My couples spend a lot of preparing for their weddings. So many decisions are made. Vendors, cake flavors (or pies or doughnuts), colors, themes...by the time their wedding arrives, most couples are D-O-N-E and just ready to be onto their lives, post-wedding.
As the person they chose to photograph their wedding, I choose to honor them by preparing as well.
Most of this list is stuff that I do frequently anyway (like clean and test my equipment) but I always, always, always do it before a session.
A few days before the wedding, I revisit all the plans we've made, again.
The time, the date, the desired shot list. I re-look at the venue online (if it's one I've never been to). I revisit any Pinterest boards that were shared with me or that I made for the wedding. I also check the weather -- again. I send a confirmation email to my couple (or at least my bride!) and my second shooter.
The day before the wedding, I prep my gear.
I buy batteries for my flash units and snacks for the day (not pictured). I gas up my car. I also test the flash units. I clean my lenses. I charge my camera batteries. I make sure I have empty memory cards.
I also make sure I have copies of all the things I need.
I write down lists that I need to remember (portraits before the ceremony, events happening during the ceremony, portraits for after the ceremony, etc). I add the day's schedule, shot list, and any prompts I want to remember to my smartwatch.
The morning of the wedding, I pack my camera bag and make sure I have a good breakfast.
I fill up my water bottle. I caffeinate -- heavily. I apply concealer and mascara (because I want to look professional but I know it will mostly melt by the end of the day, so I don't want to put on a full face of makeup.) I gather my day-of-emergency bag (complete with Tylenol, extra deodorant, my extra camera, and a spare pair of pants) and take it with my camera bag out to the car. I load up my reflector and flash stand and get in the car. I program in the directions to the first location via Google Maps, crank up the jams (and the AC), and head out. Sometimes en route I may stop and grab a Starbucks. (Venti White Mocha for the win!)
It almost seems like it took me longer to write it out than it does for me to do. Let me know, in the comments, what some of your rituals are.