In a wedding film, what would you do if you showed up and nothing was happening but hair and make up and guys sitting around getting dressed?

James Blankenfeld asked: This is an issue that I've run into time and time again. I show up to the bride first and start with artistic shots of her getting her make up done, and then get over to the guys to get them getting dressed, and back to the bride for the dress. Unfortuntately I've never had a wedding where the groomsmen go out and play golf, or go fishing. I've never had a wedding where the bridal party did the same thing. It's always hair and make up and then getting dressed. 

I don't want to force them to do something, but what would you do if you showed up and nothing was happening but hair and make up and guys sitting around getting dressed? Is there a way to still get more out of the story than shots of hair and make up? I had one opportunity where the bride was getting massages with the girls and the guys were going to play golf. I showed up the morning of to find out they did that all the night before and never told me. So I was left with only hair and make up, rather than this deeper story you are talking about with the activities they do.

In this case, you're struggling with being reactive, rather than proactive, when you show up to shoot the wedding.

In wedding films, when we talk about taking the time to listen and research, we certainly are talking about pre-interviews and getting to know our couples, but we're also talking about asking the questions and getting the information you need to be able to tell the story.

Rather than showing up to the wedding day, and hoping that something story relevant is happening, why not ask the bride and groom beforehand? Ask for copies of itineraries, ask what they're going to be doing the week before the wedding, ask their friends or ask their parents, ask to see their vows, ask to see friends' toasts and speeches—there are many ways to get information beforehand that will allow you to be aware of exactly what's going to happen and when.

For example, when we did a destination wedding with a couple Robin and Gary, we actually had Robin share with us her itinerary with what activities the guests, her and Gary were going to be doing the few days before the wedding, we could actually go through that itinerary and highlight what was relevant that we wanted to cover for the wedding, and cross out what we knew we didn't need to tell their story. We even had notes of people especially close to them so we could follow those key people as well.