No matter how calm, cool and collected you are, or how far down the priority list wedding photography is for you, we all know that it really IS the only tangible memory you have of your wedding day... Which is why creating a timeline, or even a photo list for your photographer can seem like an impossible task; HOW ARE YOU SUPPOSED TO FIT THEM ALL IN?
If you’ve ever feared “will I miss a photograph”, “should I bump up my photographer’s package?”, or “Do I need a photo of this?”, then you’ve come to the right place. Read on for some ideas of moments you'll want to think about capturing on your wedding day. Depending on where you are within your plans, you may have already considered a few of these; but some may be brand new. Remember, the number one rule is that there are no wedding police, so if some of these resonate with you, put them on your photo list. If some make you uncomfortable or won’t work with your plans, then leave them. Whatever you decide is all good!
(To be clear, we by no means are saying that we know what exact poses, specific details and precise moments need to be captured; we are not your professional photographer. Your incredible photographer has worked for years to hone their skills, as well as their personal style. Being open and transparent with your photo priorities will help your photographer get an idea of what is important to you, so be clear and you'll be able to create an incredibly diverse gallery! And one further disclaimer: if your budget AT ALL allows, a pro photographer is worth their weight in GOLD! We've sadly seen many couples disappointed by the photos of their 'friendors' and amateur photographers.)
Photos with People
It's pretty common to do extended family photos directly following the ceremony. At this point, you'll have a 'captive audience' in that all of your family will (presumably) be present, so we advise asking your officiant to remind all extended family to follow the recessional, which you'll lead to a pre-determined location (chat with your photographer!) to eliminate what we call the 'Uncle Bob hits the bar' delay (apologies to any actual Uncle Bobs out there....!).
Your photographer will likely ask you for a curated family photo list. This is important, because it helps the photographer move quickly through groupings, and gives you the peace of mind of knowing that you won't forget anything in the excitement of the moment. When you're creating this list, we advise you to start with the largest groupings and work down to the smallest (with the exception of any very young family, or any older family/those with mobility issues). That way, you can send people away to the cocktail hour as you're done with them, and carry on with fewer distractions.
We fully understand that family dynamics are different with every single family, and we are not here to assume you can brush certain feelings or issues under the rug for your wedding day. If you do have a turbulent relationship with your parents, sibs, or any family member, we can't possibly tell you what the right choice is with regard to your photos, but we do urge you to consider future relationships; the fact that parents, grandparents, and other family members might not always be with you, and to think about how you want to tell the story of your wedding day to potential future children and grandchildren.
If children are part of your wedding day, ensuring you can spend time with them during photos will make a world of difference to not only them, but to the energy in your wedding photos. Personally, we recommend doing photos with your children prior to the ceremony, especially if they're younger; you’ll want them energized rather than ready for a nap!
On the other side of the age discussion, we have your elder family members. This can be difficult, so we won’t go into firm detail with this one, because we all know the pain all too well. We know that no one can live forever, so capture a few moments with your grandparents, your great aunts and your parents. These moments bring them ultimate joy, and pride; it’s so important to capture that.
If you’re a regular visitor to the Unmistakably You social media accounts, chances are you’ve heard the team discuss the importance of capturing wedding detail shots. Not only are detail shots important because they immortalize all of the special care you took in your wedding selections, they also ensure they weren’t a total “waste of money” ...you know, the small labour of love that you’ve defended throughout your plans. Selfishly, we also love it when couples leave time for their photographer to capture detail shots because it’s often where our love and labour comes in!
Stationery - it's super expensive! Show it off, it also gives a great indication of the theme, and for all of you Covid couples, it also shows what you've gone through together as a couple thus far. Plan to bring your invitations and other important stationery pieces (vow books, ceremony programs, save the dates) for your photographer to put together a few awesome flat lay shots of your details.
Hair and Makeup - it’s your ultimate red carpet moment; you’re being pampered and finally being taken care of, even if it’s just for photo evidence that you sat down on your wedding day! A few close ups of the lipstick, eyeshadow palette or applications are also great photos to put up in your washroom, or dressing area of your own house if you choose to get your photos developed; they're also a great thank you to your artist and stylist!
Attire - you’ve spent years dreaming of what you’d wear on your wedding day; show off what you’ve envisioned. Be sure to ask your photographer to capture all the small elements like jewellery, shoes, ties, cufflinks and socks.
Tablescapes - from a purely selfish stance, take photos of your decor for the people who helped dream it up with you! Taking time to capture photos of your decor is the only way to immortalize every detail you obsessed over as it was on your day (especially if your itinerary determines that you won't be able to see your reception space fully decorated before your guests enter, and ultimately mess it up!). If you designed your wedding yourself, you will be transported back to your day when you are able to look back on all the small details.
Transportation - it may be difficult to squeeze your photographer onto the limo or party bus, but consider having the driver take you around the block with a wicked playlist to show off how fun your people truly are. It’s uncommon for photographers to capture the silly side of your bridal party during portraits, but shaking it to Kesha is a great way to show their personality (and show off the flashy ride you have!). On a sentimental note, maybe your parents always dropped you off at school, and they are the ones dropping you off at the ceremony site; that's a moment that should be captured.
We know there are a million more detail shots such as florals, venue, vow books and all of the things, but we are huge believers that there are ways to capture those details while still capturing moments.
Your wedding day is a collection of moments and it would be next to impossible to have you and your partner witness all of the magic, which is why we firmly believe photographers are your best bet at remembering your day for all that it is; YOUR DAY. We’ve compiled a selection of moments that we’ve seen come back in galleries that have left our jaws on the ground and our hearts in our throats. This list isn’t meant to be copied and pasted to your photographer - without any thought on your end, these photos won’t have the same emotional connection as they should. Remember, your wedding gallery is yours. It should reflect the two of you. The following are suggestions of moments you may want to ask your photographer to capture:
- First time you see your wedding attire on the day
- Spending time with your pets/relaxing (bonus points if it’s you cleaning up dog poo!)
- Conversations with your future in laws
- Getting dressed with a family member or close friend (doing up dress, adjusting a tie)
- First look with the wedding party (swap wedding parties too, remember, it's a team day!)
- First look with parents, and future in laws
- First reaction getting your florals (bonus points if you get your florist in a few shots, then pass on the photos as a thank you for their beautiful work)
- Parents assisting with personal florals (pinning boutonnieres, adjusting corsages)
- Quiet moments with your planner (Hey! That’s us!)
- Reading personal letters you wrote to one another
- Preparing your flower girl/ring bearer
- The ceremony site prior to guest arrival
- The reception site prior to guest arrival
- You and your partner seeing the reception site together
- The pre-ceremony chat with your officiant
- You watching guests arrive (if possible)
- The moment you hear the ceremony music begin
- The last moments in the wedding suite with your party
- The final moment before you walk down the aisle
- The reaction of your grandparents during the ceremony
- The after ceremony first kiss
- The after ceremony ring check
- The first cheers as a married couple
- The MC’s opening announcements
- The entrances of your bridal party
- A few various family members during grace
- A toast between you and your guests
- Speeches, and the guest reactions to your speeches
- First and Family dances
- Golden Hour (but consider bringing your best friends, or your witnesses for a few)
- Dance with grandparents, or elderly family members
- First dance on the dance floor when it opens (make sure it’s a great dance hit!)
- Cake cutting - send it to your baker!
- Bouquet toss
- Garter toss
- Late night snacks
- Parent departure (finally, you’re tucking THEM in!)
- Apparel change (hello, sweatsuit!)
- Fireworks, or sparkler surprise
- Your getaway car
Ultimately, your wedding photos should reflect the story of your day. Even if it's not important to you now, think about the future, and how you'll describe your wedding to your kids, nieces and nephews, or grandbabies. Providing your photographer with a specific list of important details, a well-planned family photo grouping list, and then trusting them to capture all the moments in between will guarantee that you can look back on your photos with fond memories for years.
Oh - and if you happen to shoot some high-res, incredible pro photos towards the vendors who helped make your day as perfect as it was, it's just as good as a tip!!
XO, the UY Team