WEDDING DAY TIMELINE TIPS
Putting careful thought and consideration into your wedding day timeline will ensure you get the most possible enjoyment out of your day, have the most time with your future intended and closest friends and family...and of course, get the wedding pictures you want ;) To best document your day I can't be chasing up bridesmaids to get dressed and reminding the groomsmen to be in the lobby for pictures - your wedding planner, a day of coordinator or super helpful Maid of Honor can help you with that. However, PRIOR to your wedding I'm always happy to help with your timeline in terms of photography.
Here are some helpful tips to get you started:
-Start with events that are fixed in time. Usually ceremony, the start of cocktail hour, + sunset (here's a site to help you figure out what time sunset is on your wedding day) Then you need to figure whether you'll see each other and do pictures before the ceremony or if you want to do pictures afterwards.
Not sure if you want to do a First Look or not? Here are some pros to having a First Look.
1. You get to spend more time together on your wedding day.
2. It can be really special to see each other for the first time not surrounded by hundreds of people. You'll get to hug, kiss, talk about what's about to happen which you can't do when the person marrying you is just inches away
3. If you're at all nervous or stressed about the ceremony it can be very relaxing to see your intended away from everyone. The initial nerves will be gone and you'll be more "in the moment" for your ceremony.
3. We take all of the formal pictures - family, wedding party, pictures of the two of you - in an unhurried, relaxed way before the ceremony. Hair and make up is freshly done so everyone looks flawless (not always the case if you have a hot humid outdoor ceremony and we take pictures after)
4. Once your married you get to enjoy cocktail hour with your friends and family not standing in a line posing for pictures. Mingling with your guests means you'll be able to greet those who've come to celebrate with you vs. a mad dash around the tables during dinner. AND as all of the formal pictures are out of the way I'll be at cocktail hour to photograph your friends and family and all of your reception detail shots!
Two things to consider if you don't want to do a first look:
1. Extend cocktail hour - you'll be less rushed and may even get to join for 5 minutes.
2. Have a little extra time/break between your ceremony and the start of cocktail hour. Guests are usually more than happy to take a break, freshen up, get a drink before joining the party.
-Considering the time of sunset is important because the hour or two before sunset has the most beautiful golden flattering light for pictures. A professional wedding photographer can work with all kinds of light but there's something whimsical and romantic about the light just before sunset.
Here’s a rough guide to how much time we need to do the various types of photos that we usually do at weddings:
Getting Ready: At least 30-45 minutes with both the guys and the girls, but the more the better.
Bride + Bridesmaids: 30 minutes (before the ceremony is recommended)
Groom + Groomsmen: 30 minutes (before the ceremony is recommended)
Wedding Couple Together: 45 minutes-or-so. If you do a “first look,” that usually takes about 15 minutes and we recommend scheduling about 15 minutes right before sunset for the best light.
Whole Wedding Party: 20-30 minutes
Immediate Family: This is based on how many groups you want to do. We usually recommend about 1.5 minutes per small group (2-8 people) and about 5 minutes per large group (8+ people).
Extended Family: We usually recommend keeping family formals to immediate family and then doing less “formal” photos with extended family members as you see them during reception. But, if you would like to include extended family in the formals, then use the same timing calculations as for immediate family.
Ceremony Prep Time: 15-30 minutes. Don’t schedule any other photo sessions for the 15-30 minutes right before your ceremony so we can get set up, communicate with videographers about how we/they plan to shoot, etc.
DON'T FORGET TO:
-Allow for traveling time in-between venues.
-Make an announcement about the start time and location of family photos so all family members are prepared and on time. A good time to do this is at the rehearsal dinner.
Q. When do you start shooting?
A. I recommend deciding on our start time in one of two ways:
1) We can start getting ready photos right after the bride finishes hair and just before she starts makeup (that way she is somewhat done before we start shooting. We recommend having your hair done before makeup). Then, presuming that you have booked us for our base package of 8 hours, go forward 8 hours and make sure that we are at the reception late enough to capture all of the events you want us to capture and about 30 minutes-or-so of open dancing. If we aren’t there late enough, you can either adjust our start time or add time to your package. Keep in mind, if you are having a grand exit (sparklers, confetti, lavender, etc.) you may want to double check that we will be there until then!
2) Start with the last event at reception plus 30 minutes of open dancing and then look back 8 hours. If our start time gives us 30+ minutes of getting ready, then you are probably good! If not, we will have to either adjust the start/end time or add time to your package.
Q. How ready should we be when you get here/what should we have ready?
A. We usually recommend that we start when our brides have their hair close to completed and just before they are starting make-up. We recommend that our grooms be showered and have their pants and undershirt on (no collared shirt, tie or jacket on). You will also want to plan on having any details you want photographed out and readily available (dress, shoes, invitations, garter etc). That way we get to experience and capture all the parts of your day and really tell the full story.
Still a little lost? I am happy to review your responses to the wedding questionnaire and information given at the consultation & I will give you customized feedback about your wedding day photography timeline.