About 6 weeks before your wedding, I’ll send you a questionnaire asking some of the big questions I need to know for the big day (although none as big as the “I do”, obvs). It’s a really informal questionnaire, but it’s chocful of super important information so don’t skip it over. But also, don’t be scared by it – sit down with a coffee, tea, G&T or a vino and treat it like a fun date night amongst all the planning madness. (And a cheap one too, which is all the more welcome when you’re on wedding countdowns…). The best thing is, that all my booked couples get their own snazzy online client portal – so you can dip in and out of answering the questions on the form.
I’ll be the supplier that’s there the longest, and I have a very important job to do for you (no pressure!) so I always want to ensure that we are on the same wavelength. That’s why this day details sheet comes in handy. I will constantly refer back to the plan throughout the day, leaving you and your beau to revel in the height of wedded thrills.
To give you an idea of all the exciting details I’ll be asking you, have a gander at the list below and start racking those brain cells/rummaging around in that wedding binder. Here’s my guide for What To Tell Your Wedding Photographer (AKA me)!
I’ll need both contact numbers and email addresses for you and your partner. It’s helpful to have the basics on hand for any last minute messages. You’ll get both of mine too. Most importantly I’ll need both of your email addresses so that I can send you the email link to your finished set of wedding photos!
A pretty key one to start with, hey? A verified full address is always necessary – not just “my Dad’s farm” or “Citizen M”. I want postcodes, so I can Google Map that shizz and get exactly where you are with no hassle for you. It also helps me scout out potential locations for our portrait session to give you some relaxing celebratory time together on the day without taking you too far away from the party. If you’re having your day across two venues, make sure you include the info for both, plus the info for where you’re getting ready if I’m covering that too.
Another thing on the list of absolutely non-negotiably need-to-know things is timings. My super informal, caught-in-the-moment style of photos actually require a lot of pre-planning. I will need to know where to be, when and what the intention is for the day. Then I can ensure I’m absolutely in the right place at the right time.
Having these timings written down has twofold benefits: firstly, it’s good for me to know when all the ‘major’ events are happening, because although I’m constantly on the lookout for the best moments anyway, it’s good to know when things will be changing up. Secondly, it’s good to have the timings written down as I can then advise on when you’ve not allowed long enough for stuff (group photos!), or point out things you may not have thought of.
The important people
Now I am pretty rubbish with names! I do not take pride in this, so I’m going to try and blunder through getting names right by having a list of all the important people in advance. Knowing in advance who the key people are at your wedding will mean that not only will I be able to call them by their name, but I’ll also ensure that these people feature in your photos A LOT.
Group shot lists
Even though I’m all about the spontaneous fun and frolics that badass weddings bring, I totally understand that weddings are an opportunity to get together a group of people who don’t come together very often, and you may want to document that. Group shots are totally fine, but I do advise that we keep them as short as possible to maximise the amount you can enjoy your day and minimise the the time you’re stood with a fake smile wanting to be partying! For this reason I ask for a list of the group shots you’re looking for, itemised with the list of people you want in each one. It’s great if you can include both their relation and their name (this makes it easier for me to find missing people!)
I don’t have any rules around who you choose to have in any group photos (if you want them at all). Most couples tend to go for some combination of the following group shots:
- Both families and you and your partner
- Your extended family, you and your partner
- Your immediate family, you and your partner
- Your partner’s extended family, you and your partner
- Your partner’s immediate family, you and your partner
- The wedding squad, you and your partner
This list will take approximately 25 minutes to work through. If you want to add in other combinations, then you will need to allow for extra time. From my experience of shooting lots and lots of weddings, each combination of a group photo will take 3-4 minutes to organise and shoot.
It’s also super helpful if I can have an official helper from each side of the family – ideally someone who knows who the various different people. Doing so will save a lot of time!
The devil truly is in the detail, and the marketing devil inside of me LOVES to have a solid brief before the job starts. I’ll ask you to describe what you have planned for your ceremony, and to describe what you have planned for the reception. I’ll need to know about any special surprises that you have planned too. If you’re going to let off confetti canons immediately after your first dance, then I’m going to want to make sure I’m in the best position all ready for that!
And I don’t mean guests’ dietary requirements – they should be directed to the caterer. Instead, it’s always really useful for me to know if there’s any tension in particular groups or with particular people as I navigate your guests. Context is important for photos! I come from a very modern family, with multiple sets of parents (that don’t talk to each other!) so I know that not every family is a straight-up nuclear scenario.
Once this is filled in, I generally meet couples to have a chat about a month before the wedding day. Other than just having a lovely natter, it’s great to sit down and cement those plans, and talk them through in person. This leaves me feeling totally confident that I know exactly what you’re planning and wanting for the day, and most importantly should leave you feeling more relaxed, safe in the knowledge that someone else knows the nitty-gritty too. It’s a very informal chat where pets and children are welcome too.
If your plans change – don’t panic! This can and does happen. About a week before I’ll send you what I have as the final plan, to make sure that nothing’s changed since we last spoke. I then bring that with me (or an updated version with any changes) on the day as a crib sheet to refer back to. The final plan is by no means written in stone (it’s usually on my iphone and apple watch actually), so if there are last minute changes and additions, that’s cool.