This is the second of three posts covering the wedding of Kristi & Taylor. In the first one I covered the pre-shoot and the next one will cover the actual day.
As with the pre-shoot I always try to attend the wedding rehearsal, which in most cases is held the day before the wedding. Again the reason for doing this is to make the wedding day run a lot smoother.
Firstly it is an opportunity to scope out the church and sort out how you and the second shooter can cover it. In this case, St Kilda’s church had side aisles so I knew that we could move from the front to the back quickly without being too obvious. Samantha (my second shooter) could also come up the side aisle opposite me, so that we could record both bride and groom at the same time. I have worked in smaller churches with only a central aisle and this can really restrict you.
Secondly, you can talk to the celebrant (or minister) about any restrictions that may in place. For example some ministers do not like photographers coming up onto the alter, while others don’t allow flash during the main parts of the ceremony. Knowing this ahead of time saves a lot of heartache on the big day. Fortunately Seth (who was the celebrant) was fairly relaxed and we were free to move as we liked.
Thirdly, and most importantly for the planning, attending the rehearsal enables you to know what is actually happening during the ceremony so that you can work out where to position yourself, and any other shooters.
While all weddings tend to follow a similar pattern, there are always individual elements to each. Because these are personalised, they are actually the most important to shoot well. In the case of Kristi & Taylor, their niece was being a flower girl but with a bubble gun, there were two readings from family members and they were doing a unity candle during the ceremony.
The final benefit of attending the rehearsal is that it gives you the opportunity to meet with the larger wedding party and get them comfortable being shot. I will also talk to the best man to find out if there is anything planned that as a surprise for the bride & groom. Again this is so we are prepared for it.
The rehearsal for Kristi and Taylor’s wedding was held on the Friday afternoon starting at 4:00pm. This had the added advantage that the light in the church was going to be much closer to what we could expect the next day. This let me get a white balance reading, as well as determining what settings I needed to dial in to catch the action.
In the other weddings I have shot, the rehearsal has been held in the evening, and so the light was completely different. This was a nice change as it enabled to me to see how much ambient light I would be dealing with.
While not part of a standard rehearsal, I will usually ask the bride and groom to practise putting the rings on each other. Again this makes for a smoother day.
With the pre-shoot and the rehearsal done, it was now time to go home, charge up all of the batteries, pack the bags and check that the times very consistent on all the cameras.