When your Orange Beach wedding ceremony starts at 6:30 and it says 100% rain starting at 6:30, what do you do? Do you move locations to somewhere indoors? Bump up the start time to try and beat the rain? Most couples can’t reschedule their wedding because there’s too much involved… or do you stick it out and take the chance that you’re going to get rained on? If you’re having an outdoor ceremony, I’m sure this is a question every couple has worried about at some point.
Brooke and Chandler had to make this exact kind of decision on their wedding day. Rain was a for sure thing at their scheduled ceremony start time, so they decided to start their ceremony 30 minutes earlier than it was scheduled to start. That meant that I had 30 total minutes for ceremony, family portraits, and bride and groom portraits. By the time the ceremony was over, we had about 15 minutes to take all the portraits. On a normal wedding day, we start portraits with the full family shot list, getting those finished so the family can head off to enjoy cocktail hour while the bride and groom take their photos. I was too nervous to do this. I was afraid that if I did all the family portraits first, that if the rain started early, Brooke and Chandler would potentially have no portraits from their wedding day… but on the flipside, I had to get family portraits too because those are also photos that you have to get.
I decided the best strategy would be to start with the must haves first. The safe shots. The bride and groom always have my first priority with photos because their wedding photos are the ones that will get printed out, hung on the wall, and passed down to their kids and grandkids. So I started with those first. We got a handful of “traditional” bride and groom shots and then moved on to getting the family photo must haves. We got a shot with the grandparents and then the Bride’s family and the Groom’s family. Then we went back to more bride and groom photos, getting some of the more fun and less “formal” shots that always end up being the faves. We blazed through them as we knew there was still some family photos we wanted to get. Every photographer should have a flow of “poses” that they can easily and quickly have the couple move through to get a wide variety of portraits in a small amount of time. Once we felt like we got a big variety of portraits, we went back to getting the smaller combinations of family shots. The bride and groom with each of their parents, their siblings, and group shots of both sides of the family. At this point it’s around 6:25… yes, 25 minutes after we arrived for their ceremony and we can see the rain all around us, but it hasn’t started raining yet, so we ended their wedding with a few more fun portraits as we headed out to the parking lot. The second we got to the walk over, it started to sprinkle and by the time we make it into our cars, it started to pour. I looked at my watch and it was 6:30… their original wedding start time.
It’s weddings just like this that make me glad that I am a giant nerd and have a system for situations like this that require me to work fast. I had 15 total minutes to get all the portraits that I knew this couple needed and deserved from their wedding day. They had booked me for an hour and a half, and on a regular wedding day, we would have allotted 30 minutes for the ceremony, 20 for family photos and 30-40 minutes for bride and groom portraits. But that day, we did an hour and a half wedding in 30 minutes and they have a full wedding gallery with over 230 photos to show for it. I told this amazing couple and their families what my plan was and they couldn’t have been more amazing. The family stayed right there with us, ready to jump in quickly when it was their turn for photos. It was seriously a team effort that day to make it happen and they couldn’t have done better.
I’m usually not one to toot my own horn, but I don’t think I’ll ever forget this day and how grateful I felt as we walked off that beach, that I did my job and did it well.
If you liked this beach wedding, I think you might like this one too!