Be prepared and get the photos you want on your Big Day, with this wedding photography checklist.
This is a checklist for you, the happy couple. Your photographer will already know all this, but there’s only so much time to get the photos on your Big Day. Use this wedding photography checklist to confirm with your photographer exactly the photos you want on the day.
Many of these photos will happen naturally throughout the day; but some – such as the group family/friends shots – need to be organised. I recommend tasking someone who knows your friends and family well to be “rounder-uppers of those you want in the photos… Ushers often do this but bear in mind they will be in a fair few of the shot themselves, so a close friend might be a better choice.
Wedding Day – Bridal Preparations
- Shot of wedding invitation
- Bride and Bridesmaids getting their hair and makeup done
- Dress hanging, jewellery laid out, shoes etc.
- Bouquets and buttonholes/corsages
- Bride putting on dress/veil with help from Mother of The Bride or Bridesmaids
- Bridal party having fun
- Close-up of dress details
- Putting on jewellery
- Putting on shoes
- Close up of bride holding bouquet
- Mother and bride portrait
- Father and bride portrait
- Family shots
- Bride spending moment alone
- Bridal party walking down stairs/leaving the house
- Bride and Father in Wedding Car/ Walking to ceremony
- Groom and Groomsmen getting ready
- Best man adjusting Groom’s tie
- Groom spending moment alone
- Wedding ring shots
If you opt for two photographers on the day, one can focus solely on the groom and one on the bride (though most couples just go for the bride).
First Look (optional)
I love catching the first look – the moment when the Groom turns around and sees his beautiful blushing Bride in her dress for the first time as he looks down the aisle towards the back of the venue.
However, a recent trend has been for the couple to choose to see each other before the ceremony begins, and for the wedding photographer to capture this intimate moment when the happy couple sees each other for the first time. This allows for the privacy of being alone when you first see each other and allows a release of emotion and intimacy away from hundreds of onlookers.
- Bride and Groom alone for first look
- Bridal Party reaction if couple enter together
Trip to the Ceremony/Venue
- Bride and Father/Mother
- Bride and Bridesmaids/Flower girls
- Groom and Groomsmen/Pageboys
- Shots of empty venue/church – altar, flowers, interior & exterior details
- Groom and Groomsmen waiting inside venue/church
- Guests outside and inside church
- Ushers handing out program
- Bride arriving in wedding car
- Bride stepping out of car
- Bride and Bridesmaids at back of church
- Bridal Party entrance
- Bride walking up the aisle
- Groom’s reaction
- Father/Mother giving bride away
- Exchanging of vows
- Lighting of unity candle
- Ring bearer
- Exchanging of the rings
- Participants such as readers, the officiant, musicians etc.
- The first kiss as husband and wife, and the moment after
- Signing register
- The Recessional/Bride and Groom walking back down the aisle
- Newlywed shot
- Confetti throwing
- Greeting guests outside venue
- Bride & Groom in back seat of wedding car
Post Ceremony (Before Reception)
After the ceremony you have to make time for the wedding portraits – this usually takes 1-2 hours depending on the couple and the list of specific shots you require. Prepare a list of all the people you want in the portraits – family members and friends – and the specific combinations you require e.g. a shot of just you and your siblings or a shot of all your first cousins together.
Give this list to your photographer well in advance so they can prepare and discuss any issues. As mentioned, assign someone who knows your guests well to round people up, otherwise you’ll struggle to keep people together as they have a tendency to drift (to the bar, usually!).
- Portraits of the couple alone
- Portraits of Bride on her own
- Portraits of Groom on his own
- Bride and Groom with bridesmaids/groomsmen
- Bride and Groom with bridal party
- Bride with bridesmaids/maid of honour
- Groom and groomsmen/best man
- Entire wedding party
- Bride and Groom with her parents
- Bride and Groom with his parents
- Bride and Groom with both sets of parents
- Bride and Groom with siblings
- Bride and Groom with close family members
- Shots with friends
- Bride showing her new ring to the guests
- Shots of Guests eating, drinking, and chatting
The Wedding Reception
- The reception space set up – before room fills up
- Details and room decor shots – table settings, place cards, favours, candy buffet, centrepieces etc.
- Wedding cake detail shots
- Bride & Groom arriving
- Toasts and Speeches
- Cutting the cake
- The first dance
- Bride dancing with father/Groom dancing with mother
- Bride and Groom mingling with guests
- Guests dancing
- Musicians, singers, DJ
A really important thing to remember when considering what pictures you want to have is how the style of wedding portraits can vary enormously, from the traditional poses to the quirky and fun. Make sure your photographer knows the style you want, or ask them for suggestions if you’re unsure.
Full disclosure – I took inspiration for this list from the fantastic wedding resource, One Fab Day.