The Complete Checklist for Preparing Your D-Day with your Wedding Photographer

Your big day is quickly approaching, and here you are in the final stretch, a crucial moment where fine-tuning the smallest details becomes paramount. Organizing a wedding is like orchestrating a symphony where every note must resonate perfectly. Such an endeavor can be a source of stress for the future bride and groom. But worry not, meticulous preparation is the key to turning this tension into perfect harmony.

As a wedding photographer, my commitment goes well beyond merely capturing your precious moments. It’s about being by your side, before and during this unique day, to ensure everything goes smoothly. With a few years of experience, I’ve developed an efficient workflow to guarantee a flawless service: checking the photo equipment the day before, fully charged batteries, a full car gas tank, prepared routes, and all necessary information in hand. My own checklist is there to make sure nothing is left to chance.

That’s why I thought a little checklist for the bride and groom could greatly contribute to making your day an unforgettable and stress-free moment. In this article, I will share with you essential tips for preparing for the arrival of your wedding photographer (myself in this case) and ensuring nothing is forgotten.

And to make sure you are as prepared as possible, I will offer a concise checklist to review before the big day. Ready to make your wedding a magical moment? Follow the guide!

Before the Wedding

Smooth and precise communication with your photographer is essential. Usually, here are the details I request from my future bride and groom, a few weeks before the big day:

  1. The Day’s Schedule: Share with me the complete timeline of your day, including key times (arrival time, ceremony, cocktail, start and end of the photography service, etc.)
  2. The Addresses of the Ceremony Venues: I also need to know all the exact addresses of the different locations. This allows me to organize my trips and always arrive early.
  3. Trusted Contacts: It’s always useful to have one or two phone numbers of close people (witnesses or family members) whom I can contact on the day. Ideally, choose one person from the bride’s side and one from the groom’s side. These contacts will be my points of liaison for any last-minute questions or information, thus allowing you to fully enjoy your day without worries.
  4. A Photo of the Bride and Groom: Send me a recent photo of the two of you, preferably a full-body shot. This will help me to better prepare your couple’s photo session, taking into account your style.

By sending me an e-mail containing these four key elements, you’ll be providing me with an essential roadmap for the big day.

Arrival on site and preparations

When I arrive at the wedding venue, the first step is to meet the bride and groom to get a feel for the atmosphere, and make sure everything is going according to plan. It’s also an opportunity to check out the areas dedicated to your preparations and anticipate the best angles for your photos.

If your wedding is taking place on an estate or in a château, I take a moment to explore the premises. This initial scouting is crucial: it allows me to discover photogenic spots and plan shots.

Preparing props is a key moment for successful flat lay photos. I suggest that you collect and set aside all the significant elements you wish to immortalize. Here are a few ideas so you don’t forget anything:

For the bride: Wedding announcement cards, bouquet, shoes, wedding rings, perfume, jewelry, etc …

For the groom: Wedding announcement cards, shoes, wedding rings, watch, tie, bow tie, buttonhole, cufflinks, etc.

Champagne ?

And to add a touch of celebration, why not include a bottle of champagne? It’s a great stress reliever and makes for great shots.

The ceremony

The ceremony, whether religious, “laïc” or civil, is at the heart of your wedding day. It’s an emotionally-charged moment when every detail counts, especially at key moments like the bride and groom’s entrance and exit. During these two key moments, it’s crucial that guests stay in their seats, avoiding venturing down the center aisle.

A simple and effective solution is to ask the master of ceremonies or priest to make an announcement beforehand, inviting guests to remain seated and enjoy the moment without interference. This little precaution can make all the difference when it comes to photos taken at these moments.

The end of the ceremony is often marked by a joyful tradition: the distribution of rose petals or bubbles. These moments, full of joy and lightness, make for some of the most beautiful photographs of the day. However, it’s important to check beforehand that the venue you’ve chosen for your union permits these practices. For example, many Parisian town halls prohibit the throwing of confetti or rose petals, whereas bubbles, which leave no residue, are generally accepted everywhere.

By taking these small details into account and ensuring good communication with your guests, your ceremony will run smoothly.

Cocktail : Conviviality and Organization

The vin d’honneur is the ultimate moment of conviviality, marking the transition between the solemnity of the ceremony and the relaxation of the evening. It’s the moment when, after the hustle and bustle of the early hours, you can finally take a breather and savor the presence of your loved ones.

However, this moment of relaxation is also the one when your attention will be most solicited. Between group photos, shots with your other half, the traditional bouquet toss, and interactions with your guests, every minute counts. So that you and your guests can fully enjoy this enchanted interlude, flawless organization is essential.

To make this stage as smooth as possible without sacrificing the quality of the memories captured, I strongly recommend preparing a list of the different groups to be photographed in advance. Limit this list to a dozen or so groups to remain efficient and not encroach on party time. Involve your groomsmen and bridesmaids in the coordination, giving them the task of announcing the next groups, perhaps using a microphone for greater efficiency.

I suggest concluding the vin d’honneur with a photo session dedicated to the witnesses and the groomsmen and bridesmaids. It’s the perfect opportunity for more relaxed, fun photos.

Couple photos: Magic and intimacy

The couple’s photo session is undoubtedly one of the most intimate and poetic moments of your wedding day. Whether you’re dazzled by shots of couples bathed in the golden light of a sunset, or simply looking to capture the essence of your love, this moment is crucial.

I recommend holding this session just after the vin d’honneur, for two main reasons:

  • The Perfect Light: The end of the day often offers what’s known as the golden hour, a moment when natural light gently envelops every scene, offering ideal conditions for sublime photos.
  • A Relaxed Atmosphere: After sharing a few glasses of champagne with loved ones, you’ll feel more relaxed and natural in front of the lens, allowing you to capture authentic expressions and spontaneous moments.

For this session to be a success, it’s essential to plan it carefully, allowing around 30 minutes. Ideally, you should be out of the way, away from prying eyes, so that you can express yourself freely, enhancing the intimacy and complicity of the shots.

Take advantage of the transition time as your guests make their way to the reception hall. This little interlude can be the perfect opportunity to discreetly escape and capture those moments of complicity.

Add a touch of originality

For truly unique photos, why not incorporate some original elements? Whether it’s using smoke to add a touch of mystery and color, or sabering a bottle of champagne captured in a burst of shared laughter, every detail can transform these photos into works of art.

Let yourself be inspired and dare to create your own personal settings, for memories that will stay with you for the rest of your life.

Party: Celebration and Relaxation

The wedding party marks the beginning of a moment of relaxation and celebration for everyone. After a day full of emotions and activities, it’s a time for celebration, dancing and shared laughter.

And guess what! Your suppliers also deserve a break to savor this time of relaxation. For this, check with the caterer that a “suppliers’ table” has already been set aside. And if there’s a suppliers’ meal, make sure it’s a hot dish. After long hours of work, being able to eat properly is not only much appreciated, it’s essential.

And finally, if dessert is to be served outside. Why not consider a bridal shower illuminated by magic candles held by your guests? This magical spectacle not only provides an enchanting backdrop for your photos, but also creates a magical atmosphere.

This stage of your wedding is not just a transition to the end of the evening, but an opportunity to create unforgettable memories in a warm, festive atmosphere.

Summary: Your checklist for D-Day

Before the big day arrives, here’s a concise checklist to make sure everything is ready for a successful collaboration:

  • Communication and Planning: Send a detailed e-mail including the day’s program, the addresses of the venues for each event, and the telephone numbers of the witnesses.
  • Preparation of props: Gather the props for the “FLAT LAY” photos. Arrange them on a wooden table, if possible, and don’t forget to include an invitation.
  • Celebration with Champagne: If you like champagne, prepare a bottle for the preparations.
  • During the Ceremony: Make sure guests keep their seats, especially when the bride and groom enter and leave.
  • Necessary authorizations: Obtain authorizations for the throwing of rose petals or confetti.
  • Group photos: Prepare in advance a list of groups to be photographed, and delegate the task of gathering the people concerned.
  • Couple photo session: Set aside a specific time for couple photos, favoring the golden hour if possible.
  • Be creative: For unique shots, consider using champagne or smoke during the couple’s photo session.
  • suppliers meals: Check with the caterer to make sure guests have a table and a hot meal.
  • Sparklers: Make sure you have sparklers if you like this kind of photo.