A photographer’s guidelines for your best bridal party pictures
Every wedding is different and every different wedding has a unique bridal party vibe. Not bragging, but I’ve been to a FEW weddings in my day, and so I’m here today to give you some practical tips on how to get the most out of your friends on your wedding day without driving them crazy in the process.
Value their time and investment in YOUR wedding.
Nobody wants to be called the “b” word on her wedding day, but if you treat your friends like they are in the military rather than a part of your trusted circle, the bridezilla term might make an appearance. The truth about being in a wedding is that it is expensive and time consuming and as anyone other than the bride and groom, they are not doing this for themselves. Your friends are playing a big part in your wedding because they love you, so treat them with love.
Give them time to shine.
We’ve all seen the cutesy photos of girls fawning over a freshly dressed bride and guys sharing a glass of scotch. Those photos don’t happen when the pre-ceremony timeline looks more like a sprint to the finish rather than a stroll through the park. Memories and moments are made when given time. If you want those candid photos and sweet moments to be meaningful all you need is to make time for them. Barking orders and rushing around an overcrowded hotel room only causes stress and sweat for everyone involved. Make sure that you plan enough breathing room in your day to actually enjoy it. Trust me, your photographer (me?) will thank you.
Keep it moving.
This might seem like the theme for this article, but your wedding day is not as important to anyone else but you. Even your sister doesn’t care as much as you. Keep this in mind when you are scheduling your day. Concise and efficient is the name of the game for bridal party pictures. As a general rule, I suggest that you should plan around 5 minutes PER PERSON (assuming equal numbers of men/women) for photos of your bridal party. That means if you have 6 bridesmaids/groomsmen plan for the bridal party photos to take 30 minutes. That’s average. If you decide to have 12 people on each side, the whole thing could take an hour for all the different photos you’d want to have with your full bridal party.
It is important to note that that less time actually creates more chaos when dealing with large groups. If you want your bridal party to appear happy in your photos (doesn’t everyone?) let them know there is an end in sight and a plan in place. Promise them food and drinks and deliver on those promises!
Be a gracious host.
I’m a big fan of allowing your bridal party to sit with their spouses/dates during the reception. Consider how you would feel as the date of someone that has just spent the last 3 hours on the arm of some stranger and now they are seated next to them (and not you) for dinner. Make room at the head table(s) for the people that mean the most to your bridesmaids and groomsmen. Treating your friends like gold will bring out all the smiles and funky dance moves later in the evening when the photos get a little less formal!
In all honesty, the best way to plan for better bridal party pictures is to be considerate. Use thought and consideration when it comes to planning your wedding day and communicating with everyone involved. The people that stand up beside you are there because they love you and believe in your new marriage. Show them that they matter to you as well!