Wow - so you've booked your wedding date and now comes that minefield of booking all of your suppliers. There are so many things to get sorted and different people to choose from, it can be hard to know where to start! One great way to get the ball rolling is to start visiting wedding fayres at local venues and perhaps the venue you have chosen for your own wedding. You can meet some fantastic suppliers at these places and get some great ideas too! This is the only active physical form of advertising that I do to meet potential new clients, and there is a very good reason for this which leads me onto the main point of this blog post...
Your wedding day is the accumulation of the two of you - your personalities, your relationship, your story. It's hugely personal and you want to reflect that in everything you choose to make the day amazing, right? So, the best way, in my mind, is to meet everyone you choose to play a part in your big day in person, and after you book them, spend some time with them in the run up to your wedding if you feel you want to. Sure, you can book through websites - and maybe that works OK for some things - but meeting face to face is SO much better. You get to see that person's work in the flesh, rather than through a screen. But more importantly, you get to meet the PERSON, not just meet what they do.
As a photographer, I spend an average of 10 hours at a wedding; 8 of those hours are spent actively shooting. Perhaps 5 of those 8 are spent directly with the bride and groom. So I want to be sure my couples are 100% happy with both my work and me as a person before they book me. We need to click. Spending 5 hours with someone who annoys the hell out of you is not going to leave you with good memories on your wedding day!
I love the fact that 90% of couples who I meet for a consultation go ahead and confirm a booking. But I don't dwell on the 10% that don't - chances are they found a different photographer whose personality gelled with theirs just that little bit better, and they booked them instead, which is great!
So what has any of this got to do with the pre-wedding shoot you might think? The pre-wedding shoot is a 60-90 minute photo shoot taken any time before your wedding day. It's something that I offer complimentary to all my wedding couples, whether they book a full day coverage or a 2 hour ceremony-only shoot. This isn't something I have always done...in fact it has only been included into my packages in the last few months. I made the decision though based on the feedback and experiences I had with couples who opted for the pre-wedding shoot when it was an optional extra.
Let's face it, the idea of being followed around by a camera (or in my case two cameras!) for the whole day can be slightly daunting. It's not something most people naturally experience on a daily basis and it's something a lot of my couples are pretty apprehensive about. The option to have a photo shoot almost like a practise session before your wedding day is a fantastic opportunity to get all of your worries out of the way and for me to prove to you that it's not scary in any way! The more time I spend with a couple before their wedding, the better we get to know each other and in turn, the better we understand each other. The bride and groom inevitably relax more with me and the photos reflect this. I'm sure Veronika, the bride-to-be in the two photos above, won't mind me saying that she was super nervous about hers and Mark's pre-wedding shoot. Her fears dissolved after the first ten minutes of the shoot though, snd she told me afterwards how glad she was that they had done it and how much better she was feeling about the wedding day now. This is a perfect example of why these shoots are such a good idea. The pre-wedding shoot is a hands-on follow up from first meetings we may have had (at a wedding fayre and/or consultation).
Pre-Wedding shoots are also a great time to try out ideas you might have for your wedding day. Maybe you choose to have your shoot at your wedding venue and want to scope out a couple of locations and ideas for the big day. Or if you don't have your shoot at your wedding venue, maybe you just want to try out some techniques, posing ideas etc at this point, knowing then that it will be easier on the wedding day. It's also a great time to try something different, wacky, out of the ordinary...I'm no stranger to getting on the floor, climbing trees or whatever else might be required to get a cool angle, and once couples have seen me in action on the pre-wedding shoot, it's kind of standard practice on the wedding day!
Plus, if I haven't convinced you already, bring your dog, kids, cat, horse, hamster - whatever! The main point of these shoots is to have fun with it and get over any awkwardness that may be there initially...the bonus is you get some awesome photos to hang on your wall without having to wait until the big day!
If you'd like any more information on the pre-wedding sessions that I offer and/or my wedding photography packages, get in touch here.