It’s no secret that a wedding is (normally) a once-off thing for your couple. It is an incredibly special, expensive, and intimate day to say the least and you, as the photographer, will play such an important role. We often tell our couples that there isn’t much else left after a wedding besides their marriage, their rings, and their photographs.
You absolutely have to be 100% prepared for the wedding day and to know where what happens, when it happens, who it happens with, how to get there, and who to reach in case you need to call someone. There is no excuse for this. Not only will this make the day significantly easier to follow through, it will also show your professionalism and instill confidence in your couple as they see just how committed and on-point you are.
If you are not sending out a questionnaire before their wedding day, or at the absolute minimum, having a phone call – you really do need to rethink your decision to be a wedding photographer. If you’re new, you’re forgiven – and this post will bring you up to speed.
Ways to send the questionnaire
Electronically on your website / Google Documents / Other
This is by far the best way as it’s not only easy for everyone involved to pass along information, it’s also stored and easily retrieved. You can also customise the heck out of it to match your brand, have some fancy conditional logic functions (where certain questions appear based on what choices were made earlier), and it’s modern. Yep. I said it.
Taking notes via phone
This isn’t exactly the worst way to go about this. In fact, you may see a bit more benefits here besides the sheer amount of time involved in conducing this. The good thing is that if you or your couple have questions, they can all be asked right then and there. You also have the ability to immediately clarify smaller details and suggest alternatives to things that you can forsee being troublesome (Shooting 50+ group photos in 15mins for example).
Post / Fax
No. Just… no.
When to send the form
We personally send it out atleast 2 weeks before the wedding day. Sometimes even a month. You have to allow the couple time to do this. Especially if you have a longer form. It also leaves room for you to call and clarify things, or to suggest changes here and there if you think it’ll be better for them. As much as possible, try and leave a decent amount of time between when you send it and when you expect it back.
It can happen (and has to us) that it gets filled out and sent a few days before the wedding, and when that happens – you just gotta take it as it comes and hope that things are as helpful as you hoped. You could always print a copy of it and bring it with you on the wedding day and point out a few things when needed.
Always bring a copy with you to the wedding.
Whether that’s stored on your phone or a printout. Have it nearby, all the time, and ready. Especially when you have multiple locations and the addresses are all on it.
What should be asked in this form
Here’s the fun stuff – you are free to ask whatever you like. Whatever you think is necessary for you to be prepared and on top of your game to cover their wedding. But if you’re new or you simply run out of ideas – the below list is taken directly from our own final questions which you can explore. Since ours is relatively big, I did use conditional logic (Questions appear based on previous answers) as this just makes the user experience, and our lives, a bit easier. You do not need to go such a complicated route. A simple form is enough.
Besides, your couple will know the importance of sharing this information and should be able to dedicate a bit of time to fill it out. You can always encourage them to open up a bottle of wine on the couch with their laptop as they fill it out and discuss it. Works a charm for us.
So, let’s jump right to it. We broke our form down into multiple parts as it was just easier to organize and track the information, so we’ll do the same here:
Names (both) It’s good to have both their names as you’ll often refer to their wedding as “So & So’s wedding”.
Start of Coverage Time It’s good to know when your agreed time to start was
End of Coverage Time and it’s good to know when you’re expected to end shooting.
What package did you book? We have 3 tiers of packages, here we simply ask them to pick the one they booked.
What addons did you book? We also offer addons like albums, extra hours, films, after wedding shoots and so on. Here they list out what extras they want/paid for. Here is where our conditional logic comes into play – based on what they choose here, the form will load questions specific to these addons.
The Getting Ready
Would you like us to photograph the getting ready of the bride?
Would you like us to photograph the getting ready of the Groom?
If so, will you get ready at the same location? Such as a hotel, but in separate rooms
Location address(s) Good to note where it will all happen and will help you calculate driving times to and between them (if necessary).
Would you like us to photograph the details of the Bride? Things like jewelry, stationary, etc… not everyone wants these.
Would you like us to photograph the details of the Groom? Things like shoes, ties, cuff links, etc… same as above.
We do place a bit of information there as well asking them to allocate at least an hour or so for us to do these details if they want them to be captured.
Your First look
Will you have a first look? Simple Yes or no
If yes, then do you have a location in mind? If not, we’ll find a spot for you
Starting time of the Ceremony
Ending time of the Ceremony
Address of the Ceremony
Is there parking available? yes / no (if no, we ask for recommendations on where to park)
Ceremony Entrance Here we ask how they will enter their ceremony, in what order, with or without the bridal party
Ceremony Exit Whether they have things being thrown, or something else entirely
Anything else we should know about your ceremony? We always leave a text box for people to shaer more details that we may have forgotten to ask about or to ask us questions.
Your Reception, Dinner & Party
What time does the reception start?
Where will the reception be? Address
Anything we should know about the reception? Special events or things out of the ordinary
Is the Dinner located at the same place as the reception? Yes/no. If no, we ask where it will be
What time does Dinner start?
What time does Dinner end?
What will the lighting be like during dinner? This is immensely helpful to plan. Some dinners are incredibly low-lit with candles and look stunningly romantic. Though we know we’d need our flashes on standby. Others are lit with spot lights and may be full of color that could look pretty bad in photos (that’s where you’d jump in and let them know that it may not turn out the way they hoped).
Have you remembered to organize food / dinner for us? It’s part of our contract that they must provide dinner for us. It certainly doesn’t have to be at a table with guests, but we’re never sad to have that happen.
Is the party at the same location as the dinner? Yes/no. If no, then we ask where it will be.
What time does the party start?
Anything else we should know about the party? When the first dance will happen, for example.
Besides the usual group photos (close family, bridal party), do you want other staged group photos? Yes/no
If yes, please list out the constellations
Your couple shoot
How much time do we have to photography you?
Do you have a location in mind?
Would you be keen to go out again between dinner courses for sunset?
Anything else you’d like to share with us?
Here it’s totally subjective to what you’re offering and what they booked additionally to your packages. Here’s a few examples in a case where all our addons are booked:
How many additional hours do you need? We add the cost to the final invoice, and also mention that they can decide on the day if they want us to stay longer. Sometimes it’s hard to predict.
Is drone flying allowed at your location?
Do you want your vows to be recorded?
Do you want the ceremonist to be recorded?
Anything else to add?
Ceremony & Speech Recordings
Please let us know who you want recorded
Your After Wedding Shoot
When would you like to do it?
Any locations in mind?
Anything else we should know?
Your Other Event
Such as a welcome evening or something.
What kind of event is it?
Where and when is it happening?
Anything else we should know?
We personally love to collect the information, links, and names of the vendors so that we can tag them on Instagram or reach out to them if we need to clarify a few things.
Wedding Dress brand & Shop
Invitations / Stationary
Videographer (if external)
Hair & Make up
We come to the very end where we ask about their gallery:
Password for their gallery (private)
Password for guests to use
Name of someone who can help us organise group photos (best man, maid of honor)
Any last questions or details we should know?
Yes, this form is massive. It really is big, but it can be augemented to be better with fancy nerdy things like conditional logic, brand designs, funny Gifs in between and so on. Make this form your own and if you can, make the experience enjoyable.
It’s also a good idea to send a copy of the final questions to their email as well so they have it on hand too and can read through it again in case they made a mistake.
Electronic forms that we recommend (plugins)
Here’s a list of plugins for wordpress that we have used in the past and can recommend. Heads up though, some of these are affiliate links. Which means that if you happen to buy one of them, we’ll earn a little commission. This has no effect on your final price. It just helps support us and the platform.
QuForm (we’re currently using this one)
Would you be interested in a comparison between these forms? Or a tutorial of such?
What we look for in forms
When we’re choosing a form for our final questions, we’re looking for a few things that we know will make our life easier:
- Easy to use
- Has conditional logic
- Can send multiple emails (one to us, one to the couple)
- Good support (often comes with paid plugins)
I really hope you enjoyed this article and that it helps you discover things to ask your couple before their wedding. I cannot stress enough how important it is to send out a form or something. Being prepared is 10000% your responsibility and it will make everything so much easier to handle.
And one more time, check out our final questions here: