This is part two of my blog about wedding photography you can find Part 1 Getting ready for the wedding here
Part 2 At the Wedding Venue
The first thing to note about getting to the wedding venue is the importance of getting there as early as possible, there is a lot of photography to do before the ceremony begins and there will be no second chance!
If the wedding is at church I will often check out the church on the way to the reception venue or vice-versa. Nothing beats checking out the locations for the photography on the day of the wedding, it is done days or weeks in advance then lots can have changed in that time. Building or groundwork might have started, and someone might have parked a digger just where before was the perfect background. Checking on the day also means that I know exactly which shrubs and flowers in the grounds look their best and which have died off or have still to come into bloom. Most importantly, perhaps, I have a good idea of what the weather will be like and if I will need to find locations for the photography out of the cold or rain or wind or even some shade from the scorching summer sun!
Normally I try to meet up with whoever is taking the wedding ceremony as soon as possible They will be busy too and it is important to reassure them that I know what I am doing and won’t get in the way. This is particularly important when working in church, this is the vicar’s regular place of worship not just a location for an hour or two. Just like the registrar at a civil wedding ceremony, the vicar is entitled to control his or her part of the day and I will always work within any guidelines that are set. That said I find that almost invariably, once I have shown them that I have respect for the occasion and the location, I find that I can get permission to work in the place I need for the best shots – more about that in a later post.
The other people to make contact with of course are the groom, the best man and any ushers. It is much easier to photograph them before too many guests start to arrive and the ushers become tied up with ushering. One of the first shots I look out for is the men struggling (and it is nearly always a struggle) to put in their button-holes. For some reason it always seems to be the groom that helps the best man rather than the other way around, I don’t know why!
They will need to put these in before I take their formal photographs and I usually take some posed shots of the ushers with the orders of service, as I said before it is best to do this early on before they really get into their ushering duties.
This brings me to the detail pictures. A bride spends very little time in church or the ceremony room at a wedding venue. She is escorted in and things get underway immediately then, at the end, she walks up the aisle with her new husband without having any real chance to look around. This means that it is vital to record all the details that she won’t be able to take in herself on the day. Flowers are obvious but there can also be pew dressings, orders of service, seat covers as well as all the people as they mill around before taking their seats.
So you can see that there is a lot to pack in to the restricted time before the ceremony – next I turn my attention to the arrival of the bridesmaids and the bride and her escort, I will cover that in my next post. Part 3 Arrival of the bride – The wedding begins!