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Lots of the brides I meet – and grooms too, actually – have planning down to a fine art. I’m consistently impressed by the foresight and the attention to detail they exhibit, balancing the pressure planning of their big day seemingly effortlessly alongside work, family commitments and more. Truth be told, I’m more than impressed – sometimes the level of organisation they display leaves me feeling a bit…awe-struck?

But there’s one detail that’s often overlooked, and it’s a crucial one: the location for those all-important couples portraits. You know the pictures I mean – the ones where you’re just minutes married, riding high on adrenaline and champagne, soaking up every glorious second. The nerves have disappeared and the smiles are real, genuine. I can tell because they’re uncontrollable; they reach your eyes.  

It’s a vital point in the day to capture – one that you’ll want to look back on for years to come. But when to do it – and where?

Sometimes my clients suggest getting some images immediately after the church or civil ceremony, but be aware that privacy will be difficult to find with your friends and relatives milling around – and a little bit of privacy is usually essential for relaxed-looking photographs! Personally, I think the time immediately following the ceremony is more suited to getting some beautiful group photographs (you can read more about my thoughts on that subject here) and it’s worth waiting a little longer to capture some intimate moments between the newlywed couple. For family photographs, it is certainly easier to capture some beautiful images straight after the ceremony, before distractions at the reception take over. As a couple you will be happy in the knowledge they are captured early on, allowing everyone then to mingle and let their hair down.

It’s a topic you should definitely discuss with your photographer in advance, but be prepared to throw around a few ideas. Feel free to ask for advice, especially if they’ve shot a wedding at your venue previously. Perhaps there are some stunning – and partially secluded – gardens, and this can be a great place to snatch a few minutes away from all of the hustle and bustle. Talk about the kind of style you’d like to go for and the shots your photographer likes to capture. With me, it’s pretty low-key – walking and talking, strolling hand in hand, some embraces – rather than lots of poses, but every photographer has their own preference.

Sometimes couples want to visit another destination en route to the reception venue and this is often entirely doable, but remember to factor in the travel time required and to consider the impact on your timeline (I’ve written about the importance of having a timeline here). With me, couples portraits tend to take around 15 minutes, so that’s something to bear in mind with your planning.

Usually, we get our opportunity for couples portraits before the meal and the celebrations really begin, but another option is to slip out afterwards and capture some of the gorgeous fading light during the magical golden hour. Having your photographs taken together in or in the grounds of your venue means that you won’t be away from your guests for too long. Again, discuss with your photographer and see what’s possible in the time you have together.

Whatever your decision though, don’t feel anxious about any aspect of your photography. With the right photographer, you’ll feel relaxed regardless – and the right photographer plus the natural high you get after you say ‘I do’ is a pretty powerful combination!