Recently, I’ve been watching a YouTube channel that talks about crazy bridezilla wedding stories, and one of them was about this sign seen at a wedding (this is not my photo and not from a wedding I photographed!)
Grooms, sometimes you may feel like you are a “special guest” at your wedding, just a featured player in the main event. The wedding industry tends to focus mostly on the bride and things can start to feel like it’s all about her but that isn’t the truth at all! Your wedding day is just that – YOUR wedding day, the 2 of you together. Despite the party and the focus on the bride, this is your marriage, a vow or covenant you are making with your bride and THAT is what it’s about. Your role in the wedding is vital – unless the bride proposed to you (good for her!) then none of this would be happening in the first place without that first step.
When it comes to wedding photography, I know that your bride is most likely more excited about wedding images than you are, but we are capturing one of the most important days of your life as well, and you should be equally celebrated. I hope this blog post helps you with some questions you may have or serves even just to educate you a little on this whole wedding photography process.
Amanda is my second photographer and spends the first half of a wedding day with the groom. She starts out arriving an hour or so before the ceremony, just to capture some candids of you and your guys hanging out some details, and some getting ready shots. This isn’t nearly as extensive as the bridal details, but we still love to capture them. Your details will include anything you are wearing – shoes, tie, belt, socks, cufflinks, tie clip, watch, etc. The detail photos help tell the overall story of the day, particularly when designing a wedding album. We prefer the bride to have all of the wedding rings so that we can photograph them with her details, but if it doesn’t work out that way, we will just do the 3 rings together at the reception.
What to Expect:
If your wedding photography is booked with me and you’ve done your engagement session, we’ve already talked about how being in front of a camera is awkward and doesn’t feel natural. We get it – we hate being in front of the camera too! But I assure you that we will tell you exactly what to do and will get it done as quickly and painlessly as possible. We want you to look back and remember your photography experience as being a positive and even fun part of your wedding day and we take pride in testimonies that comment on how easy we make things for everyone.
Sometimes, having a female photographer hanging around with you and your guys sounds less than ideal, but the good news is Amanda, or anyone who may take her place, has been doing this for a LONG time and has seen and heard everything. We’ve definitely got some stories to tell. Amanda and I also both have teenage sons and don’t get embarrassed or offended easily. We truly try to just stay out of the way, fading into the background as much as possible.
Amanda will get a few photos of you and your guys hanging out, then will pull you aside to get some staged “getting ready” photos. If you prefer this to be private, without an audience of your friends watching and making you laugh, just let us know. This will take about 10 minutes, at the most, and you’ll be able to get right back to hanging out. She may also stage some moments with your best man or dad helping you get ready or your mom pinning on your boutonniere. (Don’t worry if no one knows how to do this, Amanda can help with this too!)
After you have gotten ready, you will take photos with your groomsmen and with your family. These will usually be taken at the same place you have been hanging out, but sometimes, it may be at the church or reception venue. All ushers, groomsmen, and ring bearers should be available for these photos as well as your parents. Sometimes your mom and/or sisters may be with the bride. If they aren’t present while you are getting ready, we want to make them feel special too. Just like the focus is usually on the bride, it’s usually on her family as well and we don’t want anyone to feel overlooked. In that case, we can take photos with them at another time during the day. We also love to take a nice portrait of your parents together. How often are they both dressed up together like this?
You can also expect a few photos of you alone to be taken at this point too. You will never regret having a nice portrait of yourself from your wedding day! And the best part is that all of these photos will usually take no more than 10-15 minutes.
But There’s Still More …
Once you have gotten ready, that isn’t the end of photos. If you are doing a First Look, we will photograph that as well as portraits of you with your bride and as many of the family photos as we can possibly do before the ceremony. If there isn’t a first look, these photos will be taken after the ceremony.
So here’s the thing … we know that once you are married, the pressure is off and you can’t wait to relax and have a blast at your party. We get that and we want to get you there as soon as possible. But, our job is to take amazing photos of you and your bride on a once in a lifetime day for you. After the ceremony will be family formals. I promise we also try to make this go as quickly and smoothly as possible. We have a system, an order, and a list; as long as everyone is present and on standby for their turn, it will be over before you know it. The very last photos we will do before you head to the reception are of you and your bride alone.
This is the point where couples can start feeling anxious and impatient to get to the reception but it’s also the part where we can get the best photos. So I invite you to look at this time a little differently. Instead of seeing it as time away from your guests and your reception, look at it as quiet time with your new bride. This is the very first time you will be alone with your wife (well, mostly alone, we will still be there) Once all the guests have exited the church or ceremony area, it’s just the two of you for the first time since saying, “I do.” Cherish these moments together. They will likely be the last quiet moments you’ll have alone for a few hours. Just as before, we will direct you and tell you exactly what to do so that it’s as easy as possible and we will also move quickly and efficiently so we can get you to the party!
A few pointers to make this part go a little faster:
- Encourage everyone who will be in the photos to pay attention.
- Tell the bridal party and all needed family members to exit the ceremony and immediately meet at the location where photos will be taken
- Have both sets of parents work together on a photo list for us – we arrange this list a certain way and stick to it so that we don’t miss important photos. It’s important that we have a comprehensive list before the wedding day.
- Reassure everyone that we want to get this done as quickly as you do so the more they listen, the quicker we will be done
Bonus – The Honeymoon:
Planning the honeymoon can sometimes be the groom’s job and if not, here are some tips to help your bride make this big decision.
- Know your budget – don’t start a new marriage with debt. The honeymoon is a big deal, but if you can’t afford it right now, save the more extravagant trips for future anniversaries
- Plan a trip for both of you – talk about what you both want in a honeymoon and consider a location that offers both. For example, my husband likes to snorkel and scuba dive, while I prefer to relax on the beach. I also love adventure and seeing the local sites while he loves drinking and eating. We like to vacation very differently!
- All-inclusive or not? Because of our varying likes, my husband and I always opt for an all-inclusive. A major perk of going this route is that it’s paid for before you leave so you can go without worrying about money during your trip. I work for a travel agency on the side and specialize in all-inclusive resorts because I love them that much. If you would like to chat about options, just send me an email and I can help you figure everything out! Cruises are also a great somewhat all-inclusive option. I can help with this as well.
- Bonus tip – a couple of years ago, I had a bride and groom go on “mini-moons” or “many moons.” Instead of one large, expensive trip right after the wedding, they opted to take a few smaller trips during the year that followed their wedding. I thought that was a great idea and such a fun way to spend the first year of marriage!
If flying internationally or cruising isn’t your thing, there are tons of places to visit in the US. Here are some of our favorite destinations that we’ve visited recently that can be a little more budget-friendly:
- Florida Keys (not just Key West but all of them)
- Rent an RV and take a road trip – we visited Arkansas and Missouri during the fall months – it was beautiful!
- Blue Ridge Mountains / Smoky Mountains – there are tons of places around here to visit including Asheville, NC, which I think would make an amazing honeymoon. It’s such a fun and eclectic town!
- Fredricksburg and Austin – This area is part of Texas Wine Country and Austin is just another fun and eclectic place that has a ton to do.
There will be moments throughout the wedding planning process when your bride will feel stressed. Planning a wedding is hard work – there are a ton of things to do, it gets expensive and there are sometimes family expectations and drama to deal with. Even if she says she’s fine, check on her. Ask her how it’s going but do NOT try to fix it! Just listen to her, she likely just needs to vent. Take on some of the tasks. Ask about helping her with her list. Take some time for date nights. Don’t neglect your relationship because of the busyness of wedding planning.
Your engagement is supposed to be a time that prepares you for marriage. Use this time to work together, become closer, and feel more connected so that when your wedding day arrives, you will look forward to marriage as a team – a lifelong adventure with your best friend.