The day of a wedding, no guest is worried about anything more than upsetting the bride. There are a million and one rules of etiquette for the day of the wedding but in those many rules there are few rules advising guests how to make sure to avoid ruining an otherwise perfect photo moment. Keep these in mind for the next wedding you attend and you may save yourself from being silently cursed by the bride when seeing her pictures.
If you arrive and the processional has started, please don’t walk down the aisle with the processional. Remember the processional starts with the mothers and continues on through the bridal party and bride. Wait to the side and find your seat after the processional is over.
This wedding had a lot of stragglers that kept sitting themselves through the processional, which ended up confusing the groom’s mother who ended up seating herself due to the confusion. If you are late, wait!
If you arrive late and the processional has started, don’t stand behind the bride at the end of the aisle waiting for her to go down. Wait to the side for her to finish walking up the aisle before coming back to the doorway and taking your seat.
As you can see in this image, there are people waiting at the end of the aisle and they are a distraction in the image as you can see them between the bride and her escort.
During the ceremony, please don’t allow your child to run up and down the aisle, especially if you are between the photographer and the bride and groom.
These guys were running up and down the aisle for the entire ceremony and while it is cute for a couple pictures, it also made the wide angle shot up the aisle a bit tricky as the aisle was never clear.
During the ceremony, when taking pictures please do so from your seat and do not stand up in the aisle to do so, especially when the bride is walking down the aisle.
This guest was standing RIGHT in front of the groom, whom you cannot see in this image or this series of images. I love to get the groom’s reaction in the frame of the bride but it wasn’t possible due to this guest.
Keep arms and legs inside the pews/chairs at all times during the ceremony. It may be more comfy to sprawl out but often your elbow/foot may become the focus of an otherwise perfect shot.
After hearing Heidi’s anguish over this image, I started saving images of guests ruining pictures for a future blog post.
During the exit, leave an exit path for the bride and groom and try to resist the urge to crowd them.
As you can see in this exit, there was no path and seeing the bride and groom isn’t easy. With a clear path for the bride and groom they are easily visible.
Likewise, don’t jump in front of the photographer between the bride and groom and them to take a picture during the exit (or anytime).
This bride wanted a pause at the door for the photo opp of having everyone ringing their bells and being excited which was marred by this guest needing a picture.
If a photographer is taking a picture of you, keep doing what you’re doing – if we wanted you to look at us, we’d tell you (same with make a face!).
This couple was having a great animated conversation but when they saw me they struck a pose…
On the dance floor try to be aware of where the photographer is when dancing, try not to jump in front of our lens. (I delete all these pics so use your imagination here).
Keep an eye on your kids during the reception, they are often intrigued by our cameras and gear. If you see them messing with our gear or us, please make them stop.
This picture is obviously not one the bride and groom received but it proves my point here. This kid kept jumping up and slamming his hand into the lens and trying to hang from it during the garter removal. His parents were nowhere to be found and he would not stop no matter what I said. Eventually my assistant was able to stop him but if she hadn’t, I would have been lucky to get ONE shot of this series.
Please be aware where we are on the dance floor and try not to hit us.
This is me in the ER a couple days after an eventful wedding where a guest slammed her elbow down onto the top of my camera, breaking my nose, pulling some muscles in my neck and getting two black eyes. It was the most horrendous CRUNCH I’ve ever felt in my face and it hurt for quite a few days. I finished out the night, but shooting wasn’t easy after that!
For tips on how to be a polite guest with a camera, please see my Guest Photographers post…. I shall be soon expanding on this with pictures!