What makes a great Wedding by Cardiff Wedding Photographer Nathan Marshall
What makes a great wedding!?
I have shot 40 weddings now and I think I know what makes for a great wedding, and of course great pictures. So here goes, my list of things to make your wedding day FANTASTIC!!!!
Obviously, the weather is such a key to a great wedding. The bride stresses about will it rain or not, that it takes over the enjoyment of the day. It also effects photos and where people can mingle and interact. If it's dry people will go outside and you can see the guest really relax away from the reception rooms, which In turn gives you great shots and also different surrounding to shoot giving the photos more variety. Plan for the rain, one of my brides (one of my favourite couples) planned for rain, she had hired umbrellas and placed them around the venue just in case. I always tell my brides to bring wellies, even if it doesn't rain they are must to keep those wedding shoes clean.
2... The bridal Prep.
When shooting bridal prep and you want to create stunning shots of the bride and bridesmaids getting ready you hope and wish that room has some character. The nicest rooms to do bridal prep are in the old hotels, and not the 5 start brand new hotels with rooms which you could place in any hotel.
When brides book bridal prep with me and you a arrange a time to be at the hotel house to capture it, please Brides don't already have your hair and makeup done. I am here to capture your transformation from girl next door to princess. If you want me to stage those pics after you have had it all done ask me to turn up a hour before wedding not 4. You will get more creative photos whilst is happening rather than when it's staged.
3... Journey to ceremony.
Allow yourself and the photographer enough time to get to it. Remember that the photographer leaves everywhere after you and needs to get to the location ahead of you and find a parking space and set up. Enjoy it take the scenic route, your in a nice car and why not keep your groom waiting for 5 mins to make a sweat.
4... The ceremony,
This is such a small part of the day but the most important. They all go pretty much the same, just check with vicar about flash photography or over use of your camera before hand. Some places are really funny about it.
5... Times for photos,
Use the time straight after ceremony to get all your group shots done, everyone will be at the same location, and it's easier as nobody will have to find their hat or jacket or put the drink down. Once your done send everyone to the bar. Let the couple know before hand that you want the main shots and bridal party shot after the meal before the evening kicks off as it's better light, a quiet patch in the day and during the summer, cooler.
6... The Meal and Speeches.
All venues are pretty good at what they do around food and service so so far I haven't witnessed anything that has spoilt the day. Most venues offer days for bride and grooms to pop down and sample the food pre wedding so that you know what your eating is great.
Speeches, I love them. I love watching the best man sweat about it from the moment he turns up. So add to his discomfort and tell him you can't wait for his speech. The panic 10 minutes before the speeches are painfully funny to watch.
7... Calm before the storm,
This will be between the meal and speeches and before the evening guest start arriving. It's normally a pretty quiet part of the day where people start to really relax. This is the time when all photographers would want to shoot bride and groom prep! Just because the wedding planner has planned it in for after the ceremony doesn't mean it's the correct time to do it. If you want great photos do them in the evening. Be forceful with your wedding planner/ coordinator.
8... The cake cut,
You have paid hundreds for the cake and want great photos of it and yourselfs. Ask the venue where they will put the cake. Most places put the cake in the corner next to light switch, plug sockets, fire extinguishers. Your photos will look tacky if this is the case. Move the table out from the wall a bit and have it more central so people can gather round it better. It did exactly that at Rosedew barn in Llantwit Major.
9... First Dance,
So you haven't gone to dance lessons to put on a show. Photographers can still get great shots using off camera flash, wide angle lense and also just shooting the emotion of the dance between you both. When booking your Dj ask him what lights he has for the dance. 1 white spot light would be perfect. I have been to many now where the lights are all sort of coloured spots which makes the brides dress look like it should be on Mrs Tumble
10... The Venue it self.
A great venue is has a great look to hit, classic or stylish, gardens or a view. The number of rooms you have for the wedding helps so much with pictures. If you have just 1 room people will tend to be sat for most of the day which makes for boring looking photos. Ideally a bar, space outside,a lounge area and then the reception room. The court Coleman in Bridgend is a great example of this.
So that's it. Small things, but to make sure you have a great day just relax and enjoy it, make time for each other as you will find yourself bumping into great aunt bessy and talking to her for ages. Have your bridesmaid best man watch you for a save me sign to drag you away back to the party. Don't worry about how you look, as "no body will tell you that you look rough today" as quoted by a previous bride, and that's so true. Bring different shoes if you don't want to ruin your wedding ones. Invite your friends, more than often your friends will be left out of the day to invite that great aunt Bessy who you haven't seen for years. Invite the people that matter the most to you.
There is just one more thing to make your wedding great. And that's to book me to shoot your wedding for you. I am the one that will be by your side the whole day. I will see those tears of nerves before, tears of love during and the tears of joy after.