‘Relaxed’ and ‘wedding’ are not usually synonymous but with a bit of fore thought and planning you really can waft effortlessly through your wedding day, enjoying every, single, joyous minute of it. Of course there will always be some last minute stresses in the build up to the day but thinking about a few things before-hand can help to make your day flow effortlessly, from that first glass of fizz to the very last dance. We’re very fortunate to have photographed many beautiful weddings over the past decade and fully appreciate the hard work and careful planning that goes into each wedding. Its a real labour of love for most couples and its a complete honour for us to capture the culmination of all the hard work (& spreadsheets!)
Whilst we discuss the in's and out's of what may or may not happen on your wedding day at length during pre-wed meetings with our couples I thought it would be a useful to put it down all in one place. I'll no doubt add to this as and when nuggets of wedding wisdom come to me.
During our initial meetings we always have a chat about your timings and flag up anything which looks a bit far-fetched or might throw us a bit of a curveball on the day.
We will interrogate you (in a nice way with coffee and cheese/cake or cheesecake, not pliers) so we know EXACTLY when and where all the important stuff is happening. It sounds the opposite of 'a relaxed approach' but we have learnt through experience that if we know the day inside out we tend to always be in the right place at the right time and can confidently get into that lovely creative head space where all the incidental, ethereal, candid magic happens.
So we get all this important itinerary stuff discussed, finalised and on a shot planner. So on the wedding day there are no hiccups to scupper us, no important moments missed, no over-running of time, no over-cooked sea bass and no angry chefs. There's no rage like a an angry chef who's bass is over-cooked. (TERRIFYING)
We also love you to know that we love golden hour!!! And you need to share this love!! Of course it is the UK and lets face it, we may not be blessed with one but lets at least plan for it! We'll encourage you to plan the speeches and dancing to allow for a drunken dash out in the soft light for some slightly (or very) tiddly and super-relaxed portraits. BLISS! Its a form of terrible torture for the light-obsessed wedding photographer who's stuck shooting speech No. 7 when its all turning golden and ethereal outside. We're always happy to stick you in the back of the Passatt (its reliable thank you) and drive to a nearby field of corn we have reccied earlier.
Planning in plenty of time between the end of your ceremony and going in to dinner to enjoy simply being at your own wedding is so important too. Its such a sublime part of the day, with the formalities out of the way you should be able to mingle effortlessly with your wedding guests, enjoying the culinary and boozey delights you so carefully sourced and not feel in the slightest bit hurried through your day. We are in our happy place during this ‘down time’ quietly capturing relaxed scenes and interactions, from casual banter between guests to tense Jenga moments and competitive croquet! Do make sure you have time to enjoy this time too.
A month or so before the big day we'll have a final catch up, preparing a shot planner so we're fully prepped for the day. We make a list of your ‘must have’ group photos and finalise the days timings so when the day arrives you have NOTHING to do apart from be your amazing selves.
If the thought of walking down the aisle, making a speech or dancing self-consciously in front of 100 pairs of eyes people makes your palms clammy - then simply don’t put yourself through it. Have the day that you both want, not the one you think you must have. Question everything you think you know about weddings! Take the ceremony - you could walk down the aisle together or you could do the legal bit at a registry office the week before and have a best friend or celebrant create a completely personal ceremony or blessing on the big day. We once had a couple arrive to their wedding ceremony in a wheel barrow. (Well twas' Devon...) We photograph lots of gorgeous boho weddings where the couple have 'officially' tied the knot on Tuesday in jeans and a sweatshirt. Its another conventional element removed which may take away a bit of weirdness for you and often makes for an incredibly moving and personal ceremony.
Most venues have an outdoor ceremony location and will often feel much less formal. Whatever you decide make sure you talk through the ceremony details with your photographer. If you are releasing 3000 doves after ‘the kiss’ then its really good to know about it before hand! (NB. The dove thing has never happened, but you know, be prepared for curveballs) If you’re having speeches but you know a certain person isn’t too comfortable with public speaking and is secretly wishing he'd broke friends just before the wedding, is maybe looking a bit peaky and definitely eyeing up all the possible exits you might consider having your speeches totally informally during your drinks reception. Get it over with and crack on with the party. Its far less stage-like, feels spontaneous and means your ashen-faced bezzie can get it over with enjoy the rest of the day.
If you are on a bit of a budget or just have some super keen chefs in the family then we fully encourage guest bake offs! We've photographed the most beautiful boho weddings around the South West where the wedding 'breakfast' (must find out why its called that) is a picnic with home made delights and a 'pimp your prosecco' station. Or a street food van, wood-fired pizza, basically your favourite food served from a cool vintage van, whats not to like. Add to that a bring your own bar - a million different ways to drink gin, a daytime disco, some ferocious welly wanging and your absolute favourite people being their very best.
So right at the start of planning think about what you ‘don’t want’ as much as what you ‘do want’ . Treat your wedding as an expression of you as a couple and your personalities. A wedding is a rare opportunity to express yourself, shout about your love, be creative, indulge your inner party planner - so enjoy it and own it!
You may be weather obsessed in the run up to the big day, I know I was, but in our experience, the weather has never spoilt a wedding day - come the day with all its excitement and emotion, the weather will actually be the last thing on your mind. Bring a wonderful stash of brollies and don your wellies with us for some of the sweetest pictures are taken in the rain. Embrace this before the big day and get mentally prepared for the possibility of a wet wedding. We'll always reccie a venue that we haven't been to and will find some rainy day portrait spots. Often old manor houses will have wonderfully elegant interiors and entrances and barn venues look amazing in any weather. We'll have some fun in the rain if you're up for it and I promise it rarely rains ALL day. We will keep an eye on the weather and be ready to whisk you outside if it dries up.
Do get in touch with us if you’re planning your wedding and would like some advice on choosing a photographer and planning for a relaxed wedding day, we'd love to hear from you.
We also have a lovely list of suppliers who we've had the pleasure of working alongside and are always happy to make a recommendation.