THE WEDDING PARTY
The Dallas wedding party. The bride, the groom, the bridesmaids, and the groomsmen. This is the core group: those individuals you’ve chosen to be closest to you on the day you’re going to remember forever.
And, they’re the people you’ve chosen to be in your pictures during this pivotal part of your day. In another article, I recommended the importance of a “first look” component — a period of time before the ceremony itself where the bride and groom get to spend some “Wow, you look amazing!” time together. It’s an emotional experience, and to be honest? It makes for some incredible pictures.
The reason the “first look” shoot is so much fun is because, aside from the intimacy, everyone looks their freshest. They’re just out of hair and makeup, and that persnicketous Texan heat hasn’t melted anything yet. The second reason is simple — when the ceremony is over, everyone wants to get to the party! Getting the wedding party shoot out of the way beforehand, then, takes care of the hard part before the exchanging of the vows, leaving the bunch of you free to your own devices once the knot is tied (plus, it’s so much fun to have the up-welling of emotion capped off by a procession of your best friends sauntering in while you’re at the peak of feels).
Whether it comes immediately before or after the ceremony, the wedding party shoot typically includes a few components: some casually posed images of the groom and his crew; the bride and her gang, and some shots of individual pairings — this includes the groom and his individual buddies; the bride and her friends; and some strategic pairings. We’ll discuss a list of must-have shots before the wedding day of course, but take some time to think about whom you prefer to have photographed with whom, and we’ll adapt it into a checklist.
That’s the first half of the wedding party shoot. After we’ve gotten this list of images (whether your bridal party is 4 or 24 — we’ll make sure in advance that we’ve allocated enough time for whatever size posse you’ve included) the gang will be sent off to the reception to help out and start enjoying themselves, depending on the need. The latter half of our allocated time for this period will be for some pretty important images: just the two of you.
The total amount of time we’ll need for this part of the day varies, mainly depending on size. For small groups, the bare minimum is going to be about 90 minutes. For huge wedding parties, the time-frame should be about 2.5 hours. This may sound like a lot, but remember: we’ve got a lot of personalities to keep in a row, and as someone wise once said, good things take time. After all, close your eyes, and try to imagine what your ideal wedding shots will look like. Chances are, they’ll take place during this time period, so making sure we’ve set aside a basic time-frame is key (bonus points if we can combine some buffer time into this schedule too, in case there’s a need for overlap from the prep portion of the process).
There’s one more element to consider prior to the wedding day, and that’s the location. These directed portraits might seem to naturally lend themselves to the big-ticket backdrops of the location you’ve chosen, but in reality? Those locations might not be the best choices. No worries — we’re going to talk about this way in advance, and I’ll absolutely share my vision with you way before we snap the first images. That way, you’ll know exactly what you’re getting, with full faith that my aesthetic can take it the rest of the way.
Having an intimate knowledge of your location in advance is a big deal, too, thanks to the nitty-gritty of permissions and licenses. Some venues won’t allow access before the ceremony; others might be affected by weather, background interference like traffic, and the convenience of getting a formally dressed wedding party to a complicated shooting spot.
But again. These are things we pace out way in advance. By the time the big day rolls around, you’ll know exactly where to go without any curiosity and stress tacked on. We’ll always have backup plans for our backup plans, and at the end of the (wedding) day, you’ve got a guarantee of some amazing memories, preserved forever.