So if you’re anything like me, you’re OCD organized and have all your wedding day times down on a spreadsheet and print them out in a nice neat little packet for all your bridal party. Yeah, I know, I’m a little crazy!
However, while you may not want to go to this extreme when planning your wedding day timeline, you do want to make sure you allow adequate time for each area of your day….and then some. Weddings are extremely exciting and with so many people involved, can often get off track.
As the photographer, I try to keep to my timelines but there are some things that I can’t control. So here are my tips for your big day to hopefully help things move a little smoother without stressing you out! We want the bride nice and relaxed because if you’re stressed….then you’re photos will look like you’re stressed. And I don’t think either of us want that!!!!
1. Make sure your entire bridal party knows the time that they are expected to arrive at the start of things, what location they are to go to (with the address) and what they are to have with them. Sounds simple, but if one member of the bridal party is late for hair and makeup it could put a time crunch on the following areas of the day.
2. Make sure you discuss with your stylist how long it’ll take to do each person’s hair and makeup…..and then plan extra time just in case. This is to help in case someone originally said no to getting their hair/makeup done and now wants it. If hair “Just isn’t cooperating” or someone is getting a more intricate style. Less stress=happier brides.
3. If you want mom to put on your jewelry or something….make sure mom knows prior to the day. I often see mom’s doing their part in trying to keep the day on track that they aren’t able to stop into the bridal suite to be part of these moments.
4. If you are going to be having a receiving line, please plan it into your time. I once had a wedding with over 150 guests that did a receiving line that took over 45 minutes….of picture time. We had about 20 minutes to bang out the family formals and the bridal party and bride/groom pics. It got done but was extremely rushed. In these times, you will see the drill sergeant come out in me. My loud “Italianess” shines and is needed to get everyone organized. So don’t stress if it happens. Just try to plan some extra time between the ceremony ending and the photos.
Try to keep the family photos to a minimum. We normally stick to a shot list that covers parents, grandparents and siblings. If there is a special pairing you would want, we would make sure to capture it. However, time adds up quick when the extended family starts gathering for a mix of different pairings. We will always try to accommodate, but due to lighting situations it may be best to capture some of the extended family during the reception to keep the timeline on track of everyone.
6. Also realize, trying to gather everyone together for the photos is probably the most time consuming thing. Make sure your bridal party doesn’t disappear. Put a family member in charge of gathering key people that are to be in photos. Or let the family that is to be in the photos, know that they are to remain close to the chosen picture spot to get photos done. I normally get the family photos out of the way, then do bridal party photos done and then release them to the reception while I work with just the bride and groom.
7. Ask yourself, how important are photos for you? Photos are one of the only tangible things you will be able to have after your wedding day. They capture all the emotions and memories of the day so you can look back on it for years to come. There is nothing saying you can't build in additional portrait time! The easiest way to do this is to have a first look! The first look itself normally takes about 10-15 minutes. However, you can capture as many photos as you want prior to the "I Do's". From Bride and Groom portraits, wedding portraits to family. I normally caution about doing family prior to the ceremony in case your family is notorious for running late. However, if everyone can be there on time then we can absolutely add in some more portrait time. This will allow you to have more time with just the Bride and Groom before the ceremony as well as during the cocktail hour for photos. Or, if you are obsessed with cocktail hour food, like me, then you can do the photos all before the ceremony so you can attend the cocktail hour. Don't want to see each other prior to the ceremony? No problem! Ask your venue if an extended cocktail hour is an option to add in some additional portrait time!
8. When you plan your start time for the photographer, keep the end time of your package in mind as well. If you chose a shorter hourly package, then having the main events of the reception that you want captured closer to the beginning of the reception helps. Walking in, going right into dances then into speech’s etc. If we’re not at the reception long, we may have to pose the cake as well or cut the cake a little earlier than normal.
9. Know what time your DJ is going to be announcing you or what time he/she needs you back to get the bridal party in their order to walk in. I will aim to finish photos prior to this time so the whole day can stay on track.
10. Sparkler photos or night photos. They are truly awesome and I LOVE doing them. It takes about 10 minutes or so out of your night. My second shooter will go set up the location (if need be) and then we will come get you both and whisk you away. However, we sometimes forget that in summer it doesn’t get dark until around 9. So just make sure that if these are something that your dead set on, to plan your start time, so we are still there when it’s dark out.
Weddings are one of my favorite events to capture. Every wedding is unique and it’s the happiest day of the couple’s life! I’m truly honored to be a part of it! I will do everything in my power to make your day run smoothly regardless of the items listed above. I am on your time and I adapt very well to changing situations. All I ask is that you trust me to do my part to capture your day. If you do, you’ll be able to rest assured and enjoy your day knowing that we know our tasks and will accomplish them.