A little over a week ago, I had the honor of second shooting for my friend, Charlotte. The ceremony had been lovely and we were heading to the reception when the clouds opened, monsoonal rains fell, gale force winds howled, and the roads became quickly flooded. We were driving down the interstate when Charlotte said, “Oh my gosh, those cars, they’re spinning! They’re slamming into each other!” I looked up to see the carnage after, twisted metal, people running across the interstate. Thank God, we were not involved, and I immediately started praying for the people in the other cars. We pulled over to the side of the road and waited for the ambulance to arrive, and then I called the groom to let him know we would be late to the reception.
Even though you may have the timeline planned to the second, and everything seems to be in place, the nature of life is unpredictable, and you need to be prepared for anything that could happen on a wedding day, not just where you’re going to take portraits in the event it rains.
Photographer (And/or any other wedding industry professional) Preparedness tips:
- Make sure you have the names and phone numbers of the bride and groom, the maid of honor or best man, the coordinator, and anyone else whom you may need to get in touch with in the event of an emergency. If we hadn’t had Tony’s number last Saturday, we wouldn’t have been able to let him know what had happened and that we were going to be late. (Also, don’t rely on being able to get in touch with the bride and groom who may not have their cell phones on their wedding day, I only called Tony because I remembered seeing him put his phone into his pocket after the ceremony).
- Even if you have a GPS, have specific directions to the ceremony and receptions sites written down and available to you in the car. Technology doesn’t always work, especially in rural areas.
- Stay well nourished! The last thing you want is to become dehydrated, especially during a summer wedding. As a diabetic, I also always make sure I have a full days worth of healthy carbs and protein for both me and my assistants/primary photographers to ensure everyone has full and happy tummies. On that note also, make sure you have open and honest communication with your clients about health situations before hand. I always let my couples know that I’m diabetic in our initial conversation because I have to eat so consistently, and I want them to be aware of that before the wedding day.
- Carry an umbrella and/or a poncho in the event you have to shoot in the rain, you want to ensure your expensive equipment is protected while you’re trying to rock the shot.
- Use your network and make sure you have photographer friends you could call in the event (heaven forbid) a catastrophe should strike before you are supposed to be shooting a wedding.
Lastly, I just have to give credit where credit is due. Char and I must have had an angel with us in the car that day, because if we had been even two cars ahead of where we were or left even thirty seconds sooner from the ceremony, we might have been involved in that accident. I am so thankful to my God in heaven for protecting us that day, and allowing us to make it to Michelle and Tony’s reception to capture the remainder of their day. God is good and his grace never ceases to amaze me!