Twelve tips for great wedding pictures (Part II)

Yesterday I posted "twelve tips for great wedding pictures" **here** and I promised another 12 tips if I got 12 comments on my blog. Call it blog blackmail if you like (thanks to one of my 2010 brides, Neeta for coming up with this terminology on facebook!) but I now have 20 comments on yesterday's post. Of course if you remove the double posts, my replies and my Mum (love you Mum - that's Mom in English-English) then it's still a respectable 14 comments. So as promised, we'll start back up right now:

13. Remind your bridesmaids (and yourself!) to walk slowly down the aisle, hold the bouquets steady, look up and smile at the guests. Excellent bridesmaid walking speed demonstrated in the next picture from Tracey & Kyle's wedding:

14. The same is true for you (and if you've seen your groom before and already taken pictures you'll probably feeling much more relaxed and "in the moment"), walk slowly, look around and take it all in! And of course don't rush the kiss! Here are some lovely non-rushed kisses from 2007/8/9:

15. Decide in advance if you're planning on doing a receiving line after your ceremony and build in appropriate time. A receiving line can take anywhere from 20 minutes for 50 guests to over 90 minutes for 300 or more guests. If you don't plan on doing this, you MUST have a plan to duck away from the entrance otherwise it will happen regardless! I have frequently seen couples who don't want to do a receiving line hang out to take family pictures at the church. As guests file out they want to congratulate the couple and so an impromptu recieving line will form. An hour later the whole timeline is now shot to pieces.

16. Guests like to know whether they should hang out after the ceremony or if they're free to leave. You may want to ask your officiant or post in your program to announce the "next steps" e.g. "Thank you all for celebrating the marriage of {_______ & _______}, you're now free to make your way back to {_________} and relax before cocktail hour starting at 6pm" This allows your guests to leave without feeling rude.

17. I'm often with couple for 10 hours or more on their wedding day and so a vendor meal is always welcome (just let me know if not and I will duck out for 30 minutes to grab dinner). Often hotels will wait until after all guests have been served and then the vendors (band or DJ, photographer, videographer etc) are fed. However after/during dinner/between courses is often the time for cake cutting, parent dances or toasts and so often you'll pay for vendor meals which are barely touched as we all have to race back. Consider asking your wedding venue coordinator to feed your vendors first.And don't worry, even when eating a quick dinner, the creativity doesn't stop:

18. Cake cutting. Your venue may place the cake table into a dark corner of the room and then you'll be kind of hemmed in with your friends and family surrounding you paparazzi style! And all of the flashes will create weird shadows against the wall. Consider asking your venue coordinator if the cake can be moved to a more open and photogenic location - maybe the middle of the dance floor. Also consider if you're serving cake as one of your dessert options, you may need to cut it in between courses to allow the kitchen to prepare it for serving - make sure your photographer is aware of this!

Here are some stunning cakes in great locations. Let them eat cake!

19. If my clients agree, I like to steal them away for about 10-15 minutes around sunset or even late at night. We'll sneak outside and get some beautiful relaxed portraits and you get a little extra time alone. Let me know if you'd like to do this.

20. If you have a guest signature book with pictures from your engagement session, place it somewhere obvious and have your wedding party write in it first. Sometimes guests are scared be the first one to write! You can also ask your DJ to make an announcement asking people to sign. Ultra fine point acid-free Sharpies are a good choice. Have at least 3 pens, they always go missing.

21. Wear your hearts on your sleeves on your wedding day. don't be afraid to show emotion and affection.

22. Share information with your photographer. I love it when couples tell me about the details that are extremely personal to them - the wooden soldier standing in for a brother serving in Iraq - the jewelry given to the bride by her new parents-in law. Having said that it's equally important to trust your photographer! (This is assuming you have a kick-a** photographer in the first place). Some of the bridal magazines and websites will have articles on "500 must have wedding shots". Believe me, your photographer knows that you want a picture of "the kiss" and "the first dance" without such a list. I can work from a 500 item list but there's a good chance I'll be so busy checking off items that I'll miss unexpected and spontaneous moments - like when during his toast, your Father pulls out the slightly worn and crumpled photo he's carried in his wallet since you were three:

23. Plan your reception with your guests in mind. If people are surprised they'll have more fun. Photobooths, Neil Diamond impersonators, a Riverdance performance - it's all good! The guests at Linda & Tom's wedding at Willowdale Estate were delighted to enjoy mini-sliders and even happier to pick up a box of Italian cookies at the end of the evening. Remember that some of your older guests are likely to leave early so you may not want to wait until too late in the night to cut the cake or do your bouquet toss:

24. And talking of bouquet tosses, I've recently seen a lot of alternatives to the bouquet toss such as all of the married couples dancing then gradually leaving the dance floor until the longest married couple remains and they're given the bouquet. If you plan on doing a traditional bouquet toss, talk to your photographer to figure out a good location. And then don't be shy about faking it once, twice, three times and then throw. The anticipation will build and it allows for extra pictures. And of course if you accidentally hit one of your flower girls with the bouquet you can always ask for a do-over:

So I hope part II was helpful and you didn't mind my comment-demands yesterday! Useful? Questions? Want more?


  1. yay! the rest of the tips! thank you!

  2. Yayyy!!! Lots of good tips and I *love* the kiss collage! And the all the cake photos! Thanks Leah!

    PS. Did you do the food art yourself? Hilarious!

  3. If you get 12 more posts will you do 12 more tips :) Love them all!

  4. am laughing--much harder than I should be--at the thought of an ill-aimed bouquet toss. Poor flower girl!

  5. Food art is available at no additional cost, I usually just require a willing participant sitting next to me :)

  6. Some more great tips! Glad you posted them. Keep them coming! I am sure you have more ;)