My Top 10 wedding day tips

Over the years I have been fortunate to have photographed over 350 weddings. So, it’s fair to say I have lots of advice for making your big day run smoothly, while also being super relaxed. This blog is packed full of little gems, which will make your photos look better, save time during group photos and make the most of your venue along with weather conditions on your day.


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1. Be yourselves

A wedding day isn’t just about doing all the legal marriage stuff, it’s also an expression of who you are as a couple. Whether you’re party animals who love to dance into the early hours, or a couple having a chilled affair and anything in between, make sure you do it your way!


Over the years I’ve photographed…

> a mini dance music festival styled wedding

> film buffs tying the knot in a cinema

> a bride throwing tradition to the wind by wearing a gold dress

> a groom rocking up in a Pontiac muscle car

> couples dressing up their beloved dog, so they look more dapper than some of their human guests

> farmers using a rustic tractor as their mode of transport

> one of Bristol’s oversized Gromit trail statues take pride of place

> choir singers having an upbeat singalong at the end of their ceremony

> a couple getting married in their favourite bluebell woodland

It’s not all about choosing a fancy venue, but also all little details of your joint passions in life, whether that’s decorating with a subtle sporting theme, or cute flourishes like cake toppers featuring your pets, showcasing hobbies or featuring all the places you’ve visited together.

Don’t worry if you feel that you’re not creative enough to think of everything yourself. You can of course take some inspiration from other weddings, but put your own spin on it.


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2. Nailing the perfect confetti shot

The best time to do your confetti photos are straight after your ceremony. All your guest will be in the same place, so it’s so much easier and quicker to organise everyone into a tunnel shape for you to walk through. Lots and lots always looks best in photos, so don’t be shy when ordering yours. Make sure it’s all biodegradable and super colourful. In my opinion paper confetti works best but you can also get dried petals. Don’t worry if you have some left over, we can use it during your couple portraits.


Check out the Proper Connfetti’s Etsy Store. They have an awesome range of colours to suit all wedding styles and look damn good in photos.

Confetti cannons can also add an awesome effect in your images, so it’s well worth purchasing a few. You can also save some for the dancefloor shenanigans later in your day. Check out Ginger Ray’s online store. They have a wicked selction to choose from and adds a little bit of fun to your day without costing the earth.


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3. Timings for a relaxed day

Giving yourself plenty of time to do all the important things on your wedding day will make it super relaxed.

During bridal preparations aim to be completely ready 30-45 minutes before you have to leave for the ceremony or do your interview with your registrar (if you’re at the same venue all day). Getting ready may take longer than you expected, and having some extra time is great for taking relaxed photos. During this time, we can capture a first look from Dad and photos with team bride once all hair and makeup is complete.

After your ceremony, I would highly recommend having a gap before food is served between an hour and a half and two hours. Following a confetti photo, I recommend spending approximately 30 minutes mingling with your guests, 30 minutes for group photos, and 30 minutes for couple portraits.

After your meal and speeches, you’ll want at least an hour to let your food digest, let evening guests arrive and relax before the evening party kicks off. This is also a great time to capture fun photos with friends and capture couple photos at sunset.


Here’s a tried and tested timings for a successful summer wedding with one venue.

2pm – Ceremony

2.30pm – Confetti photo and whole wedding party group photo (if required)

3pm – Group photos

3.30pm – I’ll photograph all the decor in the wedding breakfast room

3.45pm – Couple photos

4pm – Guests seated for meal (while your having your couple photos)

4.15pm – Couple announced into room and food served

6.15pm – Speeches

7pm – Chill out before the main party

8-8.30pm – Cake cut followed by first dance

9-9.30pm – Evening food served

If you’re getting married in the winter or travelling between venues, it’s always a good idea to have an earlier ceremony. 12-1pm is the perfect time. During the colder months, the sun sets much earlier and it’s better to have more time with natural daylight when capturing your photos.


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4. Get creative with smoke bombs + safety tips

I absolutely love smoke bombs on a wedding day. They add a lush pop colour to your photos and are so much fun. You can enjoy them during your couple photos or round up all the bridesmaids and groomsmen for some epic group photos.

Safety is really important, so there are a few things to consider. It’s important to use them away from the main wedding group and flammable areas as they can get hot. It’s always worth checking with your venue if they allow them to be used, so drop them an email before purchasing any.

You will need to bring a metal bucket to safely dispose of used smoke bombs and some water to ensure that they are properly extinguished. Your venue might be able to assist with this. It’s best to be outside in an open area, but avoid dry areas that could catch fire (such as dry long grass on a hot summer’s day).

If I believe the situation is unsafe, I may refuse to take your smoke bomb photos. It’s possible that you or your guests might be too intoxicated, in an unsafe location, or not properly equipped to safely dispose of them.

There is a risk of them staining dresses and other fabrics. Your clothing shouldn’t be stained if you’re at least 4 feet away and standing in the smoke cloud.

Setting off the smoke bomb may result in some sparks that can burn if you’re not careful. You should never point smoke bombs directly at anybody.

Although I haven’t encountered any problems, I have heard about them and want to let you know before you purchase any. Smoke bomb usage is at your own risk, but it can be a lot of fun if it’s done safely and properly.

It is my preference to purchase the Enola Gaye WP40 Wire Pull Smoke Grenades because they burn cooler than others. Additionally, these smoke bombs contain non-toxic smoke and a fully biodegradable body.


Check the Enola Gaye online store, which offer a great selections of colours.


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No. 5 Avoid standing around for ages during group photos

Let’s face it, nobody wants to be hanging around to pose for group photos for long periods on a wedding day. Especially when there’s an abundance of drinks available. However, they are important, as often getting all your loved ones together can be a rarity.

I will always request a list of your group photos (as part of an information form) prior to your wedding day. I suggest making a list of approximately 5-10 in total. Depending on how cooperative your guests are, this can take 20-30 minutes. I will of course take more if you want me to, but this will take me away from photographing the natural candid moments, which you see so much of on my website and I specialise in. At any point throughout the day, group photos can also be requested by you and all your guests.

It’s always great to have a groomsman or family member on hand to help me round everyone up. Capturing the photos doesn’t actually take that long. Finding everyone is where it can be tricky. It’s worth letting all the guests who will be in group photos know that they will be needed roughly 30 minutes after your ceremony, so they don’t wander too far.

I will always try to capture more fun and relaxed group photos, especially ones which involve bridesmaids, groomsmen, and friends. I’ve found the gap between the end of the meal and the evening do kicking off can be ideal for these. All your guests would have a couple (or more) to drink by this point, so the more fun antics come much more naturally.


Here’s an example of a list group photos with a good balance between capturing the key people and not taking too long to photograph.

> Couple and brides immediate family

> Couple & brides parents

> Couple with both sets of parents

> Couple & grooms immediate family

> Couple & grooms parents

> Couple with grandparents

> Couple with bridesmaids & groomsmen

> Bride with bridesmaids

> Groom with groomsmen

It’s important to keep in mind that I will be taking many natural photos throughout the entire day. I will try my best to get photos of all your guests, but I will definitely capture multiple images of all the key people.


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No. 6 Footwear to get married in and footwear to party in

You definitely have to get those badass heels, but I always recommend that brides have a more comfortable pair of shoes to change into later in the day. Both for dancing the night away, and for heading off to capture some relaxed couple portraits. Depending on your venue, weather conditions and time of year, I may ask you to go to a field or other area where high heels may not be appropriate. To give an example, I frequently go to nearby open fields at sunset to soak in the stunning golden hour.


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No. 7 Wet weather plans

Plan for the worst and hope for the best. The weather is something you can’t control for your big day, so it’s worth having wet weather plans in place. Most wedding venues will have great indoor and outside spaces, but if you’re doing a bit of a DIY affair, make sure your tipi or marquee can house all your guest comfortably. If you’re having an outdoor wedding, pack your wellies or other suitable footwear just in case.

Investing in some clear or white umbrellas that look nice is well worth it. It’s better to have them and not need them, than to need them and not have them. After your wedding, you can easily sell them on eBay to another couple or hold on to them them as a small keepsake.

If it does rain on your wedding day (touch wood) it’s not the end of the world. A wedding day is about celebrating your love for each other and sharing it with all your nearest and dearest. Your day will be epic, regardless of the weather!


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No. 8 Making the most of golden hour 

You’ll hear us photographers constantly talking about the golden hour. There’s a good reason for that. If you’re blessed with sunshine on your wedding day, golden hour will provide the best lighting conditions from the entire day by far and it would be a crime not to take advantage of it.

When arranging the timings for your day, consider when this may take place. If you’re due to have your meal at sunset, don’t worry. If needed, I’m happy to go out in between a course. I’m always available to assist couples who book me with planning, so please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Depending on the position of your venue in the landscape, the best time to head out will be about between 90 and 30 minutes before the sun disappears below the horizon. I won’t need you for long, maybe 30 minutes at most, but generally around 20 minutes will be plenty of time. After we’re done, you can invite your bridesmaids and groomsmen to join us and maybe bring some smoke bombs or confetti cannons to take some really fun and colourful photos.


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No. 9 Magical sparkler photos

Heading outside when the light has gone with a pack of sparklers is a really common thing to do on a wedding evening, but it’s so much fun. Although it works best at dusk (just after sunset), it also looks fantastic in complete darkness.

When it comes to sparklers, size matters. I recommend getting larger than the standard ones (45cm or 18in long), as they last longer, meaning it’s much easier to get everyone’s lit at the same time. You can easily find them on websites like Amazon.

Before purchasing any, it’s worth double-checking whether it’s OK to use them at your venue. Some venues will have a handheld blow touch, which efficiently light lots in one go. In case they don’t have one, buy a large quantity of windproof lighters. It’s important to have sand/water buckets on hand to dispose of the used ones.


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No. 10 Get the party started

Getting a decent band or DJ will make a huge difference to your evening entertainment, making your evening antics more memorable.


It’s hard catering for a mixture of musical tastes, but here’s a handful acts, which I know will appeal most if not all of your wedding guests… Brass Junkies, Acoutic Royale  & The Shoo Flies.

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