Bridal preparations and ‘layflats’

The No. 1 secret to a stress-free wedding day? Scheduling ample time for you and your wedding party to get ready. By including enough prep time in your wedding-day schedule, you'll arrive at the ceremony venue relaxed and ready to go, with plenty of time to spare.

One of our biggest roles is the time we spend with the Bride. From hair & makeup preparations through to getting ready with the bridesmaids, Bride's mother, flower girls. We ensure we get a list of details from dress, shoes, bouquet, jewellery, family heirlooms, garter, perfume & invitations for any lay flat shots.

All together you should set aside about 3 - 4 hours to get prepared for your big day.

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Groom detail ‘layflats’

Before the Groom starts to get ready, we take a few lay flat shots of anything special to you, from special socks to cufflinks, watch, tie, aftershave or a bottle of drink. Ensure the wedding rings are handy as well.

Groom preparations

Okay, all the work is done, and your day has arrived. You are now getting married; today is the day. From my experience, if you want your day to go with ease, I suggest all Grooms follow these steps.

Start your day early, leaving plenty of time to get ready. Leave time for the unexpected. It kills me to say, but some groomsmen tend to turn up late. Tell your wedding party or your groomsmen to arrive early for photographs (15 to 30 mins is normally enough). Once everyone has arrived, trousers and shirt on, that’s all we need at Gavin Horrell Photography. The shirt can be partially buttoned. Other items, such as tie, cufflinks, watch and shoes, can be around and handy.

Allowing for the correct amount of time allows for creative photographs to be taken, like the Groom shaving in the morning. Have all of your items ready, so getting ready is a breeze. There’s nothing worse than all the men flying everywhere leaving the Groom alone. Who’s day is it, your men should be close by and there for you. Allow buffer time.

Location photos

My work as a wedding photographer takes me all over the beautiful country of the UK, from the coastal towns of Torbay, Exmouth & Sidmouth through the mountains of Glencoe Scotland, Snowdon North Wales, to our great Capital London. The UK has such a diverse landscape and a huge range of wedding venue choices!

So whether it is a grand stately house, a beautiful historic building, or a registry office, we always start the day by capturing the venue to build a story line for your wedding album and online gallery.

Guest arrivals

I usually start photographing at the ceremony location about an hour before the ceremony starts. In the first 15 minutes or so, I’ll take photos of the venue and any décor before your guests arrive. Think wide scenic photos to show the setting, a silhouette of a weather vane against a bright blue summer sky, your beautiful floral arch in all its glory…

Then it’s onto one of my favourite parts of the day to capture… your guests arriving.

Imagine photos of your families being introduced, university friends hugging as they see each other for the first time in ages, musicians warming up, Ushers handing out the order of service, your partner checking their watch (will anyone ever believe this photo isn’t staged?!), mischievous page boys playing tag while their parents try desperately to keep them clean… and finally, the most special walk you’ll ever take.

The ceremony

All the final preps are done, guests are taking their seats and you’re about to get married. Wedding ceremonies are amazing – a tumult of emotions, mixed with formality, nerves and joy.

If at all possible, we love to be at the ceremony venue a tad earlier than is strictly necessary. This is the first point in the day where everyone comes together and there’s some great little moments happening. Ushers handing out the order of service, old friends and family greeting and catching up.

A perfect opportunity to capture some atmosphere and set the scene before the main event begins.

We’re always on the look-out for the little extra moments that happen during the service. Although our attention really is on the people getting married, sometimes it’s just good to let the cameras wander away from the couple for a moment and capture the expressions from others, or perhaps close in on a little detail which helps tell the story of the ceremony.

Consider a second photographer

Being able to capture two angles during the wedding ceremony is one of the main reasons people choose to hire two photographers.

Ceremonies are formal events so our position and ability to move are often restricted. With both of us photographing the ceremony, however, we’re able to cover both a front and rear view of the proceedings.

Couple's photoshoot

One of the most enjoyable and creative parts of the day is when I take you away for a little while for some Portrait photos of the two of you alone. The pace slows down, there’s no distractions and you finally get away – for as much or as little time as you’d like.

Depending on the location, this could take between 30 minutes and an hour.

The cocktail hour: Great for candid shots

When the prime photographer is away with the Bride & Groom for their Portrait shots, the second photographer is at the cocktail party.

The cocktail hour is the perfect time for them to take candid shots of all your guests (more relaxed than formal ones). Everyone is well dressed and happy. Women wear their nicest dresses and special jewellery for the occasion, while men put on their fancy suits. Furthermore, you will go from guest to guest to have a few words, and I will capture the reaction of people. They will congratulate you for your ceremony and your reception, asking to see your wedding ring and engagement ring. On this day, you are like a queen and king.

I also enjoy capturing other moments, such as the grandmother, hiding in the corner and gossiping with an aunt.

Another example are the kids, out of their parents’ control and doing silly things, which often provide me great material for good images.


Although the vast majority of our pictures are unposed, proper group photos are an important part of any wedding.

Group photos are a more formal record of the most important people at your wedding, but they don’t need to take up the whole afternoon. We’ll work with you before the big day to ensure your groups list is manageable and relevant, so that when the time comes, they’ll feel like a natural part of the drinks reception. Groups are usually wrapped up within 20-30 minutes.

The wedding breakfast

So-called because it’s your first meal as a married couple.

I’ll be there to photograph your grand announcement into dinner, guests whooping and clapping, waving their napkins, and hopefully standing on their chairs.

But I’ll take a break during the meal itself. Pictures of people eating and putting forks into their mouths aren’t flattering, your catering team needs clear access to serve your meal without a photographer in the way, and I need to eat and rest for a while.

But if you’ve planned something specific to happen, like singing waiters, selfie props or ice breakers, then I can pop in and get some photos while that’s happening.


Whether you choose do them before or after the meal, the speeches are a key point in the day. Speeches are usually a mix of nerves, reflection and laughter and the range of expressions we capture is amazing. And although we can’t record what is being said, we try and make our pictures remember how you felt.

The details

We think the details are important. Whether you go for sparse and simple, or glitz and glam, the photos of the table details help define the signature look for your wedding. You’ve spent lots of time deciding on how everything will look – and probably spent a fair bit of money on it too – so it seems right to us that we put aside a bit of time to get really great photographs before all the guests take their seats for the meal.

Reception dancing photos

I bet that you look good on the dancefloor!

Most Wedding photographers finish after the first dance, pack up and go home. We offer this extra service to cover the whole evening.

When you consider that the average UK wedding day lasts for around 12 hours, from Bridal & Groom preparations to the finish, the evening celebrations actually account for a pretty big chunk of the day! With evening guests typically arriving from around 7pm onwards, that’s just over a third of the whole day that guests need to be entertained for. With that in mind, many of our couples don’t just want coverage up until the first dance. You miss out on all the fun of throwing shapes if you pick up your bag and leave at that point! Wedding dancing photos are often some of our favourites. Not to mention the fact that the evening is the perfect way to hype you up after a long day that began way before the ceremony.

Wedding dance floor photos- rounding off your coverage

By the evening, guests who have been there all day are familiar with us and are less conscious of the camera. It helps that usually there have been drinks flowing until this point too. The result is lots of fun images of people having a great time. People dancing like no one's watching, occasionally posing for the camera, dropping their hottest moves and generally enjoying themselves. Wedding dance floor photos are the perfect way to round off your coverage and make your photo gallery feel complete.

A great wedding band or wedding DJ really does make all the difference. Reading the crowd, feeding off their energy and fuelling the atmosphere is a skill that comes with talent and experience. There’s nothing like a misjudged song to kill a party vibe and empty a dance floor.