Whether you’re getting ready at a venue, your house or your parents’, a decluttered environment makes for great photographs.

Think of somewhere to get a photo of your dress in all its glory. Four poster beds are brilliant for dress photographs. If you’re stopping in a hotel, and your preparation room doesn’t have a four poster but you know of a room that does, put your parents in that room the night before and we can ferry the dress along for a quick photograph of it.

Aim to be ready with some time before the ceremony, or before you or your photographer needs to leave for the ceremony. Rushing for the ceremony will leave you flustered and you won’t take in the first few moments of the big occasion. Being ready before gives you time to get photographs in your dress and with your bridesmaids.

Guys, this is a button hole, despite its name, it doesn’t go through your button hole, it should be pinned to your left lapel a couple of inches below the button hole. Don’t stress about it, try your best and if you can’t get it right your lovely photographer will be happy to put it right for you!

The Ceremony

Ascertain the photo policy of your ceremony venue as soon as possible. Some churches/vicars/priests ban all photography, some allow it but only from the very back, some actually don’t even allow your photographer to enter the building whilst the ceremony is taking place. For many, the photographs of the exchanging of vows and rings are the most important part of a photo story, please don’t leave it until the day to find out and be left disappointed. Remember that you are paying for your ceremony, irrespective of the venue, this is your day.

Here comes the Bride-smaids?

Think your entrance through very carefully. Some vicars like to walk up the aisle at the beginning of the ceremony, find out if they are going to and ask them to go up quite a bit earlier, to allow for space. Are your bridesmaids going before you? Same applies, give them time to get up the aisle and crucially out of the way and into their seats before you make the turn. You are going to look amazing, your fiance wants to get a clear view of you because it will be one of their favourite memories, and photographs.

Let your bridesmaids have their moment, but don’t them block your big moment!

Last to arrive, first to leave

You’ll be the last person to arrive to the ceremony, with a big, grand entrance. As newlyweds you’ll be the first to leave the ceremony. This means that after walking down the aisle you’ll be outside while all your guests slowly file out from their ceremony seats. The first people out will obviously congratulate you on tying the knot, and no doubt those behind them will wait patiently so that they can also congratulate you. Before you know it your whole wedding party is now backed up in a queue waiting to congratulate you. This impromptu receiving line can eat up a huge chunk of your day, and the time immediately after the ceremony is crucial for getting your formal photos done. The best advice is once you’re outside and chatting, keep moving to allow your guests to filter out without being held in a queue. You can move around the crowd sharing hugs with guests as your photographer gets your confetti shot set up.

The Confetti Shots

Who do you want stood next to you when all your dreams come true? The confetti shot is that moment, captured for eternity. It is the most common photograph shared on anniversaries years after the wedding. Why? Because the confetti shot shows so much emotion: laughter, big smiles, kisses and often friends and family in the background. It’s a traditional shot but it’s not often on guests’ list of items to bring along so it’s worth buying confetti yourself. Check with your venue as to what they permit, biodegradable or flower petals only.

Let your photographer arrange a nice long aisle of guests for you to walk up and then walk up slowly, take your time, let it shower you! A kiss in the middle of your walk will provide a beautiful photo opportunity.

Frustration Free Formals

The Formal Photographs can take quite an effort to get people in the right place at the right time and at a part of the day when time really is of the essence. Think about who you want in your group photos well before the wedding. Make a list of exactly who is in which photograph and get that list to your photographer. Also think of who can help on the day, a couple of people (or more) who know a lot of guests and get them to the photographer quickly and efficiently. When you make your list start large and get smaller, it’s faster to ask Aunty June and Uncle Dave to come out of a group than it is to have your immediate family stood there and then have to look for Aunty June and Uncle Dave. Start big and get progressively smaller, down to the VIPs. Doing this can save you up to half an hour, which seems ludicrous but trust me, we are all at the behest of your least cooperative guest.

If you can place a list of the numbered groups on display or slipped into your order of service you can create so much extra time for yourselves on your wedding day. Rather than standing waiting for guests to be placed next to you you can instead move around and chat to people you’ve not seen for ages.

Rain stops play? It shouldn’t have to, always have a wet weather contingency for your group photos. Ask your venue if it’s raining where can we do them, it might be a case of having chairs moved from the ceremony room or another part of the venue being cleared but it’s important to have a wet weather space.

Group photos taken indoors shouldn’t need to be any less attractive than group photos taken outdoors. I personally bring studio equipment to professionally light group photographs so rain should never, ever mean poorer photographs!