Wedding days are exhausting and hard. Often, when I announce that I’m a wedding photographer, I’m met with the response, “oh I could never do that.” When I pry a little further, I find that most people believe that wedding days are dramatic. The picture of a bride-, mom-, or (insert person here)-zilla is often the first thing that comes to mind when someone hears the word “wedding.”
But the truth is that I almost never see drama. My couples are calm, warm and enthusiastic for their wedding days. Before the day even begins, we’ve worked together to create a plan of action so everyone knows where to be and when. And I work with the rest of their vendor team to make sure that everything is taken care of on the backend.
On the wedding day, we’re all Team Marriage. And we want the best experience possible for everyone, guests and vendors included!
This cohesive experience happens because I have a system in place to make sure that all of my bases are covered. This relieves stress for me and my couples! They’re well taken care of, and I know exactly how the day will flow. Do little bumps and hiccups pop up throughout the day? Of course! But we know exactly how to handle them.
My Pre-Wedding Workflow begins with my Wedding Day Questionnaire. Questionnaires are great for a few reasons:
My Wedding Day Questionnaire covers a wide range of questions for my couples. From details about their love story to planning family photos, I ask them to give me as much information as possible so that I have a clear path on providing the best experience on their wedding day.
Over the years, I’ve found that certain questions are helpful while others are essential. When it comes to providing an outstanding service to my couples, these five questions and sections in my questionnaire have become the backbone of my success on a wedding day.
There is a lot of magic in using someone’s name. When someone says my name, I’m much more engaged and interested in what they have to say. It’s personal! Knowing this, I ask my couples to write out the names of their wedding party and family members so that I can address them personally. I want them to know that I am there to serve them, just as much as I am there for my couple. Because a wedding day isn’t just about your couple.
“Hey you” isn’t very flattering! Using someone’s name is much more personal and professional. It’s a different level of service, and it’s reserved for the vendors who truly care.
This section of the questionnaire is reserved for the photo lists I need to know on a wedding day. These photos are tailored to the subject(s) of an image, not the composition, posing, or location. I make sure my couples know that this section is different from a Pinterest gallery because it’s important for them to know that I want to capture their day authentically to them, not as a remake of someone else’s day.
In this section, I ask for:
I love asking my couple a few questions about their love story. Where they met, the proposal story, even what their favorite thing to do together is. Knowing these details about my couple helps me understand their relationship a little better. It’s also very helpful when I’m preparing their blog post! Sharing a small portion about who they are builds connection and makes the photo story even more lovely.
Along with obtaining the family photo list, I’m careful to ask my couple if there is any divorces or separations, family drama, or other situations that I need to handle delicately. Weddings are happy events, but most often, there can still be underlying issues when bringing extended families together. I like to make sure I’m aware of these situations so that I can handle them well. After all, I don’t want to ask my bride’s father if he’d like a picture with his wife…if they went through a tough divorce. Having this information allows me to show compassion and remain a professional guide for my couple’s families!
Celebrate your wedding vendor team! I love getting this information from my couples for a few reasons. First, it’s helpful to know who I’m working with before a wedding day arrives. This comes in handy especially for vendors like the wedding planners and coordinators and videography team. I want to make sure I connect with these vendors early on so that we’re all on the same page. Second, when sharing images after the wedding, I want to know who to give credit to. I often see photographers frustrated when they aren’t tagged in their own images on Instagram or Facebook, when in reality, they don’t include the planners, florists, or venues that hosted the events. It’s a two-way street, and we’re all a team. Everyone deserves credit for their amazing work, and I love showing my vendors appreciation!