Early in my career, there was a common trend with the brides I was working with. They were stressed out. They would show up on the wedding day frazzled and frantic. My first assessment was that these ladies were….bridezillas. I thought I was being hired by the kind of bride who was just “that way.”
And, then I realized something. It had more to do with me than it did with them.
As a wedding photographer, it not only my job to photograph the wedding day, but to prepare my clients for it. So, I began to do that. I began to teach my clients about how the wedding day will flow. From the beginning, the very first time we talk, I ask them to talk through the timeline they are predicting, and then I make small corrections based on the reality of a wedding day. For example, they may think that that family portraits are going to take 35 minutes. I can usually do them 15-20. Sometimes less. They may assume that they need me to photograph the entire reception. I’ve started to educate my brides that they can do a “mock exit” about 1.5-2 hours into the night (this works best with a sparkler exit). That keeps them from paying me for several additional hours of candid dancing pictures (you don’t really want those!), and it allows for a better “finale” picture with all of their friends and family still gathered together. Then, I say goodnight and you dance the night away….without paying me a dime.
My understanding of how a wedding itinerary should flow, it now equal to that of a wedding coordinator. And, if you do not have a wedding coordinator… what is the timeline of your wedding centered around? The pictures! As a photographer, we must know when/how things should/will unfold.
Here’s an example of one of my itineraries that I custom made for one of my recent brides… complete with addresses of each place, a complete timeline, and all of my information at the bottom in case they need me.
Now….all of my clients? Stress-free. It had more to do with me than it did with them.