Two short hours of your time for a lifetime of memories?

By Benjamin Toms

The most important part of your wedding day will be – I imagine – when you both say ‘I do’. But when I asked Ben Toms (my Kent wedding photographer friend) about his most important time of a wedding day, his response was super interesting – I think you’ll find this very, very useful…

wedding photography advice Benjamin Toms Kent (4)

There are usually two hours or so between the end of a wedding ceremony and the start of the meal where the most important wedding photographs all happen. These are the moments you’ll cherish forever: some you’ll have seen, some you’ll be in! – and some you’ll have missed on the day and will treasure for years to come.

I always advise my couples to allow two hours between the ceremony and the meal, and it’s amazing how fast that time goes. Let’s look at it one bit at a time.

After your ceremony is the best time to take group photos. I recommend allowing half an hour for group shots, and if at all possible it’s brilliant to take these just after your ceremony (find out why).

wedding photography advice Benjamin Toms Kent (1)

Then you’ll need a little ‘me’ time… photography duties done for the moment, you’ll probably be ready to dash off for a wee (in a wedding dress; takes time!) Meanwhile your guests will be busy chatting and making their way to the reception.

Ben told me one part of his wedding he’d do exactly the same again (he’s been married for ten years now) is the canapes. When you’ve taken the trouble to choose gorgeous treats and nibbles for your guests after the ceremony, you want them to be enjoyed… and you should allow yourself time to mingle and enjoy a few yourself!

Not only is this hour or so of your wedding day a pleasure for your guests, it also allows your documentary wedding photographer to get some of the most amazing images of your day. Guests are relaxed, everyone’s smiling and laughing – and the two of you are interacting with friends and family who mean the world to you both. The happy atmosphere and relaxed smiles mean you’re going to have some amazing images of you and your guests… and it’s more than likely you’ll barely know your photographer was there at the time until you see the pictures.

Another important part of the two hour gap between your ceremony and meal is the time for your photographer to take pictures of your reception venue. Those tables you’ve carefully styled and prepared, the place settings, favours, table plan and display tables all set the scene for your day. Before your guests find their places for the meal, your photographer can photograph all the details you and your family have spent hours crafting and preparing in the run up to your wedding day.

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There’s half an hour or so left before your meal, and this is the time your photographer will suggest you have some portrait photos taken. It can be really lovely to escape from the party for a few moments and have some quiet time as a couple being married. Your photographer will be there, but a documentary wedding photographer will never be ‘in your face’ – twenty minutes or so in the grounds of your venue while your photographer takes your couple portraits is all you’ll need. And trust me – you’ll love this part!

Before you know it, those two hours will be over and it will be time for your reception. You’ll be relaxed and ready for some food – and you’ll have spent some really precious time chatting to everyone, as well as knowing your portraits are sorted.

Two short hours of your wedding day will give your documentary wedding photographer all the time he needs to get the most amazing images capturing the atmosphere of your day.

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More wedding photography advice by Ben:

  1. Your wedding through the eyes of a photographer
  2. The two best moments of your wedding day?
  3. About those group shots… invisible on blogs, unmissable for your memories!
  4. Why documentary photos are the key to a unique wedding
  5. The vicar, the registrar and the wedding photographer


Benjamin Toms Photography – more information and pictures!

As an English Wedding Blog sponsor, Benjamin Toms Photography has a dedicated page right here on the blog:

Benjamin Toms wedding photographer Kent (10)

If you’re a wedding supplier you can find out all about sponsorship of the English Wedding Blog by clicking the advertise link in the navigation menu or here: advertise on the English Wedding Blog

Claire Gould

Claire spends her days writing - either in beautiful calligraphy or online. She lives on the edge of the English Lake District only minutes away from the beach, where she loves to escape and unwind. Claire's calligraphy can be found at Claire launched the English Wedding Blog in November 2009 - it's been a top 10 UK wedding blog ever since, with a regional focus we hope you LOVE.



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