In Minnesota, September is one of the busiest months for weddings. The weather is typically pleasant, and the changing leaves make for gorgeous backdrops for photos. I knew September would be insanely busy for me, but when I realized I had scheduled myself for not one, but two triple-header wedding weekends, I knew I was in uncharted territory! The first two weekends in September, I had weddings on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. This means six weddings in ten days! When I posted about this on Instagram, tons of photographers responded to me, saying how crazy I was (fair) and wondering how to heck I was doing it! I decided to write about my experience and document what I learned along the way. Without further ado, here’s my survival guide for triple-header wedding weekends:
1. Do not set yourself up to lead-shoot three weddings in one weekend!
Before we go any further, I need to clarify one thing. For my triple-header wedding weekends, I was not lead-shooting all three weddings on a given weekend. I was always the second shooter on at least one of the three. This was a tremendous help when it came to my energy and brain power! When you’re the lead shooter, you have to be much more “on,” making it really easy to burn out faster. Luckily, I was merely the second shooter on each of the Friday weddings I shot, so I could ease into lead-shooting on Saturday and/or Sunday.
2. Get organized.
It is absolutely impossible to shoot three weddings in one weekend if you aren’t organized. You do not want to be scrambling to finalize timelines or send reminders to your brides last-minute, so give yourself plenty of lead time. Communicate early. Print off the shot lists for all three weddings the week before. Save all three timelines to your phone well in advance so you have everything you need. You should also make sure you have plenty of memory cards and charged batteries so you’re not caught unprepared. Leave yourself as much time to rest on the day-of, so pre-planning is imperative.
3. Outsource (at least some of) your editing.
When it comes to shooting a lot of weddings in one weekend, obviously the physical act of shooting is what we think about first. However, you also need to consider the back-end of the process. When are you going to cull and edit the wedding? Will you be able to meet the gallery delivery deadlines for all three weddings as outlined in your contract? I outsource all my wedding editing now, and it is a GOD SEND. I was able to cull the images for all the weddings on Monday morning and send them all to an editor so I could focus on sharing sneak peeks and RESTING. Trust me, it’s worth the price.
4. Manage your clients’ expectations.
I’m not saying you have to tell them you are shooting three weddings in one weekend. You may choose to keep that to yourself in order to make them feel like a priority. However, if you’re like me and like to send sneak peeks to your brides and grooms the day after their wedding, just know that this probably won’t happen if you’re shooting three weddings in one weekend! Be sure not to make promises you can’t keep and be honest about timelines. This will lead to happier clients and less stress on your end!
5. Drink ALL the water.
Seriously, you need to force yourself to drink way more than you think you should. Have your second shooter remind you to drink water at least once an hour. Set up an alert on your phone if you have to. Especially if the weather is warm, you can dehydrate so easily when you’re on your feet all day, and especially if you’re talking all day.
6. Protect your immune system!
When it came to shooting six weddings in ten days in early September, my biggest concern was my health. With the turn of the season always comes an increased spread of illness, so I was adamant about doing all I could to stay healthy over these two weeks. How miserable would those two weekends be if I was ALSO fighting sickness?! This is where tip #5 comes in. I also highly recommend taking some Emergen-C or Airborne each morning before weddings to give your system a little extra boost. By the second weekend, I also took a few Advil right before the weddings to counteract some of the soreness I was feeling in my neck and back from carrying heavy equipment for days on end.
7. Ditch the coffee and get REAL rest.
Okay, okay… I definitely still treated myself to Starbucks each morning before my weddings. However, your body can’t survive off of coffee alone for three days, especially when you’re doing something so physical! Allow yourself to truly rest after each day. Get a good night’s sleep and take it easy before your wedding days start. If you’re like me and you struggle to turn your mind off before wedding days, I highly recommend taking melatonin as soon as you get home from each wedding to give yourself some solid sleep.
8. Remember how lucky you are.
I could go on and on about little things I did to help myself survive these back-to-back weekends physically, but so much of it was emotional too. It can be draining to be a slave to a timeline for days on end, herding family members for photos and being on your feet for ten hours straight. However, what truly got me through these weekends was reminding myself that I am SO lucky to be trusted to capture couples’ most important day. I used to dream of shooting weddings and would pray for couples to book me, so complaining about it was absurd. This little reminder gave me the energy boosts I needed to get through the longer, more stressful days. These weekends were a privilege, not a chore, and I’m so thankful to have had the opportunity (and survived!)
If you have any other questions about surviving double- or triple-header wedding weekends, shoot me a message! I’m happy to help!