Any recent bride or groom can tell you that as soon as the wedding is over, you'll begin anxiously scanning your social media profiles for sneak peeks of your wedding photos. Then, you'll anxiously refresh your email each day, hoping that your photographer has sent over your wedding photos. And the day they actually do turn up in your inbox? Well, other than the wedding itself, the evening you get to spend reliving the memories from your big day will be one of the best of your life.
That's why it's so important to work with your pro to ensure every special moment is documented on film. To help you craft the ideal list of must-have big-day photos, we asked two wedding pros to share some of their favorite moments to capture on the big day.
Each of the first looks.
Notice how we didn't say "first look," as in singular? Of course, you're going to want your photographer to capture the moment you and your groom (or bride) see each other for the first time, but it's also nice when the photographer captures the other first looks, like when your parents, siblings, or wedding party see you, too. "Remember that your family is almost as nervous as you are, so capturing that moment when they get to see you all ready to walk down the aisle is something that you'll want to keep with you forever," says Keith Phillips, owner of Classic Photographers. "Additionally, a framed version of this moment can make for a thoughtful gift after the celebration."
Reactions at the altar.
Whether you've already seen each other or not, the moment a couple locks eyes at the start of the ceremony is one of the most special parts of the day. "Most eyes are typically on the loved one taking part in the processional, so they often miss the emotions flooding on the other end," says Phillips. "It's key to catch both angles to being able to capture the complete narrative of the day."
Solo shots of the groom.
Solo portraits are usually a must when it comes to the bride, but Phillips notes that the groom often gets less time with the photographer alone. "On the day of your wedding, you and your partner are dressed to the nines, which usually doesn't happen all that often," he says. "Make sure your groom gets adequate time in front of the camera, too."
The less obvious, but important, details.
Your beautiful centerpieces and wedding cake will certainly be photographed by your pro, but other meaningful details may be overlooked, like that vintage handkerchief you gave your mom as a gift or your grandmother's earrings that every bride in your family has worn on her wedding day. "Be sure to capture all of the little things, rings, invitations, cake, shoes, dress, and so forth, " says Wendy Collins of Stowe Mountain Lodge in Stowe, Vermont. "After spending all that time spent analyzing and preparing the perfect wedding, you will want to remember all the little fun things that were added to make it your vision."
Any reactions to the reception toasts.
Couples look forward to hearing their loved ones make toasts at the reception, and your photographer should capture how you both react to the sweet and funny speeches your family and friends give. "All eyes are usually on the friend or family member giving the speech but the receiving ends tends to be a room filled with laughter or happy tears," says Phillips. "The photographer should capture your guests' candid reactions to the tales being told."
The late-night party.
Many couples choose to have their photographers stay just for a portion of the reception, but if you're having a big after-party, it's nice to have photos from this portion of the day, too. "Years later, these will be any couple's favorite candid photos and will remind them of the fabulous event," says Collins.