I thought I'd begin my new blog with an entry about the off season. Most weddings are between Spring and Autumn. This means that brides seeking a photographer during the slower winter season often have a bit more negotiating power...oops not supposed to tell you that!
The other thing about winter weddings is the photographer has additional challenges to face. There is simply less light, expecially here in Scotland, with daylight ending around 4pm. The weather is often inclement, or cold and people rarely look their best if they are shivering and turning slowly blue. The other thing to contend with here on the West Coast of Scotland is wind. An otherwise glorious day can be ripped apart by a cold winter breeze (gales to the Southerners reading this).
So how to overcome this? One option is to move everything indoors. This limits the size of group shots, makes it a challenge to balance the different light sources in the venue, and you end up working your flash to the max. The same light that makes nice mood lighting for the dancing and evening meal can make it just too dark to use available light.
Hotels with conservatories or rooms with good windows can offer natural light and warmth and can be a good fall back if you still have some daylight to play with. Small groups again due to the space constraints.
Another option, which I tried recently was to set up a photo studio at the venue. It means that you can't capture so many spontaneous moments, as everyone in front of the studio lights knows why they are there, but it does mean that you can light your subjects. You need a spare spacious room to do this, access to power points and a safe route to the posing area,
This can be done as a one man operation, but setting up the studio elements (backdrop and lights) is easier with an assistant. The other advantage of an assistant is that they can take the "studio" pictures, while you, the more skilled photographer, can go off and find the more natural shots.