Earlier this summer I achieved a strange goal. Photographing 1 year of weddings. I wasn’t really keeping count until one evening when I decided to go through my calendar and see just how many weddings I had photographed. This was the Monday before before wedding 365 – I felt it was some sort of odd fate that this was the first time I had ever even been curious about how many weddings I’ve captured in my career.
So here are the things I’ve learned:
Being successful in a creative career takes about 50 hours a week in the beginning and 70 hours a week once you’ve ‘made it.’ Even with people that help edit, coordinate, and generally free my time, I still find that I work about 10 hours a day/7 days a week between the months of April and December. This isn’t only for wedding photography, this also includes my various other projects, like all the corporate video work I do over at Taylor Jackson Media, screenwriting and casting my next feature film in Paris, working on our Taco Documentary, and all the random projects that pop up in between.
Planning a perfect wedding is impossible. Here are my tips:
If you’re in Kitchener-Waterloo, get married at Langdon Hall or Hacienda Sarria. Cambridge Mill and Whistle Bear are also good choices.
Here is the perfect wedding day timeline (from a bride/groom enjoyment standpoint – ideally ceremony and reception at same location):
2:30pm hair and makeup finishes up.
3pm first look/reveal (so you can enjoy cocktail hour later)
3-3:30 photos with you two and bridal party. (note: keep bridal party as small as possible)
3:30 – 4:00 enjoy the fact that it’s your wedding day. Have a glass of champagne.
4pm guys start to greet/usher guests.
5:00-5:15 family photos
5:15 – 6:15 enjoy your cocktail hour. Enjoy some of the h’orderves you paid for.
6:30 dinner. Speeches either in between courses or all after. 3 – 5 minute limit speeches are the most pleasing. BM, MOH, Parents, B&G. Your MC should never say the words ‘If anyone has anything they’d like to say, the mic is open’ — there is no such thing as a great kissing game. Good luck here.
8:00 – 8:10 Go outside for a few quick sunset photos.
9:15 speeches conclude, and first dance. Do the father/daughter and mother/son dance during the same song, have DJ announce that the dance floor is open to all towards the end of the song.
10pm throw a bouquet. Ignore those that try and tell you a garter toss is a good idea.
Enjoy the night. It’s a once in a life time experience.
Bachelor Party/Bachelorette Party. Vegas. Go together or separate. Get a Terrace Studio Fountain View at the Cosmopolitan.
Alternatively head to Germany and rent a Porsche 911 like Jason, one of my recent grooms did.
Miami is also great. Stay at the W South Beach.
Honeymoon. Hilton Bora Bora.
Book a photographer you like as a human. Don’t compare on price/skill if it’s a small difference. A photographer that actually connects with you will do an exponentially better job than one that does not. Same goes for all vendors. The planners/decorators/florists I regularly work with are thrilled when their only direction for the day is ‘Here are a few examples of things I like. We trust you. Make us something you’d want at your wedding.’
Here are a few photos and a video from day 365 with Emilie and Dave.