Dust off those party shoes and start practicing your Chicken Dance because it's wedding season! Whether you're the bride-to-be or just a happy spectator, you'll want to read on to make sure you have all the pictures you'll need to create a wedding scrapbook that will be treasured forever.
I'll start with a general list of posed portraits that you will want to have. These may seem to be just common sense, but we don't want to take that for granted. I made a wedding album for a friend of mine, and believe it or not, the photographer didn't take one picture of the groom by himself. The photos can be taken before or after the service, or maybe some before and some after. From my own wedding, I love the pictures that were taken before the wedding, because everyone's make-up was fresh and nobody had been crying yet.
The Bride (by herself)
The Groom (by himself)
- With flowers
- Full-length shot
- Back of dress
The Bride with her family
- Full-length shot
The Groom with his family
- Bride & Mom
- Bride & Dad
- Bride & siblings
- Family portrait
The Wedding Party
- Groom & Mom
- Groom & Dad
- Groom & siblings
- Family portrait
- Maid of Honor (by herself & with the bride)
- Best Man (by himself & with the groom)
- Bridesmaids (as a group & with the bride)
- Groomsmen (as a group & with the groom)
- Flower girl(s) & Ring bearer(s) - themselves and with the couple
- Full-length shot (this is usually nice in the church)
- Waist-up shot (with and without flowers)
- The couple with the priest or minister
- The couples' hands wearing their wedding rings (just hands and/or with the couple looking down at their hands)
With that list out of the way, you'll be well on your way to a beautiful scrapbook. But now here is a list of those pictures that will be more candid. Every wedding is different, so let this be a guideline for you and hopefully it will at least get you thinking about those special things you will want to remember. Of course not all weddings happen in churches, but since that's what I know, that's the terminology I will use. We'll start with the wedding ceremony.
The Church/Venue - the exterior and an overall view of the interior when all the guests have arrived. If you can take this from a balcony, those are really nice pictures.
Arrival - if the bride arrives by limo, take a picture of her getting out.
Anticipation - if you are able to, go behind the scenes and take pictures of the bride and groom (or anyone) as they are waiting for the ceremony to begin.
Musicians - if someone special is singing or playing an instrument, you will want to document that.
Lectors - if someone special is doing the readings or prayers, you will want to document that, too.
Procession - the bridesmaids & groomsmen walking in, etc.
Bride & Dad - walking in & lifting her veil.
Vows - the couple holding hands looking at each other.
Rings - the exchange of rings.
Man & Wife - this is what I like to call the picture of the happy couple walking (or running in some cases) back up the aisle with big smiles on their faces.
Rice, birdseed, bubbles - whatever you decide to shower the newlyweds with, you will want pictures.
Limousine - the couple getting into the limo and a shot of them sipping champagne inside if possible. Of course if there isn't a limousine, there is probably a car decorated with streamers, shaving cream, or the like!
If your wedding experience ends there, you're all set. If your family is like mine though, then the party is just getting started. We're Italian and Catholic, so there is always a huge reception after the wedding, and while the church ceremony is the most important, I think the reception is the most fun! Here are some of those must-have pictures at a typical wedding in my family.
Reception Hall = Photograph the interior and the exterior, including any signs that indicate the location. It was nice to have a picture of the sign outside the hotel where we had our reception which read *Congratulations Michelle & Russ* on the big marquee.
Table Settings & Centerpieces - If you can, get in and take a picture of the room before the guests arrive and start un-assembling the napkin figures and table settings.
Receiving Line - We always did this at the reception and had the wedding couple and wedding party all stand in a line to greet all the guests as they walk in.
The Toast - Usually it's the best man that gives a toast to the happy couple. In my family, it was my dad. If you can get a video camera going so you can transpose the toast into your journaling, that's even better!
Gift Table - Sometimes the wrapping is even better than the toaster that's wrapped up inside, so take a picture of the gift table just for fun!
The Cake - Make sure to get a picture of this before it gets cut, and if the bride and groom make the first cut and feed each other, you'll definitely want to have your camera in hand for that.
Father-Daughter Dance - This is traditionally the first dance. Daddy dances with his daughter and then her groom cuts in at the end of the song which leads to...
First Dance - as husband and wife.
General Dance Floor - When everyone starts dancing you'll want to snap a bunch of pictures. Don't just focus on the bride and groom though; this is where you'll get your best candid shots. I especially like the photos of everyone doing the Electric Slide or the Macarena.
Garter/Bouquet Toss - From him pulling off the garter with his teeth to the moment the single women start fighting over the bouquet, keep that camera loaded and ready.
Departure - As we left our reception to head to the bridal suite, the photographer caught us one last time as we waved good-bye through the closing elevator doors, giving us the perfect photo for the last page of our album.
As you can see, the list can get rather long. My mother insists that she loves it when the photographer goes from table to table taking pictures of all the guests (to document who was there). We also have had several large group pictures taken with all the aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. With something like that, you will want to discuss it with both your photographer and the reception hall people beforehand in case they have any rules and regulations (like no standing on chairs) that could put a damper on your plans.
As in every other aspect of your wedding, if you're the bride, you're the boss! Give this list to your photographer to make sure he or she can help you remember every detail of your wedding day. And if you need products to scrapbook these photos, you know where to go.