Keep calm, you're getting married! Advices form a wedding photographer to survive your big day.

You won't believe how many unexpected things may happen while you're getting ready, during a wedding ceremony or while you're going from the church to the reception. Most of these are just funny but there's a few which could ruin your day. Here I wrote few hints for brides, grooms, and for wedding photographers too, based on my very personal good (and bad) experiences. Keep calm, you're getting married!

I love my work for many reasons, as a wedding photographer, with experience of hundreds of services, I can still be surprised by all the things every time I see as there's always something unpredictable during weddings. I do want to reassure you all, 99% of services were just joyful and full of love but... for some inexplicable reason, there are some couples, who seem to "attract" negativity.

The first couple which comes to my mind is a very funny Swiss couple. I still remember that they were very nervous from the first moment I've seen them getting ready. They were talking about how stressful was last month, not only because of the wedding but in particular for the new flat they're moving to. Things start to be funny when a bridesmaid, moving things around the room in rush, set on fire a small napkin, which she thought to lay right on a candle, accidentally. Nothing happens, just a little bit of smoke. The event was starting to give us some hidden signal.

We were still at the hotel, taking pictures of the bride while she's getting ready and you really want to take the picture of the dress from the bottom, from a very low point of view, and that's the moment when your trousers break... but you're a wedding photographer and you hopefully have black underwear and another trouser in your car.

The bride and the groom both wait for that day for a lot of time, and they really want it to be full of love and emotions, they want to have fun and enjoy it, and this is one of the many reasons I love my job but, that's also the reason why, during the wedding day, they're often overwhelmed by their own feelings. Time flies and you do not realise what's really happening! Which is really amazing, but... sometimes it may lead you to just act following the "wave" of the emotions... let's say it, girls are usually smarter than us. I usually see the funniest situations caused by the groom's behaviour. I've seen few times the groom, repeating and repeating the vows, to avoid to read it, to look at her while pronouncing the vows... then during that exact moment, he forgets it all... just read it. I've seen grooms before the reception, take her on his arms to make an amazing entrance, and then slip on her veil and they both fall on the ground... just walk in.

At the arrival of the bride, as the priest was late, she had had to wait few minutes outside and ok, it was actually more than 20min but well, this kind of things happen often and the bride entrance was very emotional. Let's skip the mispronunciation of the names from the same priest which was very old, and forget the huge vase, full of water which falls in pieces at the back of the church... the problem was they were so nervous they can't almost talk and nobody did hear their vows and the ring exchange, well the ring of the bride was too small so it was really hard to put it.

One of the most important and most popular areas of Rome for weddings receptions is Via Appia Antica. I guess I've seen at least 20 villas hosting weddings just in that historical area. Well, I was at a wedding reception in one of these villas which have an amazing park, full of beautiful grass. They choose to set all the tables with decorations and all to have the tables for the dinner on the grass. When the bride and the groom arrived, already as husband and wife, all the guests made a huge applause to welcome them and then they sit to start the dinner. Since the morning, it was finally my first moment of quite after 6h, so I choose to join the music band to the staff table for a glass of water and some food. Well, just the time to lay the cameras on the grass and rest a minute that all the watering sprinklers started to splash water all around! It was a real mess! Into the span of half of a second all the photographers, videographers and musicians run to cover their things and keep it safe! All the guests run far from tables to a safety zone. Actually, it was very hot weather and the sprinkles didn't last long but we all were scared to damage our very expenses camera, lenses but most of all, the CF cards with their wedding pictures! Luckily nothing bad happened.

 

What about the DRONE? Many photographers and videographers now love to use a drone. Notwithstanding the evidence that a point of view from the top is amazing, the best moments of the wedding day are related to the people you love. Drones are dangerous, and they crash, often. I'd recommend taking very particular care if you'll choose to use one and probably, it would be actually better please, dear brides, forget about it, in my humble opinion they're not a good choice for a wedding day.

 

This is a real story from a collaborator videographer: "I was switching out a card after the ceremony from my main "A" camera that typically has 75% of what I use in the final video. This card contained the prep and ceremony on it. I dropped the SD card on the ground.... only we were on an outside wooden deck 12,000 feet in the mountains... it slipped through a crack and landed on a cross beam a few inches below.... it was also windy... I happened to have longer fingernails that day so I was able to slowly push it up against the side of the wood and inch it up until I was able to grab it... I have never experienced a moment so scary in filming a wedding."

We should finally explain who's really a wedding photographer and how's his lifestyle. Many of you may think it's just a person who's shooting pictures, at a wedding. No. It is actually a lifestyle. First of all, you'll recognize a wedding photographer, just checking if he/she has everything twice. At least twice! Two cameras, two jackets, two shirts, more than two lenses, many more batteries then he/she needs, many more compact flash cards then you need to shoot 30 weddings, two pairs of shoes, two trousers, two black underwear (yes two black underwear), and so on... and it's not because weddings are about "couples"!

We're human and the usual wedding service duration is 8/9 hours and into that span of time, you may experience "physical needs"... it will sound funny but trust me, it actually isn't: it already happened to me to have the need to go (too often) to the toilet. I did try to go only during "quite" moments of the wedding day and I do usually work with my colleague, which was there and took pictures during my "toilet break" but during the ceremony and during the trip from/to the venue you just have to be brave and "resist".

I like to think as a professional wedding photographer, as a mother. The reason why is that he/she is always ready to "prevent" everything that may happen to him/her or to someone else, during your wedding day as during daily life, and that reminds me a lot of a mother's behaviour. I've read somewhere that a wedding photographer should be like "Dracula": without shadows and with no reflection in the mirror.

Wedding photographers double check, many times, every detail as the wedding day can't be done twice. It's an adventurous job. They have to be ready for (almost) everything.

True story from a colleague: "How about the one where a venue booked two events at the same location, at the same time. The banquet manager cried, ran out, so we had two groups of people, against fire code, two DJs, two photographers, a bazillion guests, and two brides and grooms. I'll stop there..."

Do you find it useful, do you agree with it? Share with me your good (and bad) experiences please, it will help us all to prevent everything!