Wedding first dance at Cecil Sharp House in London

5 Tips To Get Awesome Wedding First Dance Photos

Blog Article

The wedding first dance is one of those must have photos from your wedding day. Being a documentary London wedding photographer I will capture it in its most natural and beautiful state.  I want to document the essence of you as a new married couple right there in that romantic moment.

Now of course I will never direct what you should or shouldn’t do, as I want to capture what a first dance means to you.  But I thought it would be useful to give you five tips to make sure you get the most awesome wedding first dance photos from your day.

10 Great Tips for Wedding Toasts

Wedding Advice

As a wedding photographer I’ve seen and heard a lot of wedding toasts and speeches in my time. Some good, some bad and a few that were exceptional.  So I definitely think I’m pretty well placed to give a few tips and advice on how to deliver a great wedding toast.  I previously posted about when to do the wedding speeches, but here I’ll tell you more about wedding toasts and how to deliver them.

Meon Valley Marriott Hotel wedding photography of the Groom and wedding party laughing during the wedding speeches

History of Wedding Toasts

It’s been argued that wedding toasts date all the way back to the 6th century BC. Glasses would be raised and clinked – causing the contents to spill into one another’s vessels, a reassurance that the drink wasn’t poisoned.  This is most probably what the phrase “good health” comes from.

The wedding link would come from the old tradition of warring tribes and conflicts being ended by marriages between clans – and thus toasting was then a reassurance of peace on all sides.

The term ‘toast’ itself was first coined by Shakespeare in the Merry Wives of Windsor.  It was common practice around this time for a piece of actual toast to be placed in a glass of wine, as a way of of soaking up acidity of the win and making an old piece of stale bread more edible.  The person(s) being honoured would often receive the saturated piece of toast.  Thankfully, this seems to be a tradition that is no longer undertaken during modern weddings, but the idea of wedding toasts still prevail to this day.

So how to ensure you get a wedding toast right?  Here are my 10 tips to help with you wedding toast.

#1 Be Topped Up

Make sure you glass is full and that the wedding party all have their glasses topped up.  This may sound obvious, but you be amazed the number of weddings I’ve been too where a bride, a groom or even the toaster doesn’t have a filled glass to toast with – then everyone has to wait around whilst a bottle to top up with is found.

#2  Be Right…Quite Literally

Ensure you toast using your right hand, which you should be stretched out from the right shoulder towards the person(s) being honoured.  Dont over extend your arm though – nothing looks worse than a trembling arm and contents being spilt.

#3 Short & Sweet

Keep the toast short. 3-5 minutes is considered a good length if you’re delivering a speech.  Anything longer can start to sound a bit too rambling and guests quickly get bored and fidgety.

#4 Rehearse

That’s right, practice really does really make perfect. Run it out a few times before the day, preferably to someone who can tell you what they think.  The more used to it you are, the much smoother it will be done on the day.

#5  Ad-Lib

Make some notes – preferably a few bullet points you can talk around, rather than a number of pages of a word-by-word script.  You’ll sound a lot more natural and what’s more, watching someone read from a script, in an awkward monotone, can be quite boring for everyone.  This follows on naturally to…

#6 Be You

It’s much better to be yourself, rather than what you think you need to be.  If you’re not an extrovert joker or an insightful poet, then don’t pretend to be.  At a wedding everyone is on your side, so be yourself and be personal.

#7  It’s Not All About You

Remember, the wedding toast or speech is not all about you – it’s about honouring someone.  It’s not an audition for Britian’s Got Talent or an opportunity for you to show how really funny you think you area.  Focus on who you are honouring.

#8  The Granny Test

You should really steer away from inside jokes or stuff that happened twenty years ago when you were kids.  It might be really funny for a few close friends or relatives, but for the vast majority of guests they’re just not going to get it.  And speaking of humour, remember guests could include young children and elderly relatives.  Whilst your joke about the razor, the sheep and the naked groom on the stag night is hilarious, is it something you would ordinarily tell your grandmother?  If not, leave it out.

#9 Breathe

Yes, before you start just take a deep breath.  It will slow you down and calm your nerves.  If you’re not used to speaking in front of people, you’ll often speak faster than you realise you are – so try and slow it down. It’s not a sprint to be finished as soon as possible.

#10 Make The Toast!

And remember at the end of toast, get everyone to join in with you raising a glass to and toasting the honoured person(s).  It’s amazing how many times I’ve seen a wedding speech where the actual toast is forogtten about in the relief of ending the speech!  Remember, the final toast is the traditional way of ending the formal part of the wedding day and signaling the fun, party bit is about to start!

Ashridge House wedding photography of he wedding party raising their glasses in toast to the beautiful bride

So I hope these tips help you.  The wedding toast is an important and traditional part of the wedding day so appreciating why you are doing it and getting it as right as possible will be appreciated by the couple.

If you’d like to chat with me about your wedding plans then I’d love to hear from you.  You can call/text me on 07920 422144. Alternatively, you can send me a message via my contact page.

5 Tips For Working With Your Wedding Photographer

Wedding Advice

So you’ve booked your wedding photographer, what next? After all, there’s months to go until your actual wedding date. Do you just wait for them to show up on your wedding day and start clicking away? Actually, no. So here are my 5 top tips for working with your wedding photographer up to your wedding day.

Stay in touch

Rowton Castle Wedding Photography Shropshire

Make sure you stay in touch with your wedding photographer throughout. Keep them informed of how your wedding planning and arrangements are going and keep them informed of any changes that may arise. And definitely ask for advice during this time, even if it has nothing to do with photography! Wedding photographers are usually the most wedding experienced of all your wedding suppliers, after all there’s no other wedding vendor who spends as much time with you on your wedding day. So we usually know about about weddings and have good links with others in the wedding industry. So use your wedding photographer like a free wedding planner and tap them for as much advice, tips and suggestions as you can. Email, phone, tweet or text. Just make sure you stay in touch.

Share photo ideas

Woodlands Park Hotel Surrey Wedding Photography

Throughout your wedding planning and the build up to your wedding day, you’re going to see literally hundreds of photos for everything wedding related – from portraits of smiling couples through to macro shots of wedding cake decoration. If any really connect with you, then share these photo ideas with your wedding photographer. But be realistic too, if you find a beautiful photo of a couple embraced on top of an Alpine mountain, but your getting married at Sutton Registry Office, it’s unlikely your wedding photographer is going to be able to recreate the same image for you. But all the same, even so, photos can still give your wedding photographer an idea of the moods, compositions and edits you are drawn too. It’s all helpful. A better informed wedding photographer will provide you with wedding photography that is the perfect match for you.

Have a pre-wedding shoot

Greenwich London pre wedding photography

If your wedding photographer offers a pre-wedding shoots, then definitely take them up on it. Not only will you get some lovely images of the pair of you in the relative calm of the weeks before your wedding day, but it’s also a great way for you and your photographer to get to better know one another before the wedding. This usually means the photographer will get an idea about how you both are in front of the camera and you will feel more comfortable. Come your wedding day your photographer won’t feel like a stranger and you’ll feel much more at ease, which can only mean one thing…better wedding photos! You can find details of my pre-wedding shoots here.

Provide a shot list

Woodlands Park Hotel Surrey Wedding Photography

A week or so before your wedding day it’s a good idea to provide your wedding photographer with a shot list. You don’t normally need to include things like the first kiss, cutting the cake or the first dance on it…after all this should be expected of a professional wedding photographer. Instead include details of the different family and group shots you will want on the day. The better prepared this all is, the smoother and more enjoyable it will be on the wedding day itself. Also, if there’s any specific or unusual shots you may want during the day, now’s the time to let your wedding photographer know. For example, perhaps there’s a secret spot at the wedding venue where you’d like a photo taking that wouldn’t be entirely obvious on the day. Providing this a week or so before means you’ll have a chance to discuss it properly and get further suggestions back.

Final timings and details

One the top UK wedding photojournalists captures the father of the bride nervously checking the time during the bridal preparations in Moulton, Northamptonshire

Also, during the last week, you’ll want to ensure you’ve agreed things like the times you’ll want your wedding photographer to be with you in the morning. This is often something you won’t know until shortly before your wedding day. It’s also a good time to give alternate contact details in the event if changes or emergencies. Ideally you want to do all this a few days before your wedding day, as then it’ll leave you free to concentrate on other things during the last few days…or have a few relaxing days if you are really well planned, organised and extremely lucky.

So yes it pays to keep talking, planning and bouncing ideas off your wedding photographer in the build up to your day. Of course, if you’ve booked a professional wedding photographer worthy of the name, they’ll be pretty proactive in doing all this anyway and building a relationship with you that will go up to and well beyond your wedding day. But hopefully these 5 tips are helpful just in case!

If you’re getting married and would like to chat with me about your wedding plans, please do give me a call on 07920 422144 or send me a message via my contact page. I’ll be delighted to hear from you.

Advice on using the bathroom in your wedding dress

Wedding Advice

Ahem, okay, there’s no subtle way of talking about this, but when you’re a bride wearing a full on wedding dress it can be quite a task using the bathroom on your wedding day.

I know I’ve certainly been approached and asked advice on this delicate matter from brides in the past…I assume because they think I’ll know from having covered a lot of weddings rather than thinking I may have had personal practical experience of the problem!

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Thankfully, those lovely people over at Wedding Magazine have written an article giving 5 useful tips on using the bathroom in your wedding dress so do check it out. After all, you can never be too forewarned!

If you have any other tips or advice on navigating the bathroom in a wedding dress, I’d love to hear in the comments box below.