That might seem like a strange title for a post, but the guests at a wedding play a massive part in the day. No one guest can really make or break a wedding, but there are things you can do to help make the day run smoothly. Naturally my advice is mostly based around the photos, but anyone who has been to a wedding will know that the photos can take up the vast majority of the time between the ceremony and the food. This isn't an exhaustive list, but addresses some of the gripes I (and other photographers) have at weddings that could be greatly helped by reading this!
I know you're not at a wedding to be photographed, but the bride and groom have probably written me a list with your name on it. Please listen to me while I'm trying to arrange the groups! No-one likes the group photos, but the bride and groom have asked for them so the quicker we can get through them the better!
Don't Wander Off
This is an extension of the above... It's difficult for a lone photographer to corral more than 100 guests into one place when I don't know anyone's name. It's even more difficult if Aunty Mabel has nipped to the loo or Uncle George has gone to the bar! I know you're bored watching me take my shots, but there's every chance you'll be asked to be in one!
Don't Be A Comedian
I keep saying it, but no-one likes the group photos so I will try and get through them as quickly as possible. If you're one of the people who we've had to spend 5 minutes trying to find, please please please just come over, get into position and smile. Don't make jokes about being late, don't do a deliberately slow silly walk and don't make yourself the centre of attention. Apart from it annoying me (not that I would ever show it!) it annoys the happy couple. Weddings are fun, but can be stressful for the bride and groom so the less fuss the better. Don't be remembered for the wrong reasons...
Don't Assume I'm Not Talking To You
With 100 people all in the same photo together, sometimes I'll need to ask someone to move. That might be you. If I look at you it probably is you. Please don't look over your shoulder or to either side. It'll get everything moving a lot quicker!
Don't Get In My Way
When I'm posing the couple or setting up a group shot, please at least let me finish what I'm doing before you wade in and take your own shots. I need everyone in the shot to be looking at me and smiling. If you're there with your camera the chances are at least one person will be looking at you or talking to you spoiling the shot. Which means I have to take it again which makes the whole process last a lot longer than it needs to...
If you take one thing away from this post, make it this. Don't hide from me!!! A lot of people don't like having their photo taken. I get that. But the bride and groom have chosen me to photograph their wedding because I take a lot of photos of their guests. They have paid me a lot of money to do so. If you are constantly hiding from my lens it make that part of my job a lot more difficult. It makes no difference to me personally whether I snap you or not, but it does matter to your hosts! Think about them... I will get you eventually, so you can either just let me do it early doors or spend 4 hours looking over your shoulder!
And Finally... Smile!
You're at a wedding! It's a happy occasion! Tell your face... I'm going to get a shot of you anyway and it might make it to the album so you might as well make it a nice one!
Hopefully you'll take something from this and maybe you'll even apply some of it next time you're at a wedding. Either way, have a lovely day!