Nearly everyone has been to a wedding, right? They’re a blast! You get to dress up, visit a stunning venue, devour delicious food, sip delightful drinks, play games, and dance the night away! Oh, and let’s not forget the main event – watching two people you care about tie the knot, of course! However, not many people attend multiple weddings each year, let alone each month or even each weekend. But I do. As a wedding photographer, I have the pleasure of immersing myself in dozens of weddings each year. From the bride or groom’s pre-wedding jitters to the unforgettable moments throughout the day and into the evening, I’m there. So, fancy a cheeky glimpse behind the scenes of a typical wedding day for me? Let’s dive in!
Marvellous! So, as a parent to two delightful kids, I’ve come to terms with the fact that lie-ins are a distant memory (until they’re teenagers, perhaps). Truth be told, I’ve always been a bit of an early bird – back in the day, I was the first one at the newsagents, eager to collect my papers for my paper round (mainly so I could be back in time for breakfast before school!). There’s just something about being up and organised for the day ahead that I relish. Plus, who doesn’t appreciate a bit of peace and quiet in the morning?
A typical wedding day starts like every other day in our household. I rise, head downstairs, and do my best to ignore Fred, our cat, who’s meowing for breakfast like it’s the end of the world and he’s entitled to one final meal. First things first, though – I need to put the kettle on for my morning cuppa. Once that’s brewing, I’ll give in to feline pester-power and feed Fred, and then I’ll sit down with my tea and take a look at the day ahead. I’ll review the wedding schedule that I’ve carefully crafted with the couple, double-check timings, and have a gander at the weather forecast (because, you know, British weather).
After that, it’s time for a shower and to get dressed. I like to keep things smart with a shirt, trousers and boots. Then, it’s all hands on deck as I help get the girls up and ready for their day before we gather around the table for breakfast together.
With everyone fed and ready to face the day, it’s time for me to get my gear together. I always bring three cameras to a wedding – two that I’ll actively use, and a third as a trusty backup. At the moment, my go-to cameras are Canon R6s. Along with these, I pack about six lenses, around ten camera batteries, three speedlight flashes (and batteries for them), two light stands, lens cloths, an emergency wedding kit (complete with needle and thread – you never know when you might need them!), and my reliable MacBook for backing up images during the wedding breakfast. Oh, and let’s not forget the essential two packets of Extra Strong Mints – it’s become something of a tradition!
Once everything is safely stowed in the car, I’ll set off to photograph one half of the couple getting ready. This could be at a house, a salon, or even at the venue itself. When I arrive, I always make sure to introduce myself first and put everyone at ease before I even think about bringing out the camera. After all, nobody likes having a stranger point a lens at them right off the bat!
As for the getting ready shots, most of them are candid – I prefer not to direct anything and simply capture the moments as they unfold. However, I will take photos of the dress or suits, along with any flowers, shoes, and jewellery that the couple has so carefully chosen for their special day. My main focus during this time is on genuine moments of emotion, which usually means lots of laughter!
During the wedding ceremony, I try to position myself at the front of the room so I can capture everyone’s faces – both the couple and their guests. Of course, this depends on the room layout, and if it’s a church ceremony, I’ll always check with the minister to see where they’re comfortable with me being. It’s crucial for me not to be intrusive, so I tend not to move around during the ceremony. I’ll make sure I’m in the perfect spot at the start and then stay put.
Following the ceremony, it’s time for the confetti toss! I love organising this as a corridor of guests for the couple to walk through. Next up are the group shots – while they may not be my favourite photos to take, they’re still important. I see them as a way of documenting the family and friends of the couple, almost like creating a historical record. I don’t overly pose people; I just gather the groups together, make sure everyone looks great and is visible, and then snap the shot so everyone can get back to enjoying their drinks.
Finally, I’ll make sure to get plenty of candid shots of guests during the drinks reception. I’ll also sneak away to capture the reception room setup and all the table details. After that, it’s time for some relaxed and fun portraits of the couple – I usually keep this to about twenty minutes so they can get back to their guests and enjoy the rest of their incredible day!
With the reception room all set up and looking fabulous, I love capturing guests’ reactions as they see it for the first time. There’s always a mixture of excitement and curiosity as they check out the wedding favours, find their seats, and discover who they’ll be sharing the table with. And let’s be honest, there’s always that one table with the infamous “drunk uncle” – who wouldn’t want to capture the looks on their faces as they realise they’re in for an entertaining evening?
If the speeches are scheduled after the meal, I’ll retreat to a quiet corner and begin backing up the day’s photos. Once that’s done, I’ll grab a bite to eat and fetch the light stands from the car, ready for the first dance and any potential sunset or evening photos.
During the meal, I’m always keeping an eye out for a stunning sunset shot. If the light is just right, I’ll check if the couple are up for taking a quick five-minute break to capture that perfect golden hour photo.
As the speeches commence, my focus is on getting a few solid shots of each speaker before shifting my attention to the reactions of the guests and the bridal party. The Best Man’s speech usually provides a goldmine of expressions! I’ll also watch out for any cheeky guests running a sweepstake on the speech durations and might even offer some insider advice to help them out!
Next up, it’s time to set up for the cake cutting and first dance, as well as grabbing some pictures of the evening guests arriving. After the first dance, I’ll stick around on the dance floor to capture everyone busting a move – or at least attempting to!
With the day’s events winding down, I’ll head back to my trusty MacBook to back up the rest of the photos before packing up my gear, saying my goodbyes, and hitting the road home. While the memories are still fresh, I like to jot down a few notes that’ll help me craft the perfect blog post for the couple later on. After all, what better way to relive those magical moments than through a beautifully written story of the day?
Once I’m back at the house, the work doesn’t stop just yet. I’ll back up the photos again on another hard drive and store the memory cards from the day in a safe place (giving me three backups in total). After making sure all my equipment is safely stowed away, I’ll finally allow myself to collapse on the sofa for a well-deserved half-hour break before heading off to bed, ready to do it all again another day!
So, there you have it – a behind-the-scenes peek into a typical day in the life of a wedding photographer. You’d think attending so many weddings would make me immune to the magic, but honestly, I fall in love with each and every one. Who wouldn’t want to be surrounded by love, laughter, and dancing every weekend? If you’d like me to document your special day, sprinkling it with a dash of humour and capturing those priceless moments, why not get in touch? I can’t wait to hear your story and help make your wedding day one for the books!