When the cold air has finally penetrated the earth I find myself in a lot of little coffee shops huddled over a tiny table with a couple talking about their wedding. Often they have this beautiful dream of what's going to happen on their wedding day, sometimes that dream has fallen to the relentless press of reality and the Plaza has become the VFW Hall but the passion is still suffusing their voices.
It's rare that a bride and groom can answer the questions that a photographer would really like to know: what color are the ceilings, how is the light at the time you're planning your event, how much control do you have over the lighting? There are a thousand little details that you learn about when you're a photographer, that you just take in automatically the way that some people breathe in air (or that adept school teachers sense mischief).
Still there is at least one point where couples can really help a photographer during a meeting, so the photographer can better help the couple.
Timing is Everything
In the wedding business time is money. You pay for the hall based on when you're renting and how long you're using it. The tuxes are rented by the day, as are the limos and linens and cocktail hours can certainly add up. Photographers too factor time into their prices.
Timing is also important because with the wrong schedule you have guests waiting around for things to happen getting antsy rather than celebrating (or sitting in their cars outside the reception hall because it doesn't open for another half-an-hour). So the first thing a photographer wants to know (apart from the date) is how long your wedding will take.
This can be a hard question to answer, since many couples haven't been married before and can forget that on their perfect day that things might not go perfectly according to plan.
A lot can hinge on formal portraits, which can take a big chunk of time where the bride and groom are whisked away from their guests. It often takes longer than anticipated to bring the different groups together and go through all of the iterations, getting the poses right and making sure you take enough photos so that you can get rid of all the blinks and strange looks that crop up in group photos.
There's also the issue of getting from one place to another, while the bride and groom might have made the trip a dozen times but others will be lost or drive it too slowly or too quickly.
That's all after the sound and fury of wedding preparations. Hollywood is replete with stereotypes of people running around in a panic collecting everything old, new, borrowed and blue that they can find to make sure that the bases are covered.
With all of this weddings have a tendency to run late or long, wreaking havoc with schedules.
You can help your photographer by giving them an idea of the formal portraits you want (the number of groups, the size of the groups), how often you tend to start on time and any number of other factors that can add to the clock. That way your photographer can help you organize your day to squeeze out the best value, like getting a few formals out of the way before the wedding or getting shots of the tables and couples in time with the buffet line.
So keep time n mind when you're meeting with a pro.