This summer has consisted of all things weddings and I am so excited that my business is expanding to include this aspect of photography as well! I can’t wait to serve my brides by providing them with beautiful images from their special day, but also providing them with help throughout the planning process! One way that I plan to do that is through this “For Brides” blog series.
In this set of blogs I’ll be giving advice for brides related to weddings and how they can plan and prepare for their big days so that they get the best images possible! One of the most important planning aspects of a wedding day is the timeline. This is so essential to making sure you get the photos you want. If you underestimate how long something will take it could mean cutting out valuable portrait or wedding party photo time which no bride wants! So, I’m sharing a few tips for planning out your wedding day timeline as well as a sample timeline for an early evening wedding. I hope this helps all the brides out there!!
My first piece of advice when you begin to plan out your day is to make sure you allow for more time than you think you will need. This buffer time is essential because almost every wedding has something come up that takes away time. At my own wedding one of the groomsmen forgot his tie and didn’t realize it until right before the first look so someone had to rush back into town to get it for him. This meant delaying the portraits by about 20 minutes, but because we added in some buffer time, we still had plenty of time to get all of the shots we wanted!
With so may different people and moving parts, you can’t expect for everything to go exactly as planned. Adding in 30-45 minutes will not only help out when something like this comes up, but it will also mean less stress on everyone. You as the bride can rest easy knowing that no one needs to rush and everything will still get done on time!
I absolutely LOVE it when the couple decides to do a first look. This is when the bride and groom see each other before the ceremony and we get to take portraits of them in private! I love first looks because it makes that surprise of seeing your groom for the first time so intimate and special. My husband and I read vows we had written ourselves during our first look and I loved getting to have that private moment with him before I walked down the aisle!
From a photography standpoint, first looks are such a blessing! If you choose to do a first look we can take our time with bride and groom portraits without having to rush back to the wedding reception. We can also do lots of bridal party photos! It is so much easier to get these done before the ceremony because then afterwards the bridal party can head to the reception while we do family formals. It also ensures that we get beautiful portraits with you and your groom. Waiting until after the ceremony to do bride and groom portraits makes it a bit more rushed (especially if the ceremony goes long) and we know that you guys are eager to get to the reception!
Regardless of whether or not you do a first look, I highly recommend letting your photographer steal you away for 10-15 minutes during the reception for sunset photos! These photos are always the most beautiful because the lighting is perfect and glowy. Some of my all time favorite portraits were those taken at sunset! You may not want to leave the party, but it is such a short amount of time and I promise that it will be so worth it when you see the beautiful pictures later!
Family formals can be very smooth and easy with proper planning! All you have to do is make a list of the different groups of people you would like photos of and make sure your photographer has it before the wedding. That way we can call out names and get everyone photographed quickly! Also make sure to let your family know who will be in the photos so they don’t leave after the ceremony and miss out. I’ve found that the most helpful thing with family formals is to ask for a member of your family (sibling/cousin) who can help the second shooter find the family members and line them up for each photo. We don’t know your family and sometimes calling out someone’s name isn’t enough to get their attention. I also recommend limiting yourself to 10-15 groupings. These photos do take time because we are gathering many different people so try to stick with the groupings that are most important to you and your future husband!
As promised – here is your sample timeline! This timeline includes a first look, evening ceremony, and 10 hours of photography coverage. Use it and modify it to fit your specific schedule. Best of luck planning and congratulations!!
12:30pm – Photographer arrives and takes detail photos
1:15pm – Getting ready photos/Reception area photos
1:45pm – Groomsmen get dressed
2:00pm – Bridesmaids get dressed
2:15pm – Bride gets dressed
2:35pm – First Look / B&G formals
3:00pm Bride + Bridesmaids
3:25pm Full Bridal Party
3:45pm Groom + Groomsmen
4:00pm Everyone inside to relax before ceremony
4:15pm – Photographer photographs ceremony area
5pm – Ceremony
5:40pm – Family Formals
6:00pm – Bustle Dress (if needed)
6:05pm – Grand Entrance
6:10pm – Dinner Served
7:05pm – Toasts
7:20pm – Cake Cutting
7:25pm – First Dance
7:30pm – Father Daughter Dance
7:35pm – Mother Son Dance
7:40pm – Open Dance Floor
8:00pm – Sunset Photos
9:00pm – Bouquet/Garter Toss
10:25pm – Last Dance
10:30pm – Grand Exit