As a wedding photographer, I’m here to tell you that not all of your wedding planning ideas are good. When planning, you need to take into consideration that the day is also about your guests. By definition, a guest is someone you’ve invited and plan on taking care of, feeding, and entertaining. You’re their hosts. Here are a few things to avoid at your wedding.
Making Them Wait Too Long While You’re Doing Photos
A question I often get is, “How long will our pictures take?” It’s usually followed by a story of a wedding they attended where they were forced to wait 2 1/2 hours while the bride and groom disappeared with the photographer. Um, no. We don’t do that. It’s rude. Even if the guests have drinks and appetizers, taking over 90 minutes for ALL (including family) photos is a terrible idea. Not only will people start to get antsy for dinner and find you to be rude hosts, but if they’re drinking they could drink too much. That’s a recipe for disaster.
Our general photo timeline typically looks something like this:
Family Portraits- 20 minutes
Bridal Party Portraits- 20 minutes
Bride and Groom Portraits – 40 minutes
If the bride and groom want more time to do photos, they can do a First Look before their ceremony, or they can book a Day After session.
We’ve all been to those weddings where we’ve waited an hour after the ceremony with no food. Photography after the ceremony is going to take about an hour, and if you’re a guest who’s starving, it feels like an eternity. I ALWAYS suggest having a Cocktail Hour, even if the spread is simple. Play some music and give the guests something to eat. At our wedding, we had a spread of Italian appetizers, including stuffed mushrooms, prosciutto-wrapped melon, and fresh fruit. Of course, we’re Italian, so food was a priority for us. If you’re on a tight budget, fruit and cheese trays are a great option. Did you know you can purchase gourmet cheeses and crackers at Grocery Outlet? Well, now ya do! You can buy your fruit at COSTCO, or wherever it’s on sale, and have a volunteer put the trays together. You don’t need plates, and cocktail napkins are an affordable option for serving.
Outdoor Wedding in the HOT Summer Without Shade
If you’re having a summer wedding and you know it’s going to be 100 degrees, don’t have it all outdoors. And if you REALLY want it outdoors, put guest tables in the SHADE. There’s nothing more miserable than sweating profusely for several hours. You should also provide fans.
Here’s some really cute wedding programs that double as fans: https://www.theknot.com/real-weddings/fan-wedding-programs-photos
Reception Setup Too Crowded
Once we photographed a wedding at a new venue, and I vowed to never return. Why? Because the tables were shoved so close together that it was almost impossible to move throughout the reception. I kept bumping into guests’ chairs and saying, “I’m sorry! Excuse me! SORRY!” I felt horrible for the guests, who were like sardines in a can and constantly being bumped.
It can be really cute and a personal touch to do a slideshow at your wedding, but no one wants to look at your baby photos for 45 minutes. Sorry to burst your bubble. If you want to do a slideshow, keep it to ten minutes, and make sure it’s interesting. Really sort and curate the photos to tell a good story in a short amount of time, and use fun music.
That’s my two cents! If you have other suggestions, put them in the comments!
Modesto Wedding Photographer, Dawn Kelly Photography specializing in unique, elegant, timeless weddings captured on film