and after, mother putting on vale)
5. Final Check.
6. Leave for the ceremony – (car/getting in)
7. Arrival at ceremony in transport – (getting out)
8. The ceremony – (rings/tears/people in the front rows and the aisle walk)
9. Leave ceremony venue – (confetti/formal photographs/candid opportunities)
Arrive at the Reception:
1. Arrive – (arriving (if possible))
2. Food – (shots of table decorations, cake, buffet or meal before being eaten)
3. Speeches – (at least one good shot of each speaker, different angles etc)
4. Cutting of the Cake – (full/half and close up shots)
5. First Dance – (lots of angles, crowd as background)
6. The party – (lots of candid shots)
7. The end – (shots of people leaving)
Normally a lot of alcohol is consumed at weddings and it’s highly likely that someone will offer you a drink – especially if there is an open bar. You need to be very careful here and I recommend you don’t accept if it is early on in the day. If something goes wrong with your gear or memory cards and someone says they saw you drinking at the wedding you will have some serious explaining to do. Just say something like ‘sorry but I need to make sure that everything is in focus. Maybe later!” and don’t accept the offer. Only when you have had time to make a backup on the laptop or a harddrive do I suggest you accept at the end of the evening.
As far as I can remember that is the general trend at most weddings in the UK. Obviously it depends on the couple so make sure you study that schedule.