“Get me to the church on time!”

This is a little advice for all of you wedding photographers out there but I think it may be helpful for brides to know this too…

Ok, so the song may be talking about the bride, however I am going to talk about timings for your photographer. Whether it is me or someone else, time is so vital in getting those all important photos.

Recently, I shot a wedding, nearly got ran over, missed the start of the ceremony and almost cried. Lesson learned, I must have a back up road plan!

Sometimes these things happen and it is super unfortunate. I had a satnav route which took me to the bride’s home however, when it then routed me back to the church it took me to some temporary traffic lights just down the road. I was stuck, BIG TIME. My thoughts were ‘shall I abandon my car here and run the 2 miles? Shall I drive through the cones?’ My heart was racing and I could feel tears welling up in my eyes. I couldn’t see the bridal car behind me, I just knew that they had taken a shortcut which I wasn’t aware of. Its 11:56am, they are getting married in 4 minutes. Finally the traffic started moving and I blitzed through the town making it to the church to find there were no parking spaces! Ahhh! I had to abandon my car and run like a crazy woman with all my kit. I arrived, panting like crazy to my bride giving me a quick glance as she takes her first steps down the isle. WOW, with about half a second to spare I got the shot. JUST. All I kept thinking was that I had ruined her wedding day, everything was ruined and that everyone from that moment on would hate me. The pressure of being a photographer is so intense. Once you miss that moment in time it has gone forever. Luckily, no one hated me (I don’t think!) and really, why would the bride be thinking about me? It’s not about me! She was in her own beautiful world walking down the aisle to get married.

So, what I have learned from this experience is this:

  • Don’t leave the bridal prep house at the same time as the bride (EVER, even if you think you can do it as you want to grab that great shot, it’s not worth it!)
  • If you know you will be limited on time and travelling far, make sure to have a second photographer at prep
  • Ask the bride and ask her transport if there are any roadworks I should be aware of and any shortcuts
  • Get the best man to save you a parking space at the church (and get his number in case you need to contact him)
  • Have a chat with your bride about “what if” scenarios. It might be useful to know which parts of the day are the most important if you were stuck. That way you can select the most valuable shots if you are left with having to make a choice.

All-in-all, it was an experience I needed so that I could learn from it. Well they do say things like this happen for a reason right?