It’s wedding day and you’re either excited or stressed the hell out. You’re probably going to be relaxing in a comfortable hotel suite with your bridal party or cramped in a small hotel room with all 400 of your bridal party driving you up the wall. As a wedding photographer I’ve experienced both ends of the spectrum. I can tell you it can be a challenge when certain things aren’t considered. With that in mind I’d like to share with you some useful tips to consider in my own special way.
1 – Decide which of your friends have to be in your bridal party. The more members you have tend to cost you more time and money. For example, having 4 girls and 4 guys means only 8 gifts in total to pay for. 4 hair and makeup to pay for if you will indeed cover that. The 4 girls getting makeup with one makeup artist should be no more than 3 hours of prep time before bride gets her makeup done. Also that’s only 4 bouquets and 4 boutonnieres to pay for. During the ceremony having a total of 8 couples walk down the aisle won’t take more than a few minutes. I’m also sure it’s a lot less stressful with only 4 personalities on each side. Now lets consider what having 15 on each side can turn into.
That’s 30 gift$$$. Hair and makeup start time will have to be very early unless the hair and makeup artist is bringing a full team. Who wants to be getting makeup done at 5am? In all honestly I’ve seen hair and makeup taking place at 2am. There are Facebook photos as evidence. Imagine the attitudes that could possibly take place from upset young ladies. Can you blame them? Not only did they have to pay for their dress but they are forced to be up at 4am getting dolled up only to have to wait hours for the wedding to start. Don’t forget that’s 15 bouquets and 15 boutonnieres you have to pay for. Sounds like your floral budget just went up and the florist is smiling.
Have you ever seen a video where the wedding processional took so long that you kept wondering how many people are in the bridal party? A long processional eats into your 6 hours you thought you needed for photography. Its even worse when they are walking slower than the waltz.
Also when you think about how many you want in your bridal party, make sure you think about who you want in your bridal party. Do they know your full name? Have they met your future spouse? Can you confide in them? When was the last time you spoke to them before planning the wedding? Are they dependable? Will they take a bullet for you?
Are they really your friend or are you adding them for the sake of numbers? Think twice before adding a bunch of random people who aren’t that special to you. I remember being in a wedding a long time ago and I didn’t even know the grooms full name. I was there for the sake of numbers.
2 – Book the hotel’s biggest suite if possible. As a photographer its our job to capture and document the story on wedding day. The more space we have, the more opportunities we have to make something happen. It can be a challenge when there’s 10 girls in a single hotel room with bags and shoes everywhere and everyone is cramped into a single space. In those cases you might see your photographer change shoes and put on their wall climbing shoes so that they can capture images from the ceiling where there’s a lot of space. I’m sure there’s evidence of that somewhere on social media.
3 – Keep the hotel suite as clean as possible. The last thing you want to have happen is you and your crew tripping over items as though a tornado passed through. Not only do you feel better when you’re in a clean room with positive people around you, you won’t have to worry about seeing clutter in your images or video. I like to joke and suggest the ladies have the room look as if housekeeping took care of the room. The upside to having the room neat is you won’t have to worry about missing items. How many times have you seen bridal party scurrying trying to locate their personal belongings and end up arguing with each other?
4 – Be present and in the moment. Don’t worry about social media or making sure you slay for Instagram. No need being someone you’re not. Believe it or not, after you go viral no one will be looking for you. In fact, you can go viral and the viewers won’t care in 24 hours. Focus on being present, vulnerable and genuine. When that’s your main objective, images and videos become real as they capture who you really are and not who you want to be for social media. In 10 years I’m sure you will remember those priceless images captured of you being present vs the social media image that was shared 5 times.
5 – If you don’t have a full service Wedding Planner, at least have a Day-Of coordinator. Yes your bridesmaid has been in 50 weddings alone this year, but it doesn’t make her a wedding planner. Keep family and friends away! They need to enjoy the wedding day and should not be tasked with doing what professionals are trained to do. Understand that not all planners are built the same way. Some have little to no experience and it will show with their invoice and you have others who have a high priced invoice but don’t have a clue. It is ideal to do your homework. Stalk their Instagram page to see the clients and vendors they’ve worked with and start asking questions.