welcome to Part 2 of my guide on simple tips to ensure you not only have the best wedding day possible, but that you also get amazing wedding films and photos.

If you’ve set your heart on certain events being in your film, it’s important to share your wedding day timeline with me…

In the last post we touched on the fact that unless you have a second shooter, you’ll have to decide what the priority is for filming and photography. In this post I’ll cover each stage of the timeline and what sort of things you may need to consider—it’s usually allowing enough time for getting cameras set up in position!

Not having yet mastered the art of cloning myself, there’s no way I can be in two places at the same time—there are workarounds, but they usually involve compromising.

This is particularly critical if you’re having multiple venues that are a long way from each other. The bigger and more complex the wedding day, the more I recommend you have additional shooters.

As a general guide, I’d start with the times of the ceremony and then work backwards from that, to work out travel times (always allow extra time for the inevitable tractor, if there are country lanes, or traffic jams and diversions in busy areas). And then work forward from the ceremony time and see what time blocks you have between that and the reception/speeches time. Usually the venue will advise on the initial timings as they’ll be organising the food and sometimes also the ceremony.

Don’t be afraid to share your schedule with your suppliers to check they think it works. Once you’ve all agreed on it, I also recommend sharing this with your guests so they know when they need to be where.

Bride and Groom Preparation…

01.

Don’t be last for hair and make-up

Don’t have your make-up and hair done last. I think it looks better if you have it done a bit earlier, so it has a chance to soften and not look too ‘pristine’, and you can always have a last-minute touch-up.

I don’t really like to start filming the bridal preparation until the make-up is nearly finished, it just looks better, especially on the short film.

There’s just more time to get more interesting shots of you with your relatives and friends while you look good, before I have to shoot off to get ready for the ceremony.

Morden Hall make up portrait scene - How to have the perfect wedding (and films and photos)—Part II

02.

Putting on the dress and ‘first looks’

It’s nice to capture the dress being zipped or laced up, and often brides want to have their father’s first look of them in their dress being filmed. However, if this happens too late, it’ll clash with the time I need to be travelling to the venue, and then capturing some establishing shots of the venue and the guests arriving to tell the story, as well as setting up cameras for filming the ceremony.

The workaround if you’ve only got one shooter is to get your dress on earlier (as soon as you’ve got make-up on) and have your father see you sooner. If you’re not having a first look, then you can ‘stage’ getting the dress on in advance.

The Ceremony

If you have a floorplan or diagram of the layout of the ceremony, it really helps me to have a copy of this, along with details of any readings, and then I can make sure everyone is mic’d up in advance before the ceremony, so the best possible audio is recorded.

03.

The arrival of the bride | Coming down the stairs | Getting out of the car…

If you’re having a feature film or highlights, I should be able to film you arriving and getting out of the car, or coming down the stairs at the venue, as I can then follow you as you go down the aisle and film from the back. Or you can wait a few seconds before entering the room so I and the photographer have time to get into position before you come down the aisle.

If you’ve opted for a film of the full ceremony, I’ll always prioritise the cameras at the front, as they’ll get the best footage, but if space is restricted, I may not be able to do so. Ideally I’d have space around the edges to move around to discreetly check the recordings. This is why it really helps to have a floor plan/diagram of the layout of the ceremony and seating in advance and then I can tell you what’s possible. If you opt for a second shooter, then I can capture both!

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04.

The actual ceremony

For the wedding, you have the option of facing forward, looking at the celebrant/registrar, or facing each other. It’s totally your preference; I love both, but it really helps if I know this in advance as it will affect where I position the cameras for filming, which I have to do in advance.

Spa Hotel wedding ceremony outside temple 2 - How to have the perfect wedding (and films and photos)—Part II

05.

The confetti throw

Normally this is just after the ceremony, but it’s so much more impressive if it’s staged and it also adds to the anticipation! The photographer and I can then agree on a great place where the background looks attractive as well…

If you’re having a line, often the photographer and the videographer will walk backwards in front of you while the guests throw as you pass. The other option is to take photos and film from the end or side, or even from above! If you particularly want your guests to be able to see you both and not the photographer and videographer, you need to flag this up with both of us.

If people just throw the confetti from the aisle, because most people aren’t in range, it just looks a bit pathetic, and there’s a risk of it being thrown into your face you showing up with squints and grimaces, or worse, with rice or confetti in your eyes . Staging it gives a longer line as well, which gives the photographer and the videographer more time to get as many awesome shots as possible.

confetti throw wedding videos photos  - How to have the perfect wedding (and films and photos)—Part II

Staging the confetti throw ensures you get the best photos possible of this amazing moment…

The Wedding Photos

06.

Group shots

I definitely recommend putting together a shot list and also nominating someone in your party to make sure everyone is in the right place at the right time for their posed shots.

For larger weddings it can take 10 minutes or more per group photo, most of which is spent finding people, organising them and taking enough shots to get them all smiling!

If I’m doing video, I normally film group shots as they happen and include the photographer, and the interaction between him/her and between the guests.

Photo 4  Group photo bridesmaids polaroid gosfield hall essex 768x929.bak - How to have the perfect wedding (and films and photos)—Part II

07.

Couple shots

I love taking video of couple shots but video is different from photos, as I’ll want a ‘natural’ version of a walk, a smile, a look or a kiss or hug, and you looking at each other, whereas the photography shots will normally be staged, static and may have you looking at each other.

Remember to factor in enough time for both video and photo couple shots. For video, it doesn’t need to be that much extra—maybe around 30 minutes over the whole day for shots specifically for the video. It’s your day, so it’s your choice what you have, but I can tell you couple motion shots look amazing in films.

If you have a shot list in mind for video, then I can give you an estimate of how long it will take to cover these. I love doing experimental shots, so just let me know if you’d like me to include these for you.

The Reception

32 Leeds castle bride walking down the aisle at Maidens Tower - How to have the perfect wedding (and films and photos)—Part II

08.

The entrance of the bride and groom

Just like the ceremony, if you have a table plan or diagram of the seating arrangements for the reception, it’s really helpful for me to have this, and to know who’s giving speeches and where they’re sitting. This allows me to plan the best angles in advance.

If there are multiple entrances, make sure I know what path you’ll be taking to get to your table!
For the speeches, It’s easiest for photos and video if everyone does speeches from the top table, then I can get the most footage. 

The most difficult thing is if people move around or if they randomly give surprise speeches from around the room. If you think this will happen, but you want all the speeches, tell me so I can put a recorder on the main venue microphone, as well as on all the speakers in advance.

09.

Speeches before or after the meal?

Personally I recommend doing the speeches after eating, as often people are starving, and they’ll be more relaxed after eating and having a bit of drink. I’d only recommend speeches before if they’re really short!

I don’t recommend spacing out the speeches during the meal. It makes planning the courses impossible for the venue, and it’s also really difficult for the photographer and the videographer, as this is the only time we get to have a short break, sit down, back up, and also eat (generally we get fed just after the main course is served to the guests.

The Evening

On the day itself, it can be useful to have a main contact, either from your wedding party or the venue, who’ll keep suppliers and guests up-to-date with real-time changes as the day progresses.

10.

The cake cut…

The cake is often stuck in a corner on a small table and I recommend asking the venue to move this for the actual cutting. I love getting a shot of the cake cut with the guests in the background – it looks so good, and a little planning on where to position it can produce really memorable as well as beautiful clips and photos

Georgia and Jon Cake Cut Mount Ephraim Faversham Kent Art of Life Films 10 1024x576.bak - How to have the perfect wedding (and films and photos)—Part II

11.

The first dance

I look for unusual angles, e. g. from above on a balcony as well as at eye level for the first dance. If you want the whole dance recorded with multiple angles – I’ll need set up time, and a plan in advance to avoid guests getting in the way.

If you do want the whole dance recorded on video, I also suggest you choreograph the dance so it looks as good as possible. There are many teachers who specialise in creating and teaching these, whatever your level.

If you haven’t got a choreography in mind, then I generally film this with one or two cameras, depending on space, and may move around with one camera about to get a variety of angles.

A really touch is for the bride to start the first dance with her father, and then for him to hand over to the groom. This way you get some truly memorable photos.

untitled 9 Editfirst dance  wedding Mount Ephraim - How to have the perfect wedding (and films and photos)—Part II

12.

The bouquet toss

You don’t have to do a bouquet toss—maybe you’ve decided to give your bouquet to someone, or you want to keep it. If you don’t want to use your bouquet you can have a separate smaller bouquet made up especially. There’s no strict rule for when to do this – often it’s after the cake cut and the first dance, but if it’s great weather and there’s a nice outside space you can do this earlier.

The only thing I’d say is do this after the couple and group shots! If I get enough warning and there’s time and space I can set up two cameras, otherwise I’ll just shoot it with one. I work with the photographer and the venue on where to do this, but it’s nice to have an attractive background so it looks good in the photos. Some couples like to do the bouquet toss at the end of the night after the dancing.

Falcon Hotel wedding bouquet toss reception 1 1320x743 - How to have the perfect wedding (and films and photos)—Part II

13.

Dancing, and other stuff…

Normally I stay for part of the dancing but I generally leave after about 30 to 60 minutes as by then I’ve usually got enough footage and photos of your day. But, If you’re having fireworks or sparklers or other evening stuff going on, let me know as I can always arrange to stay later.

If there isn’t a lot of parking you might want to consider a wedding bus or suggesting shared cars or taxis for guests.

If I need to allow time for finding parking as well as transporting my equipment, this will eat into filming or photography time, so parking on site really helps with getting more filming time, which will result in a more interesting film!

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Chlla Chapel church wedding guests with groom and bride 1.jpg - How to have the perfect wedding (and films and photos)—Part II
untitled 65 Edit 5 Morden wedding London video colour portrait - How to have the perfect wedding (and films and photos)—Part II

14.

Last but not least…

It goes without saying that if there are any changes to the dates, timings, the order or the venues, please tell me as soon as you know.

I’d rather you told me too much, than too little, as some changes might mean you have make a decision on what takes priority for the films or photos.

Ready for more? Part 3 covers what’s useful to tell me about you, and your wedding party, so I can really personalise your films and photos.

Falling Over Edit 3 Spa Hotel Tunbridge Wells wedding kent video colour portrait - How to have the perfect wedding (and films and photos)—Part II
Best Pre ceremony Edit 6 Spa Hotel Tunbridge Wells wedding landscape bridal preparation portrait - How to have the perfect wedding (and films and photos)—Part II