The Meeting With Your Melbourne Wedding Photographer and Videographer For Your Wedding Day Plan
Working on your wedding day plan could be a complex and challenging job. Thus meeting your major wedding service suppliers and knocking down some final details before the wedding is essential. As an industry pro, we got a name for this meeting – “Pre-Wedding Consultation”.
I always encourage my couples to have the pre-wedding consultation with their wedding service suppliers such as the reception event manager, the makeup and hair artist, the celebrant, and the MC for their big day. However, in this article, I will talk more about this consultation from my profession — a Melbourne wedding photographer’s perspective.
As a wedding photographer, I will normally start to reconnect with my couples bout 4-6 weeks before their weddings. Of course, we could chat about their big day via email or phone, after they secure the booking. However, this is more of an invitation for a formal meeting, which we need to work out a serious wedding day plan for photography purposes. It may take some time between the couple and me to find out the best possible available time for the pre-wedding consultation. So this formal meeting will normally be locked about 2-4 weeks before the wedding day.
Before the Covid 19, I will meet up with 90% of my couple in our office. As I feel it is better to build the connection and have the photographer’s chemistry with the couple. However, through the pandemic, we have heaps of things changed in this world permanently. Some couples, especially those who lived a bit far from Melbourne CBD, now prefer to finish the pre-wedding consultation online via Zoom or other online meeting apps. As far as I know, most wedding photographers or other wedding service suppliers are fine with both of these two options. Personally, I prefer to have this meeting in the studio as it is an almost 100% controlled environment. I could showcase my previous works with a large iMac screen and I also have plenty of albums for the couple to choose from.
Depending on how many questions the couple have regarding your service for their wedding, the pre-wedding consultation will normally last 30-60 minutes. The first half an hour is most likely spent on confirming the location, the time, and the contact numbers of key persons at the wedding. The rest of the time will be spent on throwing tips and answering the questions from the couple.
Some couples love the natural and candid style wedding with a more lay back and relaxed vibe. While some other couples prefer their wedding more in a formal format. You could definitely see the difference in the number of questions that these two types of couples will ask.
Sometimes if both the photographer and videographer are from the same company and they are both in the office for this pre-wedding consultation, it is better to leave a bit extra time tolerance when you purchased the parking ticket. It could be a 90 minutes meeting when you also have the payment need to deal with on the same day.
For most of the weddings I have been through in Melbourne, there are 5 major parts.
Here below we will be talking about how a wedding photographer will work out a fully custom, with in-depth detail, well-structured wedding day plan through this pre-wedding meeting. It is a workflow to ensure wedding photographers could capture all the important moments and the emotions of the wedding day.
The first step to establishing the wedding day plan is to confirm the wedding ceremony and reception starting time. These two time points are the foundation for the entire planning process. The other parts’ starting time could be calculated by the professional wedding photographer based on these two.
Confirm details for the wedding ceremony. The wedding ceremony is where photographers should shoot in a silent mode in most scenarios. It is better to let the wedding celebrant / the priest and the couple be all the guest’s focus. Thus, A professional wedding photographer should be fully prepared when the bride arrives at the wedding ceremony site. Ask the couple for more about their photography preference and explain how you normally process is for this part.
The pivotal moments of the wedding ceremony are the bride walking down the aisle and the first kiss. Both these two moments cannot be repeated again, Thus it requires the wedding photographer’s attention and care. As a wedding photographer myself, I will always be at the wedding ceremony site 30 minutes earlier than its official starting time. Moreover, it is totally fine to ask the bride to walk in a bit slower and the couple’s first kiss a bit longer for more photography opportunities.
The wedding ceremony will be finished with the signing of the legal documents and the couple walking out of the aisle. Sometimes, they may also organise a flower pedal or confetti shower when they walk out. Make sure the camera is in burst shooting mode as the couple may close their eyes most of the time when they walk under the rain of the flower pedal or confetti. One more extra tip here is to let the guests know that they should be throwing high rather than directly at the couple’s face.
When the wedding ceremony is done, the photographer will normally have the group photo and family photo captured at the ceremony location as well. Ask the couple whether they prefer to do it straight away or leave 5-10 minutes for mingling.
The next part is to work out the arrival time for the wedding photographer for the bride and groom’s preparation. Typically, the groom’s preparation will be addressed first, as the bride and her bridesmaids often require more time for makeup and hair. However, exceptions may occur, such as when the couple prepares at the same time. In this scenario, it requires two wedding photographers to work simultaneously in the groom’s and brides’ getting ready location respectively.
When the bridal party is a large squad like more than 3 bridesmaids, please let the couple know the makeup artists and hair artists need to start really early in the morning. So when wedding photographers show up, all the girls are ready for photos straight away. I have seen quite a few weddings miss the photo opportunities during the bride getting ready part, due to the late finish of the makeup and hair artists. To account for the potential delays, the wedding photographer could advise the bride to finish the makeup and hair 30 minutes before the photographer’s arrival. This time will buffer the contingency which may happen early on the wedding day.
The recommended time for the groom’s preparation is 60-90 minutes, and the bride’s preparation usually takes about 90-120 minutes. Factors such as the traffic, the weather, the preparation locations, and the ceremony location could also sometime change the schedule. This is why previously we have to write down both couple’s contact numbers and the photographer’s contact number on this paperwork. When changes need to be made, we could let everyone get involved know.
The wedding photo location sessions normally will be organised after the wedding ceremony. It should generally be seen as two major types – Onsite or offsite.
For the onsite photo location shoot, the wedding ceremony, photoshoot and wedding reception are supposed to happen in one place. It is suggested to allocate at least 1 hour, allowing for ample time to capture beautiful shots and potentially extend it to 1.5 hours or longer if the couple requires more time or wishes to have more photos with the guests.
An offsite photo location shoot normally requires additional consideration for travel time, parking time, and pre-approval photography permit at certain locations. The photographer could allocate anywhere from 1 to 3 hours, depending on the chosen location and the photo opportunities at these places. Please remember to leave a bit of time after the couple come back to the reception. The couple and bridal party need to have a bit of refreshment and the bride may also need a bit of retouch with her makeup. In most cases, wedding photographers will head into the reception room and capture the room settings such as the cake, the bridal table and the centrepiece during this period.
For detailed offsite wedding photo shoot locations when the couples are going to get married around Melbourne City or Inner Suburb, I have another blog to list most of the beautiful photo shooting places around Melbourne. Click HERE to see it.
The final version of the wedding reception timeline is usually confirmed by the wedding MC, who oversees events like the first dance, cake cutting, speeches, and more.
However, the photographer could also give suggestions to this run sheet to make sure they are prepared and shoot all the important moments that happened during the reception flawlessly.
For example, when the couples are keen on the golden and dreamy sunset photos, the photographer may spend a 10 – 20 minute’ break when other guests have their entrée to capture those magical moments.
Moreover, if certain reception formalities are closely scheduled with no time break for necessary equipment adjustments, the photographer could also propose small gaps between each formality. This will benefit both the wedding photographer and videographer with some more time to set up cameras, lighting gear, and audio equipment.
Discuss with the couple individually for any special formalities, like a surprising dancing or singing they may get prepared for each other. This happens from time to time. It is not for every wedding, but still worth asking to get the wedding photographer prepared for what needs to be captured.
You may also need to speak to the newlyweds about how the night will be finished. “People Arch” and “Two Lines Sparkling” are the most typical two methods to finish the party. Wedding photographers need this information to make sure you are equipped with the right flash, lens and camera settings.
After all the above things are done during this pre-wedding consultation, we should have a formal wedding day plan with all the major and important details written on paper. Show this to the couple to have the final confirmation and make sure all the information is correct. Photocopy and scan it, and make sure the wedding photographer, the videographer, and the couple all could grab a copy of it. It is the result of pre-wedding consultation and the foundation for all of us to cooperate well for a fantastic wedding day.
Still have questions for pre-wedding consultation or any other details about your wedding? You are welcome to make an appointment and chat with me through HERE.