One of the biggest and most effective changes that we made a few years ago to our wedding preparation was attending the rehearsals. Back when we used to do more than one wedding a weekend it was difficult to attend all of the rehearsals in the midst of all of the other prep we were doing for our clients. We decided to just photograph one wedding a weekend so that we could give our couples our full attention, and part of that was going to their ceremony rehearsal.
Attending the rehearsal is so helpful to us that now we can’t imagine not going.
A big part of why it is useful is that we get to meet our clients’ parents and their wedding parties before the wedding day. Having us as familiar faces to our couples’ nearest and dearest helps everyone be a little more relaxed with us on the big day (which makes for better photos). We had one groom who warned us that his dad was incredibly shy and he didn’t think his dad would take part in the family photos. At the rehearsal the groom introduced us to his dad and we were so glad we got to meet him before the wedding day. During their ceremony the groom’s dad sat in the middle of the chapel instead of in the front row. Since we knew who he was we were able to sneak a great candid of him. After the ceremony we kindly invited him to join us for family photos and he happily agreed. We were thrilled and so were our clients.
Going to the rehearsal also allows us to figure out our approach to the ceremony so that we are as unobtrusive as possible. We never stand between a bride and a groom when the bride is walking down the aisle because we don’t want to ruin that moment. At the rehearsal we figure out where to stand during the processional so we can capture those moments. If the ceremony is in a tight space with a large wedding party we make suggestions on where everyone can stand that also allows us to get great photos. We’ve even negotiated with priests and ministers who were very against photography and got their permission to move around the church (rather than only photographing from the back of the church).
If it’s an outdoor ceremony we ask our clients to try and have the rehearsal at the same time of day as the ceremony will be held. That way we can see what the light will be like and can make suggestions on where our clients should stand (because no one wants to get married squinting against the sunshine).
Will your photographer attend your rehearsal? It is an important question to ask when you’re meeting with potential photographers. We know that we’ll be there.