Wedding photography is the one discipline in the wedding industry that does not produce a product that you can enjoy on your special day. Instead, the money that you spend on photography is an investment in capturing the joy of your big day for you to look back on for years to come. The trick is to coordinate everything so that your wedding photographer is able to actually capture everything that you want recorded.
Start by sitting down as a couple before you book anything and deciding specifically what you want wedding pictures to record. Coordinating and compromising your expectations may turn out to be challenging enough. If it is, imagine how challenging the wedding photographer would find it during the craziness of the actual wedding day when most everyone is dressed so that the wedding photographer can’t tell the difference between Aunt Betty and Betty Johnson that lives down the street (Chances are you will want a picture of Aunt Betty in some form where Mrs. Johnson might be a lesser priority). If deciding what the two of you want from your wedding photography is not a challenge, count your blessings and move ahead.
Once you have decided what posed pictures you want, take the time to speak with a couple wedding photographers and find out how much time and what kind of schedule a good photographer will need to actually capture the pictures you want. This seems obvious, but often weddings are planned in such a way that the wedding photographer is put in the awkward position of having to try to keep up with what is going on, which could leave you with less than the best in wedding photography.
Chances are the wedding photographer will want to know how important it is to you that the groom does not see the bride before the wedding on your wedding day. If it is not important, there is probably a good chance you can arrange for all of the wedding party to show up at the church (or wherever the wedding ceremony is held) early to get most, if not all, of the posed wedding photography taken care of. Even if you do not want the bride and groom to see each other until she walks down the aisle, it might be possible to schedule your wedding so that most of the posed wedding photography are taken care of and only those pictures that include both the bride and the groom are left until after the wedding ceremony.
If not, however, you might need to consider a schedule that includes a considerable gap of time between the ceremony and the reception (In some parts of North America this is very common, while in other parts it is quite uncommon) to make sure your wedding photography turns out to be the photographs that you will treasure (and make sure that Uncle Floyd doesn’t disappear on you).
After, and only after, you have determined what schedule will be required for the photographer to give you the wedding photography that you are paying for should you actually go out and book your wedding location.