You said “yes”, congrats! In a whirlwind of excitement, you immediately begin planning. You pick a date, a venue, and call your best friend and invite them to be a part of your day. You sort through the overwhelming amount of listings for vendors, asking everyone you know for recommendations. You want food that your grandma would be proud of, and a D.J who will have your guests dancing the night away! You also need a photographer who can take a great photo, but there is so much more to it than that.
Often the first meeting I have with clients is during their in person consult. We discuss their expectations and dreams for their wedding day. I ask about their timeline, and how they want their wedding to flow. Often times during these conversations, couples will ask for my opinion. After all, most of these couples have never gotten married before! They apologize for asking so many questions, and I can’t help but giggle and reply “It’s part of my job!”.
One thing I have realized in the time I have spent working on weddings, is that often the photographer also takes on the role of coordinator. If you have hired a professional coordinator, wonderful! If not, your photographer steps into that role. Because our job is so dependent on timelines, it is important for us to have a detailed understanding of schedules, events, and the people involved.
We as photographers will be with you for your entire day. We of course have an understanding of how long the formal portrait portion of your day will take, we also have a good idea of how long everything else will take. For instance, I recommend telling your bridal party and family to arrive at the location 15 minutes before photos are actually scheduled to start. It never fails that a bridesmaids hair took a little longer than expected, or a groomsmen had to stop for gas on the way.
In addition to helping coordinate timelines, and trying our best to keep everything running smooth and on schedule, we also become personal attendants. When it’s 100 degrees outside and the groom is about to pass out from dehydration, we are there with a bottle of water. When the bride spots the dreaded grass stain on the train of her dress, you can guarantee I will be there with my trusty tide to go stain remover. Photographing weddings for a living gives you a pretty good understanding of things that can or will happen, and we don’t want a grass stain to cause stress on someones big day.
I can’t speak for every photographer or business, but I consider my job so much more than showing up and snapping a few photos. While my job is to document a day, my priority is making that day perfect. If you can’t find grandma, my assistant will lead the search party. If the ring bearer is unhappy, I’m not against offering a lolly pop in exchange for a few smiles. I arrive at the wedding with the expectation that I will be helping with many jobs, so long as no one steps into the shot when I’m trying to do mine. 🙂