Saturday, 26 September 2009

Deciding upon your wedding group portraits. Part 2: Timing. Scenarios and Solutions

Let’s assume that half an hour has been allocated for groups and another half an hour for portraits and casual pictures of the wedded couple. Some photographers like 90 minutes for these 2 sessions but it can be kept to 60 minutes + any travel time, if the lists of required pictures are not too long. If you have an early wedding, you may choose to permit a bit more time, just to take some pressure off this section of the day.

Scenario 1: Church wedding, with nice, large church grounds or parkland next to the church and most importantly, at least an hour between the end of the wedding service and the start of the next at that church. The reception may be a hotel, hall, club or a public house. In this case it will make sense to make the group portraits at the church, followed by confetti, which may have to take place at some distance from the church door or even beyond the gates of the church. After this, there will be couple portraits and some travel time.

Scenario 2: Civil service at a hall/bespoke wedding venue, where the grounds are well suited for portraiture and other forms of photography. The venue likes to serve a drink to the guests immediately after the service and perhaps some canapĂ©s. The worst thing we could do here would be to insist that the guests immediately put down their drink and canapĂ©, no sooner as having been served. Therefore it makes sense to make portraits of the wedded couple at this time, to give the guests half an hour. Then upon return from the ‘couple portraits’, we can make the group pictures.

Scenario 3: Civil service at a location with grounds but reception drinks served at a separate reception. In this case it makes most sense to make the group portraits first. Then the guests can go ahead to the reception and receive their welcome drink and in some cases, book into hotel rooms, whilst the couple have their portraits made.

Scenario 4: Civil service at a small register office, with little or no garden, followed by reception at a large hotel. Typically the confetti is thrown here. Then everyone departs for the reception. Couple portraits may be made here and perhaps somewhere en-route, if there is a sensible beauty spot between the two locations. Then the groups are made at the hotel gardens or even inside.

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Deciding upon your wedding group portraits. Part 1: Creating a list

As a general principal, it’s a good idea to keep the group portrait session fairly swift, as guests get bored if it goes over half an hour. One should aim to keep it down to what you really need, in order to remember who was there at your wedding, rather than an exhaustive set of every combination and arrangement of your guests.

Every family is different, so it’s almost impossible to have a perfect standard list. For instance, let’s look at the portrait, ‘Couple and parents’. It sounds simple and one would imagine that it comprises of a couple + 2 parents on each side. Whilst this is not uncommon, it is certainly not a rule. On one side, there may be just one parent and on the other, the parents may have both re-married, so there are 4. Other people see this picture as less important than a photograph of themselves with a grandparent or auntie and uncle, who played a bigger part in their childhood than their actual parents.

Grandparents can also be a tricky one. Many people getting married do not have living grandparents or their grandparents are unable to travel. For this reason, ‘couple and grandparents’ is not on my standard list but that is not to say it should not be included, if you are one of the ones lucky enough to have grandparents with you on your big day.

Another factor to take into account is that there is no real need to replicate the same groups throughout the day. Groups may also be made before service, such as

1. Groom, best man, ushers (typically 30 minutes before service begins)
2. If having a morning visit: Bride + parents/bridesmaids

My standard list is a recommendation. It won’t work for everyone and can therefore be edited. If the list is extended by more than a few groups, additional time should be incorporated into the schedule.

1. Couple
2. Couple and parents
3. Bridal party
4. Couple and Bride’s family
5. Couple and Groom’s family
6. Everyone
7. Confetti

No. 1 is primarily to set the scene, so that everyone knows what is happening

No. 3 consists of: couple, best man, maid of honour, ushers, bridesmaids, paige boys, flower girls and ring bearer. It does not usually include parents, unless they have been designated one of the roles above.

No’s 4 and 5 are usually ‘all relatives’ but this can be exchanged for ‘immediate family’ if preferred.

Other popular groups include:
• Hens
• Stags
• All friends

But care should be taken not to overload the group portrait time.

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

A personalised wedding poem by Leigh Maynard

For Tina and Stuart

Through eyes so full of tears of joy,
We look upon a life,
A journey thanks to Sophie,
Who introduced a wife.

A first date full of nerves and fears,
Trepidation burning through,
Tina looked around the room,
For the first time seeing Stu.

The minutes turned to hours,
Day melted into night,
As Tina told her story,
Stuart sat polite.

Pure radiance surrounded,
Every word and every smile,
Tina looked at Stuart,
The world seemed so worthwhile.

On a moonlit night in Newquay,
Upon his bended knee,
Stuart posed the question,
Sweet Tina, marry me.

As hectic weeks and frantic months,
Grew into serenades,
With gorgeous little Scarlett,
And Sophie as bridesmaids.

Beneath a glorious Cornish sky,
The wedding day began,
Jack and Mike each held a ring,
Both being the bestman.

As Tom walked proudly down the aisle,
With Tina by his side,
A glow of warmth, a joie de vivre,
Enveloped this new bride.

Stuart stood resplendent,
So tall and dignified,
All declared as man and wife,
As each ring signified.

Now every speech and toast request,
Greeted from the heart,
Reinforced and strengthened,
This wonderful new start.

In Antipodean honeymoons,
Rejoicing dreams upon the shore,
Tina and then Stuart,
Swore their love forever more.

You can read more about Jo and Leigh and their bespoke poetry writing service at

Sunday, 6 September 2009

The Beginning – A Beautiful Wedding Poem by Leigh Maynard

The Beginning (Jo & Leigh)

As early dawns awaken souls,
Through mists of milky light,
The sunrise stretches out to touch,
A warming world from night.

Thoughts of Jo emerge afresh,
Help guide this mortal child,
Save one prayer, one more for Leigh,
And everyone that smiled.

Each smile from Jo, each touch, each kiss,
Each look, each light array,
With every road we travel down,
With every word we say.

For certainty, one thought stays true,
Forever now to be,
From this day on, remain as one,
Forever Jo and Leigh.

You can read more about Jo and Leigh and their bespoke poetry writing service at