Why We Arrive An Hour Early For Weddings
“Show up early, treat people with respect, perform at the highest level”
Leidy and I haven’t always been the most punctual people. In the past, we have been late for a variety of reason. Traffic was heavy, there was construction, the dog puked on the way out the door (true story). We have been late for work, doctors appointments, meeting friends, making it to class, just about everything. Most of the time we never intended on being late, it just happened.
Now I don’t want to make us sound incompetent, we were not late for everything. Just some things some of the time. But something changed when we decided to shoot weddings. That something was us.
A World Of Difference
It’s one thing to be late for an appointment or to meet up with friends. You can just stay a little later or make it up to them another time. But once we decided to photograph weddings, we realized something long before our first weddings. We can’t be late to a wedding because we can never make that time up. Ever. And it can make a world of difference to someone’s wedding day.
We have said it before and we will say it again, it is an understatement to say that there is a lot that goes into a wedding. Months and sometimes even years of planning into a single day. We have yet to arrive at a wedding to find that everything was already set and ready to go. There will always be last-minute preparations, it is just the nature of weddings.
So Leidy and I agreed very early on that we will arrive very early for weddings. A minimum of 60 minutes early. If it takes us 15 minutes to get to the bride’s getting-ready room, then we leave our house 75 minutes early. If it takes us 35 minutes to get to the ceremony, then we leave 95 minutes early.
Now, this might seem a little excessive. But there is a reason why we decided this and it goes well beyond just looking professional.
We build a cushion for travel time in the event there is traffic, construction, or heaven forbid our car breaks down.
What We Like To Do When We Arrive Early
1. Take detail shots of the venue, the florals, and the vendors setting up. – Well, we are there to take pictures after all and if we can capture the moment that the wedding coordinator is helping the bride or the florist setting up the floras in action, we do it.
2. Help set up. – When we got married, we set up the night before. We recruited every family member and friend that we could. And the morning of we had 10-15 people tasked with different things. Someone on a wedding day could use an extra hand. Or two. (Just one of the many benefits of hiring a husband and wife wedding photographer team.) Even if it’s just setting down napkins or blowing up balloons.
3. Scout lighting and look for new spots. – We always prepare weeks in advance before a wedding so we know where we want to go and when. But sometimes things change since we have been there last. A tree we once shot under, cut down. A new fountain installed. That sort of thing. It never hurts to review the lay of the land one last time.
4. Introduce ourselves to guests and vendors. – Sometimes the wedding day is the first time we will meet the cake artist, the florist, or the coordinator. When we are early there is less pressure and a much better time to get to know someone.
Impacting and Strengthening Marriages
Yes, we are technically being paid by how much time we spend there. But if we stay just a little longer and show up just a little earlier, we can have a profoundly positive effect on someone’s wedding day. Leidy and I agreed that we want to do more than just serve our clients with beautiful photography. Yes, we will do that. But our mission is to impact and strengthen marriages. Our whole goal is to be an example of how amazing marriage is.
A couple’s journey, their entire life together can be traced back to their wedding day. For some couples, this is the very beginning. For others, it comes a little bit later. But for all couples its a symbol of their love and commitment to each other. If we can spend just a few extra minutes helping our brides and grooms beyond their wedding day photography, then maybe they can enjoy their celebration of love just a little more. Maybe because we showed up early and help the florist with the flowers, we can photograph her for her website. (Side note this is another reason why we don’t watermark our images.) And maybe if we show up early, we catch that special moment of the father walking his daughter to her getting-ready room on her wedding day. A picture that the father treasures so much that he frames it for his office to see it every day. All because we showed up just a little early for weddings.
Sometimes it’s the little things that make a huge difference. So we see it as a part of our contract to be early for weddings.
Show up early. Really early. Help out and enjoy the celebration of love. Because that is what it is all about.