I have been around the block quite a few times when it comes to wedding photography and have written or published 3 books on the subject. Here are the 10 most important things that I believe you should be mindful of :-
1. Venue-recommended photographers
This is all about cliques and money rather than quality, although some of the recommended photographers may be incredible. More often that not though the photographer has been working there for years and gets on very well with the wedding planner. The alternative is that the venue take a payment or commission for being recommended. Either way it is not good, photography is about creativity and working at the same venue breeds laziness and a formulaic approach.
2. Don’t buy expensive cakes unless you are a millionaire
You have provided your guests with a 3-course meal and the evening guests with a buffet. They simply do not need any cake. They have enough to eat already and the cake cutting is just a cheesy traditional ceremonial act that you only do as everyone else does. And the mums insist on. If you really much have a cake pimp up a Christmas cake. It will cost just a few quid.
3. Don’t go for the expensive food and wine options
Your guests simply will not appreciate it and it is a huge waste of money. You are feeding a lot of people – get a grip!. I have been the guest at a celebrity chefs wedding where money was pretty much no issue. The menu was prawn cocktail, bangers and mash and cheesecake. It was perfect and every single guest loved it and talked about it. Including a certain chef with the initials GR.
4. Don’t waste money on a wedding car unless you have a church ceremony
Generally, everyone will be in the venue waiting for you. No one will get to see you in the car. The same applies for church weddings but at least the guests can see you off in your wedding car and it makes for nice photos.
5. Keep your photographer happy
This might sound a little self-serving but would you like your chosen photographer to be on their A or B game? If you are really friendly and warm towards your photographer then you will get the best out of them. That is just common sense. Offer them a cup of tea to coffee when they arrive with you. Offer them a water/juice/coke during the day as often they are so busy they forget to drink. Your photographer is going to be with you for 8+ hours. Look after them and they will pull out all the stops.
6. Feed your photographer
This is a follow on from above really but think about how your photographer gets fed. If there is room then it is far better for the photographer to be sat with your guests on a table. This ensures that they are in the same room as you and can react to any events that happen. You definitely get better images this way. They get a delicious 3-course meal and are very happy. If there is no room try to make sure they are not sat in a room a million miles away. They will want to be able to see what is going on and not miss too much.
And this is the BIG one – vendors usually get fed after all the guests. You need to insist that and make sure that the photographer gets fed at the same time as the top table with a hot meal, drinks and ideally bread as well. It is standard practice for the photographer to be fed last. This is wrong and has to change. By the time the photographer is eating you have probably finished and are mingling with your guests. These can make great photos and you don’t want them to be missed. They will be if your photographer is not fed at the same time as the top table.
7. Go Unplugged
Nothing groundbreaking here, but ask your guests to spend time enjoying your wedding rather than staring at their devices all day long. And getting in the way trying to take photos. The likely hood is that you will have all the high res images as part of your package so can distribute them freely.
8. Have a no jeans policy in the evening
This may sound a bit harsh but why do some men think it is appropriate to attend the evening function in jeans? Do they not have the intelligence to realise that they look like idiots and are at a wedding?