How not to organise a weddingThe 7 Minute Wedding Shoot!

I felt compelled to relay this story to all of you couples out there, on how not to organise your wedding.

Recently, I shot a couple where a whole bunch of mishaps occurred, that could have completely been avoided. It is so important to make sure that your i”s are dotted and your t”s are crossed in the organisation of such an important day and particularly when time is critical and key. There are a series of criteria that I suggest to all couples to avoid such situations occurring.

Here are some of my suggestions:

  • Supply all timing, address and telephone contact details for each location.
  • Supply alternate telephone numbers as well (not just the bride & groom’s).
  • Don’t arrive too late to your wedding ceremony.
  • Make lists of family and formal portraits to be taken after the ceremony.
  • Make notes of the shots that are important to you so your photographer knows too.
  • Leave family & friends behind – go to locations with the photographer & bridal party only.
  • Have the bridal party there for part of location shooting only – not the whole thing
  • It’s important that I spend MOST of the allotted time with just the two of you – then you see & think only of each other, allowing your photographs to be more personal, natural and uninhibited.

Well, that brings me back to the initial reason for writing this article.

I always make sure that I leave myself plenty of time to arrive stress free to any job and am at least 15 min early – often half an hour. This particular day, the bride had sent me an incorrect address, one digit out – easy to do… My navigator took me to the location specified, I got out of my car, scanning for the street number and found my groom’s house to actually be a florist. I walked into the florist shop and asked the staff about where I could find the groom. They of course, told me that no such groom existed here. Oh. Okay then, I’ll call the bride and find out what’s going on. Such is Murphy’s Law, that my call went straight through to voice mail. Oh crap! What the heck am I supposed to do now? The only contact number I had was that of the bride’s, even after specifically asking for more reliable contacts. Anyway, I rang every couple of minutes, because there was nothing else I could really do.

20 min after my official start time I finally got the correct address. We lost 25 min of shooting time in a relatively tight schedule just because I only had one contact.

I like to arrive at the church around half an hour ‘ish before the start of the ceremony. This gives me an opportunity to set up my lighting within the church and to catch the guests arriving along with the groom and his family. So, as the ceremony was to start at 4:30, I arrived there at four o’clock. I took my equipment into the church, set up some ceremony lighting and parked my car. So I waited.

At 4:30, the official starting time, there were still no guests, no groom and definitely no bride – no one to photograph, except the priest…  Eventually, the groom and his bride arrived. We lost another half an hour…



After the ceremony, the couple and guests congregated out in the foyer of the church for another 30 min. I’d say that there were around about a dozen people in total, including the bride and groom.  Eventually we left and took the limo to the gardens, 20 minutes by car.

It is not always the greatest outcome to take your families out onto location. People arrive sporadically at locations, especially if the traffic is bad.  We lost 10 minutes waiting for all of the people to arrive.

So, from all the little snags and delays adding up from before meant that by the time I could start focusing on the couple shots, it was very close to the starting time of the reception. We could only manage 7 min location shooting time.

So the moral of the story is – be organised. If you’re properly prepared, then everything will fall into it’s time and place. Your day will be full of love with the time to enjoy & reflect… and your photographs will be beautiful..