Sending a pre-wedding questionnaire to couples before their wedding day is very important. This helps them know what to expect from you as well as help you (their photographer) know how to best organize the day. I usually send my pre-wedding questionnaires to my couples about 2-3 months before the wedding date. Then about 1-2 months before the wedding I schedule a phone call and go over everything that they’ve filled out in the questionnaire.
I want to share 8 questions you need to be asking your couples in their pre-wedding questionnaire to ensure a smooth experience for you and your couples before, during, and after the wedding day.
I like to know the general timeline of the day so that I can make a more detailed “photography timeline”. It also helps to know if their timeline needs to be changed or tweaked in order to accommodate photos.
It’s not uncommon when the bride and groom are both getting ready at different locations and want getting ready photos. Then you travel to a different location for the first look, meet at the church for the ceremony, and drive to the venue for additional photos and the reception. That’s 5 locations right there! It’s important to know exact addresses for all of these places ahead of time so you can create a map and decide how much travel time is needed for everything.
I always ask this question so that I’m made aware of anything the couple has their hearts set on for photos. Maybe they have a great grandmother that is going to be in attendance and they want photos of her. Maybe there are handmade decorations they want close-up photos of. Maybe Dad passed away years ago and they have little remembrances of him throughout the wedding that need to be captured. Maybe they have an ice cream truck coming for their reception and they want photos of all the guests lined up awaiting dessert. Most of these photos I’d get regardless if they asked or not, BUT in that off chance that I’m out on the dance floor capturing candids when the ice cream truck arrives, I like to know about it ahead of time. Find out what they are excited for or what is most important that you capture for them.
Are they having a first dance, best man speech, parent dances, anniversary dance, jello shots, Hora dance, cake cutting, garter toss, etc.? It’s important to know every single event they have planned so you can be there to capture it!
Get these photos together ahead of time. Family photos are never fun, so the faster you get through them, the better. And what better way then to have an organized list ahead of time.
Speaking of getting a family shot list together ahead of time, also ask if there are any split family situations to be aware of. Are mom and dad divorced and don’t want to be in photos together? You need to know so you don’t accidentally offend someone. Is big brother bringing a girlfriend but the bride doesn’t want her in family photos? You need to know. Get these concerns out in the open before the wedding day.
If something special is happening at the end of the wedding, you need to know about it so you can prepare for photos. If a vintage car is coming, find out ahead of time so you can go outside to take photos before the crowd gets there. Sparklers? You need to know in order to be prepared. Read my post here on how to get the best sparkler exit photos!
This is an important question if you plan on sending photos to vendors or getting the wedding published. Any photos you post need to have all the vendors credited and the way to do that is by collecting the information from the couple before the wedding day. This also helps if you need anything from the vendors ahead of time like extra blooms from the florist or letting the hair and makeup artists know what time to have the bride finished for photos. Compile all the emails, websites, and instagram handles on a document.
Hope this helps guide you when sending out your next Pre-Wedding Questionnaire to your engaged couples!