Jo Wheeler - Photographer
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Pre-wedding day considerations

Hints/Tips and things to think about before you get married!

You've probably spent ages planning your wedding day, planning the details of what you want the decor at the venue to look like, the perfect cake, those perfect summer/spring blooms in your wedding bouquet, the favours on the table, not to mention that list of people you want to invite and those you know you should invite (but don't really want too), the table plan, who should sit by who, who said yes, but now can't make it... and so it goes.

You have spent some time looking for a wedding photographer and have picked someone you like, is within your budget and available for your wedding day.

So let's put all that planning behind us (behind you actually, but you know what I mean), and focus on the day itself. Have you thought much about your actual wedding photos - not those formal ones where grandparents/parents/siblings stand in a line and smile at the camera - but those ones that get taken while you are getting ready (if you are having that part of your day photographed).

St Michaels Church, Droitwich Wedding photographerAfter photographing many brides getting ready, I can say that it appears that a lot of brides don't really think about this part of their wedding photography, and why would they, if nobody has pointed out things for them to consider.

So let's have a look at the stuff that might be worth thinking about before I turn up to photograph your Bridal Preparation.

Space/room/area/expanse - call it what you will - but this refers to the area in which you will be getting ready and what it might look like in photos.

Think about how big it is, will you all fit in, will you get on top of each other, is there room to accommodate those people who pop by to say hello and wish you luck and others who have no real role to play for the day, but want to be on hand to help if needed.

What I am getting at is - will there be enough room for me to take some great pictures, or will I be an unwelcome addition to a room that is already filled to the gunnels with people doing your make-up or hair, the Mother of the Bride having her hair and make up done, not to mention bridesmaids, flower girls or Page Boys and all those others who you want close to you when you get married.

If you are planning to get ready at home - get ready in the biggest room in the house with the best light - I can always use a flash, but natural light is so much better. You haven't got to get into your dress in this room if you don't want the people there to see you in your undies, but for the best pictures, space makes things easier for everybody.

Birmingham wedding day photography

If you are fortunate enough to be getting ready at a hotel where you are due to get married, then you may be limited on space by choice, cost or availability. Most hotels that host civil wedding ceremonies also offer a Bridal or Honeymoon suite and while these are usually lovely spaces, they are really only meant for sleeping (not a party which is what getting ready can sometimes become - yay!) and space can once again be at a premium when the room is filled with people helping you get ready.

I have no control over where you get ready and for those of you on a budget, you may not have the option to book a hotel for the night before, or accommodation elsewhere, but I will always take and supply you with the best pictures from the space that we find ourselves in.

Tidy it up a bit - I think photographers fall into two categories - those who will move all distractions in the background and make your photos as uncluttered as possible or those who will see the 'clutter' as part of the getting ready process and leave things as they are.

There was a time when I'd leave the clutter where it was because at the time of taking the photos, there was a lot going on and I didn't want to miss a thing, but I found that when I got the pictures home to process, bits in the background frustrated me a little and I'd berate myself for not removing them before I took the picture.

Now I flip-flop between the two: there is clutter I will tolerate and clutter I won't, coupled with a healthy dose of sometimes simply not having the time to remove the clutter, (and there are no doubt some photographers who will think that removing the clutter as being something they are not being paid for) so I suppose it's up to you and your view of clutter.

Bridal Prep wedding day photographer If you think it's something you'll notice in a picture, first of all, tell me (I once had someone point out that they hated that a friends wedding photographer had not excluded electric sockets in some getting ready photos) and ask someone to try to keep the space you are in tidy, but if you are relaxed about your photos being an honest reflection of you getting ready in all its messy glory, then I guess it's something we don't need to worry about (but I can't promise I won't move one or two things if they are in the way).

If you have a garden or outside space and are hoping for some pictures outside, consider where you might stand and see if it needs some things moving out of the way or if the grass needs cutting or anything else to make the space look better. Again, I'm not averse to moving things, but might not have the time or be able to improve things in the short time we might have to do your pictures.

Assemble the important items for your day - If you have jewellery items, shoes, garter, something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue that you are planning to wear on your day, then gather these items together so I can photograph them.

Something I also really like to do but have had little chance to do so is collate and photograph your wedding stationery, such as the Save the Date cards you may have sent out, along with the invitations and any other bits of wedding stationery that you probably agonised over - just because you used some of this stationery well before your wedding day, doesn't mean you shouldn't have a record of it in a photograph or two.

Time - you think you have lots of time, but getting ready will go in a flash. Give yourself some wriggle room if things go a little awry such as not being able to fasten your dress as you want it on the first attempt. This is even more important if you are planning a wedding when the day could be warm and sunny. There is nothing worse than getting hot and sticky and finding that you can't pull items of clothing up or down, making you even more hot and sticky. If you are in your wedding attire a bit earlier than planned, it will give us chance to do photos of you and some of the important people in your life.

Talk - If you have any worries, concerns or anything that is on your mind regarding your photography, let me know. If you are a little self-conscious about something (who isn't) let me know and I can make sure that I photograph you accordingly.