Well HEYY FRIEND!!
I'm here to help you tackle some wedding day timeline tips & make some suggestions! Are you as pumped as I am!!?? Or did I just have wayyyy too many iced coffees before writing this?!
It is important to remember that this is your day and you can do whatever the hell your heart desires! And to remember that it is hard to follow a very strict schedule on your wedding day, but it is important to make sure that you have allotted enough time for everything as well.
Ok first off I want to talk about each time of the day and how long each portion normally takes on my end so that when you do sit down to plan it you can refer back to this blog post about the ideal lengths! Of course as mentioned these are all just suggestions. I always just want to give you as much information as I can to be able to provide you with the best photos on your day! I have learned from my mistakes and one of them was not allotting enough time for our own wedding photos on our day. I regret it SO much! Not just because of having a smaller gallery, but because we didn't allot enough time for just us on our day! We were constantly moving from place to place and chatting with so many people that there were very few times we could just stop, and enjoy each other. Ultimately, you need to enjoy your day, whatever that may look like!
And after we go over all of that we will dive into some tips I have for the entire planning of it all!
GRAB A DRINK AND LETS GET STARTED!
TIME LENGHT AMOUNTS
GETTING READY - When planning the getting ready photos I like to arrive about an hour to an hour and a half before you are scheduled to leave for your ceremony or first look! This way I have enough time to photograph all of the details (You can see details on what things to have ready for that here) finishing touches of hair and makeup, fun casual shots of everyone hanging out and of course that magical moment of you putting the dress on!!
FIRST LOOK - There can be quite a few benefits of choosing to do a first look. It allows for more photo time prior to the ceremony so that there isn't as long of a gap in between the ceremony and reception, and it can also be such a sweet, intimate moment between the two of you without all of your guests staring at you!! I loved my first look with Kyle, we were able to hug right away, kiss, laugh, it took all of the nerves away from being the centre of attention and allowed me to feel so much more relaxed going into our ceremony! If you choose to go ahead with the first look this usually takes about half an hour. My second shooter and I will get you into position and guide you through the process without interfering! When you have your moment and you give us the ok that you're ready to move on we can utilize this time for a few portraits of the both of you, or we can even use this time to do wedding party portraits. Getting the wedding party out of the way can sometimes be very helpful, because let's be real... they want to parttaaaayyyyy! So the sooner they are done the better they feel. If you do decide to add wedding party photos on to this time please add an additional 45 minutes. SO roughly an hour and a half in total would be a great amount of time for the first look and the wedding party!
CEREMONY - Everyones ceremony is different, what you include, if you have any traditions you are incorporating etc. But most of the time ceremonies run about 30 minutes! With that being said... 8/10 ceremonies don't start on time and if that happens IT IS OK!! I was half an hour late for my ceremony because our limo driver got lost... it happens!! And it is very common, just make sure to add a bit of a buffer in your timeline just incase! The most common times for ceremonies to start and what seems to work best for a lot of timelines is anywhere from 3pm-430pm. If you choose to do a first look and portraits before hand, you can look at a later ceremony time. One more thing to keep in mind is that guests really don't like to hang around in between for too long. From what I have seen 3pm is the earliest I would personally go. Obviously depending on the venue and location this may not be an option but if you do start earlier than 3pm, I would suggest considering moving your reception start time up a bit earlier so that everyone does not have HOURS in between the two. **if you are wanting a group shot of all of the guests please let me know, this usually takes place right after the ceremony and we will need to add time in the timeline for this.
FAMILY PHOTOS - Family photos will always take place right after the ceremony. This definitely works the best! Everyone is already there & you can tell everyone in advance that is a part of it to stick around, while the mc can shuttle everyone else off to enjoy cocktail hour! We usually need about 30 minutes for family photos. This time length is based on just parents, siblings & grandparents, if you wish to include extended family members please schedule in a bit more time, and remember that those photos can also always be completed at the reception as well! As the wedding approaches I will be sending you a final wedding day questionnaire & in there there you will fill out a very precise family shot list. This gives us a flow of the order & allows you to create all of the groupings you are wanting before hand so that you are not trying to make sure you get everything on the day!
WEDDING PARTY - Wedding party photos are always a ton of fun! I throw on my speaker, we party it out and make it as relaxed and casual for them as we can! Generally there is usually 1 or 2 people that really don't enjoy being in photos so the more fun we can have with it the better!! I will of course grab the formal shots of the groups but allowing some time for fun ones showing your genuine friendships are very important to me! Please allow 45 minutes for these, you wont believe how much of that time is just spent wrangling everyone! My preschool teaching days definitely come in handy in these situations and im pretty freaking thankful for that!! Of course we get group shots of everyone as well all of the combos!
BRIDE & GROOM PORTRAITS - Once the wedding party is done we can send them away and focus on just you two!! 45 minutes is asked for, with 60 minutes being ideal if your timeline allows for it! And don't just think of this time as only being portraits, normally in there somewhere you can have a quick snack, a drink, and just BE TOGETHER ALONE! I promise, you wont regret making the time for just you two! *Please consider any drive time between locations as you are working out the timeline.
RECEPTION - This is 100% up to however you want it to be laid out! If you are working with a coordinator they will help you plan out the perfect timeline for what you have planned. Usually you would come into the reception around 5-6pm. Dinner is served shortly after this, from there we go into some speeches, then have dessert, cake cutting, first dance, mother/son father/daughter dances, and then its party time! But remember that there is no set schedule to how you lay it all out! We will work together as it gets closer to make sure that we get in as much as we possibly can before my scheduled end time for the evening! We will chat more about this as it gets closer!
SUNSET PHOTOS - I PROMISE YOU WILL NOT REGRET SCHEDULING THIS IN TO YOUR DAY! I cant stress this enough! We don't need too long, usually about 20-30 minutes right around sunset and depending on what time of year your wedding is at, this time will vary. The beset time is usually right after speeches and desert before dancing, we can sneak out while everyone is mingling - of course this depends on location and time of year. Not only do we get the most BEAUTIFUL photos, it gives us a buffer for portraits if our time earlier in the day gets cut short, AND it gives you another break to just BE TOGETHER! Trust me... you don't want to pass on this!
And if you want to continue reading up on some things to consider when planning your timeline head here!