What to tell your wedding photographer

As a documentary style wedding photographer my main objective is to be as unobtrusive as possible, if I go unnoticed for a lot of your day then I’m doing my job. Most bride and grooms will want some more formal shots of themselves along with a few groups. We’ll meet before your wedding to go over what you require from which we can compile a list.

Below is an email received from Mary and Matt who married in Red Lion Church Colchester and held their reception at Priory Hall, Hadleigh. Mary’s list is perfect, it gives all the important information regarding Mary’s day. A timetable of events, specific shots and people to look out for along with some useful contacts.

So if you’re a bride looking to give your instructions for the big day you could do a lot worse than use Mary’s list as an example.

10am – you come to my parent’s home, where it will be pandemonium with me, mum, 6 bridesmaids, and my dad cowering somewhere in a corner I expect. We shall ignore you as instructed!

12ish – you head to Lion Walk Church (you’ll need to park up somewhere in town) and take pictures before the service starts, of bits and bobs around the church, people arriving, Matt and his men etc.

1.20pm – you come down the back stairs of the church (the ones we used when we went in in April) at which there is a lift. The bridesmaids and I will be coming out of this lift and gathering there (at the bottom of the stairs) at about 1.20pm.

1.30pm – we will all be walking out of the door and around Costa and into the main entrance of the church – I’d like some pictures of being in town in my wedding dress with beautiful bridesmaids surrounding me! Then when we are in the main entrance you can nip up the stairs into the church ready for the service.

2.30pm – service done, we will be entering the hall for tea and cake. As we showed you, there will be a line up of people with confetti (organised by the bridesmaids and the ushers) and we will walk through this, so if you’re at the end of the line you can take some nice pics.

3.30pm – Matt and I will head off to Priory Hall, so if you can come at that time too then we can get some pictures in the grounds of the 2 of us. We’d also like 3 posed photos:

1. Me, Matt, Jan, Alan, Pat, Sam, Lauren, Azalea, Lou, Neil, and Audrey
2. Me, Matt, 6 bridesmaids (Hattie, Abbi, Hollie, Charlie, Emily, Jess)
3. Me, Matt, 3 groomsmen (Paul, Shaun, Neil)

I hope that’s OK.

6pm – gather in the marquee for speeches

6.30pm – dinner

8.30ish – throw the bouquet

8.45ish – first dance followed by the first set of the band

9.30ish – band’s break (playlist on in background, bacon baps and chips handed around)

10.15ish – band second set

11.00 – band finish and dance playlist comes on

12.00 finish

I know we spoke about you maybe staying for the first dance and a few pics of people dancing and then leaving- we will leave that all up to you!

So I will now list some special people that is would be good to have pictures of:

My mum – Jan
My dad – Alan
Matt’s mum – Pat
My brother – Sam
My sister-in-law – Lauren
My niece – Azalea (lots of pictures please, she’s prettier than all of us!)
Matt’s sister – Lou
Matt’s brother-in-law (and also an usher) – Neil
My Grandma – Audrey

The bridesmaids will look gorgeous so all pictures of them will be very welcome. The best man/ushers may be more elusive but it would be good to have some of them too!

If you don’t know who any of these people are then please ask my brother Sam (if you don’t know who he is then ask Matt!!)

I will now list some particular things that it would be nice to have pictures of:

At home in the morning: Abbi (bridesmaid) made all the bouquets so it would be good to have pics of them. Most paintings around the house are by my Grandad so if any of them are in the background that would be nice.

Church: My mum has made all the cakes, which will be laid out in the hall, and I made the notices which say what the cakes are – both good things to capture. The flowers have all been arranged by church friends so please take pictures of any displays you see around the church. Anything and everything in the church will be of interest to me as it is my childhood church and I have lots of memories there.

Service: My niece Azalea will be walking down the aisle first as flower girl, chucking petals everywhere, it would be lovely to capture that. My dad wrote all the music for the service and all the choir members are friends, so if you could take pictures of them singing during the hymns then that would be great. When we sign the register we will pose for a very quick photo once we’ve done the actual signing, with me sitting down and Matt, mum and Pat behind us (mum and Pat are the witnesses).

Church Hall: Everyone in the church hall after the service is a friend – those serving tea (see if you can sneak into the kitchen), those handing out cake, Dickie serving Prosecco – so pictures of all this action would be great.

Priory Hall: I made all the signs and everything for Priory Hall such as – menu cards, favours/place names, table plan, sign for the basket of flip flops, wedding card sign and ‘guest bunting’ signs – and we will have to chuck all of this away afterwards as we are not hoarders – so it would be lovely to get pictures of all that. If you could sneak into the ladies’ loo before anyone else arrives and take a picture of the toiletries basket and sign too then that would be great!


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