A typical wedding can be broken down into these key moments. As a photographer I can document the event from start to finish or just the most important parts of the day that matter for you. Here are some tips from my observations at the weddings that I have attended that help to make it run smoother and aesthetically more beautiful.
Usually this is the most hectic part of the day. Be sure to include some extra time as outfits may need some last-minute adjustments or someone might be running late.
Make sure to declutter the room and place the seat and mirror by the window for more light. If you want me to photograph some of the accessories and outfits it helps if you have it all gathered in one place. I normally do it before the finishing touches of the bride's makeup.
It's best if everyone else gets into their attire first so that they can help dress up the bride and the groom.
If getting ready nearby, I sneak out to take some photos of the groom and his party before the bride get's into her dress.
For grooms, boutonnieres should be pinned from the back of the jacket's lapel. Fold the lapel over the boutonniere and pin the needle to secure it through the fabric, stem, and back into the fabric. Make sure it's parallel to the lapel edge, and you can even use two needles to keep it flat.
Completely optional and depends on where the morning prep happens. Meeting each other before the ceremony is great for couples who would like to keep that moment just between each other.
It removes nervousness before the ceremony to be fully present at the ceremony.
First tip is to keep the ceremony unplugged especially if you know you have some guests who love filming non-stop. You can have a stand with a phone on or a camera to film the vows if you are not going for a videographer.
Excitement makes you do things faster than usual. Walk down the aisle and exchange the rings slower than it feels like.
For the seats, the guests shy away from taking the second and third row so make sure people take up the front row seats to avoid big gaps in-between. It's also recommended for guests with small children to sit further a back as sometimes they need to stand up and walk to comfort the baby.
If outdoors and at 2pm on a sunny June day, it's best to hold it in a shadowy place or with sun facing you from behind. As sun can cast strong shadows and make you squint throughout the whole ceremony.
Place the table where you will be signing the documents on either side of the arch and not under it.
I really hate flash at the ceremony and will do anything to avoid it as it is extremely intrusive therefore it should be in a well lit area.
The truly exceptional wedding officiant's are mindful with their guidance and it is especially appreciated if they can step aside during the ring exchange and the first kiss.
Right before the ceremony begins, the officiant can give a breakdown of what's going to happen after the ceremony so that the guests know if they will have to line up for a confetti exit or when to gather for the family formals.
Usually, it is difficult to leave for portraits right after the ceremony as everyone will want to give you a hug so leave some extra window of time here for that.
I recommend having one big group shot of everyone together especially if your friends are coming from the other side of the world and then we can break into smaller groups with the family and the bridal party while everyone still looks at their best. It takes around 3 minutes per combination. Normally, couples have a list of 4-8 combinations so that it doesn't eat into too much into your time with the guests.
Photos with your friends can be photographed spontaneously throughout the evening.
Sometimes the season of the year or the venue doesn't let us have that many unique nooks where to photograph something more creative. I am all for going on a short ride to a beautiful nearby viewpoint, loch or path in the woods instead. It can also serve as the only moment in the day for you two to be alone.
My portraits are quite minimalistic and romantic. At first it can feel unnatural to pose so the best photos happen later in the shoot. I tell you where to go and what works best, I will fix your hair and outfit.
I recommend spending 1 hour for the portrait shoot. If the skies are clear we can go out during the dinner break back out for golden hour photos when the light is the most flattering.
In winter months it is best to take the portraits before the ceremony and combine with the first look as it gets dark earlier. In November Stockholm there is barely enough light at noon for portraits. By doing so, it gives you more time to spend with your guests without feeling bad for leaving them for too long.
Lighting is the trickiest part here. Some venues have it all figured out and there is nothing to add but if your dinner is held in a darker space, ask the decorator to place more candles and lights around the your table. It gives a romantic and warm feel and lets me capture the emotions.
If possible, it's best to not sit with backs against the window as your faces will be in a shadow.
Sometimes the table placement is too narrow and I can't move through to capture different angles of the guests and you.
Cake cutting. Ask the venue to bring out some kind of a small table or a barrel where to place the cake so that you can cut it facing your guests. Have it stand on a separate table from the hot beverages and dessert plates.
Some DJ's still carry a colourful laser ball in their setup. It would be great to keep it turned off during the first dance as it leaves green and blue dots all over and a camera flash can't overpower that.
I normally wrap up 40 minutes after the first dance. That's when the majority will have been on the dance floor and start to scatter around the venue.
All of these tips let you have an amazing day and let me capture it in the best setting possible.