Capturing your wedding takes a lot of photos, and most photographers can easily pick out the classic shots that you'll expect to have, cutting the cake, the speeches, the big entrance - but there are some essential photos that often get overlooked.
A lot of the time, it's these photos that capture the true heart of your wedding day, the features that make your celebration, marriage and family unique, so missing them out can make you feel like something's missing when you're looking back through your wedding album.
So, what are the shots that you simply can't miss? And how do you make sure you get them? Here's my guide to help!
The groom getting ready
There's always a picture of the bride getting ready - but what about the groom? The ladies are often the big focus on the morning of your wedding, but it's also lovely to see grooms getting prepared for the big day too.
Whilst it's true that grooms tend to take a little less time getting ready, it doesn't mean that putting on that wedding suit, tying your tie, or placing your buttonhole isn't a big moment too.
And if you are a groom who's got something planned for your wedding morning, whether that's 9 holes or a quick pint, that's a part of the wedding day story that you're going to want a memento of.
The big reaction
All eyes are on the bride as she makes her entrance, especially from the spouse-to-be at the other end of the aisle. Having a picture of your partner as they see you for the first time captures an unmissable moment.
It can be a difficult shot to get without a full photography team, but a great photographer can have a few tricks up their sleeve to catch that perfect moment for you!
Another way to capture that first reaction is if you and your spouse want to have a private reveal. This is becoming more and more popular, as partners often want a memento of that big “wow!” moment as they see each other for the first time.
No-one is going to be more excited about your wedding than your grandparents - that's almost a guarantee! Pictures of grandparents (or even more importantly, great-grandparents!) are an absolute must-have.
Make sure your photographer knows where they're sitting, and can get some nice candid pictures of them as well as including them in the family portraits.
It's also nice to have some stand-alone shots of your older relatives with you, away from the rest of the family.
Trust me when I say that a thank you card with this photo in it is absolutely going to make their day.
With all the focus on the actual wedding, sometimes it's easy to forget where you are. But your wedding venue is a huge part of your day, and although it's always going to be the background for your photos, sometimes it's nice to look back and remember how pretty it was in its own right.
This is particularly true if you've got an unusual or historic venue, but wherever you celebrate your marriage, you'll want some photos to remind you why you wanted your party there!
So it's nice to take some pictures of the venue before people arrive, the reception room all laid out with decorations, the historic fireplace, the beautiful gardens - the things that made this venue stand out for you.
Wearing dad's watch? Have 4 generations of your family at the wedding? Is your “something blue” something really special to you? Are making use of some vintage wedding traditions?
These are the things that make your wedding uniquely yours - and why it's so, so important to sit down and talk to your photographer about your day, so they can capture all these significant, meaningful touches.
A big part of your wedding day will be the photos of your newlywed selves. These couple's portraits will capture the two of you at the start of your married life, happy, beautiful and ridiculously in love.
But whilst you're doing these, it's also important to take a few shots of each of you individually.
This wedding is about the joining of two individuals, and having stand-alone photographs of each of you celebrates your unique style and self, as well as bringing you together for your couple's portraits.
It's surprising how often favours are left out of your wedding photos, which is a real shame. Your favours are often very personal, and a great way to show your guests how much you appreciate them being there.
I've seen so many different types of favours, personalised gifts, sweets and chocolates, games and activities - even unique lego figures!
For some people they're a result of hours of craft and care, and they're a really great way to make your wedding unique, so it's nice to have a few pictures to remind you how fabulous your favours really were.
Today people often like to have extra elements at their wedding to make things fun. Some people go for extra sweet treats like a doughnut wall or popcorn machine, include props and accessories for a photo booth, have games and activities to keep everyone occupied, or a soft play room for the children to romp around in (and the grown-ups too once the kids have all gone to bed!).
These extra touches often make your wedding stand out from others, so it's lovely if you've got some photos of guests enjoying the extra features you've splashed out for - it will remind you how much fun you all had!
At some weddings, you'll have friends and family who've come a long way to be with you. It's always worth having a special moment with them, to make sure they know their presence is really appreciated, but also so you can remember how fab it was to see them.
Get your photographer to make sure they get a couple of nice moments with them. They don't need to be formal, but a lovely candid shot of you will be a lovely reminder that they came all that way - just for you!
Kids can be very difficult to wrangle for photos, so it's always fun to get a good range of shots with any young people at the wedding.
Pageboys and flower girls are usually part of the wedding party and formal photos, but it's often on the dancefloor or running round the venue where you really capture their personalities.
Lots of weddings include activities or gifts for the children too, which are a great opportunity to see them enjoying themselves, and taking some lovely pictures of them in their element!
Don't miss a thing!
The key to making sure you can capture all these perfect moments from your wedding day, is some great teamwork between the two of you and your photographer.
It's absolutely vital that you sit down and chat with your photographer before the big day - not just at the start of the process at your engagement shoot, but also further down the line when the big decisions are made and you've got a clear picture of what your wedding is going to be like.
I want to hear about how you're wearing your Mum's veil, or Grandad's wedding band, I need to know that you've got a bouncy castle in the garden for the kids, that you've spent the last two days hand-carving favours, or that Uncle Mo is flying in from India.
The more I know, the more I can prepare for catching all these unique, wonderful, meaningful elements on your wedding day. And not only that, it helps me get to know the two of you better too!
If you want to talk some more about how I can help you capture every significant moment of your wedding day, get in touch!